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Chris Guenzler 2012 Review

I last left you in La Plata where I spent my New Years at home for the first time in years. It felt funny being here but I needed a change in my life. It had been a great year in my life for most things except unemployed as a sub for Santa Ana Unified School District. I had many interviews but still has not found a full time job yet. When I finished up at McFadden in December I landed a subbing job for the rest of that school year at Santa Ana Valley High School where I was reunited with Mr Patrick the principal. In August I started off at Saddleback High School for six weeks and then worked at John Adams through November. My dad was once principal of that school. Next I worked at Spurgeon Intermediate for the last three weeks. Most importantly everyone in the Guenzler family is doing well except for my sister Laura who has been battling maybe Lou Gehrig Disease but we pray that she is not. I pray that God keep the rest of us all going strong in 2013.

Rock Bands I saw this year have been Asia, Peter Cetera and Ian Anderson and his band playing both Thick as a Brick 1 & 2 twice. Thanks to Maureen at Jefferson once again, I saw plenty of Anaheim Duck Games last season plus the LA Kings playing the Capitals and Penguins. The Kings won their first Stanley Cup before the league had another lockout which I hope they come out of soon. I still love my ice hockey.

I still belong to the Orange County Railroad Historical Society and do many shows of my trips for them. I belong to the National Railroad Historical Society and always attend their convention which was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this year. I am a member of the Train Travel Group in Fullerton that meets the 4th Monday night of the month and sometimes we take trips together. I have good friends in each of these groups and I feel very lucky to be a member of in each one of these groups. I produced my third railroad calendar "The Chris Guenzler 2013 Railroad Calendar" via Vista Print. I also host Lets Talk Trains at least once a month normally on the first weekend.

AC Adam and I made a trip to the Needles sub and Kingman Canyon plus the Calico/Odessa Railway that first week of January. I took a ride with Winston and Christy Walker on the Silver Splendor Dome Car Los Angeles to San Diego The Fullerton Train Rider Group rode the Coast Starlight Detour over the Tehachapi Loop and Altamont Pass to Oakland. We came home via the San Joaquin Valley train and bus. Dave, Nick. Chris Parker and I did our trek to Winterail 2012 shooting pictures of many new station buildings, the West Isle Railroad and rode the Willis B. Kyle Express Train at Storyland in Roeding Park in Fresno on the way there. At the Friday night Pizza Party I showed my A Year of Trains in the Life of Chris Guenzler 2011. After Winterail we did the PLA'S Winterail Photography Special with the WP F unit 918D and the Quincy Railroad 2-6-2T 2 which both put on a great show.

My spring break was taken care of by heading to La Plata for the 2012 La Plata Spring Railfan Event. The day we got there that night Winston, Christy and we joined Ted and Pam Picraux on the Columbia Star Dinner Train, making my second trip aboard that fine train. The day before the La Plata Spring Railfan Event besides taking train pictures in a few new locations. I finally visited the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. Day One our group which included Winston, Christy Walker, David Korkhouse Donald Sillence and I. We went as far west as Mendon with everyone getting good pictures. Day Two it was just Winston, Christy Walker and I finding a new great photo location at the Road 49 old bridge just outside of Rutledge. As far east as we went was to the old bridge there just east of Wyaconda. Here we met some new friends from Cedar Rapids. On the way back we shot at two new bridges for me. Day Three it was Nathan Chidester, Winston, Christy Walker and I. We got lucky with a BNSF coal train at Hale on the old CB&Q before we took Nathan to two new bridges west of Bosworth. The highlight was the Union Pacific 1996 West led by the CNW Heritage Unit 1996 which we caught at Elmer. Day Four the final day, Nathan, Winston, Christy and I headed east taking Nathan to all those great spots we had visited two days before. We all had a fantastic time railfanning together so I called this event a major succ ess.Nathan and I did the big driving circle trip we found stations in La Belle, the old CB&Q Station in Canton and two stations at Keokuk, Iowa beside geting a picture of the Carl Sandburg 381 at West Quincy. We were even in Illinois for two minutes and found some new photography spots in northeast Missouri on the way back to La Plata. On my final day in La Plata, Nathan and I did more picture taking before the sky let loose with rain and we did the Lets Talk Train show on a very rainy day from the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point with Nathan, Ted and I hosting, and the trip home was a good and relaxing trip.

