A Conference in Richmond, VA
April 13-27, 2012

Don Winter


This trip was to attend the NRHS Spring 2012 Conference in Richmond, VA. As usual, we traveled out and back on Amtrak.

The Journey East (4/13-4/18)

Friday, April 13th, 2012

We arise very early (for us), finish packing, and drive over to the Amtrak Bus Stop in Tehachapi, where we park the car for the duration. The weather is overcast, but still dry, when the bus arrives. As we head down the hill towards Bakersfield, a heavy rainstorm breaks out. We later learn that this is snow in Tehachapi, and the highway is closed for the next eight hours, fortunately not affecting us. If we had tried to leave on any of the later trains today, we wouldn't have made it!

In Bakersfield, the train is waiting, and after checking two  bags through to New York City with the baggage handlers, who bring us back the claim checks, we board the train, stow the rest of the bags, and settle in for the six hour run to Emeryville.


P42                   161
Coach            34981    Pleasant Cove
Coach              6465   Moonstone Beach
Cafe                8808    Coachella Valley
Coach              8013    Klamath River
Coach              8314    Mount Pinos      

Train 713, 4-13-2012



Bakersfield 10:05 am 10:05 am
Wasco 10:31 10:30
Corcoran 11:07 11:08-10
Hanford 11:26 11:26-28
Fresno 12:05 pm 12:03-11 pm
Madera 12:29 12:35
Merced 1:08 1:03-08
Denair 1:29 1:30
Modesto 1:42 1:41-43
Stockton 2:18 2:09-18
Antioch 2:53 3:00-02
Martinez 3:19 3:21-25
Richmond 3:44 3:49-51
Emeryville 4:03 3;59

San Joaquin route description

On the way, we meet a double stack at Elmo, Train 702 at Angiola, the UPS trailers at Hanford, a double-stack at Shirley, a double-stack south of Calwa, Train 712 at Fresno, a grain train at Fig Garden, Train 714 at East Merced, and autoracks south of Stockton. A police action at Oakland's Jack London Square has delayed Train 716 and the Capitol Corridor service. We have to pull into the east end of Sando for 716, then back out after it passes. We meet a Capitol at Port Costa, a BNSF train at Pinole, and another Capitol at MP 7.5 before arriving at Emeryville. All the way up, the opposing Amtrak crews have been asking each other about the weather ahead. There has been heavy rain and winds for the last two days, including some apparent tornados, as well as lots of snow up in the Sierra.

The lifts are working in the footbridge at Emeryville, so we walk over to the Hyatt House, where we're staying for the night. After watching the rush-hour train service at Emeryville (including Train 5, aout 30 minutes late (quite good, since there has been much snow on its route over the mountains)), we have dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

After the included breakfast, we walk back over to the station in plenty of time for the arrival of the stock for Train 6. I capture the consist as it pulls into the platform, before walking the few steps to the rear sleeper—both sleepers are at the rear, a change since the last time we rode this train when the sleepers were all up front.


P42                    125
P42                      56
Baggage            1160    (ex-1103, from Santa Fe 3653)
Dorm                39003
Coach               34005
Coach-Baggage 31042
Coach                34082
Lounge               33004
Diner                  38017
Sleeper              32017
Sleeper              32053        

Train 6, 4-14-2012



Emeryville 9:10 am 9:12 am
Richmond 9:22 9:24-27
Martinez 9:54 9:54-10;00
Davis 10:36 10:38-40
Sacramento 11:09 11:05-15
Roseville 11:35 11:40-50
Colfax 12:21 pm 12;34-37 pm
Truckee 2:38 3:33-35
Reno 4:06 4:34-43
Winnemucca               PT 7:08 7:40-50
Green River                MT 7:59 am 8:01 am
Grand Junction 10:23 9:50-10:23
Glenwood Springs 12:10 pm 12:03-10
Granby 3:12 3:10-12
Fraser 3:50 3:38-50
Denver                       MT 6:38
Omaha                      CT 4:59 am
5:42 am
Creston 7:04 7:56-8:01
Osceola 7:40 8:36-40
Ottumwa 9:09 10:22-30
Mount Pleasant 9:54 11:09-11
Burlington 10:36 (11:50 pass)
Galesburg 11:31 12:29-37 pm
Princeton 12:23 pm 1:27
Nap[erville 1:43 2:44
Chicago 2:50 3:13

California Zephyr route description

We meet two Capitol Corridor services between Martinez and Sacramento. Approaching Sacramento, we have to stop and deal with a track gang performing track and signal work connected with the relocation of the tracks and platforms at the Sacramento passenger station. Today, this has resulted in a "block suspension" throughout the affected area, in which there are also new signals turned sideways awaiting commissioning. We have a six minute delay at CP RV 087.

