Southwest Chief Travelogue
On this web page you will find the travelogue of my Amtrak rail travel
on the Southwest Chief to get from Los Angeles to Chicago so that I can
start my journey on the inaugural run of the Amtrak Texas Eagle /
California Train. The frequency of posting updates will depend
on the quality of cellular service along the route and finding time to
upload during dwell time when communication is the most stable.
Note: You can bring up a full size photo of any image on this page by
clicking on it. All photos were taken "live" while on this rail journey
unless otherwise noted. "Stock photos" that have been posted from
previous rail journeys are indicated in the text directly below those
TUE 08:20 PM PT 02/03/98 Los Angeles CA - Ch 47 160.815 (Mission Tower)
Well, I'm on the way! There has been tremendous rain storms in California
today. You know what they say: "It never rains in southern California, but
when it does, it pours!" All Amtrak San Diegans that normally run north of
Los Angeles are now being turned back at Los Angeles. Service on the San
Diegans between San Diego and Los Angeles is running as normal, but no
trains are being allowed to run north of Los Angeles. Metrolinks which
operate north of Los Angels have been cancelled, and even the Amtrak
Coast Starlight has been cancelled!
Steven Reynolds of TrainWeb.org/reynolds
was going to take the Amtrak San Diegan from Santa Barbara down to
Fullerton and join Mike Kimura to do a bit of railfaning in Fullerton.
Then Steven Reynolds was going to join me on the Southwest Chief as far
as Barstow. Unfortunately, he had to cancel that since there weren't
any Amtrak San Diegans running from Santa Barbara south today!
Although the Southwest Chief does operate through Fullerton, I had
decided to board it at its point of origin in Los Angeles. In the
past I had always boarded it in Fullerton, but this time I wanted to
see what the boarding was like in Los Angeles and I wanted to enjoy
the bon voyage party that features Champagne, fruit, cheese, and
finger sandwiches. When you board in Fullerton, they are just cleaning
everything up and will often refuse service to the people that board
In order to get to Los Angeles, I had decided to take the Metrolink
train that starts from Riverside and runs through Fullerton at 6:22 PM.
Since that train really exists just to reposition equipment, it is
running counter to the rush hour traffic and is practically empty.
Because of delays caused by the intense rain, this train arrived into
Fullerton more than 30 minutes late. Thus, I arrived into Los Angeles
at about 7:30 PM, which was still 50 minutes before the Southwest
Chief was scheduled to depart.
While waiting for the boarding call, I puchased a one way ticket from
Los Angeles to Fullerton to use after the Texas Eagle pulled into
Los Angeles on Monday. If my some miracle, the Texas Eagle pulls into
Los Angeles at 7:10 AM as scheduled, than that only gives me 10
minuts to buy my ticket to make the 7:20 AM San Diegan! I won't have
to worry about that now that I have already purchased my ticket.
Just before I left the TrainWeb office today, our shipment of
TrainWeb T-Shirts and TrainWeb Caps arrived. That was good
considering that I have told many people that I expect to meet
on the Texas Eagle that they will be able to find me by just
finding the guy wearing the TrainWeb T-Shirt and Cap! I have
brought along 7 of these T-Shirts and will wear them on my
journey both to help publicize TrainWeb and to help people find
me. Unfortunately, all the T-Shirts are identical so it will look
to everyone else like I just brought one shirt for this long trip!
TUE 08:20 PM PT 02/03/98 Los Angeles CA - Ch 36 160.650
In Los Angeles, they board everyone requiring Red Cap assistance first
starting as early as about an hour before departure. Mostly older
people and others than have difficulty walking long distances use the
Red Caps as it is a LONG walk from the waiting room to the platform.
