Facebook Page

Off to La Plata to see the Silver Rails Gallery

by Chris Guenzler

I really wanted to be at the Grand Opening of the Silver Rails Gallery but due to Winterail and presenting a show about La Plata on Friday night, it became the old adage of not being able to be in two places at once. I settled for the next best thing so returned home from Winterail late Sunday night and would leave the next evening.

After I did some chores around the house and worked on some of the Castle Air Museum part of the story, I packed and was ready for my mother to drive me once again to the Santa Ana station. I took the elevators up and down in between crossing the bridge to Track, I where I waited for my Pacific Surfliner train to Los Angeles on a very warm late winter afternoon.

Pacific Surfliner 583 3/15/2010

The train arrived and I took my seat on the lower level of the Pacific Business Class car and went right to work finishing the Castle Air Museum part of the Winterail story before we arrived at Los Angeles a few minutes late. A Red Cap gave me a ride over to Track 11 and my waiting train to La Plata.

Southwest Chief 4 3/15/2010

I was in Room 9 in the 431 Car with Simon as my excellent Sleeping Car Attendant. This train has engines P42DC 84 and 201, baggage 1750, transition 39035, sleepers 32115 "Washington" and 32060, diner 38062, lounge 33016 and coaches 34007, 34098 and 31033. Over on Track 13 were private cars Southern Pacific "City of Angels" PPCX 800180 and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy California Zephyr "Silver Quail" PPCX 800712.

The train departed on tine as I was writing stories. After Fullerton, I had my dinner in the dining car and was seated with a man from East Orange, New Jersey who was really into Minor League ice hockey and we had a great conversation. I enjoyed a Flat Iron steak and vanilla ice cream for dessert. After a fresh air break at San Bernardino, I wrote the first part of the trip to Winterail as the train made its way over Cajon Pass to Victorville, our next stop, finishing just short of Barstow, where I made up my room and called it a night.


I awoke at Winslow and dressed before making my way to the lounge car because the dining car was having water issues. After Holbrook, they opened the dining car and I was seated with three Amish adults. We had a nice conversation as I enjoyed my French Toast and sausage patties. Back in my room, I worked on the three-part photo special steam train story from Sunday while listening to good music.

Mesas as we entered New Mexico. I finished that story just as we were arriving early into Albuquerque. The new procedure here is they now bring the train straight into the station and it gets refuelled from a fuel truck on the opposite side away from the station. I sat out on a bench working on my sun tan on a 49 degree early afternoon. We departed Albuquerque on time and headed out towards Lamy and I finished the Winterail part of the story thanks to a phone call to Bob & Elizabeth just before Las Vegas. Next, I worked on the timing for the May program of the Orange County Railway Historical Society, which I would be presenting then played a few minutes of Solitaire before we arrived at our fresh air stop of Raton.

I had a 6:00 PM dinner reservation and was seated with three of the most quiet passengers I have ever eaten a meal with. The steak was great but the baked potato has as hard as a rock so I sent it back for mashed. The vanilla ice cream for dessert was fine, but the dining car steward never came back to make change. After dinner, I watched a movie and relaxed then took fresh air at La Junta before making my room for the night.


I awoke on a rainy morning when the train stopped in BNSF's Argentine Yard to refuel the engines and went to the lounge car for a Big Texas Cinnamon Roll then changed clothes and stepped off for a few minutes in Kansas City, where we arrived early. I put on my Queensryche "Mindcrime Live at the Moore" DVD before the train departed Kansas City on time for La Plata. The rain ended as we neared Bosworth, the Queensryche DVD ended after Brookfield, then I packed my room and took my luggage downstairs for an early arrival. It had been another great trip aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief as I detrained, finding Bob Cox waiting for me.

A Visit to the Silver Rail Gallery 3/17/2010

Once Bob was finished at the Amtrak depot and I had uploaded the pictures and stories using the excellent wireless there, we drove downtown to the Silver Rails Gallery.

In the first room is the Silver Rails Gallery store.

A general view.

DVDs are sold from this rack.

Postcards are available to be purchased.

A collage of some the pictures for sale in the gallery and on line, once the store is up on the Silver Rail Gallery website. There will be other pictures available, that at this point are not being shown in the gallery.

These shelves have items for sale including train party materials from Now let us go into the Silver Rails Gallery itself.

Above the former Santa Fe Mojave District dispatching board starts the photographs of yours truly, Chris Guenzler.

The Chris Guenzler biography.

These six, as well as six more, will be online for one to purchase.

This is the junction where mine ends and our next person's work begins.

The next photographer is my dear friend, Carl Morrison.

He has more but I do not want to spoil it for all of you, so check the Silver Rails Gallery website for more from each artist.

A look towards the next two artists.

Will Anderson biography.

Two of Will Anderson's work.

Nick Smith biography.

One of Nick's photos.

J. Craig Thorpe biography.

A view of his work.

Three of Craig's pieces.

Ken Barrett biography

A view of all of Ken Barrett's work.

Four of Ken's paintings.

Jackie Hadnot Biography.

The wood carvings of Jackie Hadnot.

Bob and Amy Cox biography.

Bob Cox photograph.

Amy Cox photograph.

Now the Silver Rails Library.

The books on the shelves.

The late Richard Hamilton at my Millionth Mile dinner at the Red Rooster.

The magazines are all sorted.

A picture by my good friend Tom Anderson of the Fullerton, California station.

Three photos from around La Plata.

Richard Hamilton picture in the Library.

Harold and Hilda Marshall, the parents of Tom Marshall who built the Depot Inn and Suites.

John Collum working a Rail Post Office car. That finishes our tour of the Silver Rails Gallery. Bob drove me to the Depot Inn & Suites where I received the Sportsman's Suite for this stay. I wrote this story and relaxed the rest of the day. Tomorrow will start the next story.