Barstow Excursion and St. Louis Fall Board Meeting,
October 16-28, 2009

Don Winter


This trip was ride an excursion from Los Angeles to Barstow and back, and attend the 2009 NRHS Fall Board Meeting in St. Louis. We traveled to and from on Amtrak.

In Los Angeles (10/16-10/19)

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Since we have an early start on Saturday, we're spending the night in Los Angeles. We leave home around 1:30 pm, and drive down, making the usual stop along the way in Acton, and passing the Dodger Stadium area before the playoff game finishes. (The Dodgers come from behind in the late innings to win.) We check into the Metro Plaza hotel for the next three nights, and then head over to Los Angeles Union Station to pick up our four sets of Amtrak tickets for this trip.

On doing so, we discover that the return tickets have us changing sleeping cars in San Antonio, from one coming down on the Texas Eagle to one arriving in the small hours of the morning on the Sunset Limited. So, we go back to the hotel and call Amtrak Guest Rewards, who has made the reservations, and after twenty minutes on the telephone, get them to move our San Antonio to Los Angeles leg to Train 421 (the through sleeper), so that we can at least move rooms before bedtime. (The agent doesn't know anything about Train 421, and insists that she is doing this only because I seem to know what I'm talking about.) We then walk back over to the station to exchange the first set of tickets on those trains for the new ones.

We later walk up to Chinatown to the Plum Tree Restaurant for dinner.

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

We're up before dawn this morning, to have our included continental breakfast and then walk over to LAUS and out onto Track 10 where our excursion train is parked. Amtrak 3 arrives in Track 12 before we start boarding  At 7:30 am, the train is opened for boarding, and we board Dome car Silver Splendor, a Denver Zephyr car from 1956 that has been rebuilt by its present owners into a Dome Diner, a process that took them twelve years! This is its first outing since that restoration. Chris collects the consist before departure. On the radio scanner, I hear that Marti Ann Draper is our conductor for today. 


P42                23
Coach       82580
Lounge    800257    Salisbury Beach
Lounge    800633    Overland Trail
Dome      800604    Silver Splendor
Business   800693    Tioga Pass

Southern California Route Descriptions

Our train, Amtrak "962", takes the Fullerton Line to San Bernardino, and then runs over Cajon Pass (taking the original line, now Track 3,between Cajon and Summit) to Barstow, where it turns on the balloon track in the yard before backing into the station at the old El Desierto Harvey House. The train departs LAUS at 8 am, and stops at Fullerton from 8:30 to 8:38 for more passengers. There is a signal stop at Highgrove from 9:29 to 9:34 am, while two Metrolink trains (one each way) pass. The train passes San Bernardino at 9:47 am, and Summit at 10:33. From 11:09 to 11:21, we stop at Lenwood to board a pilot crew for the turn in the yard, making a further stop from 11:22 to 26 at West R Yard, and from 11:28 to 11:34 on the wye into the yard itself (below the main line). After turning on the balloon track east of the locomotive maintenance facilities, the train reverses at West D Yard at 11:51 am, stopping at Barstow station at 12:02 pm.

Sitting across from us in the dome is Jim Lowman, a retired software engineer who is now a docent at the San Bernardino railway museum, and his wife, a retired professor of geology from a local university, who is now studying for another degree. (She spends the day reading a textbook on her Kindle electronic book machine.)

Lunch is a box lunch handed out in Barstow, where we meet Ken Ruben, Chris Guenzler, Jeff Wells, Chris Parker, Dick Finley, Jed Hughes, and some others with whom we've traveled on previous trips. After lunch, Chris buys some items from some of the traders who are on hand, and I buy a book in the railroad museum. We also tour the Route 66 Museum. Departure for the return trip is delayed two hours, while the crew gets their "Track Warrants" for operating the train (now Amtrak "963"), but no-one ever explains why this takes so long. Departure is at 5:28 pm, with a stop from 6:06 to 6:08 at the Victorville Narrows, a slow order from 6:20 to 6:24 at Lugo, passing Summit at 6:32, and San Bernardino at 7:13 before stopping at River side from 7:31 to 7:36. A slow order and approach signals restrict us to 25 mph until 7:55 pm, when Train 4 goes by at LA Sierra. We stop at Fullerton from 8:30 to 8:35, and arrive in Los Angeles at 9:05 pm.

