Syracuse Spring Board Meeting,
April 5-16, 2008

Don Winter


This trip was to attend the 2008 NRHS Spring Board Meeting in Syracuse, NY. As usual, we traveled out and back on Amtrak, this time with a side trip to Green Bay, WI, to visit the National Railroad Museum.

The Journey East (4/5-4/20)

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

With an early evening departure from Los Angeles Union Station, 120 miles to the south, we plan on leaving Tehachapi at 2 pm, with smaller amounts of LA traffic on a Saturday. We head out on Highway 58 to Mojave, south on 14 to Sylmar, and then down the Golden State and Hollywood freeways to Los Angeles, arriving in the MTA garage by 4:30 pm. Walking through the tunnel under the platforms, we run into Ken Ruben, who tells us that Chris Parker and Chris Gunzler, along with others, will be traveling on our train, with this trip marking Chris Gunzler's 1 millionth Amtrak mile!

We swap our tickets (we had to change reservations due to the Oregon UP mud slide) and check some bags, visit the Amtrak Customer Service desk to have our photo IDs compared to our tickets and get our reservations for dinner on the train (later rejected by the Lead Service Attendant on the train, who makes her own), and then sit in the garden until it's time to go back to the car, get the carry-on bags, and head for the train. As usual, the train is on track 12, and I manage to get the consist before leaving. On the platform, Chris (Winter) observes that Marti-Ann Draper is our conductor, today.


P42            113
P42            11
Baggage     1161
Transition    39018
Sleeper        32085   
Sleeper        32115   
Diner           38044
Lounge        33020
Coach         34047
Coach         34045
Coach         34039

Train 4, 4-5-2008



Los Angeles

 6:45 pm

6:45 pm







San Bernardino






Barstow                            PT






Gallup, NM                         MT




12:03/55 pm




1:59-2:05 pm

Las Vegas, NM






Trinidad, CO



La Junta



Lamar                                 MT






Kansas City, MO            CT


7:57-8:10 am

La Plata



Ft. Madison, IA



Galesburg, IL

12:10 pm

1:05-10 pm













Southwest Chief Route Description

The LSA comes around giving out her version of dinner reservations, after the train starts. Marti-Ann collects our tickets, and we later chat with Chris Parker and some of the others for quite awhile, in the sleeping car, before going to bed.

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

I awake east of Winslow, and we're up, dressed, and eating breakfast before crossing the state line into New Mexico for the stop at Gallup. We chat with the man in the room opposite, who is going to Washington, MO, to pick up his father, before returning west to ride to the Grand Canyon. He is hoping to make the five minute connection to the Ann Rutledge in Kansas City, but I don't hold out much hope for this! As usual, on this train, we're early into Albuquerque, and today we continue to be early on arrival at all of the stops the train makes during the day.

Monday, April 7th, 2008

The projected connection to the St. Louis train isn't even close, as we're still west of the fuel stop at Argentine when its departure time comes. There's a welcoming crowd for Chris Gunzler, with balloons and the like, at La Plata (other members of the tour group he's with), and the conductor makes an announcement regarding this as we make a double spot at the station there. The train had obviously lost some time overnight, loses some more in this stop at La Plata, and yet more waiting for a signal after leaving Fort Madison but before crossing the bridge over the Mississippi River (which is at quite a high level).

On arrival in Chicago, there's only an hour and twenty minutes or so to the ongoing train to Milwaukee, so we go into the Metropolitan Lounge for awhile and then proceed to the gate for the Hiawatha Service. This is a coach-only train, with a privately-operated catering trolley as the only food and beverage service.

P42                  1
Coach     51502
Coach     54509
Coach     54547
Coach     54575
Coach     54534
Cabbage  90224     

Train 339, 4-7-2008




 5:08 pm

5:08 pm
Glenview Park 5:32 5:36
Sturtevant 6:14 6:24
Milwaukee Airport 6:28 6:39-41
Milwaukee 6:45 6:51

Hiawatha Service Route Description

On arrival in Milwaukee, we take a taxi over to the hotel, just a few blocks away, and then walk a few more blocks to Mader's, a German Restaurant, where we have an excellent dinner. The chill wind that is blowing, even on this sunny day, is a precursor of the dismal weather for Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

In the morning, now heavily overcast, with the temperature just above freezing, we walk the four block northwest to the hertz car rental place, and rent our car for the day. We then drive north on Interstate 43 to Green Bay, WI, where we take the connecting road across the south end of the town, getting off at Ashland Avenue, and taking Cormier Street to the National Railroad Museum on the west bank of the Fox River, at the east end of that street. The weather is still dismal, so we're glad that the first part of the museum visit is indoors.