Other people that use Red Caps are those individuals or groups that
have brought more luggage than they can handle! Anyone can actually
use the Red Cap service. You don't have to be old, handicapped or
burdened with too many bags. However, do note that a tip is expected
for this service though not required. $1 per bag should be more than
enough. It is a way to achieve "pre-boarding" without breaking any
At about 8 PM they started the boarding for everyone else. They
divided the line into 2 categories: Sleeping Car Passengers and
Others. Sleeping Car Passengers were boarded through Gate F and
all others through Gate D. Sleeping Car passengers were boarded
first. I was the second person through the gate and headed out
in the lead of everyone since I knew exactly where I was going,
to Track #12 and then up the stairs or ramp on the right. I am
a very fast walker. Thus, I was surprised to find an elderly
gentleman right at my heals as I looked behind me while walking
up the ramp! Though, I'm not sure why I should be surprised. My
mom, who I probably got my fast walking from, can outpace me and
she is 86 years old!
The Car Attendants arrived just moments after we got to the
Sleeping Cars, but well ahead of everyone else. I handed him
my ticket and he ripped it out. Although taking tickets is the
job of the Conductor, Car Attendants will often do it on trains
that run at late hours so that passengers can go right to bed
without having to stay awake until the Conductor comes to take
their ticket. When he saw I was in Room 2, he said: "Ah! Right
next to my room!" I said: "Yes, right next to the coffee!"
Then he mentioned that I obviously knew my way around the car.
Later he asked me if I might want to move because there were
empty rooms and Room 2 is right next to the bathroom and
refreshment area which tends to be noisier than other rooms.
I told him that I didn't mind that. I often get Room 2 since
I book my reservations so far in advance and they start with
the lowest room number first. Since Room 1 is assigned to the
Car Attendant, Room 2 is the lowest room number to be assigned
I can tell already that this is going to be a great trip!
The coffee and juice were all set up when I went upstairs (and
coffee was available until well after midnight). There was juice,
cups, and everything else readily available, and since this is
a Superliner II Sleeping Car, plenty of ice!
Ralph, my Car Attendant dropped in to make sure everything was O.K.
Then Bernadet Cole, the Chief of Onboard Services, dropped in to wish me a
wonderful journey. Ralph, announced that we have onboard one of the best
Amtrak chefs who has one many internal contests with his culinary skills.
The items being served in the Dining Car at the bon voyage party were
delicious and I certainly enjoyed the Champagne and 2 refills! Glynn
Scott, the server, told me that I could take a bottle back to my room
with me if I wished, but I thanked him and declined. I want to get
something accomplished on this trip! I sat and ate with that same
man that had kept up with my fast pace up the ramps. He was returning
back to Kansas City after having visited a relative in Los Angeles.
As with most people I have met that puposely select rail as their mode
of travel, he really enjoys traveling by rail! Bernadet stopped by
again and asked each of us how we were doing!
TUE 09:36 PM PT 02/03/98 Fullerton CA - Ch 36 160.650
I had printed up 80 copies of information about the Amtrak Historical
Society including registration forms that I wanted to bring with me on
the Texas Eagle, but forgot to bring them along! Using my cellular phone
from Los Angeles Union Station, I called up Ray Burns who works with me at
the TrainWeb office. He was planning on meeting
me along with Mike Kimura when the Southwest Chief pulled into Fullerton.
I asked him to get those forms off my desk and hand them to me as I
passed through the station. That worked like clockwork! Ray and Mike
were right at the door as the Car Attendant opened the door. Ray handed
me the package and I was all set! There was no problem with time as
the Southwest Chief always takes at least 5 minutes to load passengers
in Fullerton. Fullerton is where all the passengers from San Diego and
Orange county board the Southwest Chief, including many that are
transferring from the northbound Amtrak San Diegan. There are usually
a few dozen passengers that board at this station.
------------------------ Riverside CA - Ch 72 161.190
TUE 10:35 PM PT 02/03/98 San Bernardino CA - Ch 72 161.190
I went downstairs to the vestibule as the train started to make its
way across the fly-over in the San Bernardino yard. I didn't know
if our Car Attendant would be opening the door, but I wanted to be
there just in case. If nobody is getting on or off your car at a
station, the Car Attendant often will not open the door to your
car, especially in the middle of the night. If you have a nice Car
Attendant and they see you standing there, they might open it, or
at least open the window if there isn't time to step off the train.
