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TrainWeb Visitor Travelogue
www.trainweb.com/travelogues/multiple/1999e28.html

Drew Mitchem's 14,500 mile Trip on Amtrak


Travelogue

    This trip consists of Train Rides on the following Amtrak Routes:
  • Coast Starlight: #11 Centralia-Los Angeles (May 28th-May 30th), #14
  • Emeryville-Portland (June 3rd-June 4th) and #14 Los Angeles-Centralia (June 21st-June 22nd)
  • San Diegan #560 Los Angeles-Fullerton (May 30th)
  • Southwest Chief #4 Fullerton-Galesburg (May 30th-June 1st)
  • California Zephyr #5 Galesburg-Emeryville (Roseville) (June 1st-June 3rd)
  • Empire Builder #28 Portland-Chicago (June 4th-June 6th)\
  • Lake Shore Limited #48 Chicago-New York (June 6th-June 7th)
  • Vermonter #55 New York-Newark (June 7th)
  • Three Rivers #41 Newark-Pittsburgh (June 17th)
  • Capitol Limited #29 Pittsburgh-Chicago (June 17th-June 18th)
  • Texas Eagle California Service #21 Chicago-Los Angeles (June 18th-June 21st)

May 28th, 1999 Coast Starlight #11 Centralia, WA-Los Angeles, CA

Before I was suppose to depart at 1153am, #14 of the 26th was delayed severely due to a detour on BNSF's Oregon Trunk from Chemult, OR-OT Jct. And UP on the Columbia River Gorge to Portland because of a tunnel fire north of Oakridge, OR on UP's Willamette Pass Route (Eugene-Klamath Falls). It did not arrive Seattle until 930am; it was due to leave Seattle at 945am. It finally left Seattle at 130pm, almost 4 hours late! The friendly ticket agent at the Centralia Amtrak Station, Ken Moore called me periodically to let me know the progress and ETD's out of Seattle, and ETA's into Centralia. That's what I call CUSTOMER SERVICE! While I set at my neighbor's house all worried about missing my connection on to Train #4 in Fullerton, I played cards with my buddies for about 5 hours (9am-2pm) while drinking tons of coffee. I got the word at 135pm by Ken that the train had finally departed Seattle, so I departed home about an hour and a half later. The train finally arrived Centralia at 327pm, and departed at 330pm, 3 hrs 37 minutes late. We cruised along BNSF's Seattle Sub all the way to Vancouver, and then we got word that the line through Oakridge was not open, so we would detour as well! We arrived Portland at 520pm, and after we added a UP C44-9W #9735, we left Portland at 551pm, 3 hrs 26 minutes late. We went down the Graham Line from Portland Union Station to Troutdale, and then UP's Portland Sub to OT Jct. They added the UP unit because of Cab Signaling purposes, and also we were limited to 70mph. We are limited to 49mph on the Oregon Trunk to Chemult, were we will resume our regular route to Klamath Falls and beyond. Our consist today is UP C44-9W #9735, 2 Amtrak P42's #'s 113 and 114. We have 12 cars (Baggage Car, Crew Sleeper, 3 Sleepers, Pacific Parlor Car, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, and 4 Coaches). I will be eating dinner at 615pm as we cruise the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon Side. We will most likely go through the Deschutes River Canyon in the dark, but we may get an hour of daylight out of it in the beginning. Well, it's 725pm now, and I just finished dinner. I had the Willamette Valley Beef Tenderloin, which was excellent. It was complemented with salad, a roll, garlic-mashed potatoes, and rice pilaf. For desert I had the Caramel Turtle Ice Cream Cake, which is a ritual for me because it is so good that on every trip on the Coast Starlight, I always have the turtle cake. I would recommend it to everyone, it is very rich but ohhh it's so heavenly! We just went over a UP detector at MP 76.2, no defects, 62 axles. We are 7 miles out of the Dalles OR, and the scenery outside has changed from a lush green to a mix of a green-brown-light brown on the hillsides. I still haven't seen a BNSF train on the Washington side of the Columbia River on BNSF's Fallbridge Sub, along with any transmissions on there radio channel 161.415(AAR 87). Our channel on the UP Portland Sub is 160.515. We are going to change pilots at OT Jct. (UP to BNSF) BNSF's Oregon Trunk is on AAR 66 161.100, the Oregon Branch Line Dispatcher. The OT is also TWC (Track Warrant Control), so every 30 miles or so we have to get another Track Warrant issued to us by the Dispatcher. There is a beautiful full moon directly to the east of us. We arrived OT Jct. At 749pm, 1 hour 58 minutes after we left Portland. We are waiting for a signal to unlock; it is running on a timer (running on time). I finally saw a BNSF train over there on the Washington side, it was a westbound empty garbage train with 71 cars and 2 units, BN SD40-2's. On the move at 8pm, conductor unlocked the switch and the derail. He re-aligned the switch and derail behind us after we passed. We stooped again, waiting for track warrants. OK'd by the Dispatcher at 2018(818pm), and we were to meet 2 trains at Dike siding, the BN 7146, and #14 as well. On the move at 820pm. Still plenty of daylight as we climb the hill out of the gorge and into the Deschutes River Canyon at 10mph. With our 12,900 horsepower, our big GE's pulled us with ease! We have a lot of 30 and 35 mph track ahead, 114 miles worth to be exact. We got to Dike siding and at over on half-hour as both the BN 7146 passed with 8 engines and 8 cars, and then #14 with the UP 9333, a C40-8 passed with engineer James Abney as the hoghead. He said Hi to me over the radio and I made sure I was waving at him out the door window of my coach car, the 1113 car! I fell asleep after that meet.