We've come mostly to see the "Eisenhower WWII Train", in the Frederick J. Lenfestey Center, an indoor gallery. The train has two London & Northeastern Railway teak-bodied Gresley coaches, set up as they were used in WWII as a mobile operational center, headed (although they never were in operation) by Gresley's A4 streamlined 4-6-2, British Railways 60008, Dwight D Eisenhower, painted as it was when I saw it many times in the late 1950s in actual operation on Britain's East Coast Main Line, some 35-40 miles from my then home. Also in that space are the museum's UP Big Boy, a Pennsylvania GG-1 electric, a steam switcher used by Pullman at its Chicago-area factory, and some rolling stock.

In an outdoor, but covered, space, are steam locomotives DM&IR 506, a 2-10-2, C&O 2-8-4 2736, Santa Fe 2-10-4 5017, Soo Line 4-6-2 2718, US Army 2-8-0 101, from WWI, and LS&I 2-8-0 24, a locomotive and two carriages from the Rock Island's Aerotrain, a Minneapolis & St. Louis NW-1, and various passenger and freight cars. More freight and passenger cars, and several additional diesel locomotives: GB&W 101, an S-1, US Army RSD-1 8651, WC GP-30 715, GB&W C-430 315, and Milwaukee Road E-unit 38A, are on outdoor display.

We return to Milwaukee down US 41, along the west side of Lake Winnebago, through a heavy rainstorm (thankfully the temperature was still in the upper 30s), return the car about 5 pm, and walk back to the hotel. Dinner is in Moe's Irish Pub, a hundred yards or so east of the hotel.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Our onward train from Chicago is in the late evening, so we take our time arising and checking out of the hotel, take a taxi over to Milwaukee's refurbished Passenger Station (also used by Greyhound), and take the late morning Hiawatha down to Chicago.

[consist] (from the rear)
P42             189
Coach     51502
Coach     54509
Coach     54547
Coach     54575
Coach     54534
Cabbage  90224             

Train 334, 4-9-2008




 10:50 am

11:00 am
Milwaukee Airport 11:00 11:12-14
Sturtevant 11:13 11:28
Glenview 11:51 12:09-11 pm
Chicago 12:19 pm 12:42 pm

The train departs ten minutes late, and never recovers. In Chicago, we head over to the former Northwestern Station (now the Ogilvie Transportation Center) and take the 1 pm Metra train our to Harvard, IL, some 60+ miles away, where we have a late light lunch before returning the way we had come.

F40        159
Coach    7211
Coach    6097
Coach    6070
Coach    6109
Cab Car 8465           

Trains 619 and 654, 4-9-2008





Chicago 1:30 pm 1:31 pm 6:23 6:21
Clybourn 1:38 1:40 6:12 6:13
Irving Park 1:43 1:45 6:05 6:07
Jefferson Park 1:48 1:50 6:01 6:03
Norwood Park 1:52 1:54 5:57 5:59
Edison Park 1;55 1:57 5:54 5:56
Park Ridge 1:57 1:59 5:51 5:53
Dee Road 2:00 2:03 5:48 5:50
Des Plaines 2:04 2:06 5:44 5:46
Cumberland 2:07 2:10 5:40 5:42
Mount Prospect 2:11 2:13 5:37 5:39
Arlington Heights 2:16 2:18 5:32 5:34
Arlington Park 2:20 2:21 5:28 5:30
Palatine 2:24 2:26 5:25 5:26
Barrington 2:32 2:34 5:18 5:19
Fox River Grove 2:40 2:41 5:11 5:12
Cary 2:43 2:44 5:08 5:09
Pingree Road 2:48 2:49 5:03 5:04
Crustal Lake 2:51 2:52 5:00 5:01


3:01 3:02


Harvard 3:20 3:15 4:35 pm 4:36 pm

Chicago Area Route Descriptions

We then walk over to Elephant & Castle for dinner before returning to Union Station's Metropolitan Lounge, where we had earlier left our carry-on luggage. We look to see if Bill Chapman is here, but if he were to be on Train 6, it isn't arriving until "8:30 pm" (only five hours late!). (It transpires he had decided to fly.) Passengers board the Lakeshore Limited quite a while before its 10:00 pm departure, 8:30 pm in our case, with sleeper passengers invited for a wine and cheese reception in the 'dining car" (arranged for diner lite, in this case). We're in bed by our on-time departure.