Carl Morrison and I chased the Santa Fe 3751 out to San Bernardino Railroad Days 2012. My picture of it from the Marguerita Ave Pedestrian Bridge ended up being the Picture of the Day on We got two other great pictures before we enjoyed the events at San Bernardino Railroad Days 2012. By the way no rib injuries occurred this year. Sunday it was Metrolink out to San Bernardino and then riding Santa Fe 3751 back to LAUPT. I worked the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation booth as Fullerton Railroad Days returned to Fullertonin 2012. On National Train Day 2012 at Los Angeles Union Station, I made my first trip on the Expo Line as far as the end of the line at that time the La Cienega/Jefferson Station. Carl Morrison, Chris Parker, Larry Boerio and I chased the Santa Fe 3751 heading to the Grand Canyon getting great pictures of the train at Horseshoe Bend out in Santa Ana Canyon, the east end of Sullivan's Curve and Lavic. Bill Compton and I went out to beyond Cadiz to chase the Santa Fe 3751 and we got good shots all the way back. I took Bob and Elizabeth along with AC Adam out to Perris to the Orange Empire Railway Museum for their first visit there. Bob even got to operate a Los Angeles Railway Streetcar. I finally wrote a story about this great museum.

I took the Southwest Chief to Chicago for the NRHS Convention in Cedar Rapids. I took Metra out to Hanover Park where I stayed two nights with Dave and Kathie Smetko. That night we went to the Chessie Restaurant in the old Chicago Northwestern Barrington Station. The next day Dave and I made a road trip. I finally got to ride a trolley at the East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin. After that I we went to Rockford and rode a trip on the Rockford Trolley Car 36 along the Rock River. We then drove south of Freeport to the Silver Creek and Stephenson Railroad and rode behind the 100 year old Heisler 2 that was built in 1912. We returned to Dave's House and had some great steaks. The next morning I took Metra back to Chicago Union Station and rode the NRHS special train Chicago to Cedar Rapids. I stayed at the Motel 6 for my stay in Cedar Rapids. The next day I was a bus host for the NRHS Midwest Old Threshers: Midwest Central Railroad & Midwest Electric Railway Trip. I shot pictures of the Surry, Sussex & South Hampton Railway 2-6-0 6 all the way around the north loop before taking a ride on this train. After that I photographed the 5 trolleys running around the south loop all the way around it. I was on Bus 2 back to Cedar Rapids. Once there Nathan and I rode in one car with Dave and Randy Jackson in their car. We went to Kalona and saw the Rock Island Station there. After that we split up and Nathan and I at Oxford found a westbound Iowa Interstate train with the Iowa Interstate Rock Island Heritage Unit 513. Next we visited the Amana Colonies and found the Milwaukee Road Station. We returned to the Motel 6. The next morning I was up early and taken like every morning to the train to help out on the Full length Dome Car. Today we did the NRHS Cedar Rapids to Rock Island Special Train. Eastbound we did a Photo Runby at West Liberty with the Iowa Interstate Rock Island Heritage Unit 513 pulling the train. We went east to Rock Island, Illinois where we added the Iowa Interstate 2-10-2 QJ 6988 for the trip west. It pulled us back to a park in Davenport where we had lunch and then did a Photo Runby. I got my best shot ever of the QJ 6988 during the second of two Photo Runbys. The QJ 6988 pulled the train back to Homestead were it was cut off and the diesels pulled us back to Cedar Rapids. After dinner Nathan and I walked back to the Clarion Hotel where we boarded the bus for The NRHS Night Photo Session with the QJ 6988. It was a fun evening with many good pictures taken. Up early and back on the crew bus to the train for the NRHS Cedar Rapids to Newton Special Train. I gave Nathan directions to chase our train and I would see him along the way and at the park at Newton. The diesels pulled us to Homestead where the QJ 6988 was put on the point for the trip to Newton where the engine is kept. We did a Photo Runby at Marengo which was excellent. From here we went west to Newton where it was lunch in the park and a double Photo Runby with the QJ 6988. We dropped the QJ 6988 off at its home and we headed back to Cedar Rapids where Nathan picked me up trackside. We had dinner then stopped at the bridge at the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railroad Shops for pictures before we returned to the Motel 6 for the night. The next morning it was decided that I would be bus host back from Boone so I got to ride in a car out to Boone with Stan Hunter, Tom Glover and Richard Tresteelli. I got to look around Boone getting my pictures before the buses arrived and I helped parked them. Here we did the NRHS Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad Special Train with the BSVR Chinese 2-8-2 JS8419 pulling the train backwards out to Fraser. Once the engine ran around the train, we did a Photo Runby at a grade crossing. Great steam and it rained coal cinders. After we all reboarded, we went back to the High Bridge over Bass Point Creek and did two Photo Runbys. I was in charge of the high overlook which we could only have 20 people at a time. Everyone was safe and got some great pictures. We returned to Boone. There I boarded the Charles City Western Car 50 for our trolley trip in Boone. We stopped at the east end for photos. I returned to Boone then helped