May 29th, 1999
I woke up at just as we started to leave the Bend, OR station as we had changed crews. We had some signal troubles over night, so we had to stop at the red signal, proceed at 10 mph to the next one, stop, do the same thing over again for about 3 hours or so. We ended up getting one hour of daylight in the canyon, but it was very twisty and turny, but beautiful! I woke up during the middle of the night as we passed 2 UP freights on a siding, one was the Swift Roadrailer Train, the other was a LA-Portland Z train, both headed north. The scenery was beautiful as we traveled between Bend-Chemult. We passed 3 more BNSF freight trains in sidings between those points. We left Chemult and Klamath Falls approx. 11 hours and 25mins late. Oh yah, we would get go through the astonishing beauty of the Sacramento River Canyon all in daylight, and with a clear blue sky as well! Twists, turns, rapids, the huge bridge over Lake Shasta, and of course to end it the Huge curved trestle as we enter Redding!! I didn't keep track of time much after Klamath Falls because I didn't really care to, I was travelling on a route that I would normally going through in the dark!! Us passengers who were supposed to connect to #4 at Los Angeles were told at Sacramento to stay on the train into LA where we would be re-accommodated for #4 of the 30th and so on. We still have this UP unit on the point, I thought we would take it off at Klamath Falls, but I guess not! Well, while in the Oakland Coach Yard, we finally took it off!! So, back up to 79mph for us! I met at the Oakland Jack London Square Depot Mark De Le Monte, Dan and Margaret Monroe, who were quite surprised to see me because I was originally supposed to be bussed to Stockton, and take a San Jouquin to Bakersfield, then a bus to LA. These folks are avid railfans a well!! We left Jack London Square Station part of a parade of Southbounds. We had a UP Z train ahead of us, then behind us was Capitol #733, and as UP Dispatcher 58(160.320) Doug referred to as a "Big Fat Heavy Ugly Thing"((UP 3366 with a manifest) behind them. Doug also said something about us like " with a wave of the wand and the magic sparkles fly, POOF your now Amtrak 114!!" He is a pretty humorous Dispatcher, listen to him when you are on #11 or #14 when you are between San Louis Obispo-Oakland, he is really funny!! Just after we left Oakland, they brought us all some free sandwiches, cheese, crackers, and some sparkling wine in the lounge as all of us in coach got the "Parlor Car Treatment" , but didn't get to go in the Parlor Car itself. Well, it is now dark as we leave the San Jose Station.

May 30th, 1999 # 11 continued, #560 San Diegan Los Angeles-Fullerton, and # 4 Southwest Chief Fullerton-Galesburg

I woke up as we arrived Glendale, CA and it was 610am. We arrived Los Angeles at 630am,9 hours and 15 minutes late. We were all re-accommodated at LA, so most of my trip up to getting to New Jersey would be one day behind then originally planned!


May 30th, 1999 Train #560 San Diegan, Train #4 Southwest Chief

I left LA at 830am on San Diegan #560 and arrived Fullerton on time. I sat around the Fullerton Amtrak Station all day and not only watched BNSF's parade of freights, but also got to tour the trainweb.com office and met both Ray Burns and Steve Grande of trainweb, in which I will send this travelogue to. Steve encouraged me to!! It was pretty neat up there, a good view of all of the trains, plus all of those web-cams!! Well, I also met a person with some really good knowledge of Amtrak, his name is Thomas Batts. He was pretty cool to hang around and talk to down there. We talked about Amtrak most of the time, along with the BNSF and so forth. My # 4 arrived Fullerton a few minutes early and we departed on time with 23 cars in tow(we had 4 P42's, 10 passenger cars including a baggage car, and 13 Mail and express boxcars and MHC's on the rear. We have 108 axles!!!! We cruised up Cajon Pass at night along with passing the numerous freights along the way. I fell asleep before Victorville. I woke up just west of Flagstaff, AZ and the weather was beautiful. We left Flagstaff right on time, and cruised on to Winslow, AZ where we kicked a one armed drunk who threatened a family and also picked up one Roadrailer, #410022 in Phase 5 Paint. It was full of mail from Pheonix, AZ. The desert was beautiful, we left a very hot Albuquerque on time, and next thing you know, we where in Glorieta Pass. It was a very short pass, just as Raton was, but the very steep grades with the desert flora was pretty exciting. We arrived La Junta, Co 10 minutes early, and departed on time at 44pm. As we cruised at 90mph on jointed rail through southeast Colorado and into Kansas, we saw some nasty thunderstorms up to the north. The guys in the head-end are crack ups, wondering what movie they are watching. The other said "Escape from Alcatraz"


June 1st, 1999 #4 continued and #5 California Zephyr Galesburg-Emeryville(Roseville)

I woke up to a thunderstorm at Lawrence, KS and we arrived Kansas City on time . It was thunderstorming as well in KC, and the Ann Rutledge was sitting next to us waiting to depart on time. It had P42 # 4 on the point, what a coincidence as train #4 was right next to it!! We left KC 10 minutes late due to some freight congestion, we had a Gateway Western train ahead of us. We got delayed due to signal problems just east of the station. Finally on the move 20 minutes later, we cross the Missouri River, which is flooding a little. Not much to see until Fort Madison, IA where we cross the Mississippi River on a huge double track bridge. We arrived Galesburg 45 minutes late. After I put my bags in a locker, I proceeded to "The Spot", where the BNSF 's ex BN double track main to Chicago crosses the BNSF's ex-Santa Fe double track main to Chicago. In one hour, I saw 7 trains, 5 on the Santa Fe, 2 on the BN, and then the sky started clouded over, and the clouds were getting darker by the minute. Turned on my WX frequency on my scanner and heard that a tornado watch had been posted for the Galesburg area. I hurried back to the Galesburg depot, just in time before a severe Thunderstorm hit!! The lightning was like a strobe-light show and the thunder was non-stop. Then the rain started!! It rained 3 inches in the half-hour it did!! They had spotted a tornado with Doppler radar 15 miles to the southwest of Galesburg and it was moving northeast at 35 mph right for us!! There was no cover in the depot, but lots of glass windows!! It was pretty scary, but luckily no tornado hit!!

Tuesday, June 1st, 1999 Train #5 California Zephyr

# 6 arrived at 6pm, 6 hours late and waited until the rain subsided to let passengers off. # 5 held out of the station for #6 to clear. # 6 had 4 units and 13 cars(4th unit was a Cal-Train F40PH to be overhauled and repainted), and #5 had 3 units, 2 P42's #'s 76 and #30, and F40PH # 238. We had 14 cars, which included the private car "Virginia City" on the rear, just ahead of a baggage car full of mail to be dropped off at Denver. Our consist was: P42's #'s 76 and 30, F40PH # 238, Baggage Car, Crew Sleeper, 3 Sleepers, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, 4 Coaches, Private Car "Virginia City", and one Baggage Car for Denver(Full of Mail). We are just west of Mt. Pleasant, IA and I'm going to retire for the evening after this exciting day!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 1999 #5 California Zephyr McCook ,NE-Salt Lake City, UT