P42         140
P42            27
Baggage    1260
Sleeper    62011    Gulf View
Sleeper    62006    Cottage View
Sleeper    62037    Southern View
"Cafe"      28001
Dinette     53511
Coach      25089
Coach      25060
Coach      25105
Coach      25003     

Train 48, 4-9-2008



Chicago                               CT

 10:00 pm

9:59 pm
Toledo 3:20 am
2:55 am
Cleveland                  ET 6:22 am
6:25 am
Erie 8:29 8:45-9:13
Buffalo 9:55 10:56
Rochester 10:56 12:07-15 pm
Syracuse 12:21 pm 1:30 pm

Lakeshore Limited Route Description

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

The new schedule for the eastbound train includes lengthy planned stops at Toledo and Cleveland to achieve the desired "commercially desirable time" at Cleveland. It is interesting finally to be able to see the line between Cleveland and Buffalo in the daylight. The long stop at Eerie is due to the US Immigration Agents, questioning every coach passenger, and Drug Enforcement Agents, using dogs to inspect the checked baggage. Two passengers are removed from the train for lack of acceptable identification. There are subsequent stops of 5, 12, and 6 minutes, due to track maintenance and resulting freight train interference on this normally double-track line.

At the Board Meeting (4/10-4/13)

Thursday, April 10th, 2008 (cont.)

Arriving at Syracuse, there are seven people heading for the NRHS Board Meeting, including the two of us and Doug Johnson from Minneapolis, and one person who got on in Cleveland this morning. The hotel van takes awhile to come get us, but it really doesn't matter, since the rooms aren't ready until 4 pm, and we're not in ours until 4:15 pm.

While we're registering with the host chapter, Greg Molloy tells us that we should be sure to read the Conflict of Interest policy draft before attending any of the meetings. We hadn't received this before leaving home, but we do run into Dough White, who has hardcopies, so we go with him to his room to get them, and read them before going to bed. We eat dinner with Bill Chapman and Al Weber, in an Italian restaurant just down the road, holding a very interesting conversation.

Friday, April 11th, 2008

The Regional Vice-Presidents meeting is this morning, so we don't have to get up early for the first time since leaving home. The discussion at that meeting leads to extensive revisions to the Conflict of Interest Policy, removing most of the language that I find objectionable, but not enough, it will transpire, to make it adoptable at this Board of Directors Meeting.

Unlike those attending the RVP meeting, we have lunch before boarding the buses for this afternoon's excursion, to the Central New York Chapter's museum at Central Square, New York, north of Oneida Lake, and what's left of the erstwhile Rail City museum at Sandy Creek, NY, on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, 50 miles north of Syracuse. We board the second bus, which is only about half full, and the buses head north on I-81, in dismal heavily overcast weather, with the temperature hovering in the mid 30s (compared to the 71 reached today at our home, at 4,000 ft., in the Tehachapi Mountains of Southern California). I comment to one of the Central New York Chapter members that it would have been nice to hold the Spring Board Meeting in Spring, and he says "This is spring, the snow's gone!"

The depot at Central Square was built by the New York, Ontario & Western in 1909, replacing an earlier depot that had been destroyed by fire, at the intersection of the NYO&W and the New York Central line to Montreal. The NYO&W was abandoned in 1957, while the former NYC line is today's CSX Montreal Secondary. The station closed in 1964, and became the Chapter's property in 1990. There are both indoor exhibits, Appropriate to the station, and some outdoors, including industrial steam and diesel locomotives, a Brill gas-electric passenger car, and the last streetcar that ran in Syracuse, as well as a circus-painted passenger car with a large circus display inside, which is fascinating even though the car itself is not authentic for the purpose (it's from the B&A).

On leaving Central Square, the buses stop at separate short-order restaurants at the Interstate intersection before heading north again to the Rail City Historical Museum, once the first steam-operating railroad museum in the USA, operating from 1954 to 1974, with the relocated depot from Deer River, NY, and a number of other relocated steam-era structures. Today's Rail City Historical Museum contains many photographs and memorabilia of Rail City's operating days, and its demise, mostly located inside the renovated depot building. The remains of other structures still exist on the grounds. The bus trip back to Syracuse is in another driving rainstorm—I'm glad I'm not driving, this time!