In our "Tycoon Class", dinner comprises 'heavy hors d'oeuvres', of which we manage to eat enough to comprise a full meal. We're glad we had ridden the entire outward trip in the dome, because the vast majority of the return trip is in the dark. On the way back, Will Walters come through the train and we have a short chat. Jeff Wells and some others (mostly the catering crew) get off during an operational stop in Riverside. Back in LA, we walk back over to the hotel and go to bed.

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

What we've chosen to do today, rather than drive back to Tehachapi for one night, is take the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner down to Oceanside, and then ride the Sprinter thence to Escondido and back, since we have yet to ride that line. So, we walk over to LAUS again, and at the appropriate time walk out to Track 9 and board the Business Class car on the 9:40 am train to San Diego. This is already partially full, having come down from Goleta (Santa Barbara), but we find an acceptable pair of seats and sit down, having collected the consist already.


F59PH            453
Business Class 6801    Echo Park
Coach-Cafe    6302    Carbon Canyon
Coach             6408    Capistrano Beach
Coach-Baggage 31046
Cab-Coach      6903    Point Mugu

Train 768, 10-18-2009



Los Angeles

9:40 am 9:40 am
Fullerton 10:10 10:09-11
Anaheim 10:21 10:17-21
Santa Ana 10:30 10:28-30
Irvine 10:41 10:45-46
San Juan Capistrano 11:00 11:04-06
San Clemente Pier 11:11 11:17-19
Oceanside 11:33 11:41

North of Irvine, we're stopped to wait for a northbound on a section that is single-tracked for maintenance purposes. At the Laguna Niguel station, a maintenance crew is working on a new set of crossovers. We get off in Oceanside, walk over to the Sprinter platform, and buy our round-trip tickets from the ticket machines. Soon, the diesel multiple unit (DMU) arrives, and we board. There were no pocket timetables available on the platform, but the ticket inspector is kind enough to hand me his.






Oceanside Transit Center

12:03 pm 12:03 pm 2:56 pm 2:54 pm
Coast Highway 12:05 12:06 2:52 2:52
Crouch Street 12:07 12:09 2:49 2:49
El Camino Real 12:11 12:13 2:46 2:46
Rancho del Oro 12:14 12:15 2:43 2:43
College Boulevard 12:17 12:18 2:40 2:40
Melrose 12:22 12:21 2:35 2:35
Vista Transit Center 12:26 12:26 2:30 2:31
Escondido Avenue 121:29 12:29 2:27 2:28
Buena Creek 12:35 12:35 2:22 2:23
Palomar College 12:40 12:40 2:17 2:17
San Marcos Civic Center 12:43 12:43 2:14 2:14
Cal State San Marcos 12:46 12:46 2:11 2:12
Nordahl 12:51 12:51 2:06 2:07
Escondido Transit Center 12:56 12:54 2:03 pm 2:03 pm

Sprinter Route Description

The line winds east through the communities of North San Diego County, using the former Santa Fe Escondido Branch (still used by BNSF for freight, during the night-time hours), except for the loop through San Marcos State University. In Escondido, the engineer points us in the direction of some restaurants, and we choose to eat at Panda Express. Later, the same engineer takes our (different) train back to Oceanside. I remark to Chris along the way how, apart from having been painted more recently, much of the urban streetscape strongly resembles that in Tijuana, south of the border!

Back at Oceanside, the wait for the northbound train is enlivened by a conversation with a former CSX engineer about some of his experiences during his career, and he is gratified to find that I know what he is talking about, and am familiar with some of the lines and places he mentions.


F59PH            460
Business Class 6851    Balboa Park
Coach-Cafe    6304    San Francisquito Canyon
Coach             6406
Coach             6409    Torrey Pines Beach
Coach            34951    Redwood Grove
Cab Car           6901    Point Hueneme

Train 583, 10-18-2009




3:50 pm 3:54 pm
San Clemente Pier 4:11 4:14
San Juan Capistrano 4:22 4:25-28
Irvine 4:37 4:43-45
Santa Ana 4:48 4:55
Anaheim 4:57 5:02-04
Fullerton 5:08 5:09-12
Los Angeles 5:45 pm 5:40 pm