I woke up to the McCook, NE stop. After McCook, there are the rolling corn fields plains. Scenery was the same as we cruised through Fort Morgan, CO and all the way to Denver. We stopped in Denver for 1 hour as we were early arriving, so I had some time to explore the station, as well as watch the engine personnel fuel the units, and watch them clean the windows and so forth. The weather is mostly sunny with some build-ups to the west as we start our climb up the Front Range of the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Snow capped peaks, rocky and rugged deep valleys and canyons, and lush green trees turned the view into a incredible vista of god's creation. Just went through the Moffat Tunnel. We were asked not to go between the cars due to the 6-mile tunnel's poor ventilation. We left Fraser (Winter Park) 10 minutes behind schedule. Just after we passed a Coal train on Tabernash siding, in which one the helpers was the UP AC4400CW #9999, coupled up to an SP AC440CW. Then I took an afternoon nap. I woke up for last call for lunch, and I had the soup and salad as we twisted our way through torturous Gore Canyon. The bean soup was excellent! The skies were threatening through Gore Canyon all the way to Dotsero, where we met #6 on a curve. I got some good meet pictures from my coach window, and then from the rear of the train as she passed. Thunderstorms are forecasted all the way to Salt Lake City. Following the Colorado River on this train always impresses me. The gaggle of colors, shapes, rock formations and vegetation. The rocks are jagged one minute, then they are red and smooth the next, and then they are red and jagged. These formations follow us the whole way we follow the Colorado. We passed a short UP Z Train with 2 UP SD60M's and UPS Trailers abound, as well as a priority manifest with a 2 UP AC440CW's and a UP SD9043MAC at Range Siding. We ended up getting delayed 50 minutes due to some poles hitting a slide detector fence just east of Glenwood Canyon. As we wound through Glenwood Canyon, a freak rain/hail storm hit, and the wind was just whipping at about 60mph through the canyon, as we could feel and hear it hitting our windows. It was quite a storm. We ended up leaving Grand Junction, CO 1 hr late. I have met a pair of railfans on this trip as well, there names are Logan Geigner and Bob Gross. Logan is a Photographer from Bloomington, IL and Bob is a Retired Customer Service Representative of from United Airlines, and he resides in Hickory Hills, IL. They are both members of the 20th Century Railroad Club in Chicago, IL. Today its Bob's Birthday, and tomorrow it is Logan's Birthday!! This segment is part of their birthday trip that consists them of : #5 Chicago-Emeryville.(Coach) Stay in San Francisco for 2 days, #14 Emeryville-Portland(Sleeper), Portland-Seattle Talgo Ride, stay with a relative in Seattle for a couple of days, and then Train #8 Seattle-Chicago(Sleeper). They are very knowledgeable railfans, and are very cool to hang out with!! When I go through Bloomington on Train #21 on June 18th, I'm going to get off and say "Hi" to Logan when he meets me there, and Bob said he would give me a little tour around Chicago. He would also show me the "Sky Box for Railfans" above Amtrak's Chicago Engine and Coach Yard facilities. Well, for dinner tonight I had the Prime Rib with some ice tea to complement it. The waiter gave me 2 ice teas, when I finished one, he would replace it immediately!! So I would have 2 ice teas at all times!! I had 5 ice teas before my meal even arrived! Complementing my steak was some rice, corn and broccoli. I was so stuffed that I passed up dessert (a rare occurrence for me!) Me and Logan are writing a travelogue(Logan's travelogue is in a form of a letter to his girlfriend) as we wind our way down Soldier Summit. We arrived Salt Lake City about 45 minutes late, and departed about 1 hour 15 minutes late because a forklift had accidentally knocked over a pallet full of totes of mail, which went all over the baggage car and the ground!! Well, time to snooze!!


Thursday, June 3rd, 1999 #5 Winnamucca, NV-Emeryville, CA(Roseville), Train #14 Coat Starlight Emeryville, CA-Martinez, CA

I woke up to the Winnamucca, NV station stop, and it was raining . We left 1 hour 40 minutes late, as we lost some time overnight. It has been raining for quite a while out here in the desert, as the streams are swollen to capacity. The scenery is very desolate, with colored mountains and basic desert shrubbery. I fall asleep again, and wake up as we arrive Sparks, NV. Me and Logan proceeded to the head-end to take some pictures(Logan had a video camera) of the train, along with a UP Manifest freight with 2 UP AC6000CW's on the point, to follow us out of Sparks. Reno was active as normal. We followed the Truckee River up to Truckee, where there was snow on the ground(1/2-inch!). As we climb the west approach of Donner, the snow depth increases, and we are passing a loaded Automotive Train on the other track, going the same way!! It took us a while to pass it because we were only doing 5 mph more then it was, but it as being pulled by a UP SD60M, an SP SD45 and a Rio Grande SD40T-2(Tunnel Motor)!!. As we leave the Mt. Judah Tunnel, and for the next 10 miles, it is snowing and the snow depth was between 2-3 feet, in June!!! We were only 1 hour 20 minutes late as we pulled into Colfax. Next thing you know, we were in Roseville, CA, where I chose to detrain to meet another railfan buddy of mine, Evan Werkema. He took me around the "new" Roseville Yard, and I as well took pictures of the UP 3985 and 844, visiting steam locos for The 1999 California Railfair. E-9 # 951 was tucked in between the 2 units and the UP Streamlined Passenger Cars that were hooked up to the respective active steamers. We had to stop at Wal-Mart on the way to Stockton, CA because I was out of film, so I picked up another 12 rolls of Kodak Gold Max 800-speed film for my automatic 85mm Zoom camera. At Stockton we took some pictures of the Stockton Terminal and Eastern?? Railroad, which hosts some Alco NW 1's, and an EMD SW1200 that was obvious that is was out of commission. We then proceeded to the spot where Stockton Tower once stood, and saw a UP local pull onto the BNSF Main to work the Stockton Industries with an SP GP38-2 and 15 cars, we spotted a BNSF 998 west on a short Z-Train. After him we spotted the Z-CLONBY(Clovis-North Bay) with about 18 cars (4 Autoracks on the rear). We followed him to Pittsburg, CA where we got a picture of him going around a curve and a bridge. Then we chased him to Martinez, CA where we heard on the scanner that an Eastbound, the S-RICCHC(Stacks-Richmond, CA-Chicago) was about to leave Franklin Canyon, so we proceed to the large bridge that is bracketed by a tunnel at each end. She popped out 20 minutes later, we got some good shots, and then we highballed for Emeryville, CA, where I would catch #14, The Coast Starlight that night. We arrived in Emeryville, the station arrival and departure screen said the train was on time, so me and Evan went to Burger King for some fast food, and then proceeded to Oakland Jack London Square Station, where we would see the train. The arrival and departure screens there said that the train was running approx. 1 hour 40 minutes late!! That was a shock!! So we set at the station, ate dinner, and watched a few freights pass by. We later learned that # 14 had to set out an F40PH for Cal-Train in San Jose, and set out 2 Private Cars in the Oakland Coach Yard! We went to Emeryville station again after a while to see a couple freights there as well, then #14 arrived 2 hrs late, and I said good bye to Evan, went up to my coach seat, and fell asleep.


