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Electric Railroaders Association Trip 2019:

Electric Railroaders Association Trip 2019:




            In June of 2019, I learned from Russ Schultz that in late August to Early September the Electric Railroaders Association was planning a trip to Arizona visiting Tucson and Phoenix and then take Amtrak to El Paso to ride their new streetcar line with six rebuilt PCCs that previously ran in El Paso.


            I was interested in pretty much the whole trip; because I would get to not only ride the new line in El Paso, but would go to the Arizona Railroad Museum which acquired former Toronto PCC #4607 which was previously on display at a bus terminal downtown.



PCC 4607 before it was moved to the Arizona Railway Museum.


            Prior to learning about the Electric Railroaders Association trip, I had thought about visiting #4607 at its new home and was more serious about visiting El Paso’s new streetcar line. I also learned in January that the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority had finished the restoration of former Toronto PCC #4614 which had been off and on since 2011.



Here’s PCC 4614 back in 2009 before its restoration was started.


            I decided that I would go to Dallas after the convention ended by means of the Texas Eagle. My final plan was to fly down to Tucson on August 29th for the convention and then the following Monday, the group would take Amtrak’s Sunset Limited to El Paso. After a few days in El Paso, I would head to Dallas for a few days. The trip unfolded as follows.


August 29, 2019:



            I got to Pearson Airport at 3:24 pm; 2 hours and 20 minutes before my plane was scheduled to leave. I checked in and dropped off my suitcase. I then cleared security. When I went through customs, the agent only asked if I was taking any food into the United States. I said only candy which is okay.


            I then found my flight had moved gates. The new gate was only two gates further which was no big problem.


            After finding my gate, I went and had a massage at a place in the airport. I then returned to my gate.


            I then saw a Lufthansa Boeing 747 taxiing to the gate but was unable to photograph it.


            A few minutes later my plane pulled up to the gate. It was a MD-80. I photographed it.




            I then photographed some other planes.




            Boarding soon began. Delta boarded in groups. I was in the last group to board. My assigned seat was 35E. I was assuming that I would have a middle seat. However, upon boarding my plane, I saw that I would have a window seat as the MD-80 had three seats on the left side of the aisle and two on the right.


            While I did have a window seat after all, I was in the next to rear row. However, the view outside the window was partially blocked by the plane’s right engine. I attempted to take some photos as we taxied out to the runway.



This shows how what I had to work with on the MD-80.






            I attempted to film the take off run. There wasn’t any on-board entertainment on the plane. I logged into the Wi-Fi.


            After awhile, we began our decent into Atlanta. As we landed, I filmed the landing. We arrived at the gate a few minutes late. It took awhile to get off the plane.


            I saw my connecting flight to Tucson was leaving from gate A25. My flight had pulled up to a gate on the “E” concourse. I had a long walk and not a lot of time.


            I actually had to take a monorail to get to my connecting flight! Fortunately, the stops were close together and I was able to make it to gate A25. My flight to Tucson was boarding but I made it. I had a seat near the back of the plane. It was a window seat. From the plane, I photographed another Delta jet.



            The plane left on time. I filmed the takeoff run. My plane was a Boeing 737-900. Delta does not fly the 737 Max which at the time of this report is grounded after software problems caused two accidents killing 346 people.


            This plane did have on board entertainment. I watched the movie Detective Pikachu.


            At one point, the plane flew over Dallas, Texas. We also flew near Roswell, New Mexico where in 1947 a UFO is believed to have crashed.


            After the movie, I watched other shows on the plane’s entertainment system. Eventually, we were approaching Tucson. I filmed the landing and photographed an American Airlines jet next to us at the gate.




            I then got off the plane and took one last photo of the plane.



            I then went to the baggage claim. I got my suitcase. I then went to take a taxi to my hotel. I was staying with Russ Schultz who I met at the Illinois Railway Museum back in 2012 and ran into him again last year in San Francisco. I checked in and got a key to the room. Russ had only gotten to the hotel a couple hours earlier.