Again, the single tracking for maintenance purposes causes us to lose some time waiting for meets with opposing trains, but the schedule padding into Los Angeles enables an early arrival. Arriving in Los Angeles, we again run into Ken Ruben in the station, and our conversation with him make us a few minutes late for our meeting with Chris brother, Roger, and his wife, Kris, with whom we've arranged to have dinner in Olvera Street. After dropping off our bags in the room, we all walk over to the restaurant and have a pleasant, if unmemorable, couple of hours talking with them over dinner. After dinner, we say our goodbyes and go up to our room and to bed.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Once again, we have (most of) a day to spend, before catching our train this evening, and we've arranged to go down to Long Beach, on the Blue Line, and have a long lunch with former colleague Steve Strasen. This time, we check out of the hotel after breakfast, and drive the car over to the MTA parking garage, before buying our day passes and taking the red line subway from Union Station to 7th and Metro, where we swap to a Blue Line train to the Long Beach Transit Mall.

Not needing any of the contingency time I had left in the schedule, we're in Long Beach about 15-minutes early for our meeting with Steve, who is in turn a few minutes late! From the Blue Line station, we walk north and take a table at a seafood restaurant that Steve is familiar with, and have a good couple of hours catching up on him and other former colleagues, as well as swapping pet stories and the like. When lunch is over, Steve wants to know what we would like to do in Long Beach, and I suggest that he doesn't have to entertain us, and that the most pleasant place for us to while away the time before our train is in the courtyard at Union Station, so we part, Steve heading home (where he has some things to do) and we taking taking the Blue Line and Red Line back to Union Station.

The Journey East (10/19-4/22)

Monday, October 19th, 2009

At Union Station, we get the suitcase that we're checking out of the car, and take it to Amtrak to check it in, after which we sit in the courtyard sipping our drinks until it is time to return to the car to get the rest of the bags and head for Train 4, on its usual Track 11. The train backs in after we're on the platform, making it easy to collect the consist before boarding and taking up our allotted sleeping room.


P42                    23    (off at Albuquerque)
P42                    84
P42                    64
Baggage          1855
Transition       39019
Sleeper           32071    Arizona
Sleeper           32104    Oklahoma
Diner               38050
Lounge            33030
Coach             34045
Coach-Bagg.   31040
Coach              35006

Train 4, 10-19-2009



Los Angeles

6:45 pm 6:45 pm


7:20 7:14-20


8:03 8:06-09

San Bernardino                  PT

8:29 8:29-36



Gallup, NM                         MT

8:51 am 8:41-51 am


12:12 pm
12:55 pm
11:29 am
12:59 pm


2:00 2:18-24

Las Vegas, NM

3:45 4:00-02


5:23 5:43-48

Trinidad, CO

6:31 6:52-58

La Junta                           MT




Kansas City, MO        CT (arr.)

7:26 am 6:59 am

Southwest Chief Route Description

We have dinner at 8 pm, and go to bed shortly afterwards.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I awake in eastern Arizona, somewhere around the Painted Desert, and we're eating breakfast at the Gallup stop. Approaching Albuquerque, quite early, the train makes an emergency brake application at Rio Bravo, because a dump truck is on a grade crossing. The truck just clears as our locomotives slide by and stop three car lengths beyond it. We stop from 11:04 to 11:19, while the crew inspects the train and takes down the truck's identification details. Even with this, the train is 45 minutes early into Albuquerque. We have lunch (in the dining car) during the stop in Albuquerque.

From 1:10 to 1:16, and then again to 1:20 pm, we stop at the red board at MP 893.2, waiting for a response from Foreman Atwell. From 1:30 to 1:36, we do the same for Foreman Zukowski at MP 880.5. We meet Train 3 at 2:25 pm, at the east end of Lamy. There are still many semaphore signals on the line from Glorieta to Raton. The aspens in Shoemaker Canyon are flaming yellow. We see two antelope bounding off on the west side near Dillon.

Dinner is on the high plains east of Trinidad, and we're on bed before Lamar.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I awake as the train makes its stop at the Argentine Yard Fuel Rack from 6:34 to 6:46 am, and we dress and pack in time to leave the train at Kansas City, around 7 am. After getting our checked-bag back, we take the Link skywalk over to the Westin Crown Center, where we check in and get our room immediately! This room has a view of Kansas City's Liberty Memorial. We then walk back to the station and have breakfast at the former Fred Harvey diner, after which we chat for awhile with a member of the local NRHS Chapter who tells us he will be running Friday night's chapter meeting because their President will be in St. Louis with us. He then takes up his volunteer duties at the kiosk in the frmer great hall at the station, while we buy tickets and visit the Railroad Experience exhibit, a well done museum telling the story of railroads in the area, with some real world artifacts, including a former Kansas City Southern F-unit and some passenger cars.