Friday, June 4th, 1999 Train #14 Coast Starlight Dunsmuir, CA-Eugene, OR(Bus Eugene-Portland), #28 Portland Section Empire Builder Portland, OR-Spokane, WA)

I woke up to Cantara Loop, just north of Dunsmuir, CA, and then I fell asleep again. I then woke up at Dorris, CA where we cross the state line into Oregon. I got off at Klamath Falls, OR for a couple of smokes, and we take off 2 hours late. James Abney was our hoghead for this segment. Still didn't get to meet him yet due to the little time we had in Klamath Falls. Willamette Pass was pretty neat. Snow was still on the ground on both sides of the summit, in which was caused from the record snowfall of the winter of 1998-1999. The ride was uneventful until we got to Oakridge, OR, where the train crew announced that #28 passengers connecting at Portland were to get off at Eugene so we would bussed to connect to the train. The Bus ride was uneventful as well, as we arrived Portland at 420pm, 20 minutes until we were to depart on #28 at 440pm.

Friday, June 4th, 1999 Train #28 Portland Section Empire Builder

We boarded #28, and our lead unit was P42 #800 in Phase 5 paint scheme. We had 4 Superliners, 1 MHC, and Mail and Express Box Cars on the rear of our consist out of Portland. We departed Portland(PDX) at 440pm, on time. I saw my ticket agent buddy Nancy at Vancouver, who is a relief agent out of PDX. We have passed 3 freights on the BNSF, as well as 3 UP 's on the Oregon Side, and we haven't reached Bingen-White Salmon yet!! Around Roosevelt, WA, we saw a CP Potash Train on the UP's Washy line on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. It has a UP SD60M on the point and 3 CP SD40-2's one being a full body cowl unit! Well, I am about to fall asleep here at Lind, WA, so goodnight!!

Saturday, June 5th, 1999 #28/8 Whitefish, MT-Devils Lake, ND

I woke up just west of Whitefish, MT as I slept very well last night. For Breakfast I had the Biscuits and Gravy, which was excellent! We are running on time as we have been arriving each station overnight between 5-12 minutes early!! Glacier Park was very scenic, no snow on the ground, but the serene snow-capped mountain peaks, deep canyons, and of course the Issak Walton Inn make Marias Pass one of my favorites to pass through!!! Our consist right now as we are between Shelby and Havre, MT is: P42's #'s 800 and 821, F40PH #356, baggage car, crew sleeper, 2 Seattle Sleepers, Diner, 2 Seattle Coaches(one smoking), Sightseer Lounge, 2 Portland Coaches, a Portland Sleeper, 1 MHC, and 2 Mail and Express Boxcars. 14 cars total!! We are doing 79mph through the rolling plains and hills, the engines spitting black smoke on each significant grade. We have passed quite a bit of BNSF Freight Trains between Whitefish-Havre. Our PA system isn't working, so each station stop isn't announced until we actually saw them!! The coach car attendant announced that lunch would be starting in 10 minutes as she walked through!! I guess she is now our PA system!! We just passed over the Joplin Detector, no defects, 68 axles, 79 mph, 68 degrees! We arrived Havre at 1240pm, 37 minutes before our 117pm departure. We departed at 117pm, and we met #7 at the Harlem siding at MP 387.7, halfway between Havre and Malta, MT. #7 had 2 P40's and one P42 and 13 cars. W have a drunk on the train that was causing trouble on yesterday's #8, and he is causing trouble again today. The conductors tried there hardest to get him to Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, but they had enough of him so the booted him off at Malta for smoking in the coaches. For crying out loud we have a Smoking Car!! Oh well, when your drunk you don't think, as this case this guy didn't think, so he got booted off for the second day in a row. Maybe tomorrow he will be sober!! We left 5 minutes late out of Malta and lost some more time into Wolf Point as we left 22 minutes late out of there. We held in a siding at Wolf Point for the BNSF 1016 west, the S-BPATAC(Stack-Bedford Park, IL-Tacoma, WA). A bank sign said it was 91 degrees as we departed Wolf Point. We ended up leaving Williston, ND 26 minutes late, but left Minot, ND 5 minutes late! While in Minot, I was eating dinner, it was a 10 ounce New York Strip Steak, which was delicious. I had the turtle ice cream cake as usual for dessert. Then I proceeded to the Smoking Car to have a couple of smokes and talk with the people about trains and cameras, etc.

We left Rugby, ND 2 minutes late. It was daylight until around 1020pm Central Time!! We arrived Devils Lake 2 minutes early and departed on time at 1117pm!! The Devils Lake Subdivision after Rugby is all jointed rail, so the ride is rough at 79mph!! The Dispatcher said he is closing the Hillsboro Subdivision so we have to meet a freight or 2 at Larimore siding. The Devils lake Sub goes between Surrey(Minot) and Grand Forks, ND. We were supposed to traverse the Hillsboro Sub between Grand Forks-Fargo, but its closed, so I don't know if he reopened it for us or he sent us down the New Rockford Cut-off or what. From Fargo we use the K.O Subdivision to East Dilworth, and then we use the Staples Subdivision from East Dilworth to Northtown. We will traverse the Soo Line(CP Rail) between St. Paul, MN-Chicago, IL. Well, goodnight!!


Sunday, June 6th, 1999 Train #28/8 Detroit Lakes. MN-Chicago, IL Train #48 Lake Shore Limited Chicago, IL-Waterloo-IN

I woke up around Detroit Lake, MN to a Thunderstorm. We arrived and departed Minneapolis/St. Paul MN on time. They added 5 MHC's while at the station stop, as a Minnesota Commercial GP 9 did the work. No roadrailers today. Every Soo Line freight we passed had one-three CP AC4400CW's with the new beaver paint scheme on it, and each train had a block of Auto Racks on them!! It was VERY MUGGY outside, especially in Milwaukee. You could barely breathe in the Milwaukee train shed is was so hot and humid!! We arrived Chicago on time at 400pm, and it was very muggy and hot there as well!! I ate at the McDonalds in the upstairs food court in Chicago Union Station(CUS) and I got neck kink after staring in awe at the Sears Tower!!