While I was standing there, my Car Attendant came downstairs to take
care of one of the rooms. When he saw me standing there, he came over
and opened the door for me to step off. He asked me if I also had
friends waiting to great me in San Bernardino and might have friends
at every stop! I do think he was joking, but I explained to him that
TrainWeb is actually located right in the Fullerton Depot and gave
him one of my cards. The air was clean and cool outside and it felt
great to step outside even though there was a light drizzle.
We had one passenger get on in the #31 Sleeping Car that wasn't expected.
Actually, he was ticketed to get on in Los Angeles. If you don't get
on where expected and don't call well inadvance to notify Amtrak of you
change in plans, then you are regarded as a "no show". Since the Car
Attendant of the #31 car wasn't expecting anyone to board his car in
San Bernardino, he didn't bother to open the door. It if wasn't for
the fact that I was standing in the vestibule of the #30 car wanting
to step out for a breath of fresh air, the Car Attendant might not
have opened the door to the #30 car either. That passenger might
have gotten left behind! He had an Amtrak cap on, the kind I have
seen Amtrak employees wear but have never seen for sale as a
souvenier. So, that passenger is either an Amtrak employee, retiree,
or found a souvenier that I have never found for sale!
While standing outside the car I noticed a tremendous amount of water
pouring out from under the car, directly from under where the shower
is located. While in the vestibule I had noticed from the sound that
someone was taking a shower. I wondered if the shower drain just dumped
directly out of the train. I know the toilets are no longer allowed to
do that. I'll have to ask Vince McGraw who trains car maintenance
people over at Amtrak Intercity
about that. My other thought was that this was from the rain
water coming down on top of the car, but it just wasn't raining that hard
to produce that much water all in one spot.
I just heard that there may be a lot of buses meeting this train in
Barstow from the cancelled Coast Starlight. The Conductor wanted to
find out how many buses and how many passengers. The only way to do
that is to call the ticket agent at the Barstow station. Evidently
this Conductor didn't get issued a cell phone as he had no way to
call the station. Instead, he asked if the BNSF Dispatcher would do
him a favor and call the station to find our how many buses and
people would be meeting the train in Barstow. The BNSF Dispatcher
agreed to do that.
TUE 11:45 PM PT 02/03/98 Victorville CA - Ch 72 161.190
The Car Attendant opened the window at Victorville. It was left
open for a while even after we left the station. He had to take
care of something, but was back in about 10 minutes to close it.
I knew better than to stick my head out, especially at night. We
passed a freight while the window was open and I'm pretty sure
anyone that stuck their head too far out the window would have
He said that 9 were getting on in Barstow from the Coast Starlight.
I don't know if that is 9 people for the entire train, which isn't
too many, or 9 just for this Sleeping Car, which would be quite a
WED 12:20 AM PT 02/04/98 Barstow CA - Ch 32 160.590
------------------------------------- Ch 27 160.515
------------------------------------- Ch 55 160.935
Very odd. Only two people got on at Barstow. They said they were the
only ones that were on the bus. I stepped off the train for a moment
and noticed that they were taking the bus away on a flatbed truck!
It was a Greyhound bus. That looked very odd as the bus just barely
fit on top of the flatbed. The people were very far down the platform.
The Conductor had been misinformed that there were only Coach passengers
getting on. Thus, both the Conductor and my Car Attendant had to help
this couple carry their luggage all the way down most of the length
of the train from the Coach section to the Sleeper section. The
Conductor told me that there were suppose to be 6 people on the bus,
but these people said they were the only ones on this bus.
As soon as the couple boarded, the wife immediately asked, almost
demanded: "Do you have an empty bedroom so I don't have to sleep
in the upper bed?" The way she asked it was almost as though she
felt she had a right to demand an extra bedroom at no charge so
that both of them could sleep in the bottom bed. Because of the
cancelled connecting Coast Starlight, I think there were quite a
few extra bedrooms and the Car Attendant complied with her wishes.
WED --:-- AM PT 02/04/98 Needles CA - Ch 36 160.650
WED 07:29 AM MT 02/04/98 Kingman AZ - Ch 36 160.650
------------------------------------- Ch 55 160.935
WED 10:30 AM MT 02/04/98 Flagstaff AZ - Ch 55 160.935
WED 10:36 AM MT 02/04/98 Flagstaff AZ - Ch 55 160.935
WED 11:29 AM MT 02/04/98 Winslow AZ - Ch 72 161.190
This is a huge electric power station that generates electricity for
much of the Southwest as far as California and uses 100 hopper cars of
coal a day, each containing 100 tons of coal for a total of almost
4 million tons of coal a year!