At 6:30 pm, we go to the At-Large members meeting, expecting to be able to talk to Greg about the Conflict of Interest policy, only to hear that he had stopped by the table where Bill Chapman and the Pastorino's were having dinner, to tell then he wouldn't be at this meeting because he had to rewrite the policy (presumably, now that Joe Williams has arrived). However, Don Bishop and Dave Flinn, both of whom had been at the RVP meeting, are here, and we get a rundown on what was said at that meeting, to the apparent bemusement of the one At-Large Member (not Director) present in the room. When we leave, Bill Chapman, who will co-chair the Governance Committee starting on Sunday decides to stay for the following staff meeting.

We eat dinner at the hotel, after the meeting, mindful of the 'early' start in the morning.

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

The first event today is an excursion on the same segment of the Finger Lakes Railway that we rode back in 1998, during the NRHS Convention in this area, over a route somewhat shorter at both ends. Then, we had ridden on the train from the former Lackawanna Armory Square station in Syracuse, but the On-Track operation that used that station has closed, so today's trip is confined to the Finger Lakes Railway itself, with a bus ride over to a shopping center in Camillus required before we board the train. Chris and I are almost the last people on the train, so we get almost the last seating places available, at a table at one end of the railway's "dining" car. A film crew is using the next car to the rear, so it's not available to our group.

Finger Lakes Railway Route Description

The initial consist is headed by Finger Lakes' B23 2201, and comprises former CN chair car 7602, Canandaigua and 7202, Cayuga, and former commuter cars 1642 and 1643. At Auburn, RS-3 "NYC 8233", owned by Al Kallfells of the Central New York Chapter, is added to the consist for the return trip. We sit near Diane P____, the representative of the Library Relocation Company in Three Rivers, MA, who is currently responsible for the contents of the NRHS Library during its relocation process, prior to finding (or creating) it a new home, and Barry Smith, who has a local boy who is signed up for this year's Railcamp with him. The train leaves its origination point at 9:10 am (compared to a projected start of 9:15), reverses at Auburn from 11:00 to 11:08, stops at Skaneatles Junction for photo runbys from 11:47 am to 12:23 pm, and at the Chapter's other museum at the Martisco Depot from 12:40 to 1:58 pm, where the Chapter does an uninspiring job of selling us all lunch (the primary component of which sells out only 60% of the way through the queue of people) and leaves no time for us to visit the contents of the museum.

Returning to the starting point at 2:14 pm (1 minute early on the projections), we bus back to the hotel, in time for a late start on the afternoon's meeting discussing the Conflict-of-Interest (and Confidentiality) Policy, draft 2. Two other items were also on the 'agenda', but in the event, there was insufficient time left to discuss them. The draft policy was controversial for a number of reasons, the first being that it conflated two different polices: one on Conflict-of-Interest, and one on Confidentiality of NRHS Board proceedings and draft documents. Another source of controversy was that many of the Board members did not understand why it was necessary for NRHS even to have such policies, and why the Chapters comprise 'outside organizations' for the purposes of these policies! A well-known member, sitting next to me, complained that "these meetings used to be fun" (does he really mean the Board Meetings themselves, or just the other activities?) until "a gang of five people instituted all these secret activities". Fortunately, these sentiments are not aired publicly during the meeting itself.

At the end of the meeting, Greg reads out the names of a number of Chapters, and a number of individual National Directors. It seems that there is no current record of these Chapters or individuals having paid their 2008 dues, possibly due to a glitch at Fernley & Fernley!

At the evening's banquet, we sit with four members of the Northstar Chapter, including their National Director, Doug Johnson, with whom we had arrived, Dan Meyer, and his wife Dawn Holmberg, as well as two other people. After a good meal, we get a lengthy slide show from the Finger Lakes railway's President, and a door-prize drawing at which we actually win something—a tee shirt that is too small for either of us, and a tie that I would never wear, so both are given away before we leave the room. We do take home three of the miniature library-removal containers used as table centerpieces, however.

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

The formal Board Meeting is this morning. The print library materials are at Three Rivers, MA, for storage, and the film and video library in New Jersey. The proposal for Direct Dues Billing and Remittance has been studied, and may morph into an enhanced NRHS web presence, but the motion was postponed again (for more study). A motion to split the Conflict-of-Interest policy into separate Conflict and Confidentiality policies was approved, but theses separate policies won't be acted on until Dallas in June. Two Chapters who have not paid 2008 dues had their charters withdrawn. A motion to reallocated space in the Activities Report not used by some chapters was also postponed. It was suggested that we will now need eight hours for the June Board Meeting.