Sunday, June 6th, 1999 Train #48, the Lake Shore Limited

We boarded #48 and left 15 minutes late. We are sitting outside CUS right now as we add 1 MHC and 4 roadrailers to the rear of the train. Our unit #'s are P42's #'s 24 and 56. We have 20 cars total!! The Coach Video Amfleet 2 Coach car rides pretty smooth!! We left Hammond-Whiting, IN 30 minutes late, and already we are living up to our nickname, the "Late Shore Limited"!! NS's Chicago Line is very Busy, as we are passing freights every 5 minutes for a while there. As we cruise along Lake Michigan, I am about to hit the rack here just east of Waterloo, IN!! Good night!


Monday, June 7th, 1999 #48 Buffalo, NY-New York Penn Station, NY ; Train #55 The Vermonter New York Penn Station - Newark, NJ. I slept well again through the night, and I woke up in the City of Buffalo, NY. We pass quite a few railyards as we do our prescribed 80 mph. We pause in Rochester, NY, and we are almost 2 hours late!! We arrived Albany, NY at 1pm, 1 hour 5 minutes late and immediately removed the roadrailers and the 2 P42's from the point. It was 95 degrees and very humid outside as we add our P32DM-8AC #706 to the point and quickly disconnect from the Boston Section and highball Albany, NY at 125pm, 1 hour 25 minutes late. We sped along the scenic Hudson River Valley all the way to Croton-Harmon, NY , where the third rail kicks in then we increased our speed to 90mph all the way to New York Penn Station!! We arrived New York City at 430pm, 1 hour 15 minutes late.


Monday, June 7th 1999 Train #55 The Vermonter New York Penn Station, NY-Newark, NJ

As I waited for # 55 to arrive New York City from Vermont, I stepped outside Penn Station and watched all of the taxi cabs and cars go by. A horn honked every 5 seconds or so!! I stepped back in from the hot and humid weather on this summer day in Gotham City as I was relieved from the heat inside air condition Penn Station. I boarded #55 at 610pm, and the train was very crowded. We ended up leaving at 650pm, 30 minutes late due to an air conditioning problem. Most of the ride between New York and Newark was dark due to all of the tunnels and so forth. We were being pulled by and AEM-7. We passed a few trains on Amtrak's famed Northeast Corridor, and we pulled into Newark at 720pm, 26 minutes late after an uneventful 90mph ride.

While in New Jersey:
I went around railfanning with my good buddies that I met when they were making a railfanning video in Washington State. They live in New Jersey. Their names are Tom Hark, Jeff Condit, and John Kamenski. We railfanned Shared Assets Lehigh Line(Oak Island, NJ-Port Reading Jct., NJ), CSX's River Line, NS's River Line, and the New York Susquehanna and Western(NYS&W) at Little Ferry, NJ and Ridgefield Park, NJ. We also did Amtrak's North East Corridor at Rahway ,NJ train station, Allentown, PA at CP Burn, Altoona, PA and Horseshoe Curve, Gallitzan Tunnels, and for the grand finale, Selkirk, NY!!!


Part 2

I saw so many trains, types of trains, and engine types I cant even right them down!! I did see the Tropicana Juice Train in NJ a few times. Tom let me borrow one of his video camera, and I got 4 hours of footage from this 11 day stay in the Northeast!! I would like to publicly thank them for such a blast of a time, and I hope to see them again in the next couple of years or so!!


Thursday, June 7th, 1999 Train #41 Three Rivers (Newark-Pittsburgh)

Tom rushed me to Newark Penn Station, where we said our good-byes and what not. I had enough time to go up to the Platform in which #41 would be boarding and I sat. #41 arrived 4 minutes early, and on the point was E60 #903 with 10 cars in tow!! I got another seat with an electrical outlet, so I plugged in my scanner and my headphones and listened to what was going on around the area. We left Newark on time at 103pm. All of us are facing backwards as we travel the Northeast Corridor due to us going the opposite way leaving Philly, so we would be facing forward out of Philly! I am on the right side of the train, so I will have to look out the other side to see Horseshoe Curve! We rip through Trenton, NJ and leave on time there at 148pm. Philly is our next stop at 220pm, and we will depart with our Genesis P42's and all of our mail and express boxcars, MHC's and roadrailers at 300pm. While in the Trenton Station, a Metroliner barreled past us at a measly 100mph! At Pittsburgh I will transfer to #29, the Capitol Limited. If we get severely late, I can just always stay on this train all the way to Chicago! We have passed over 15 trains between Newark and Trenton, and most of them were a blur! We arrived Philadelphia 30th Street Station on time at 220pm. I explored around this beautiful station and found it quite amazing with it's very high ceiling and so forth. I ate one of the famous Philly Cheesesteaks from one of the food places in the food court, and then back to the train to see what has been added on. Our units are now P42's # 14 and 812(Phase 5 Paint scheme). Our consist out of Philly will be: P42's #'s 14 and 812, 8 MHC's, 1 Baggage, 4 Amfleet coaches, 1 Horizon Dinette, 1 Viewliner Sleeper(Didn't have a Heritage Sleeper available, so the sleeper passengers got a treat today!), and 8 roadrailers. 23 cars total. We left Philly 10 minutes late at 310pm due to a problem with a toilet. As we left Philly, in the Engine Facility one of the Acela High Speed Train sets were there, set #2001. It had an F40PH hooked up to the rear of it!! It looked pretty cool, all painted up and looking sleek!! We are travelling on a line that SEPTA(South East Pennsylvania Transit Authority) runs on(owned by Amtrak), so there is cantenary overhead. There is a lot of track work going on, so we are limited to 10mph for the time being. This railroad is very rough, as we are up to our 90mph on jointed rail!! We left Paoli and Lancaster 24 minutes late respectively. We just passed through Elizabethtown, PA and met #40. It's consist was: 2 P42's #'s 80 and 12, 8 MHC's, 1 Baggage, 4 Amfleet coaches, 1 Horizon Dinette, 1 Heritage 10&6 Sleeper,1 MHC, and 9 roadrailers, the 5th being a reefer-railer!. Right now we are travelling through green, lush and beautiful Lancaster County. It is raining right now, but that didn't stop us from spotting a couple of horse-drawn buggies with Amish people in them!! There is a lot of farm land out here, as noticed by all of the farm houses and barns that are near the tracks on both sides. Amtrak's Philly-Harrisburg Line is the roughest line I've ever traveled, due to all of the 30 f. jointed rail and 90mph running! We arrived Harrisburg at 541pm and departed at 558pm, 43 minutes late due to an electrician fixing the toilet in the Horizon Fleet Dinette that has been giving us problems. I got some pictures of us crossing the famous Rockville Bridge. We are picking up an outlawed crew from NS's PIBE(Pittsburgh-Bethlehem, PA Manifest) at CP Banks. We went over a detector and it said no defects, 86 axles. We wasted no time picking up the crew as we did a stop and go. We dropped them off at CP Cannon, as we passed the ML-480 with a Santa Fe C41-9W #915 as the trailing unit. We departed Hundington, PA at 757pm, 50 minutes late. We departed Altoona, PA at 843pm, 50 minutes late as well. It is now getting pretty dark as we climb towards Horseshoe Curve. As we went around Horseshoe Curve, a long doublestack train was on the inside of us. Abut halfway around the curve we passed him up, and we got to see it after all. We passed 2 more westbounds after that train, and the next westbound we passed inside the Allegheny Tunnel( Gallitzin Tunnels). As our tail of our train left the tunnel, the NS C40-9W leading the westbound stuck it's head out as well, making a pretty cool scene for the railfans who were there watching trains in the dark!!! Well, I need some sleep before Pittsburgh, so good night!