WED 01:07 PM MT 02/04/98 Gallup NM - Ch 36 160.650
The Little Colorado River
Above is a photo of the Little Colorado River that we followed for a
short while. There was snow everywhere, including on parts of the river
that were frozen over.
We lost quite a bit of time during the night just as I had expected.
Whenever there are "flash flood warnings", trains have to travel at
20 MPH instead of the customary 79 to 90 MPH. In worst case, that
can cause the train to take 10 hours instead of 2.5 hours to cover
about 200 miles through the desert! We weren't that bad off. We
only lost about 2.5 hours and ended up into Flagstaff at about 10:30 AM
instead of 7:50 AM.
Except for waking up for a short while at 7:30 AM around Kingman, Arizona,
I slept pretty late. I didn't wake up until we arrived at Winslow,
Arizona at 11:30 AM. Lunch was at Noon. I ate with 2 other guys that had
boarded in Fullerton, California and were heading for a visit to the east
coast. Another person that joined us at the table was from Kansas City
and was returning from a month long vacation in Flagstaff. He was the
person that let me know that the train didn't arrive into Flagstaff until
about 10:30 AM.
The lunch menu had 3 choices: an open face roast beef sandwich, a chicken
salad and a pot pie, plus a children's selection. We all decided on the
open face roast beef sandwich which was excellent! It was served with
mash potatoes and vegetables. Since I slept through breakfast, I was
starving and managed to leave absolutely nothing behind! Susan was our
server. All of the staff on this train has been very friendly and helpful
and appears to be doing everything they can to please the passengers
The Conductors have been very good at keeping the passengers informed
about the status of the train. In the morning they explained about the
"Flash Flood Warnings" and why we had to travel so slow. Looks like we
are continuing to loose time, however. The Conductor said this is
another one that you can chalk up to "El Nino". Lightning struck a
signal last night and took out the entire signal system for several
miles. So far, we have reports from two other trains. One says they
are out for 23 miles and the other said they are out for only a couple
of miles. BNSF has rules that don't allow trains to go any faster than
20 MPH when the signals are not functioning, even if there is a clear
view ahead for miles. We are stopping at every signal and waiting
for permission from the dispatcher to proceed. Then, we travel very
slow once we do proceed.
The crew is now checking on a couple of "high water bridges" up ahead.
If you followed the news, a Southwest Chief derailed late in 1997
because one such bridge failed after a flash flood. These are very
small bridges that are only a few feed long and usually go just a few
feet over runoff areas. There isn't much of a drop from these bridges,
but any weakening of the structure from high water could be enough
to get the tracks out of alignment. Thus, we are still continuing on
We just passed a Santa Fe (BNSF) maintenance of way (MOW) truck with
a worker standing outside, possibly working on repairing the signal
systems. My clock says that it is 3:02 PM Mountain Time. That would
mean that we are at least a couple of hours behind. Checking the
last hotbox detector that we passed, I think it will be at least
another hour or two until we get to Albuquerque. I think we might pull
into Albuquerque somewhere between 2 and 3 hours behind schedule.
Looking at the good side, the slow moving train gave me a great
opportunity to get a very stable cell phone signal so that I was
able to upload this travelogue update and photo!
WED 04:12 PM MT 02/04/98 Albuquerque NM - Ch 32 160.590
The above two photos are about everything you can see from the train
and the station in Albuquerque.
In the photo on the left you can see
the Albuquerque Amtrak Station. It is the small grey building. In the
background you can see the tall Bank Of New Mexico building. In the
foreground you can see the lunch wagon that sells New Mexico Burritos
and other food items. You can also see a small school bus that is a
convenience store on wheels. These both meet every Amtrak Southwest Chief
as they arrive.