On the way up the mountain, after lunch, we meet a double stack at Secret Town and Train 5 at Towle. There is snow on the ground from Dutch Flat onward, At MP 170, we meet UP 5500 west, a double stack, and have to flag up behind UP 6874 east to clear. This leads to a 32 minute stop west of Emigrant Gap, where there is much snow on the ground, and the snow plows have clearly been out. We also have a 4 minute stop at Switch 9. Later, we overtake UP 6874 east at Soda Springs (both trains moving).   The snow up here is quite spectacular, although not anywhere near record depth. Over the summit, we meet UP 7229 west at East Truckee.

By Boca, the snow is gone, but the temperature is 28ºF in Reno. We meet another westbond UP double-stack at Thisbe. Dinner is east of Winnemucca, and we're in bed before Elko.

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

I awake as the train is running through Price, UT, just east of the stop at Helper.  The temperature here is 30ºF this early morning. We meet UP 5997 west, a loaded coal train, at Mounds. After breakfast, we meet UP peddler 6694 west at Shale. Running along the Colorado River, east of Grand Junction, there is snow on the mountains to the north down to 5000 ft. or so (above the level of the track). We eat lunch passing through Glenwood Canyon.

East of Dotsero, the train makes a four minute stop to reboot the locomotives. We meet UP 5833 west, a manifest, at Gore, and a westbound BNSF manifest at Sulphur. At Tabernash, UP 6363 with a loaded coal train holds the main while we take the siding. We meet Train 5 at Fraser at 3;38 pm (which makes him 5½ hours late, apparently due to severe weather on the plains the day before). Snow is falling at our Fraser stop. We meet nine UP locomotives at Winter Park.

At East Portal, snow is falling heavily. However, there is no snow falling at Tolland and no snow on the ground near the track at Rollins. There is much snow off on the hillsides along South Boulder Creek. At the bottom of the hill, we pass a loaded coal train east of C&S Junction. Approaching Denver, we stop at Prospect Street, then take the north leg of the wye, passing BNSF 1914 with an eastbound manifest at 23rd Street, then back into the station, past BNSF 6020 with a northbound empty coal train, also at 23rd Street, finally stopping in the platform, short of Denver Union Station, where the temporary depot is across the street!

Dinner is during the Denver stop. On the way out of Denver, we encounter a signal outage, and an additional problem that apparently results from a freight crewman's erroneous report of the way a signal had changed in front of him. This causes us a 25 minute stop, and then later some slow running and a stop and proceed (more slow running). We're in bed by Fort Morgan.

Monday, April 16th, 2012

I awake briefly at Omaha, and then arise somewhere in Iowa. We're eating breakfast when the train stops at Creston. Between Osceola and Ottumwa, we have to deal with a high wind warning. The track along here has many speed restrictions, and is soft and squishy. The Burlington station area and hill is being rebuilt, after the bridge across the river has been replaced a section at a time.

East of Galesburg, the dispatcher has us crossing over four times to go around various trains, which I don't capture because we're eating lunch, or seem to see because they're on the other side of the train. We stop for seven minutes at Eola, during which a westbound BNSF intermodal goes by. We meet Train 5 at MP 32. west of Naperville, three westbound Dinkies, at Naperville, Belmont and Congress Park, and Train 3 at Western Avenue.

In Chicago, we sit in the Metropolitan lounge for awhile, and then head out to eat at Elephant & Castle, We discover it is impossible to walk east on Adams, due to the total rebuilding of Wacker Drive (both level), requiring us to walk around on an uneven boardwalk which causes serious difficulties for Chris' knee and my prosthetic hip. Chirs has left her walking stick at home, and looks for a new one in a Walgreens, but doesn't find one before we're ejected due to closing time. back at the lounge, she mentions this to the attendant, who goes off and finds here on at Lost and Found!

We ride out to the train with the redcap, and I then walk the length of the train to collect the consist before we head to the diner for the cheese reception. We're in bed by the time the train departs.