Friday, June 18th, 1999 Train #29 Capitol Limited(Pittsburgh-Chicago), Train #21 Texas Eagle California Service(Chicago-Lincoln, IL)

#41 arrived Pittsburgh 1 hour late, and departed 20 minutes later. #29 arrived behind him and we departed about 45 minutes late. I went to my seat, and immediately fell asleep. I woke up at Toledo, OH, and as we passed 3 brand spanking new BNSF SD70MAC's #'s 8898,8899, and 8900, we arrived Toledo, OH at 652am, 1 hour 52 minutes late. We must have lost some significant time overnight some where. At Pittsburgh we had 6 express cars on the rear, but at Toledo we cut 3 and added 6 more, so we had 9 total! Our consist is like this: 2 P42's #'s 4 and 27, baggage car, crew sleeper, 2 Sleepers, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, 4 Coaches, 2 Baggage Cars(Mail), 3 Boxcars, and 4 MHC's. The Crew made an announcement that NS has been having trouble moving their trains, and we are subject to more delay! Possibly another UP type system crash on our hands??? CSX was the one that was supposed to be "unprepared", but NS is the one outlawing their trains, and CSX just keeps them moving in packs! We lost a little more time copying down a Form D, 10mph slow order at CP 358 as we departed Waterloo, IN at 751am, 2 hours late. There are a lot of fields on this segment of our trip, which had deer just all over the place! We just passed a freight that went over a detector, and it had a defect on axle 438, north side. The freight had a total of 618 axles, and it was doing 47mph at the time. I would hate to be that crew-member that had to walk that train!!!!! We are calling each signal out as we travel along in the cab-signal territory. Just passed an NS train with solid UP power!! UP is leasing out 175 high horsepower units to CSX, but I don't know how many to troubled NS. We have passed 15 trains between Waterloo, IN-CP 395(Halfway Between Waterloo and Elkhart, IN). Departure of Elkhart, IN and its beautiful collection of assorted New York Central cars and locomotives was at 855am 2 hours 15 minutes late. Next up, South Bend, IN and the home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Departure there was at 915am, 2 hours 7mins late. Then the worst thing that could happen to us besides a crash or grade crossing accident occurred. We got stuck behind 3 freight trains, the lead one having an out-lawed crew. We sat for over an hour, then we crept along at 30mph for a while, and we passed #44, The Pennsylvanian, which had 2 P42's, 2 MHC's, 3 Coaches, 1 Horizon Fleet Lounge, 5 roadrailers, 2 Boxcars, and then 3 more roadrailers, 16 cars total! It was sitting as well, it had one freight ahead of him, 3 freights behind him, all head to tail!! Boy does NS have a mess on it's hands, especially on the Chicago Line!! Ten we stopped again, and waited a half our or so, and then we finally hit track speed for a while as we arrived Hammond-Whiting, IN, and departure was at 1210pm, 3 hours 58 minutes late! We arrived Chicago after dropping off our mail and express cars and making a reverse move into the station at 1255pm, 4 hours 20 minutes late!! Boy was that an interesting ride!!


Friday, June 21st, 1999 Train #21, Texas Eagle Chicago-Lincoln, IL

One of the Guys I met on #5, Bob Gross, waited patiently for me and #29 to arrive. I met him as I walked in and we went to the parking garage to his car. We then proceeded to the "Sky Box for Railfans", the 20th Century Railroad Club and he showed me around the place, as I looked out the window in awe of the awesome view of Amtrak's engine and coach yard facilities. Then we proceeded to the Hammond-Whiting, IN Amtrak Station, and watched 5 trains pass in one hour. By the time we were done with this, we proceeded back to Chicago Union Station and ate at Connie's in the food court, by far the best pizza I've tasted yet!! Well, as we waited for the train to back into the station, we watched as #'s 4 and 6 arrived late, and also watched some short-haul trains load and depart. The trainset didn't even arrive into Chicago Union Station until 615pm, and we boarded immediately. Me and Bob said our good-byes and I boarded as well. Departure was at 633pm, 38 minutes late due to Head-End Power(HEP) problems. I got another seat with an electrical outlet, boy do I have luck!! Our consist out of Chicago is: P32-8BWH #516, F40PH # 340, 1 Baggage Car, 1 Crew Sleeper, 1 Sleeper, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, 3 Coaches and 1 MHC, 9 cars total. As we skirt the suburbs of Chicago, we depart Joliet at 743pm, 53 minutes late. I am going to meet my buddy Logan, the guy I met on #5 at Bloomington, IL, his home town, and say hi and everything. As we traverse the gauntlet of track that surrounds Chicago, we join the UP after Joliet, and the track gets rough, so rough and harmonic it rocks me to sleep. I wake up at Lincoln, IL and realize that I missed Bloomington, which was disaster!!! I stood up Logan with no purposely intentions what so ever!! I am mad now because of this, and I wish that I had drank some coffee to insure that I would have been awake for Bloomington, but oh well, I messed up. After Lincoln I fell asleep again and woke up to a detector an hour out of St. Louis to hear we now have 84 axles!! I am in the rear coach and see we have a boxcar behind us, and the MHC was gone. I fell back asleep again.