            I hadn’t had dinner yet so I went out and found somewhere to eat. After, I went back to my room and soon called it night. Unfortunately, Russ snores loudly.


August 30, 2019:


            I got up and got dressed. I went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, I went back to my room for a little while and got ready. I then went out and walked to a streetcar stop. Tucson had opened a modern streetcar line in 2011 which is called Sunrail. Sunrail uses cars similar to cars in Portland and Washington DC. I bought a day pass.


            I photographed two cars going the opposite way before I photographed a car heading for downtown.




            I then boarded the car and we soon departed. Sunrail is partially built on the right of way Old Pueblo Trolley ran on until 2011. The line had extended south of the railway tracks in 2009. However, the new line uses different voltage as Old Pueblo Trolley.


            I got off near where Old Pueblo Trolley’s carbarn was. The barn is still there but is isolated from the modern streetcar system. There is a car they acquired from Portugal since I was there in 2006 on their limited barn trackage. The car is painted for the Prescott and Mount Union Railroad. I photographed the car.



            I saw that the lot that former Toronto PCC #4608 was stored at is now the site of the carbarn for Tucson’s modern streetcar system. #4608 and the rest of Old Pueblo Trolley’s collection has been moved to elsewhere in Tucson but I would see it the following Sunday.


            I then walked under the Union Pacific main line to the Amtrak station. I noticed the payphones that I used to find out how late my train out of Tucson was back in 2006 have been removed. I also bought a Pepsi from a vending machine in the station. I also took a couple photos of things in the station.




            I walked under the Union Pacific main line and walked past


            I then walked back to the bus terminal and boarded a bus on route #3. I photographed the bus before I got on



            I rode past where in 2006 I was pleased to discover a Union #76 gas station with a rotating ball. The whole station is sadly no longer there. I’m glad I got to see it back in 2006 though.



            I got off the bus and transferred to the route #9. The route #9 runs as a crosstown route on the north side of the city. I got off by a Target store and a Taco Bell. I went into the Target and bought some “Red Vines” licorice. I then went to Taco Bell for lunch.


            After lunch I boarded a bus on route #8. I rode several stops before I got off at a strip mall. I looked around a bit before I got on the next bus to downtown. Once I got to the transit terminal downtown, I walked a few blocks. I found the ATM machine where I had withdrawn money to pay for my sleeping car upgrade on train #422 back on my Arizona trip just before the guy started repeatedly asking me for $10 despite the fact I said no and he claimed he needed to get somewhere in an hour which he wasted several minutes asking someone who clearly didn’t care. I photographed a cutaway owned by Suntran after I withdrew $20 from the ATM.



            I then walked in the direction of the Amtrak station. However, I changed directions a couple blocks away and walked over to a railway crossing. I was going to try to photograph some Union Pacific freight trains. After waiting a few minutes, an eastbound freight came. I repositioned on the south side of the tracks before the crossing activated. When the train passed, I photographed it.





            After the train had passed, I crossed to the north side of the line. I saw the freight train had stopped outside the yard. I saw at the train station what looked like a couple stupidly having their wedding photo taken right on the line!



            The photo shoot soon left. I photographed another eastbound freight.






            I then walked back to Sunrail. I photographed the car when it arrived.



            I then rode a few stops and then got off and photographed the car and filmed it pulling away.




            I then caught another streetcar back to my hotel. I photographed it when it arrived.



            I rode back to my hotel and got off. I photographed the streetcar and filmed it pulling away. I went to my room. I spoke with Russ a bit. He invited me to dinner with others at an Italian restaurant, but I declined.


            After 6:30, I walked to the Sunrail station and caught a streetcar down to the bus terminal downtown. I waited for a bus on route #8. It was over 20 minutes. While I waited, I went by the Amtrak station and photographed an eastbound freight.





            I then made my way back to the bus terminal. I boarded my bus and rode to the Arby’s. I bought dinner and then stopped at a nearby donut store and bought a donut. I then made my way back to my hotel. I went online before I called it a night.


Click for the first day of the ERA’s activities:         Phoenix trip