Outside, there is a line of private cars on a side track just outside the museum's fence, which we go over to visit and record:

Santa Fe (Business)    37    Chico             800145
Rock Island                        Jane Marie     800451
Creative Charters        Evelyn Henry         800149
Creative Charters        Warren R. Henry    800148
Heavyweight Business    Federal                800713
Santa Fe                        Vista Canyon       800504
Santa Fe                        Diablo Canyon     800379
Central Pacific (Bus.) Promontory Point     800724

We have lunch at the Crown Center shopping mall, and patronize Gattos, the cat shop. Later, we have dinner at the Italian Restaurant in the same mall, before retiring early, mindful of the early start on Thursday.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

For some reason that is unclear to us, Amtrak makes it impossible to connect from Train 4 to the Ann Rutledge to St. Louis, and since I wanted to travel in the daylight to record the detailed route description from Kansas City to Jefferson City, we had to make a 24-hour layover in Kansas City. This morning, we arise before dawn, check out of the hotel, and walk back over the Link to the station, where we wait for the boarding call for Train 314.


P42            139
Coach        54573
Coach        54565
Coach        54537
Cafe/Bus.    48196

Train 314, 10-22-2009



Kansas City

7:30 am 7:30 am
Independence 7:49 7:49
Lee's Summit 8:05 8:05-07
Warrensbrug 8:49 8:51-53
Sedalia 9:19 9:23
Jefferson City 10:33 10:31-37
Hermann 11:18 11:26
Washington 11:46 11:56
Kirkwood 12:28 pm 12:41-43 pm
St. Louis 1:10 pm 1:09 pm

Even at 7:30 am, it's still dark as we leave the station, but light enough by the time we reach Sheffield (junction between the Chicago and St. Louis lines) to start capturing the route details. We meet four UP freights in various sidings. From 10:47 to 10:49 am, we stop to meet Amtrak 311 at Osage Junction. East of Jefferson City, we overtake an eastbound loaded coal train near MP 65, and another near MP 48.From 12:06 to 12:08 pm, we stop for a red signal at MP 44. We overtake two more eastbound loaded coal trains, one at Labadie and one at MP 39, and then meet a westbound autorack train at Pacific and a westbound empty coal train at Valley Junction, before our on-time arrival in St. Louis.

Here, we walk through the station and down the ramp to the MetroLink (light rail) platforms, where the first train out to Lambert Airport goes by while Chris is waiting in line to use the ticket machine. It's raining here, so the small amount of shelter on the platforms is rather crowded. After at least 20 minutes, the next train to the airport arrives, and we board it. There is no luggage space on these trains, even though the line was built to serve the airport, so the PA keeps demanding that we "get those bags out of the aisles".

At the Board Meeting (10/22-10/25)

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 (cont.)

At the airport's main terminal, we run into first Patrick Molloy, and then Bill Chapman, both of whom have made 'phone calls to the hotel in St. Peters. Eventually, the hotel's shuttle arrives, with stories of traffic snarls on I-70. With Tom Moss and another attendee, there are six of us on this trip. The driver regales us with tales of earlier trips, including Greg Molloy demanding that they leave for the hotel, and Kristen Olszewski (the Fernley & Fernley representative) driving the van for a loop around the airport so that he could visit the men's room.

At the hotel, we run into Greg at the registration desk, and I take the opportunity to chat with him about a couple of items. Greg refers to Kristen as "the substitute bus driver". Then we go to the NRHS registration table, manned by Eileen and Al Weber, to get our badges and tickets for the weekend. Later, we chat with Art Giardino and his wife, from Charleston SC, and Greg again, in the concierge room, and then have dinner in the hotel's bar (it's the only restaurant available in the hotel for dinner), with Bill Chapman and Nelson Burks, meeting Helen and Smoke Shaak and a number of others while we're eating.