Saturday, June 19th, 1999 Texas Eagle California Service Little Rock, AR-San Marcos, TX

We now have another unit ahead of us, a P42 #32, along with our P32 and F40PH, what a consist!! We also have 10 Boxcars on the rear of us, we are now 18 cars long as well!! We arrived "Big Bad Billy Land" Little Rock at 758am and then departed at 805am, 38 minutes late. We left Malvern/Hot Springs at 856am, 44 minutes late. Then the hold-ups began. Departure of Arkadelphia was 48 minutes late, and then we were put on sidings 2 times between Arkadelphia and Texarkana, the first for one freight, the second for 2 freights! Departure of Texarkana was at 1138am, 1 hour 40 minutes late, Marshall, TX at 1253pm, 1 hour 40 minutes late, Longview, TX at 128pm, 1 hour 40 minutes late, and Mineola, TX, 220pm, 1 hour 45 minutes late. The ride has been uneventful for the last 6 hours or so. Just rolling plains with trees, along with muddy rivers and such. Arrival into Dallas was 349pm, 1 Hour 3 minutes late. An Amtrak GP40PH #195 did some switching for us as he took off 9 boxcars and added 10 MORE!! We are now a 19 car train, 88 axles!! Departed Dallas at 418pm, 1 hour 22 minutes late. Traversing the Metroplex was pretty cool, developments all over the place. We arrived after making a reverse move past Tower 55 in Fort Worth at 540pm, 1 hour 21 minutes late, and departed at 626pm, 1 hour 47 minutes late due to a train line problem and waiting for a signal from the Fort Worth Terminal Dispatcher. We passed 2 freights as we pass the famed Tower 55 for the last time, and start plying the BNSF's tracks. Cleburne, TX was our next stop here in the rolling plains of Texas, and we departed at 712pm, 1 hour 41 minutes late, McGregor, TX at 839pm, 2 hours late, and leaving the BNSF at Temple, TX at 926pm, 2 hours, 4 minutes late. After dinner, which consisted of a 10 ounce prime rib, mashed potatoes, corn and peas mixed, salad, roll, iced tea and Pecan Pie a la' mode, I am now tired and going to sleep.

Sunday, June 20th, 1999 Train #21 Texas Eagle California Service San Antonio, TX-Benson, AZ

We arrived San Antonio at 200am, 2 hours 1 minute late and departed at 549am, 14 minutes late. We removed all 11 boxcars in San Antonio and kept all 3 units, so we will be an 8 car train into Los Angeles! We passed #22's consist as we departed and it has 2 P32's on the point, a baggage car, 8 Superliners, and 5 boxcars on the rear, 14 cars total as darkness was still abound. It is now raining heavily as we depart Del Rio, TX at 920am, 50 minutes late. All of the Arroyos are filled to capacity, and some street flooding is evident. The scene out here is a basic semi-desert with some green plants and such. Passing over the Pecos River, which was awesome, we departed Sanderson, TX at 1207pm, 1 hour 2 minutes late. The scenery turns more mountainous as we head west through West Texas. After a false defect report from a detector out in the middle of nowhere, our nits spew some black smoke as we start climbing toward the Continental Divide in New Mexico. Next up is Alpine, TX, which takes 4 hours from Sanderson, TX. Departure was at 218pm, 1 hour 20 minutes late due to a freight train ahead fueling its units. Arrival into El Paso was at 513pm, 1 hour 13 minutes late after the Border Patrol checked the train, we departed at 530pm, 53 minutes late! After crossing the Very light brown and murky waters of the Rio Grande River, we follow the Mexican Border for about 10 miles. Looking at the difference between the shanties with garbage strewn around everywhere in Mexico compared to the nice housing developments in the US, I now understand why Mexico is such a poor country. Up on a mountain top to the left stands a cross where the States of Texas, New Mexico and Mexico's state of Chihuahua meet. I took a couple of pictures of this monument. With no work at Deming, NM, a flag stop, we cruised on past the depot at 657pm, 50 minutes late. At Lordsburg, NM, another flag stop, we had work and departed at 751pm, 50 minutes late as well. Same with Benson, AZ, which we departed at 901pm, 56 minutes late. We passed through a strong thunderstorm on the approach to Tucson, AZ where I fall asleep.


Monday, June 21st, 1999 Train #21 Texas Eagle California Service Palm Springs, CA-Los Angeles, CA. Train # 14 Coast Starlight Los Angeles-Emeryville

We departed Palm Springs, CA as I awoke from my slumber at 430am, 37 minutes late. Passing West Colton Yard, we stop to wait for a freight to clear the main line. We departed Ontario at 625am, 1 hour 2 minutes late and Pomona, CA at 634am, 1 hour 1 minute late. I should easily make the connection with #14 at Los Angeles! After running down the middle of a freeway and racing cars for 10 minutes, our final arrival into Los Angeles Union Station was at 725am, 15 minutes late!!