In the photo on the right you can see one of the tables that are set up
by Native Americans to sell jewelry and other craft items. This is just
one of several such tables you will find on the station platform. To
the left in the photo is a bank of four pay telephones. These are the
only pay telephones convenient to the platform and there is sometimes
quite a line of people waiting to use these phones! You can also see
the Chef from our train taking a break on the platform.
The westbound Amtrak Southwest Chief arrived into Albuquerque just a
few minutes after we did and had to wait 20 minutes outside the station
until our train was ready to leave.
WED 04:47 PM MT 02/04/98 Albuquerque NM - Ch 32 160.590
When the steward came around to take dinner reservations, I made mine
for 5:15 PM. The first was at 5:00 PM, but I wanted to try to upload
a few items while we still had good cellular services from Albuquerque.
At dinner, I sat with a young mother traveling with her 3 year old
daughter. We found a number of things in common that we could talk
about since I often travel with my two daughters. She was heading for
Buffalo, New York and was taking the train because she didn't like
flying. Despite the statistics, she would have preferred to have driven
over any other mode of transportation, but she did not want to drive
alone with just her daughter. She was traveling in the Coach Car. I told
her that she should try traveling in a Sleeping Car sometime and maybe
she would then change her mind about driving for long distance travel.
I had the vegetarian lasagna for dinner along with a salad and some
red wine. Both our meals were very good. The desert of hot apple pie
a la mode was quite good too, but I shouldn't have eaten that much.
I felt like I could have been rolled out of the diner!
WED 05:59 PM MT 02/04/98 Lamy NM - Ch 32 160.590
The above two photos are from my previous trip on the Southwest Chief
and show Starvation Peak. In the early 19th century, this distinctive
flat-topped, rock-capped mesa, became the last stand of 30 Spanish
settlers who, according to legend, fought off attacking Navajos with
rocks, but starved to death when the Indians surrounded the peak.
Starvation Peak can be seen about 70 minutes after leaving Lamy if
heading east, or 25 minutes after Las Vegas if heading west.
WED 07:31 PM MT 02/04/98 Las Vegas NM - Ch 32 160.590
I think I already mentioned that this train, which is usually
difficult to book at the last minute, is not very crowded.
It is missing all of the Coast Starlight passengers that would
have connected with it because of the cancellation of the Coast
Starlight and might also be missing just about everyone that
expected to come in on a connecting train or bus from north of
Los Angeles. Even so, there are quite a few occupied sleepers
in this car.
Usually the luggage rack downstairs by the vestibule is full of
suitcases by the time the train has come this far. Right now,
the only suitcases in the rack are the two from the couple that
got on from the bus in Barstow. I can't figure out why the people
on this train have an unusually light load of luggage.
WED 09:15 PM MT 02/04/98 Raton NM - Ch 32 160.590
WED 10:10 PM MT 02/04/98 Trinidad CO - Ch 32 160.590
WED 11:25 PM MT 02/04/98 La Junta CO - Ch 32 160.590
THU 12:14 AM MT 02/04/98 Lamar CO - Ch 55 160.935
THU --:-- AM CT 02/04/98 Garden City KS - Ch 55 160.935
THU --:-- AM CT 02/05/98 Dodge City KS - Ch 55 160.935
THU --:-- AM CT 02/05/98 Hutchinson KS - Ch 55 160.935
THU --:-- AM CT 02/05/98 Newton KS - Ch 55 160.935
THU --:-- AM CT 02/05/98 Topeka KS - Ch 55 160.935
THU --:-- AM CT 02/05/98 Lawrence KS - Ch 55 160.935
THU 09:16 AM CT 02/05/98 Kansas City MO - Ch 30 160.560
We are now less than 2 hours behind schedule, so we must have
made up some time during the night!
I had hoped to step off the train in Kansas City and stretch my
legs. That would also have been a good opportunity to get the
car numbers of the locomotives and express cars. But, having made
up about an hour in time, I got a bit thrown off!
When I woke up, I recognized that we were on the approach to Kansas City.
