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The Trip to St Louis 4/11-14/2014

by Chris Guenzler

The purpose of this trip is to ride the Cater Parrot Shortline's Azalea Sprinter on its two trips in one day out of Nashville, Georgia. We take the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle to St. Louis, rent a car, then drive there taking pictures of steam engines, depots and covered bridges along the way, as well as stopping at railroad museums for visits and a ride on one. It should be a great trip.

Marty Smith arrived before 6:00 PM and we loaded his trunk and then he drove us to the Santa Ana station. We parked just as Pacific Surfliner 1584 arrived and then walked over to Track 1 to wait for our Metrolink train. Amtrak was having bussing problems so before our train arrived, the station agent told passengers going to Los Angeles to take the Metrolink train.

Metrolink 667 4/11/2021

We boarded a Metrolink coach and I did word searches and finished a book then I relaxed the rest of the way to LAUPT. Here Elizabeth and I detrained and walked to the Metropolitan Lounge, where she checked her case to St. Louis. While waiting, we finshed the Perris story and put it on-line then relaxed until we were taken out to the train by a Red Cap and then waited for the train to back in. I walked to the front and found Egan Anderson, our conductor and told him hello from Marty and Greg Smith. I then waited to get a picture of our train before the trip.

Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle 2/22 4/11/2021

At 9:25 PM, the train backed into LAUPT with a consist of P42DCs 202 and 5, Sleeper 32058, Diner 38016, Lounge 33046, Coaches 31044, 34075 and Texas Eagle Coach 34000 and Sleeper 32012, the Utah. Elizabeth and I had Deluxe Bedroom C which was already made up for the night. Pacific Surfliner 785 had mechanical problems between Irvine and Santa Ana and lost over three hours, delaying our departure twenty minutes. We stayed up just about ten more minutes before calling it a night.

4/12/2021 I got up and dressed then went to lounge car but had to get a voucher from the Dining Car to get my cinnamon roll and orange juice. I saw the Red Rock water tower and the station there. Elizabeth then arose, showered and went to have her breakfast. She tried the new item on the menu, the Breakfast Omelette with hash browns which was delicious. That, a blueberry muffin and tea hit the spot. The train was held at Rialto for freight traffic before we made our way into Tucson, our first fresh air break of the trip. We detrained and Elizabeth took a walk while I enjoyed the morning warm sun.

Union Pacific DPU's on a train at Tucson. We were delayed by more Union Pacific freight traffic. The train departed Tucson as I listened to Ian Anderson's "Rupi Dance" as we climbed the grade east of Tucson to Mescal.

Curving as we climbed the grade.

Prickly Pear catcus.

Saguaro Cactus.

More Prickly Pear cactus.

A westbound Union Pacific stack train.

Looking out of the back of the train.

The Cienaga High Bridge.

Barrel Cactus.

The train curving up the grade.

More desert flora along the route as made our way to Mescal before we dropped to Benson, our next stop. Now we will climb the Dragoon Mountains.

The Dragoon Mountains.

Climbing the Dragoon Mouuntains. We dropped down the grade to Wilcox Playa.

The mountains southeast of Wilcox.

The Wilcox Playa with dust devils before we ran through Wilcox. I went to the dining car to get my voucher then went to the lounge car for my lunch. I recieved a hot dog, pretzels, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and chocolate big cookie. After lunch in our room, I listened to Jethro Tull's The Chateau D'Herouville Sessions which took me into New Mexico.

An eastern dust devil.

The pass that leads to New Mexico before we entered that state. The train stopped at Lordsburg then went east, crossing the Continental Divide, then came to Sespar where the industrial railroad no longer runs as I saw rails removed from the connection to the outside world. The train continued east to Deming, our next station stop.

Southwestern Railroad GP40 9964 originally Penn Central 3161.

Southwestern Railroad GP40 9710 originally Seaboard Coast Line 1610.

Southwestern Railroad GP30 2468 originally Santa Fe 1228.

Southwestern Railroad scene in Deming.

The mountains to the south of Deming as we headed toward El Paso.

Union Pacific 6773 East at Santa Teresa yard which opened in 2014.

RJ Corman SD40-2 7895, originally Union Pacific 3277, at Santa Terasa Yard.

The train started going down to the grade to the crossing of the Rio Grande River.

The United States/Mexico Border Wall.

Cuidad Juarez looking above the fence. I went to the rear door of the train.