P42                      10
P42                    202
Baggage            1715    (from coach 4726, ex-4865, from ATSF 2853)
Sleeper            62008    Eagle View
Coach              25076
Coach              25723
Cafe                43395____to Boston
P32                    707        on at Rensselaer
Coach              25020        to New York City
Coach              25077
Coach              25074
Coach              25039
Diner                   8527    (from 8062, ex-SP 10262)
Sleeper            62024    National View
Sleeper            62033    Scenic View
Baggage             1159    (from 1114, ex-NP 407)       

Train 48, 4-16-2012



Chicago                              CT

9:30 pm

9:30 pm

Erie                           ET 7:13 am ~7:30 am
Buffalo 8:58
Rochester 10:06 10:07-09
Syracuse 11:38 11:55 am-12:05 pm
Utica 12:42 pm 1:12-17
Schenectady 2:00 2:28-33
AlbanyRensselaer 2:50
Poughkeepsie 4:51 4:53-55
Croton-Harmon 5:35 5:41
New York Penn 6:35 6:31

Lakeshore Limited route description

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Overnight, we stop somewhere along the line for Train 29 to pass, then cross over to the other track to continue east. Obviously, this was somewhere west of Cleveland. I awake as we leave Erie. We meet a westbound CSX manifest at Plockton, NY, and a westbound CSX autorack train at MP 43 (still west of Buffalo), and a CSX peddler before crossing over to the other track at MP 31 and losing sight of other trains from our room on the north side of the train. During breakfast, our table companions comment on the magnificence of the Buffalo Union Terminal.

East of Buffalo, we cross over at CP 410, meet a westbound CSX autoracks at Churchville, and a westbound CSX manifest at CP 369, then run slowly for 25 minutes due to track work, crossing over again at CP 349, then hear Q.009, CSX 247, passing us westbound at CP 340, and meet a westbound CSX at MP 298 and another at CP 293, then have to wait at CP 291 for CSX train Q.381 to clear before crossing over. At CP 283, we have to stop for track gang permission, then run at 10 mph past the gang and overtake CSX Q. 386 leaving deWitt Yard. We meet Train 63 at MP 278 and CSX Q.019 at MP 261, crossing over at CP 248 before Chris and I go to lunch.

We meet a westbound CSX manifest and a westbound CSX double stack while at lunch. At 2:54 pm, the trains stops at CP 144 to separate the Boston and New York sections (before reaching the Rensselaer station). The diesels go with the Boston section. At 3:11 pm, now with the dual-power locomotive up front, we pull forward into the station. Train 448 (the Boston section) departs on time at 3:25 pm. We have to wait for time at 3:50 pm. Later, we crawl into Poughkeepsie, the run slowly until an Empire Service passes, after which we cross over, crossing back again before meeting Train 49. Later, we have some slow running at CP 33, and finally stop for three minutes in the Empire Connection, just before pulling into Penn Station.

After a redcap takes us up into the station, we reclaim our checked bags and then slowly drag them all over to the Hotel Pennsylvania. It takes a half hour to check into the hotel, during which I notice a number of women in what Chris calls "hooker heels" looking as if they're waiting for people before heading for a "gift shop" down a spiral staircase. Once in the room, and after the bellman has delivered the luggage, we walk back over to the station to eat dinner in a restaurant (in which the air conditioning seems not to be working) before retiring for the night. On the way back to the hotel, we see what looks like a blatant act of solicitation outside. 

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

In the morning, after a long night's rest, we check out and take the bags over to Club Acela (next to the baggage check area), where we arrange for a redcap to take us down to our train and then wait in comfortable surroundings. Train 95 is late (as seems usual), and by the time the redcap takes us down, Train 91 (which originates here) is already in the station, for a scheduled departure a half hour behind Train 95, and Train 95 is just pulling into the platform. Our Business Class car is right behind the electric locomotive. The redcap stacks the bags near the door we'll be leaving from, while I find us a good pair of seats.


P42                       24    (on at DC)
AEM-7                934    (off at DC)
Business Class    81525
Coach                82558
Coach                82987
Dinette                43347
Coach                82628
Coach                82992
Coach                82609
Coach                82646   

Train 95, 4-18-2012



New York City

10:10 am

10:37 am

Newark 10:51 11:02-04
Metropark 11:06 11:16-18
Trenton 11:30 11:40-43
Philadelphia 11:57
12:10 pm
Wilmington 12:22 pm 12:33-36
Baltimore 1:13 1:26-28
BWI 1:27 1:39-42
New Varrolton 1:44 1:57
Washington 2:00
Alexandria 2:45 2:46-48
Woodbridge 3:04 3:12
Quantico 3:17 3:25
Fredericksburg 3:39 3:47-49
Ashland 4:24 4:36
Richmond Staples Mill 4:40
Richmond Main Street 5:12 5:20

Vorginia Tidewater route description

On the way to Trenton, we overtake three different New Jersey Transit trains south of Newark (one of which is presumably headed for the coast). South of Wilmington, we cross over from the easternmost track to the westernmost track, a southbound Acela rushes by on the track we had been on, and we cross back to that track. I see nothing preventing us (or it) from having used the middle track.