Looking at my clock, I wondered how that could be since we shouldn't be
to Kansas City for at least another hour! By the time I got dressed and
ready to head out, there wasn't enough time remaining to do much walking
around. Instead, I uploaded and download my e-mail and files that needed
to be updated. I had a very hard time of it. Even though my cell phone
showed 100% as the reception level, it was not consistent and my
connection was dropped several times. Usually I'm only able to connect
at 4800 baud, but the clear connect here automatically got me connected
at 7200 baud. Unfortunately, it is easier to maintain a 4800 baud
cellular connection than a 7200 baud connection. I don't know how to
force it to connect at a lower speed, so I was left with the frustrating
experience of trying to reconnect many times before I was able to upload
THU 09:45 AM CT 02/05/98 Kansas City MO - Ch 30 160.560
THU 11:53 AM CT 02/05/98 La Plata MO - Ch 30 160.560
Getting up later than I expected almost meant that I missed breakfast.
So, I headed down to the first call for lunch at 12 noon! The reason
I had hoped to be in time for breakfast was that I knew the menu would
be the same as yesterday. Breakfast would be something different for
me as I didn't eat breakfast on the train yesterday. The same 3 items
were on the lunch menu again. I ordered the open face roast beef
sandwich with mashed potatoes and string beans. It was delicious
yesterday, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with that. Another item
on the menu was a chicken salad which the other two people at my
table ordered. I don't remember the third item or the child's item.
The lunch today was every bit as good as yesterday, but I think I
would rather have had a breakfast item today!
One person at my table was retired and did quite a bit of travel by
train. He lived in Virginia and was heading home after a long vacation
in Arizona. The other person at my table was a woman who originally
planned to drive across the country. Hmm. This pair sounds a lot
like two others I've eaten with on this trip, but they are a totally
different set of people! Both were enjoying their travel. The woman
was in coach but wished that she could have afforded to travel in a
sleeper. The retired man was in a Standard Bedroom, but had tried to
reserve a Deluxe Bedroom. Evidently, even though this train is not
booked solid, the Deluxe Bedrooms are totally booked.
THU 01:00 PM CT 02/05/98 Fort Madison IA - Ch 30 160.560
The photo on the left was taken as from my window in the Amtrak Southwest
Chief as we crossed from Iowa into Illinois over the wide Mississippi
River on a 3,347 foot long steel bridge. This bridge has the world's
largest double-track, double-decker swing span. The bridge pivots to
allow river traffic to pass!
The photo on the right was also taken from my window and shows the
lead locamotive of our train passing a signal as we round a curve.
THU 01:58 PM CT 02/05/98 Galesburg IL - Ch 30 160.560
Galesburg is the birthplace of poet Carl Sandberg and hosted a
Lincoln-Douglas debate in 1858. The left photo above is the
Galesburg Amtrak Station. It is set quite far back away from the
tracks. You can see another set of tracks that terminates closer
to the station. I would assume that passengers trains used to use
the tracks closer to the station before they were torn up. There
is a "bus stop" type shelter right up close to the tracks with the
official "Amtrak Galesburg" plackard. The photo on the right is
of a four car steam train complete with locomotive and caboose
that is displayed just a block north of the station.
The journey seems to be longer than my usual perception of travel on
the Southwest Chief to Chicago. Perhaps it is because I often take
the Southwest Chief as the very last segment of my rail journey back
to California and then it seems to go by much faster than I would like!
THU 02:46 PM CT 02/05/98 Princeton IL - Ch 85 161.385
If anyone knows the road frequencies used between Fort Madison and
Princeton and/or the mile posts, please let me know by sending e-mail to:
firstname.lastname@example.org. I seem
to be missing them on my radio charts. I also found several mileposts
between La Plata and Fort Madison that I didn't have listed on my
I expect that the above will be the last photos that I will take
from the Southwest Chief. We are getting close enough to Chicago
that I need to start to re-pack all my equipment. The only thing
I will leave out to pack last is my notebook computer in case
I wish to place any further comments into this travelogue before
arriving into Chicago.
THU 03:05 PM CT 02/05/98 Mendota IL - Ch 66 161.100
THU 03:58 PM CT 02/05/98 Naperville IL - Ch 66 161.100
THU 05:02 PM CT 02/05/98 Chicago IL - Ch 66 161.100
The train stopped to drop off the express cars before backing
into the station. My Sleeping Car ended up being just one car
away from the entrance to the station building so I didn't have
far to walk. Sometimes they bring the train straight into the
station which places the sleepers far from the station entrance.