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Today. we're taking a bus south to De Soto, MO, to visit the Union Pacific Car Shops there. Again, we arise before dawn. I make a mug of coffee in the room and Chris grabs some pastries from the concierge room, as we head for the bus. Different times had been shown for the departure on the tickets and on the schedule, and on checking we'd been assured that the departure was 8 am, but at 7:40 am we get a 'phone call to the effect that the bus is waiting! In her haste, Chris forgets her reading glasses and has to go back to the room for them.

The bus head east on I-70, south on I-270, south on I-55, and then west on US 67 and SR 110 to De Soto. On the way in, we pass a row of flat cars with overturned coal hoppers on them, from a derailment in recent weeks. These shops are UP's only central freight car repair and refurbishment shops, and have the capacity to perform more than eight wagon repairs or upgrades a day. We visit the Fabrication Shop, where component parts are made and/or repaired, which includes heavy forging tools for making new stays, etc., the North End Yard, where completed cars are placed pending return to their assigned locations, the Car Repair Shop, where parts are removed and replaced and tasks that cannot be performed away from the complete assembly are performed, including the repair of wrecked cars and the fabrication of new, properly-shaped, sheet metal assemblies, such as the bodies of grain hoppers and complete coupler assemblies and their frameworks

There are two different Paint Shops, one built in the 1990s, which performs shotblasting to remove old paint, preparation for new paint, an area for spraying epoxy paint, and a scale for weighing the car before its new lettering is applied, and one from 1946, with earlier equipment. Trucks are also repaired at these shops, including forging new frames. There are five car movers at the shops, of which two operate simultaneously, and a large transfer table. The shops were built in the 1860s, by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern, which became the Missouri Pacific in 1917 and then Union Pacific after the 1983 merger. One of the facility's most effective programs has been the development of a set of refurbished refrigerator cars, with remotely tracked refrigeration systems and other amenities, which has taken 30% of the market from trucks on the routes on which the cars operate.

After the visit to the shops, we have a buffet lunch at a nearby Inn, once the railroad hostelry, that has rooms still furnished in 19th-century style and serves excellent food. The hotel is at the south end of the shops, both being on the east side of the tracks. Following lunch, we pay a visit to the De Soto Railroad Employees Memorial, which has pathways formed to look like tracks, a centerpiece shaped to look like a turntable, a bas-relief depiction of a steam locomotive, and a real-life caboose standing nearby.

The bus takes us back to the hotel in St. Peters, after which Chris and I do some shopping in the nearby grocery store. We have opted not to visit the model railroad which is this evening's activity, so we have dinner at a nearby Long John Silver's, and chat with Eileen Weber for awhile before going to bed

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Today, which is sunny for the first time in several days, we take a bus down I-70 into town, and then out on the East St. Louis side of the Mississippi River, and north off I-70, past Gateway International Raceway to the Gateway Rail Services facility in Madison, IL. This facility has smaller versions of the Fabrication Shop and Car Repair Shop that we had seen the day before, with much fewer facilities, but the real interest at this location is the many sidings of stored passenger cars, in various stages of deterioration and/or repair. Some people are shown the interior of a few of the cars, including a 44-seat coach, while others tour the lines of cars to see what is present. I take down the names and numbers of as many of the cars as I can find clear identification for, while Wes Ross takes roster shots of as many of the cars as he can get a good angle on. My listing is at the location below:

Passenger Cars at Gateway Rail Services, Madison, IL, 10-24-2009

Many of the cars belong to Gateway Rail Services' clients, and are awaiting restoration, but funds may be lacking. The general impression is of a facility where 'passenger cars go to die'. GRS also maintains and services operational private cars, but none are present during our visit (and we don't go over to GRS' other facility, because none are there, either).

After the allotted time here, we return to the hotel, using a different bridge across the Mississippi, but otherwise the same route. At the hotel, Chris and I partake of the buffet lunch the hotel is offering (because it has another meeting taking place there), before it's time for the NRHS "pre-meeting" discussion meeting.

At the latter, Bill Chapman takes us through the 'concept' for a revised society governance organization that the Governance Study Committee has developed, and then Greg Molloy takes us through a number of the ideas for budget expense reduction that the Budget Committee has developed in response to what otherwise would be a hefty deficit budget. There is lively discussion of both topics. The Governance Study Committee is proposing a system of membership-wide elections (divided into 'districts') for different groups of Directors, that I think will cost the society more to run than the separate cost-saving proposals will save!