From 2:56 to 2:59 pm, we make a stop at the red flag for LM Scott's work area because he has not responded to our calls in a timely manner. We meet a northbound CSX manifest, south of Lorton, CSX 6214 north, south of Woodbridge, have a slow order on the bridge at MP 84.7, meet Train 80 at MP 62, and as we arrive at Main Street, a train going the other way has to hold back for us.

We call the hotel for the shuttle to pick us up, and it takes him 20 minutes to get to us. At the hotel, we check in, are unable to get our (forced on us) two reservations combined into one, are told we will have to check back at the front desk before noon on Thursday, and eat in the hotel restaurant. Our room is on the back (south) side of the hotel, overlooking the CSX (former C&O) trestle along the James River.

At the Conference (4/19-4/22)

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

This morning, we get up late, I make coffee using the pot in the room, Chris goes down to the front desk to perform the needed re-checking process (required because the first night could not be at the conference rate, and the hotel's reservation system is stupidly programmed not to be able to handle that). On the radio scanner, I hear that both Amtrak Trains 67 and 94 are severely delayed by the failure of a switch just east of where the line from Main Street station joins the James River line. Train 94 finally goes by at 11:16 am. Later, we eat lunch at the hotel restaurant (because Chris doesn't want to walk several blocks, uphill or down, to find a restaurant). After lunch, we run into the conference organizer, and check-in at his registration desk in the lobby.

During the afternoon, Chris spends much time on the phone, dealing with the issues of our oldest cat, Calvin, being at the vets due to the listlessness we had observed before leaving. We arrange for him to come home, with medication, on Friday.

We again eat dinner in the restaurant, and while we're so doing, see a number of our meeting colleagues head off up the street directly across the road, going out to eat (apparently all at a "British Pub"). We go to bed early, because Friday's excursion starts at 6:30 am!

Friday, April 20th, 2012

This morning, we're up at 5:30 am, to be ready for the bus departure at 6:30 am. Nobody has told us that breakfast will start before 6:30 am, so we can use our free breakfast tickets, and the brochure for the weekend says the bus will stop at a short-order restaurant for breakfast, so I simply make a pot of coffee in the room and use it to fill my insulated mug, before we head downstairs to board the bus. Seven of the people on the Old Dominion  Chapter list for this trip don't show up, so at 6:40 am the bus leaves anyway, taking I-64 and I-81 to Roanoke, and stopping on the way at a Rest Area, not a short-order restaurant. Complaints from several people are ignored.

Arriving in Roanoke, we're met by Carl Jensen (who says he wasn't going to drive to Richmond just to bus back to Roanoke) and are then given tickets for the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the O Winston Link Museum, along with instructions on how to find the Rail Walk (between the two museums) and the Old Market area (on the way) for lunch. I buy some heavy books at the museum shop, and we put them back on the bus so we don't have to carry them. Chris and I visit the areas of the museum that have changed since our visit in 2003, and the outdoor full-size exhibit area, and then head for the rail walk to take things very slowly on that four block walk. Along the way, I note the track arrangements in downtown Roanoke.

There are informative signs and working exhibits along the way, which we wouldn't have had time to deal with had we waited. We get to the lunch area at about the same time as the organizers, and have a good food-court lunch. Then we head over the footbridge to the Link museum, in the old N&W depot, where we watch the informative movie and take a quick trip around the photographic exhibits. I have Link's two books on the N&W, so I just buy the 5 CD set of  sound recordings at the gift shop, before we board the bus for the trip back to Richmond, taking US 222, US 460, US 15, SR 6, and I-64. Along the way, which runs along the N&W main line, through Appomattox, and then along the original Buckingham Branch, we stop at an area with a McDonalds, etc., for a rest break, and Bob Bitzer (who gets to host the last Regional Vice Presidents' meeting tonight) gets quite upset (for him) that we're going to be back late for that meeting. Some aspect of the planned route is changed to accommodate him, at least a little.

Again, we eat dinner at the hotel restaurant, where the service is much poorer than on the previous two nights. Dave Flinn, with whom we sit, has to rush off to the meeting. Before bed, Chris discovers that her container of strong pain pills (for her knee) is missing, and we suspect it must have fallen on th floor of the bus.

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

The start time this morning is at a more reasonable hour (8 am), so we manage to have breakfast in the hotel before leaving. A conversation at the bus reveals that the pill container was found in yesterday's bus, and is at the bus depot. The bus driver says that we can pick this up any time during the day, but apparently no-one ever communicates the need to do this to Sanford Williamson, the organizer and bus host.

