Adventurers in the Appalachia
My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to
the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland
Last Day and Night on the
Early morning arrival at home
August 13, 2018
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started somewhere near Lamar, CO when after my morning ablution
I proceeded to have breakfast of eggs and bacon with coffee and
orange juice. After the meal it wasn't long before we stopped in
La Junta, which is a fresh air break and a crew change point.
Our sleeper 32117 next to dining car.
La Junta - This was once la
junta - the junction- where the main and southern routes
of the old Santa Fe Trail divided. Bent's Fort, a major trading
post, was just to the east. In 1875, with the arrival of the
Santa Fe Railroad, La Junta (HUN-ta) became a major hub on the
route, and the hoot of the locomotive replaced the rumble of
wagon wheels. La Junta also is a major cattle and produce
shipping center for the lower Arkansas Valley.
La Junta is still a junction, but the term
now refers to the numerous state and federal highways that
converge in the town. One of these, US 50, is part of the scenic
and historic Santa Fe Trail route that continues on as US 350
heading southwest out of La Junta.
View of train looking toward end.
View looking forward to the locomotives.
This old locomotive, Santa Fe #1024 2-6-2 (and tinder car) are
located on the northeast side of La Junta, looking down on the
main east-west route, US 50 through this historic town.
The train left La Junta for Trinidad.
The toilets went out in our car as usual and we wouldn't be having
them until Albuquerque. At noon we went to the dining car and I
had an Angus burger which was very good. The rest of the afternoon
was spent watching and enjoying the scenery and countryside of
Colorado and New Mexico.
The train stopped at Las Vegas home of the
Castaneda Hotel, a Fred Harvey hotel located along the Southwest
Chief line. The hotel opened in 1898 and closed in 1948. In 2014
it was purchased by Allen Affeldt and Tina Mion, the owners of La
Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona. I hope to stay at both in the
future. After Las Vegas, the train did the Chappelle "S" curves.
Baltimore and Ohio Moonlight Dome at the end of our train.
Going around the Chappelle S curves.
Semaphores working on the route.
Near the Glorieta Pass, NM. The train climbed and conquered
Glorieta Pass then went through Canyoncito and did not meet a
I-25 near the Glorieta Pass.
The train went through Apache Canyon then met the eastbound
Southwest Chief at Lamy. We took the siding to get to the
station to do our station work after the eastbound train left.
Santa Fe Southern cars at Lamy, NM.
When it was operating, Santa Fe Southern Railway connected Lamy to
Santa Fe, a town not on the main line of the Atchison, Topeka
& Santa Fe.
Countryside outside Lamy.
After Lamy we rolled the miles to our next servicing stop of
Albuquerque in an hour and ten minutes. Neither the internet nor
the toilets were working which was a major problem for us.
A tribute to the 8th Duke of Alburquerque of Spain - and somewhere
along the way the first "r" got dropped.
These bi-level commuter cars, built by Bombardier, are the same
design as Metrolink's cars in Los Angeles.
New Mexico's Rail Runner train.
more information on this private dome car, click here.
Vendors selling handmade items. A long tradition here at the
I bought a great money clip with two buffalo nickles attached with
a shiny finish on it. While here, a broken mirror was replaced on
lead engine that hit a tree branch.
The train left Albuquerque on time and ran out to Dalies where
they are adding a new track for the BNSF mainline from Belen and
we slowly made our way on to the mainline there. Chris and I had a
7:00 PM dinner reservation tonight so we had dinner near Gallup
where I stopped taking photos of the landscape.
I-40 in background near Gallup, NM.
Upon reaching Flagstaff
we took a long fresh air break on this delightful summer
evening. Later Chris made up the room for our final night of
this incredible trip and I was wondering where the time went as
it seemed to go fast looking back now.
Tuesday August 14, 2018
I was up early and went to
the Dining Car for my final meal of the trip, pancakes and bacon
as the train stopped in Barstow. Breakfast is served early and
for limited time on approach to Los Angeles. The train stopped
in Victorville then started the climb over Cajon Pass on a very
beautiful August early morning. There were plenty of trains
climbing on the Cajon Pass heading east. The train stopped in
San Bernardino then on to Riverside and made the final sprint to
Fullerton and Chris and I detrained for the second to the last
Roadblocks were thrown at us
beginning at Fullerton. First the north elevator on the bridge
was not working so we had to drag our luggage up the stairs,
then they were working on the south Metrolink vending machine
but happily they finished in time for us to buy our tickets for
the train home. At the Santa Ana station, Chris called for a
taxi to take us the short ride to his house. Nearing Chris'
house I figured we were home free, but no. No way! When he
went to open his front door, the lock would not work. Chris had
locked up the house completely and I had left my car and house
keys inside as I saw no reason to carry them around for three
weeks. His door locks were battery operated and had died while
he was away. His emergency key was next door at the neighbor's
but they weren't at home to help. He had no choice but to call a
locksmith. After waiting for the locksmith to arrive and then
about an hour to get the den door open I was able to retrieve my
keys and drive home.
And so, dear reader, this
ends the story of Adventurers in Appalachia. I would like to
give thanks to the staff and crew of the Cumberland Rails 2018
NRHS Convention. It was an excellent convention as always, which
we have come to expect year after year. Special thanks to Bob
and Elizabeth for their friendly companionship. A big thanks
goes to Steve Grande at Trainweb.org for his travel assistance
on our trip. And my wonderment of Chris for planning and putting
together the jigsaw pieces of the many adventures and the new
things we experienced. It was fun.
Thanks for reading.
Text and Photos by Author
author retains all rights. No reproductions
are allowed without the author's consent.