Later, there is a standing cocktail hour followed by the banquet, after which a member of the St. Louis Chapter presents his interesting 16-mm film of passenger trains in the St. Louis area in 1969.

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

This overcast morning is the formal Board Meeting, at which, in addition to the usual reports, etc., there is much discussion, on an item-by-item basis, of the proposed budget cuts, of which the one for reducing the Heritage Grants Program budget is rejected, and an additional proposed reduction in the Publications budget, which starts out as a proposal to kill the hardcopy version of the Yearbook in 2010 (but for 2009) and thereafter, but ends up as a generalized reduction of the expected cost of the Yearbook without specifying how the cost reduction is to be obtained. This discussion takes so long that the Board Meeting doesn't end until around 1:30 pm.

Chris and I are signed up for a shuttle to the airport at 2 pm, so we return to the room, finish packing, take all of the bags back downstairs, and check out. Our shuttle turns out to include Jeff Smith, Kristen Olszewski, and another man whom we don't identify but who is also heading for Amtrak. The van drops three of us off at the East Terminal, and we make our way to the MetroLink platform. The train comes while Chris and I are still negotiating with the ticket machine, so we have to wait for the next one. Chris almost misses that one, too, when the door closes in her face after she has managed to pick up all her separate bags, and she has to push the button to open it again.

We get off at Amtrak, and check two bags through to Los Angeles. Then, we store the rest of the bags with the baggage folks, and return to MetroLink, in time for the next train from the airport to arrive. As we board, we're greeted by name, by Tim O'Malley from Scranton, who is staying out at the airport, and like us is riding the MetroLink lines to pass the time. We all ride out to the end of the line at Shiloh-Scott AFB, and then back to Leclede's Landing, where we have dinner together at the Old Spaghetti Factory. We then leave Tim behind to wander around the riverfront, while we return to Amtrak to await our train.

Just before the train is announced, Bill Dredge, who had told us earlier that he was taking the Kansas City route to Los Angeles on Monday, appears, taking a short break on his Metrolink riding to say bon voyage to us.

The Journey West (10/25-10/28)

Sunday, October 25th, 2009 (cont.)

The train is located such that I can collect the entire consist on the way up to our Transition Dorm room, walking forward to note the locomotive number as well.


P42                    75
Dorm            39010
Sleeper          32001*
Diner-Lite      37009
Lounge          33033
Coach-Bagg.  31031
Coach            34052
Coach            34139*
*Train 421 to Los Angeles

Train 21, 10-25-2009



St. Louis

7:21 pm
7:50 pm
Marshall, TX
8:15 am
7:29 am
Mineola 9:50 9:49-52
Dallas 12:00 n
12:20 pm
11:12 am
12:20 pm
Fort Worth 1:55
Cleburne 3:12 3:30-32
McGregor 4:30 4:40-44
Temple 5:13 5:10-13
Taylor 6:06 6:06
Austin 7:00 6:51-7:00
San Marcos 7:42 7:46
San Antonio 10:25 pm 9:32 pm

Texas Eagle Route Description

Since we've already had dinner, we eschew the offered Amtrak dinner and go directly to bed. Before retiring, I note the passage of De Soto Shops and the place where we had had lunch on Friday.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

When I awake, we're stopped at the Marshall, TX, station, with our Dorm car over the switch between the Shreveport and Texarkana lines. (We're on the Texarkana.) In a few minutes, having let off the coach passengers, the train backs up to clear the switch, since there's 45 minutes to go to departure time. Later, we board the sleeper passengers, and then move up again to board the coach passengers. While we're backed up, an eastbound UP double stack (probably headed for Atlanta over the KCS Meridian Speedway) heads over the Shreveport line. All this takes place in a steady downpour.

As we head west, the state of the fields suggests that a lot of rain has fallen here, and the crew jokes that if this keeps up, they won't be running over this section of line the next day. At 9:30 am, the scanner gives a flash flood warning from MP 94.0 (just west of Longview, behind us) to MP 164.0 (west of Edgewood, ahead of us). Unlike the last time, In June 2008, this time we pass through Edgewood without incident. In Dallas, we notice that the Reunion Arena is being demolished. The train arrives at Fort Worth quite early, but nonetheless it is almost time to leave before anyone notices that the holding tanks in the Dorm Car need to be pumped out.