The bus starts out by driving through downtown Richmond (mostly to handle the one-way street issues to get to the required bridge over the James River), passing Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Capitol building on the way. We then head south of the river to the Richmond Railway Museum, where there is some outside rolling stock and the inside is full of artifacts. It is in somewhat of a disarray as it has been set up for a wedding this afternoon, so displays are not as accessible as they might be. I stop to look at a sketch map showing the track arrangements at the ACL Broad Street station, introduced when ACL built its bypass (used by today's Amtrak Florida and Carolinas services) to the west of Richmond, to avoid having to run trains through downtown Richmond. The station was accessed from a wye at AY junction, with the station being a bit to the east of that junction (out at 21st Street), on a loop of track (balloon track) arranged so that all trains ran into the station heading east, with all head-end facilities at one end of the platforms, and all passenger facilities at the other end. Trains leaving the station then curved around and headed back to the wye, taking the other leg from teh one they had come in on to continue their journey, either north or south.

Leaving the museum, we pass a former SAL Freight House, and then head back across the river, passing a second SAL Freight House on the way, to Main Street station, where we park at an upper level and walk in directly to the main waiting room. The morning northbound Amtrak (Train 194, since this is Saturday) is due, so the group "votes" to wait until it appears, for photographic purposes, viewed from the balcony along the trestle south of the platform. Next, we stop at the triple-level bridges (three railroad tracks, one above the other, with the former C&O trestle along the river on top, the former SAL line south from Main Street station in the middle, and a former Southern branch at ground level), in a park alongside the Kanawha Canal. We then head east, through the beautifully restored residential area of Church Hill (above the erstwhile C&O Church Hill Tunnel), and out to a park that was the former site of a Civil War Hospital, which overlooks the C&O track heading east from the city, where we photograph the southbound morning Amtrak train.

By now, we're late on Sanford's schedule, so rather than stopping for a look at the portal of the collapsed Church Hill tunnel, we head east on Broad Street (but nowhere near as far as the former station), then south across the river on the US 1 bridge, and west on US 60, to a shopping center well west of the city that just happens to have a model railroad store (as well as some restaurants), where we have lunch, and then yet further out, to the Old Dominion Chapter's "yard", alongside the Norfolk Southern line out of Richmond. Here, there are a number of semi-operable pieces of rolling stock, including an operable steam locomotive, a caboose, and Pullman sleeper-lounge Dinwiddie County, which we get to board. In the lounge, Carl Jensen expounds on the similarities and differences between this car and his son's Kitchi Gammi Club, and after some confusing whistle signals and false starts (the brakes won't release, and an undesired coupling has been made), we head east in the yard, then back onto another track where we fail to stop before making a hard coupling with a boxcar. Heading east again, we take the boxcar with us until the Chapter folks manage to uncouple it, and then return to the original track, where we run into the cars already there, pushing one off the end of the track. On Friday, Carl Jensen had told us there would be rain in Richmond on Saturday, but fortunately there hasn't been.

The bus then returns us to the hotel, without ever stopping at the bus depot. Sanford Williamson proclaims no knowledge of the desired stop, and the bus driver says he was waiting for Sanford's instructions to go there.

The "pre-meeting" meeting covers nothing of supreme importance, with discussions of the nominees for this summer's society elections and a few other subjects on the Sunday agenda. At the reception before the banquet, we complain to Sanford about the failure to go by the bus depot and he disclaims all knowledge. I suggest that he could go by the bus depot before the banquet starts, and while he doesn't pick up on this his wife, Judy, does. Unfortunately, she can't get in when she gets there. We sit with Don Bishop, Nina Lawford-Juviler, Dave Flinn, and some others. The after dinner talk by Doug Riddell is quite good, although I've previously read most of his stories in his book and columns.

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Today, the sky is dark and rain is falling steadily. Fortunately, we don't have to go outside to attend the Baord Meeting. Management still hasn't prepared a budget update for this year, so most of the discussion is about upcoming and future conventions. including ideas for 2014 and beyond, which are generally not yet ready for prime time. While we're in the meeting, Judy has been over to the bus depot again, and has secured the pill container! The Chapter now has a sales table in the lobby, and I buy some books that will help explain the railroads of the areas we have visited this weekend.

Chris and I arrange to have lunch with Dave Flinn, but he discovers that the hotel restaurant is closed today, and the suggestions at the front desk are either to walk to area restaurants (in the rain), or order in using the menus they hand out. Meanwhile, we say goodbyes to the thirteen people who are heading north (from Staples Mill) on Train 80, and the five people who are leaving in Al Weber's rental car. Eventually, the three of us order pizza, which we eat in our room, working around the visits of the maids.

