My wife and I have just finished a fast trip to the west coast. We
departed Dallas on 9/18 on 21 before sunset, and connected with 1 in San
Antonio. 1 was a little late but the pad in the schedule at San Antonio
helped a lot.
The train was running about an hour and a half late east of El Paso when
it was announced that we would stop and wait for 2/22 in order that a
memorial service could be held by the crews. It seems a conductor had
passed away who had been on the route for some 45 years. I think his
name was Walter, not sure. In any event we were more like two hours
late by El Paso. Had a chance for the first time go look over the
station at El Paso, really nice inside.
Anyway departed El Paso into a moon less night where we started to get
fault detector problems. When it really got dark, about two minutes
after the Chief of Onboard Services announced we would be able to make
up the lost time, we got the big fault problem. It seems the front
power had developed an axle problem. We limped into a y some where in
the desert where from out of the moon less blackness they conjured up a
UP freight power unit of some sort. Fat chance of make up time now.
We arrived at Palm Springs about five hours behind schedule. Oh I
forgot we were booked on the Starlight going north. Not a problem
however always an adventure, we got on buses and headed north west,
somewhat in the general direction of Alaska where we caught up with the
Starlight at San Louis Obispo some 309 miles cross country. Funny
thing, the Starlight seems to be having about as much luck as the Eagle
and the Sunset Limited and was an hour or so late into Oakland.
A few days later we caught the Starlight going south in the general
direction of Los Angeles. About two hours behind schedule which
compounded to make sure we missed the last train out of LA to San
Diego. Yep another bus ride from LA to San Diego. Lots of traffic on
I-5 around 2 in the morning.
We left San Diego on time Friday, got into LA in good shape, Ready to
depart back to the flat lands of Texas at 9:55pm. Turned out to be more
like 11:00. It seems that 1/21 had been so late getting in on Friday
they had not had time to turn it.
About this time around 9:30 or so announcements were made that the
Sunset Limited would not go beyond Houston and gave passengers their
options. The trip to San Antonio was underscored by the passengers who
were trying to find a way home. 22 was a little late getting out of San
Antonio because it was re configured to handle those passengers who
wanted to try their luck via Chicago. There was an unusual sight in
Fort Worth when 22 was backing into the station 21 was pulling in from
Dallas waiting their turn at the station. While stopped in Fort Worth I
did walk back and looked at the express cars, all but the first car had
We as usual had a good time on this trip. To travel by rail in the west
and southwest, one must not be in a big hurry and should pack an extra
pair of socks etc. We are planning our next adventure, maybe go east.
One thing however we have had three trips on the Starlight this year and
I have not yet been able to get a coffee mug for my collection. Oh
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