After some confusion about our departure time (the train that leaves Chicago today has a new schedule, but not this one), we leave Fort Worth on time, but before Train 22 arrives (it is scheduled to arrive after Train 21, but leave before it), and we meet it at Birds at 3:03 pm. The only seating for dinner is at 4:30 pm (to accommodate the dining car crew getting off at Austin, so they get their allotted rest before boarding Train 22 in the morning).  At 8 pm, we move from the room in the Dorm car to Room 4 in the through sleeper, so that we're safely moved before the train reaches San Antonio and the switching moves start. Riding in an adjacent room is the cousin of the owner of private cars Warren R. Henry and  Evelyn Henry (her aunt and uncle, his parents) that we had seen in Kansas City.

The train takes the former Missouri Pacific route into San Antonio, meaning that the through cars will reverse direction on Train 1 in the morning (but the rest of the cars will be facing the correct way for Train 22 in the morning). The approach is very slow, but nonetheless, the train arrives almost an hour early. At 9:57, our train is moved from Track 2 to Track 3, to make room for Train 2 at the platform, settling there at 10:11 pm. Train 2 arrives at 10:10 pm, which is also an early arrival. It's not scheduled to depart until after midnight, by which time I'm asleep and don't record its departure.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I don't wake up enough to record the arrival time of Train 1, either, or the switching that follows, but we appear to depart on time.


P42                63
P42               168
Baggage        1707
Dorm            39009
Sleeper          32079
Diner             38062
Lounge          33020
Coach-Bagg. 31045
Coach            34063
Coach            34139*
Sleeper          32001*
*Train 421, from Chicago

Train 1, 10-26-2009




San Antonio 5:40 am 5:40 am
Del Rio 8:35 8:30-36
SAnderson 11:10 11:54
Alpine                       CT 1:24 pm 1:35-43 pm
El Paso                    MT 4:40
Deming 6:56 6:51-56
Lordsburg                MT 7:51 7:46-51
Benson                     PT 8:56 8:42-56
Ontario 7:25 am 8:02-05 am
Pomona 7:45 8:13-15
Los Angeles 9:40 am 9:12 am

Sunset Limited Route Description

Unlike east Texas the day before, this morning in west Texas is clear and sunny, albeit with some early morning fog. This section of the Sunset Route has quite a bit of traffic, although some of it is Maintenance-of-Way trains, with six total trains before noon. Traffic is even heavier west of Sierra Blanca, with four other trains between there and El Paso.

When its time to get ready for bed, Chris discovers that our suitcase is missing from the luggage rack. There is a superficially similar one there that belongs to a woman who got off in Deming, NM. This is reported to the conductor, who establishes an incident report at Tucson, and leaves the other person's suitcase there. We have to do without night-time and morning things, tonight.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The train is a half hour late at Pomona, and a half hour early into Los Angeles, even after a signal stop at East Diamond (west of Yuma Junction, on the east bank of the Los Angeles River). As we walk along the platform, we again see Bill Dredge, whose Southwest Chief had arrived here a couple of hours ago. (One reason his journey was faster than ours is the number of hours that Trains 421 and 1 spend standing still on the way between St. Louis and Los Angeles: including an hour stopped at Little Rock in the middle of the night, Train 21 was still for 4 hrs and 42 minutes between St. Louis and San Antonio, Train 421 was in San Antonio for 8 hours and 8 minutes, and Train 1 was still for at least 2 hours, including the late evening stop in Tucson that I did not record, for a total of around 15 hours of dead time.)

We chat briefly before he heads off for his day's activities, and we take the bags to the car before going to get the checked bags. On the way to the car, a passer-by notes my Tehachapi Loop sweatshirt, and then introduces himself as the engineer who had brought Train 1 in from Maricopa. He used to run SP trains over Tehachapi. We then stop at Bristol Farms before heading for Tehachapi, which we reach a little after noon.

[The exchange of bags is made when the errant passenger reboards Train 2 at Deming on Saturday morning. Our bag spends Saturday at El Paso, heading west on Train 1 in early evening. It is in Los Angeles on Sunday morning, taking the bus up to Bakersfield that afternoon, and then the bus up to Tehachapi that evening. We meet the bus at 8:15 pm, and collect the bag from the driver.]