At dinnertime, Chris and I discover that the hotel is serving dinner in its lounge, although when we patronize it it transpires that they don't have enough staff on the handle the number of patrons on a rainy evening. This eventually leads to a discussion with the on-duty manager, who happens to be the same person who couldn't properly handle our check-in on Wednesday! His conclusion is to make our dinner "free", although this doesn't return the wasted time.

The Journey West (4/23-4/27-7/5)

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Several of us take the hotel van over to Main Street station this morning, after breakfast, explaining to the van driver how to get to the upper level to drop us off. In the platform-level waiting area, we watch some workmen using a clever lifting machine replace one of the light fixtures in the ceiling. The train is a few minutes late arriving from Newport News (it was delayed by a circus train switching there), and of course, when it arrives, the Business Class car is way down the platform. This results in one of the conductors taking Chris' bags and moving them down the platform for her. (I was doing slightly better with mine).


P42                       24
Business Class    81526
Coach                82553
Coach                82610
Dinette                43366
Coach                82753
Coach                82546
Coach                82742
Coach                82990

Train 94, 4-23-2012



Richmond (Main Street)

10:29 am

11:00 am

Richmond (Staples Mill) 10:59
Ashland 11:19 11:43-45
Fredericksburg 12:04 pm 12:32 pm
Quantico 12:24 12:55
Alexandria 1:00 1:28-31
Washington DC 1:35 1:48

We meet Train 89 at Doswell, CSX Q.401 at Jones Crossing, and Train 79 at MP 50, stop briefly at the Fredericksburg Yard Office to pick up Road Foreman Bill Smith, meet Q.703 at Possum Point, a southbound VRE at Franconia, a southbond CSX freight at Alexandria, and a second VRE (for the Manassas line) nrth of Alexandria.

In Washington, I walk back along the train to collect the consist as Chris rides into the terminal with the baggage and the redcap. Since Chris has to check two of the bags to Bakersfield, I get to Club Acela long before she does. Once she arrives we go to Sbarro to get some lunch, and then to Barnes & Noble for Chris to spend a gift card on a new book. Back at Club Acela, John Goodman and Bill Dredge have arrived (along with the National Director from Spokane), and we make arrangements to have dinner together in the diner on Train 29 this evening. About 3:30 pm, we and the remaining bags go out to the train with the redcap, and I collect the consist as we go.


P42                      181
P42                       145
Baggage               1755    (from 1727, , ex-Coach 4020, ex-4429, from SP 2366)
Dorm                  39036
Sleeper                32090    Michigan
Sleeper                32055
Diner                    38039
Lounge                33019
Coach                  34157
Coach                  34012
Coach                  34055 

Train 29, 4-23-2012



Washington, DC

4:05 pm

4:05 pm

Rockville 4:29 4:27-32
Harpers Ferry 5:16 5:17-19
Martinsburg 5:45 5:42-49
Cumberland 7:14
Waterloo 6:36 am 6:32-36 am
Elkhart 7:29 7;26-29
South Bend                 ET 7:51 7:50-52
Chicago                      CT 8:45 8:21

Capitol Limited route description

We overtake CSX Q.217 at Point of Rocks. Dinner is at 6:30 pm, and we pass through the Magnolia Cutoff area, where CSX has been doing the work needed to clear the line for double stacks, during dinner. While I see work area, I don't see anything specific to the clearance project. John Goodman expresses his disappointment that I'm not running for office under the new governance regime, and wants to know what I think about some aspects of the future of NRHS, which I tell him but won't recount here. (Nina had asked the same thing at the banquet table, and I gave her essentially the same answer.) While we're talking, a man none of us recognizes walks by the table and says "there's the NRHS Board of Directors".

There is snow on the ground as we climb and descend Sand Patch. We're in bed by Connellsville

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I awake at Waterloo, and for once on this train, we're able to go to the diner for breakfast, both to our and our friends' surprise. As usual, on this stretch of line, the dispatcher crosses us back and forth between the two bi-directionl tracks to meet eastbound freights and overtake westbound freights. We meet NS train 66Q at MP 417, overtake a CP grain train west of Elkhart, meet an eastbound CP manifest just further west of that, meet Amtrak train 350 at CP 509, and meet the NS Business Car train, with four resplendent F-units, at CP 510.