I'm staying at the Quality Inn Downtown. The rooms are nice and
the daily rate is about $80. The taxi driver was friendly, but I
could tell he was a little upset that he had to drive such a short
distance. I'm sure he would now go back to the station to the end
of the taxi line and hope for a longer drive next time. He did
continued to talk friendly, but maybe it was the way he mentioned
that I could have walked to the hotel that gave me the clue that
he wasn't happy with my destination. Actually, we went several
blocks from the station to the hotel. I could certainly walk it
in under 15 minutes. However, the last time I tried a hike that long
a distance with my luggage with wheels, I made it fine but my luggage
wheels self-destructed! I think those are made for rugs and hard
floors found in airports, not for sidewalks and streets!
The fare came to $2.60, but I let him keep the change from a $5
bill. That should help compensate some for having to go back and
wait at the end of the taxi line in the station. He seemed happy
The Quality Inn Downtown is the same place that I stayed in during
the Chicago layover on my last rail trip in January. The view from
the room was the same. Above you can see two evening photos that I
took from my balcony on my last stay at this hotel.
Well, that is the end of this travelogue! If you find errors in
this travelogue, please feel free to e-mail your corrections to
me at: email@example.com.
I have quite a backlog of corrections to previous travelogues, but
I do eventually get around to making the updates. So, if you don't
hear back from me right away, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate
your feedback. Be patient and I'll eventually get a response back to
you and get those corrections posted!
A few corrections were brought to my attention by David Curlee
right after I finished posting this travelogue on Thursday, February 5.
First, he mentioned that Amtrak trains do not use the fly-over in
San Bernardino. I was aware that Metrolink trains did use this fly-over
and just assumed that we were going to do the same as I saw us approaching
it. At that time I went downstairs to prepare to step out at the station
and did not see how we actually did get to the station. Also, David
mentioned that the Coast Starlight no longer connects with the Southwest
Chief. I actually knew that, but it didn't occur to me until the next
day that this was the case. I was thrown off because the Conductor
really did say and assume the bus meeting the train in Barstow would be
from passengers on the Coast Starlight. I have to assume that those
two trains did have a connection for so long and a bus connection was
made for late arrivals, that he was just used to assuming such passengers
were from the Coast Starlight. That answers another item that I thought
was odd. I had never seen Amtrak use Greyhound to carry passengers from
a late train and it was a Greyhound bus that met the train. On the other
hand, Barstow is a regular Greyhound stop and these passengers were
probably just regular Greyhound passengers coming to the train station.
He also mentioned that Barstow does not have a ticket agent. That
probably accounts for why the Conductor and Dispatcher had such a hard
time trying to reach the Barstow Ticket Agent to find out how many
people were coming off the bus! Even back when the Coast Starlight used
to connect with the Southwest Chief, these passengers were usually
bussed to San Bernardino which does have an agent. That is probably
what caused some of the confusion.
- My Name: Steve Grande
- My Car Number: 0430
- My Seat/Accommodation: Standard Bedroom 2
- Train Route: Southwest Chief
- Train Number: 4
- Direction: Northeast from Los Angeles to Chicago
- 0430 Car Attendant: Ralph Carrington
- Dining Car Steward: Edwin
- Dining Car Server: Glynn Scott
- Dining Car Server: Susan
- Cafe Car Attendant: Eduardo
- Chief of Onboard Services: Bernadet Cole
Consist (car numbers):
You will probably have to modify the number of cars and
the Amtrak assigned numbers listed below. The list below is just a guess.
- Lead locomotive:
- Locomotive #2:
- Baggage Car:
- Superliner Coach #3 (0412):
- Superliner Coach #2 (0411):
- Superliner Coach #1 (0410): 31517
- Sightseer Lounge Car: 33048
- Superliner Dining Car: 38059
- Superliner Sleeping Car #1 (0430): 32080 Idaho
- Superliner Sleeping Car #2 (0431): 32070 Alabama
- Express Cars:
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