We have lunch in the hotel, including a chat with Joe Williams, spend the afternoon in the room (which we had retained), and eat dinner in the hotel, including a chat with Ken and Ann Miller.

The Journey West (4/13-4/16)

Sunday, April 13th, 2008 (cont.)

Train 49 is on time, so we head over to the station at 8:50 pm (six of us in the hotel's van; some others had gone at 8:30 pm, and one had gone over to Utica earlier), so that we can check the luggage through to Los Angeles. I collect the front part of the consist as the train pulls into the platform (and Chris gets the rest on Monday).

P42              70
P42            175
Baggage    1137
Sleeper    62043
Sleeper    62022
Sleeper    62004
Diner        28018
Cafe        53505
Coach      25021
 Coach      25009
Coach      25028
Coach      25124    

Train 49, 4-13-2008




 9:41 pm

9:56 pm
Waterloo 7:33 am 7:24-33 am
Elkhart 8:25 8:19-25
South Bend                 ET 8:49 8:44-48
Chicago                      CT 9:45 9:53

Monday, April 14th, 2008

I'm awake during the stop in Toledo, but not long enough to note the times, this way! I awake in Indiana. The train is on time until after leaving South Bend, after which it is delayed by NS freights 31G (which we overtake at MP 490) and 350 (for which we wait 3 minutes at CP 502, with another stop, for six minutes at CP 507.

In Chicago, where the temperature is in the high 30s, we walk over to Michigan Avenue, hoping to patronize the Symphony Store, but find that's closed on Mondays. The line to go into the Edward Hopper and/or Winslow Homer shows at the Art Museum is too long for us to consider, so we walk back to Elephant & Castle for lunch, after which we return to the Metropolitan Lounge to read until it's time for our train. When we arrive, the lounge (which seems to have many fewer chairs than we remember) is quite full, but it empties out as people are called, in turn for the Texas Eagle, California Zephyr, and Empire Builder. Our Southwest Chief is the last of the departures for the southwest and west, each afternoon. When we're called, I'm able to collect the consist as we walk down the platform to our sleeper.

P42          40
 P42        161
F59PH      457
Baggage    1245
Dorm        39033
Sleeper      32067
Sleeper      32098 New Jersey
Diner         38019
Lounge       33025
Coach        34055
Coach        31011
Coach        34046

Train 3, 4-14-2008




3:15 pm

3:15 pm
Naperville 3:50 3:44-50
Mendota 4:39 4:45-47
Princeton 5:01 5:06
Galesburg 5:53 5:55-59
Fort Madison 6.57 7:06-10
La Plata 8:06 8:16-18
Garden City                       CT 6:45 am 6:50-52 am
Lamar                                 MT 7:05 7:08
La Junta 8:15
Trinidad 9:50 9:43-50
Raton 10:56 10:44-11:16
Las Vegas 12:38 pm 12:56-59 pm
Albuquerque 3:56
Gallup                                MT 7:05 7:21-25
Winslow                            PT 7:50 8:02-04
Riverside 5:53 am 6:01-05 am
Fullerton 5:34 6:45-49
Los Angeles 8:15 7:20

The Mississippi River seems to be even higher today than when we passed here a week ago—less than six inches from leaving its banks at Fort Madison, and out of them just west of Fort Madison.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Raton is now a crew change point, with a crew on duty just after 6 am being driven up in a van. They arrive late, thus making the train twenty minutes late out of Raton when it had arrived early! We're eating lunch at Las Vegas. In Albuquerque, the train is late departing because mechanical removes the blue flag late—no reason is communicated on either the PA or the radio. Dinner is west of Gallup, where 15 schoolgirls and their chaperone, bound for the National Scholastic Conference in Anaheim, board our car. They're surprisingly well behaved on their trip to Fullerton. We're asleep before Flagstaff.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I awake in San Bernardino, but don't record the times. Dawn is breaking in Riverside. Night and morning low clouds are burning off as we head towards Los Angeles, where we arrive quite early. Even with a visit to Bristol Farms in South Pasadena, and a stop to get the mail from the Post Office in Tehachapi, we're home at 10:50 am.