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My First Encounter with Amtrak 145 2/20/2011

by Chris Guenzler

When I read on that the 40th Anniversary Amtrak Unit 145 was leading the Sunset Limited from New Orleans into Los Angeles arriving Sunday morning I thought it would be the perfect chance for me to get some pictures of this unique unit. On its way to Los Angeles out in Texas it was involved in a grade crossing accident but suffered only minor damage to its snowplow. When I checked late Saturday night it was still on the point and I checked the Amtrak Web Site for The Sunset Limited status into Los Angeles and it was projected for an early 7:34 AM arrival into LAUPT. My plan was to ride up on Surfliner 763 and come back on Surfliner 768 and shot the engine in between trains. Surfliner 763 came into Santa Ana a few minutes early and I boarded the Surfliner Cab Car but sat in the Superliner Coach right behind it. It was a quick trip into Los Angeles and I shot a few pictures as we neared Los Angeles.

One of BNSF new switchers was at Commerce when Surfliner 763 went by this morning.

Amtrak 507 was at the Amtrak 8th Street Coach Yards. The train came into Los Angeles early on Track 9 and I exited the Cab Car with my prey right across on Track 11.

My first two views on the Amtrak 145.

The front end of Amtrak 145 where you can see the damaged snowplow on the left.

Two more views of the Amtrak 145.

This is the first unit painted for the Amtrak 40th Birthday Celebration on May 1, 2011. From here I walked the length of the train finding the conductor who told me they would be backing out of LAUPT in two minutes. I found two other photographers including Freericks of Trainorders Fame and we set up for pictures of the Sunset Limited with Amtrak 145 backing out of LAUPT.

Here is Amtrak 145 backing the Sunset Limited out of LAUPT this morning. Freerick was going to get more pictures and I asked if I could come along and he said yes. We walked back to the Parking Garage got his car and drove over to the Cesar Chavez Ave Bridge across the Los Angeles River and set up. The Sunset had to wait for Metrolink 354 and Surfliner 763. Once they had left the Sunset Limited back by Mission Tower and out to Main Street before it came forward to our photo location.

The Sunset Limited headed to the Amtrak 8th Street Coach Yard. Freerick drove me back to the Gateway Entrance to LAUPT and I went down into the tunnel then up to a waiting Surfliner 768 and took a seat in the Surfliner Coach for my trip back to Santa Ana.

Amtrak switcher 795 at 8th Street.

Pacific Parlour Car Napa Valley at 8th Street.

My last views of Amtrak 145 at the 8th Street Coach Yard. The Surfliner made another quick trip to Santa Ana where I detrained a very happy railfan. Special thank you to Freerick for his help with this story.