Going through the two big cuts to the Rio Grande bridge.

Crossing the Rio Grande River on the south track.

The bridge on the north track. We pulled into El Paso and both took a fresh air break. I walked with Elizabeth to the front of the train while she made two laps. The train departed at 4:33 PM and made its way to Alpine.

El Paso Union Station built in 1905.

The Union Pacific El Paso engine facility. We left town and headed toward Alpine then walked to the Dining Car for dinner at 5:30 PM. Gone are the carrier bags we had on our trips last year. This year food is delivered to you at your table. I enjoyed the Braised Beef with a Coca-Cola while Elizabeth enjoyed her Garlic and Herb Cod with apple juice. Each entree comes with a salad and a roll. We each had a warm Blondie for dessert and while eating, the time zone changed from Mountain to Central. We also finished in time to see where the Texas and Pacific left the Sunset Route at Sierra Blanca.

Sunset on the Sunset Route just east of Valentine, Texas. The room was set up for the night and we called it a night at Alpine.

4/13/2021 I slept extremely well waking up in San Antonio as did Elizabeth.

The Tower of America in San Antonio. The train had arrived and it took a while to transfer us to the rear of the Texas Eagle. Elizabeth took a shower and then we walked to the cross country cafe. The consist of this Texas Eagle was P42DC 204, Sleeper 32074 Colorado, Cross Country Diner 37004, Coach Baggage 31029, Coach 34000 and Sleeper 32012 Utah. The train left late and we backed to the connection with the former Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad which we took north.

The train rolling north up the former Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad which we took to the connection with the old Missouri Pacific Railroad into San Marcos before we ran further north to Austin, our first fresh air break of the day.

The Colorado River of Texas.

The Austin Missouri Pacific Amtrak station built in 1947.

The rear of the Texas Eagle in Austin.

My most beautiful wife Elizabeth, our sleeping car Utah and the Texas Eagle in Austin. We left here and headed next to Taylor.

The Taylor Missouri Pacific Amtrak station. We then headed to Temple.

We left the former Missouri Pacific and joined the former Santa Fe, now of course, BNSF and came into Temple.

Santa Fe HH600 2301.

Tony, our excellent sleeping car attendant, whom Elizabeth and I had from New Orleans to Los Angeles last November, remembered us from that trip.

Santa Fe 4-6-2 2423.

The Santa Fe Temple station built in 1909 as Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe Moody station built in 1908 as Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and moved to Temple in 1973. We next ran to McGregor.

The Texas countryside on the way to McGregor, our next stop.

Santa Fe McGregor station built in 1904. The train next ran to Cleburne our next station stop.

The train coming in to Cleburne.

The Santa Fe Cleburne station built in 1999.

The former Santa Fe Railroad Cleburne shops built in 1898 where CF-7s and other locomotives were rebuilt. The train ran next to Fort Worth.

Tower 55 built in 1873.

Texas and Pacific station built in 1931.

Santa Fe Fort Worth station built in 1900 was originally Fort Worth Union Station and built by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe.

Heartland Flyer waiting to leave this afternoon.

North Texas Traction Company car 25 on display in Fort Worth. We left Forth Worth and headed to Dallas on the Trinity Express route, my first time going this way as well as Elizabeth's. As we arrived in Dallas, I had some things to to take pictures of.

The North Tower as we approached Dallas Union Station built in 1916.

Dallas Union Station built in 1916.

Trinity Rail Express at Dallas Union Station getting ready to leave for Fort Worth. Next we headed to Minneola. We went to the Dining Car for dinner where Elizabeth and I had Braised Beef which was excellent. The train stopped in Mineola, a place we need to come back to. The train headed to Longview then just outside of the town we stopped due a freight train being broken. We rode the room to Marshall and then had it made up for the night. Elizabeth and I then retired for the evening.

4/14/2014 We woke up at 7:30 AM, about forty-five minutes from St Louis. Tony brought our breakfast as we had not been to the cafe to get it. I had a warmed cinnamon roll with Orange Juice and Elizabeth oatmeal and orange juice. They added a car to the Texas Eagle before we arrived at the station at 7:24 AM. We made our way into the station to retrieve Elizabeth's checked bag. While she was taking care of that, I studied a downtown map and realized it was a two stop trip and two block walk to Enterprise on the St. Louis Light Rail. Elizabeth returned, we went to the Civic Centre station, bought one way tickets and took the trip. We received a Nissan Altima which we loaded up and took off.