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Southwest Chief to Chicago

Adventurers in the Appalachia

My First trip on the Southwest Chief, going to the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland

Chapter One

Southwest Chief - Los Angeles to Chicago

 July 22, 2018



Robin Bowers

Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

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    This year Chris and I were to take the train to the NRHS 2018 Convention in Cumberland, MD. We would take the Southwest Chief to Chicago and then the Cardinal to Washington and then Train 90 to NYC. Overnight  there, taking Northeast Regional 171 to Roanoke VA. We would rent a car there and travel around Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia. Then go north on the train to Delaware and then travel the DE and Pennsylvania  areas, ending with a short ride on the Acela and then five nights in Cumberland MD. Our return itinerary would be to head home on the Capitol Limited and the Southwest Chief.

This early afternoon I left home and drove to Santa Ana and Chris' home. After parking in his driveway and unloading my car, we awaited for his co-worker and her husband to drive us to the Santa Ana Station.


Santa Ana Station.

    After arriving at the station we crossed over the tracks to Track One. We were supposed to be on Pacific Surfliner 579 but a death on the rails changed all that as a late running Pacific Surfliner 777 was due into Santa Ana at 579 time.

    Train 777 came in standing room only but since it came in the same time 579 would and since we were taking sleepers out of Los Angeles they let us board and Chris took a seat on the floor of the cab car and I stood against the wall the whole trip. Luckily it was only a 50 minute trip to Los Angeles it wasn't too bad a way to start a trip. We did Anaheim and Fullerton before the final sprint to LAUPT. We detrained after 36.0 rail miles both very happy to be here. A Red Cap took us to the elevator that took us to the Metropolitan Lounge. It was announced that the Southwest Chief would depart 45 minutes late. Later we had a Red Cap drive us out to the platform and we waited for our train 4 to back into the station platform.


Chris in Metropolitan lounge at Los Angeles Union Station.

A nice place to relax and wait to travel.


Front door and the receptionist for the lounge.   

    We boarded the 430 Car Room five and then we walked to the front of the train. This train had Engines 195 and Heritage unit 822, Viewliner Baggage 61015, Transition Sleeper 39035, Sleeper 32072 Arkansas, Sleeper 32098 New Jersey, Diner 38061, Lounge 33043 and Coaches 31043, 34018 and 34024. Rashad was our Sleeping Car Attendant for the trip to Chicago.


Our second Locomotive #822.


Engine 195 leading the Southwest Chief to Chicago.


Our sleeping car attendant, Rashad.

    We returned aboard and we left LAUPT at 6:45 PM (6:10 PM) and we were off for Chicago. About thirty minutes later, we arrived in Fullerton and they did a double spotting of the train as elevator construction is taking forever here. We did see David Aten but not Chris Parker who were both here trying to see us off. We left Fullerton then diner staff came by and gave us an 8:00 PM dinner reservation and it started to get dark before we got into the Dining Car. We both had the steak but the dinner rolls were the smallest rolls that I ever had on a train and the dessert menu was a joke. We finished up before San Bernardino and enjoyed the climb over Cajon.



     Barstow Harvey House, also known as Harvey House Railroad Depot and Barstow station, is a historic building in Barstow, California. Originally built in 1911 as Casa del Desierto, a Harvey House Hotel and the Santa Fe Railroad depot, it currently serves as an Amtrak station and government building housing city offices, the Barstow Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center and two museums.



Rashad and Chris outside our sleeper car.

We took a fresh air break on a warm night in Barstow then made up the room and called it a night.

Thanks for reading.

Next Chapter 2 - Our first day on the Southwest Chief to Chicago

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Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments appreciated at ....