The five NRHS people sit together in the Metropolitan Lounge, and continue the conversation from last night's dinner. It's clear that not everyone is in total agreement with where the society management is going but its also clear that none of us will be a direct part of the governance after the Cedar Rapids meeting in June. Three of us are leaving on Train 7, and Chirs & I on Train 5, but we start to disperse before that.  Bill Dredge heads off for a walk, John Goodman engages the chief redcap in conversation abut boarding arrangement for the Convention Inbound (intending to meet Bill for lunch), and eventually Chris & I leave to get some lunch at a deli in the passageway to the CUS Great Hall. Later, we gather again before our different trains are called for boarding. For once (since we're usually leaving on Train 3), Chris & I are the first to depart.

I collect the consist after we reach the platform and stow the bags on the train. There's plenty of time to do this, since the general boarding call isn't made for some minutes after the sleeping car call.


P42                     206
P42                       22
Baggage             1249    (from 1064, ex-ATSF 3550)
Dorm                39024
Coach               34097
Coach               34098
Lounge              33022
Diner                 38019
Sleeper              32022
Sleeper              32054
and from Sparks westward
Business           800485    Stanford    UPP140
Business           800486    Sunset        UPP150  

Train 5, 4-24-2012




2:00 pm

2:00 pm

Naperville 2:34 2:30-34
Princeton 3:44 3:37-44
Galesburg 4:38 4:40-47
Burlington 5:25 5:32
Mount Pleasant 5:59 5:59-6:01
Ottumwa 6:53 6:46-58
Osceola 8:01 8:31-37
Creston                     CT 8:41 9:11-19
Fort Morgan             MT 5:05 am 6:07 am
Denver 7:15
Fraser 10:07 10:03-09
Gfranby 10:37 10:32-37
Glenwood Springs 1:53 pm 1:40-53 pm
Grand Junction 4:10 4:33-44
Green River 5:58 6:30
Helper                      MT 7:20 7:44
Reno                         PT 8:36 am 9:17-28 am
Truckee 9:37 10:20-22
Colfax 11:48 12:33 pm
Roseville 12:57 pm 1:57-59
Sacramento 2:13 2:28-35
Davis 2:44 2:49-52
Martinez 3:26 3:33-35
Richmond 3:50 4:04
Emeryville 4:10 4:12

Train 21 had to swap out a diner at the last minute and is proejcted 45 minutes delayed. It's taking the C&EI detour today. We take the middle track out to Lisle, at what seems like top speed, and then cross over to the north track for the Naperville stop. At 3:55 pm, we cross over at Wyanet, and then overtake a westbound BNSF manifest at Galva, meeting BNSF 739 east at Wataga. We cross over at B Plant, before the Galesburg stop, then overtake a westbound BNSF manifest at Academy and a westbound BNSF grain train at Clay.

The trackwork at Burlington has progressed so that we can access the station platform today. We meet an eastbound BNSF coal train at Middleton, and another at Batavia, meeting an eastbound BNSF manifest at MP 275, as we're slowed following a freight train. We meet an eastbound BNSF at IC&E Crossing. There are then many slow orders west of Ottumwa, causing loss of at least a half hour to Creston. We get a new General Track Bulletin at the Creston Yard Office, presumably containing more slow orders or perhaps voiding some of them).

We eat dinner with the couple from the adjacent room, who are graduate students at Indiana University, at least one of whom is from France and speaks little conversational English. They're both studying the microbiology of fungi. Chris and I are in bed long before Omaha.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I awake at the Fort Morgan stop. Some time later, as I'm dressing, I notice that the Front Range is now in view, with sno capped mountains. A little after 7 am, we pass a BNSF rail train, just before beginning the curve around the wye and reversal into Denver Union Station. Chris and I eat breakfast during the Denver stop, again with the students from the next room. He asks a question about why a mile is 5,280 ft., and I tell him about the English feudal system of farming, with strips one furlong (22 yards) in length, and the 220 yard measure of one chain for the cross-strip dimension if a field. Eight chains make up one mile. I also point out that France had a similar system of ancient measures before the development of the metric system around the time of the French Revolution.

On leaving Denver, the train makes a stop at 23rd Street, for traffic on the Joint Line to clear, At Zuni, we meet a loaded coal train that has already descended the Front Range. Later, we meet another loaded coal train half way up the climb through the tunnel district. Passage through the Moffat Tunnel takes ten minutes. The snow level is much further up the mountain this week than last, when we passed through going the other way. Before arriving at Bond/Orestod, we meet an eastbound loaded coal train and overtake an empty coal train.

