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The Drive Home From the Railroad Passenger Car Alliance Conference 1/15-17/2024

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose at the Holiday Inn Express and following out Internet duties, we had the hotel's breakfast before leaving and driving to Americus for petrol then proceeded to Columbus, Georgia and the first depot of the day.

Columbus Union Station built in 1901 and used by Central of Georgia, Seaboard Air Line Railroad and Southern Railway. It was designed in the Second Empire style by the architectural firm of Bruce and Morgan. It is located at 1200 Sixth Avenue. By 1932, Seaboard Air Line passenger trains stopped calling at the station, as the road's operations through Columbus became freight-only. The SAL previously had run passenger trains to Richland, then to Albany.>/P>

The yard tower.

Southern Railway freight house. We crossed the Chattahooche River, entered Alabama and I drove us to our next stop of Opelika.

Central of Georgia Railway/Western Railway of Alabama Opelika station, which has recently been restored to its original pre-1920's style, adhering to strict historical standards. The depot houses the offices of The Arts Association of East Alabama, Opelika Mainstreet and also has large conference rooms.

The adjacent Central of Georgia Railway/Western Railway of Alabama freight house. With Elizabeth's navigation, we made our way to Auburn.

History board about The Crescent, an exclusive train of the Southern Railway and Alabama affiliates, Western Railway of Alabama, Atlanta and West Point Railway and Louisville and Nashville Railway.

Western of Alabama Railroad Auburn station built in 1847. During the war, the Auburn depot was a bustling hub of activity and integral to Confederate war efforts. In 1864, a series of attacks by Union forces, led by Major General Lovell Harrison Rousseau and the "Rousseau’s Raiders" ravaged the Depot's tracks. Acting as one the most destructive cavalry raids of the Civil War, transportation of military supplies were disrupted through Montgomery and Lee County.

The Auburn Guards Reviewed by Jefferson Davis historical plaque.

There was a camera store in Auburn and we visited it so I could purchase a new lens. Next I drove us to Alexander City for a very modern depot.

Central of Georgia Alexander City built in 1950 and now for fire station in town. Changing our interests, the following stop was for a covered bridge.

Kymulga covered bridge built in 1861, a wood and metal combination style bridge that spans Talladega Creek, located just east of Kymulga Mill within Kymulga Park. The 105-foot structure is a Howe truss construction over a single span, and is one of two 19th-century covered bridges extant in Alabama still remaining at its original location.

Ducks in Talladega Creek. From here Elizabeth drove us out to Jasper.

BNSF GP50 3124, ex. BNSF 3124, nee Burlington Northern 3124 built by Electro-Notive Division in 1968 and BNSF 3019, ex. BNSF 3019, exx. Burlington Northern 3520, exxx. Burlington Northern 3034, nee Chicago Burlington and Quincy 634, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1968.

The BNSF station in Jasper. We then drove to the Holiday Express in Guin and had dinner at their in-house restaurant then I worked on the story before we called it a night.

1/16/2024 This morning, our Alabama world turned to white after the snow that fell last night. We arose then went down for the hotel's breakfast before doing our Internet duties then checking out. With ice on the car's windows, Elizabeth started and I finished scrapin before we departed then drove down snowy streets to Interstate 22, which had only one lane ploughed so all cars and trucks had to use a single lane. We passed spunt-out trucks and many cars in the middle of the Interstate.

Elizabeth did an excellent job of driving through that part of Alabama then when we crossed into Mississippi, the road conditions became worse as not much ploughing had occurred, although there was not a lot of snow. After two hours, we crossed into Tennessesse and took US 72 to Shelby Drive and Interstate 55, taking that to Arkansas, where we stayed and the connection to Interstate 555 in Jonesboro, which we took into town and went to Colton's Steakhouse for a very good meal. After dinner, Elizabeth drove us to the Best Western Plus Jonesboro Inn & Suites where I cleaned the windshield before checking in and writing today's story as well as catching up on e-mail and other items.

1/17/2024 The next morning Elizabeth and I arose and did our regular morning preparations then had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. She drove us to Thayer, Missouri where on the way, the temperature fell to nine degrees. I took over driving to Jefferson City then Elizabeth returned to the driver's seat and drove us back to Columbia, where we picked up some groceries at Hy-Vee then picked up our cat, Chessie, from the veterinarian, where we had boarded her for this trip, and returned home, thus bringing an end to this journey.