Monday, June 21st, 1999 Train #14 Coast Starlight Los Angeles-Emeryville, CA

I boarded in Coach car # 34114, the 1413 car, and guess what, I got another electrical outlet!! I haven't had to use my battery charger in over 2 weeks! Departure was on time at 930am, and the ride is silky-smooth. Our consist is like this: 2 P42's #'s 116 and 115, baggage car, crew sleeper, 3 Sleepers, Pacific Parlor Car, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, 5 Coaches and 1 boxcar for Oakland. I'm on the left side of the train, the side the Pacific Ocean is on, the same side my station stop of Centralia, WA is on! We arrived into Glendale at 940am, 8 minutes early and departed on time at 948am. As we cruise the San Fernando Valley, low clouds and fog fill the sky. We start climbing Santa Susana Pass and after cresting the summit through a tunnel, we arrive Simi Valley and depart on time at 1029am. Now we work our way towards the Pacific Ocean, the clouds and fog start to break as we depart Oxnard, CA at 1114am, 12 minutes late due to taking a siding to meet San Diegan #776 at Moorpark, CA. A lot of people boarded in Oxnard, and the train is supposed to be full after departing Santa Barbara in which 66 people are expected to board there. Crossing the Santa Clara River in Ventura, CA, we catch our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, in which we will follow if for the next 104 miles!! Departure of Santa Barbara was at 1214pm, 4 minutes late. We boarded 66 people, so the train has really filled up! The trip along the Pacific Ocean was beautiful, except for the low clouds and fog that plagued us the whole way. The ocean had 2-8 foot breakers and was greenish-blue color. We leave the ocean on the approach to San Louis Obispo, CA and we arrive there at 236pm, 14 minutes early!! Departure was on time at 313pm. Now the climb up Cuesta Grade begins after crossing Stenner Creek Trestle. Then the West Coast's version of Horseshoe Curve, in which you can actually see the head end of the train gain in elevation!! This is one of my favorite passes because of its torturous twisty grades, brown hills, and break neck curves. We stopped near the summit to meet #11, and she passes by with a CDOT F59PHI #2001 on the point. We depart Paso Robles at 512pm, 52 minutes late due to an air problem. As we follow the very lush and green valley of the meandering Salinas River, we come to a stop just north of King City, CA due to some signal problems (one signal being dark). So for about 4 signals in a row, we had to stop and proceed at restricted speed(10mph). We depart Salinas at 733pm, 1 hour 13 minutes late. It is a very uneventful ride as we cross the San Andreas Fault and pass through Gilroy, CA as we head toward San Jose, CA. At the San Jose station stop, we had a medical emergency, a passenger was dizzy and fell. The train crew called for a doctor or a nurse on the train intercom, and they got quite a few of them. I met Ken Storey of British Columbia, another railfan, and he is on his way to the Sacramento Rail Fair 1999, after taking a trip from Seattle-Santa Barbara on the side. When he went through Chico, CA, the biggest college party town in the US, they hit an all-terrain vehicle that was placed on the track. There are still green paint marks on the lead unit, P42 #116, which was on the same consist as yesterday. After the medical situation was resolved, we departed San Jose at 921pm, 1 hour 20 minutes late. We arrived Oakland at 1015pm, 1 hour 8 minutes late and departed at 1032, 1 hour and 20 minutes late. Our second unit, P42 #115 has been off line since Alvarado, so we have been running with one unit since then. The Mechanical department fixed the problem, as well as dropping off the box car on the rear in the Oakland Coach Yard. We departed Emeryville at 1133pm, 1 hour and 41 minutes late.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 1999 Train #14 Coast Starlight Martinez, CA-Centralia, WA

We departed Martinez, CA at 1218pm, 1 hour 44 minutes late, Davis CA at 104am, 1 hour 43 minutes late, and we finally arrived into Sacramento. While at Sacramento, A very late Train #5 arrived and departed at 143am, 10 hours 23 minutes late!! They had some problems with a BNSF derailment in the Midwest and got stuck for 8 hours! There consist was: 2 P42's #'s 2 and 25, F40PH #402, 2 baggage cars, crew sleeper, 3 Sleepers, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, and 4 coaches. We departed Sacrament at 153am, 1 hour 54 minutes late. Then I decided to go to sleep. I awoke to us going the curved trestle at Redding, CA. We departed there at 550am, 2 hours 34 minutes late, and we departed Dunsmuir at 733am. 2 hours, 26 minutes late. All passengers transferring to Train #28 Portland Section of the Empire Builder will detrain at Klamath Falls to be bussed to Portland to make the connection. Arrival into Klamath Falls was at 1001am, 2 hours late. I walked up to the units and finally got to meet James Abney, the engineer that said "Hi" to me on the radio while we met his train on the detour through the Deschutes River Canyon. He was a pretty nice guy. Too bad I didn't get to meet him sooner. I warned him of the second going hay wire a couple of times along the way, and he was aware of it. Well, just before we left Klamath Falls, James called back to the conductor, Jim Zigler, and told him that the computer just went bonkers on him. We still have HEP, but in the end, he was unable to re-activate the computer after setting the unit a couple of times. So a decision had to be made: One scenario was to wye the units and have #115 on the point because it was still good. The other Scenario was to add a freight unit. The decision was made to add a freight unit, UP SD 40-2 #3740. It had to be wyed as well, so after sitting about 3 hours and hooking up the freight unit, we departed Klamath Falls at 1254pm, 4 hours 43 minutes late!! We caused a log jam at Klamath Falls, as we had a BNSF train behind us with a BNSF SD75M #8212 on the point. Its symbol was the M-RVBPAS(Manifest-Riverbank, CA-Pasco, WA). And there was 2 freights stacked behind him, a UP Z train and another BNSF Train, The H-BARPAS(High Priority-Barstow, CA-Pasco, WA). We passed 3 Southbounds in sidings as we cruise at 70-mph along Klamath Lake. What a bang to the end of my 14500 mile trip on Amtrak!! We passed 2 more BNSF trains before we arrived Chemult, OR and we departed Chemult at 220pm, 4 hours 51 minutes late. We reset unit #115 at Chemult to get it working properly so we could have Dynamic Braking going down Willamette Pass. It is now loading properly as we go through the tunnel at Cascade Summit. The ride was uneventful all the way down to Eugene(I slept most of the time, that's why), as we departed Eugene at 600pm, 5 hours, 23 minutes late due to waiting for a Southbound UP Swift Roadrailer train to pass us and clear the main line for us. We are now cruising at our maximum speed of 70mph with the freight unit as we pass through the Willamette Valley. We depart Albany at 656pm, 5 hours 33 minutes late, and Salem at 728pm, 5 hours 33 minutes late. We finally arrive Portland, OR at 848pm 5 hours 8 minutes late and depart at 905pm, 4 hours 55 minutes late. I go to the diner and eat my free dinner that was being served due to us being so late. We cross the Columbia River and depart Vancouver, WA at 928pm, 4 hours and 48 minutes late. It is now getting dark as we depart Kelso/Longview, WA at 1009pm, 4 hours 45 minutes late. I finally arrived home into Centralia, WA at 1055pm, 4 hours 45 minutes late. I have 5 of my friends waiting there to pick me up and greet me. WOW, what a trip, from the Detour on #11 through the Deschutes River Canyon (BNSF's Oregon Trunk Line), to the Tornado Warning in Galesburg, IL, An absolute blast in New Jersey, to the NS's crisis with moving there freight on the Chicago Line and delaying us 4 hours on #29. Also the cool consist on #21 with all of the mail and express business the train produces, and to the engines breaking down and adding a freight unit at Klamath Falls on #14, this has been one heck of trip!! 26 days away from home and going to the Midwest and East Coast was all a first for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This trip only cost me a measly $305.50, since I'm a NARP member, in which I'm entitled to a 10% discount. Thank you for reading about my trip, and if you have any comments about it, please email me at: amtrak34east@yahoo.com.

Take care and God Bless,
Drew Mitchem,
Mile Post 54 BNSF Seattle Sub,
Centralia, WA (CTL)


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