Chris and I eat lunch between Orestod and Dotsero. At Dotsero, we take siding for Train 5, stopping for four minutes. At 1:30 pm, we meet an eastbound manifest at Grizzly, in Glenwood Canyon. As we leave Glenwood Springs, the agent there reports a disturbed person on the platform. Suddenly, she screams "he dove under the train" (apparently under our, last, car). The train stops, and the conductor walks back to investigate. Paramedics arrive and take the transient off on a stretcher. Police and a reporter ask passengers on that side if they saw anything. None did. We proceed at 2:20 pm.

New signals are being commissioned along a stretch of line west from Rifle, with the current signal system suspended and the track foreman controlling the passage of trains. In addition, there's one slow order after another from CAmeo to East Yard in Grand Junction. UP 3416 is following us through these 25 mph segments.

Chris and I eat dinner through the Helper stop. I watch the scenery in the fading light, as we climb up through Price Canyon to Soldier Summit and start the descent into the Great Basin. We're in bed before Provo.

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The train has left Winnemucca, apparently on time, before I awake near Lovelock. We're done with breakfast before Fernley. At Hafed, we take the siding for an eastbound double stack, UP 5169, being stopped for 13 minutes. We then have a six minute stop to get permission to enter a track foreman's limits. At 8:47 am, we stop at Sparks to add to UP (former SP) Business Cars returning to West Oakland. UP 5466 adds the cars and we move on at 9:10 am. I step off at Reno to note down the identity of these two cars.

Leaving Reno, we overtake UP 6027 and the EC-4 Track Geometry car at Sutro. The first signs of both flying snow and snow on the ground are in Coldstream Canyon. There's more flying snow and snow patches above Donner Lake, with much snow on the ground at Norden and Soda Springs, but nothing covering the Soda Springs Hotel. There is actually more snow on the ground at East Troy than at Norden. (Our breakfast companions had told us that Train 6 on Thursday 4/19 had needed a snowplow to run in front of it on this stretch.) The ground snow diminished west of Yuba Pass, and the weather is now rain, not snow.

We meet eastbound UP freights at Blue Canyon (UP 5258), Midas and Baxter (UP 5902). We follow UP 4109 west all the way down the separated tracks section to Rocklin, meeting Train 6 just east of Colfax. The sun shows up in Rosevuille, west of which we overtake a UP freight at Antelope. We cross back and forth to stop at the appropriate platforms in Sacramento and Davis, passing through the area where the track and signal construction is taking place between Haggin and West Sacramento. We meet Train 532 west of Davis. We have a momentary stop at a red signal near MP 16, before crossing over at Pinole, and meet a BNSF bare table south of Richmond.

In Emeryville, we again walk over to the hotel, where we have dinner and then go to bed to ensure sufficient sleep before our early arising in the morning.

Friday, April 27th, 2012

We get up in time to have the included breakfast, walk over to the station, and board our train to Bakersfield when it pulls in from Jack London Square.


Cab-car                 8308    Mount San Gorgonio
Coach                    6461    Pebble Beach
Cafe                       8806    Salinas Valley
Coach                    6463    Muir Beach
Coach                    8206    Humboldt Bay
P42                            22 

Train 712, 7-2-2010




7:40 am

7:41 am

Richmond 7:49 7:49-51
Martinez 8:19 8:16-19
Antioch 8:39 8:37-39
Stockton 9:17 9:21-27
Modesto 9:45 9:58-10:01
Denair 9:58 10:14
Merced 10:31 10:35-40
Madera 10:59 11:07
Fresno 11:35 11:33-37
Hanford 12:09 pm 12:07-10 pm
Corcoran 12:25 12:26
Wasco 12:56 1:10
Bakersfield 1:41 1:38

On this train, the conductors are scanning barcodes on the tickets, as part of their introduction of electronic ticketing later this year. We stop for twelve minutes at Middle River to meet Train 711, meet westbound BNSF manifests at Mormon Yard and west of there, a westbound BNSF baretable at Stockton  Intermodal, take siding at Escalon for BNSF 5041, a double stack, overtake BNSF 7641, a manifest, meet train 701 and meet BNSF 4498 north of Madera. South of Madera, we overtake a BNSF grain train, and a BNSF UPS trailers, and meet BNSF 7128 with a grain train north of Fresno. We meet train 713 at Shirley, stop for 12 minutes at Elmo for a northbound BNSF double stack, overtake a southbound BNSF manifest south of Wasco, meet BNSF 297 at Sandrini, and meet Train 715 at Lopez.

At Bakersfield, we transfer to the bus and get the checked bags delivered from the baggage room (having transferred from Sacramento the previous day), arriving home in Tehachapi about 3 pm. Calvin is one the cats that greet us when we arrive.