load the buses. The first bus had only two empty seats so we let it go and we then learned the last trolley trip had problems so we moved the bus over to the grade crossing. Soon the trolley returned and we went back to Cedar Rapids. Nathan and I drove to TJ's Steakhouse for a great dinner. We returned to the Motel 6 for the night. Up early for the crew bus to the train which we had to deadhead from the Smith-Dow Yard to the town of Swisher where the passengers would board. This trip the NRHS Crandic Special Train Cedar Rapids to Iowa City was full and the really rare mileage trip so all the mileage collectors were aboard. The trip went back north to the ADM Plant before we reversed to head to Iowa City. At Oakdale with did a series of Photo Runbys. The train went south to the property line in Iowa City before we returned to Swisher and took the bus back to Cedar Rapids. Nathan and I drove to the Illinois Central Independence Station with a steam engine and caboose. Next we went to Oelwein and we visited the Hub City Heritage Corporation Railroad Museum, my second visit here. The neat moment was when two of the Transco Railway Products SW-1s came out and switched right in front of us. The sounds of these engines are so unique in 2012. On the return trip we stopped in Vinton at the Rock Island Station that also has a Rock Island Caboose. Back in Cedar Rapids we did the NRHS Banquet which was a nice evening before we return to the Motel 6 for the night. Up early again and the crew bus for another deadhead trip of the train from the Smith-Dow Yard to the boarding location near downtown Cedar Rapids where the buses would be bringing our passengers. This is our NRHS Special Train Cedar Rapids to Waterloo trip. We headed northwest to Shellsburg where we did a series of Photo Runbys. Back aboard we headed to the Iowa Northern Bailey Yard where lunch was waiting for us in the diesel house. After lunch we got to take pictures of the Iowa Northern engines on hand here. We returned south stopping at a grade crossing just south of MP 133. Here we did another series of Photo Runbys. After that we returned to the train we headed back to Cedar Rapids. The Crimmans gave me a ride back to the Motel 6. That evening Nathan and I went to Beloit Snappers vs the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Snappers won 1-0 and then we enjoyed a fantastic firework show after the game. We returned to the Motel 6 for the night. This morning I bus hosted one way to Cedar Falls and then was in charge of making the photo line for our Photo Runby for the arrival down the middle of the street. Today we ran nonstop to Manly where we had a great lunch. After lunch we did a Photo Runby with the train returning nonstop to Cedar Falls. Once we unloaded our passengers it was time to clean the train and then pull to the power plant to unload the stock from the train. We deadheaded the train back south to Bailey Yard where I got to watch the Iowa Northern southbound freight train being put together before it left. After sunset we got picked up by Randy Jackson and returned to the Motel 6 for the night. My last early morning of this trip at Cedar Rapids, was back on the bus to the train to make it ready. Once our passengers arrived we left Cedar Rapids for the last time on the NRHS Special Train Cedar Rapids to Chicago. A Special thank you to Bart Jennings, the convention chairman who put this all together and planned all the great Photo Runby locations. We returned to Chicago thus ending the 2012 NRHS Convention in Cedar Rapids. I took Metra back out to the Smetko's for one more night in the Tigger Room. After twelve hours of sleep, I took Metra back to Chicago, got my Gold Coast Char Dogs then took the Southwest Chief back to La Plata and a waiting rental car plus a major heat wave. I did all my photographyin the morning and shot at the rest of my new found locations. After a great stay there, I boarded the Southwest Chief and passed my 1,350,000.0 Rail Mile the last morning of that trip.

I took the Pacific Surfliner down to Solana Beach where AC Adam picked me up and we did the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum in Campo, CA where I finally wrote a story and we took a short train ride. The Pacific Surfliner took me home. Back down to Solana Beach and AC Adam meet me so we could do Four Gauges of Railroading in one day I did my first one on Amtrak, second on the Descanso, Alpine & Pacific Railway, third on a speeder Poway-Midland Railroad and my fourth on the Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad.

On my return trip I suffered my first derailment in my life on the Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad. Coming back I was in the rear car. It felt like we were going a little too fast as we came out of that next curve. I felt the wheels coming off the track and heard them on the ground. Next the car started to turn over to the right and suddenly I was launched out of the car over AC Adam. Next thing I knew I was flying through the air before I landed rolling down the hill through the brush. My next thought was where would I stop. I had tucked and rolled with my camera flying off from around my neck. It felt like I was moving in super slow motion. I came to a stop upside down before I rolled one more time to an upright stop. I was covered with stickers from the plants but I was alright. I stood up and was amazed just how far down that hill I had rolled. I found the camera and it was alright. Now I climbed back up the hill and found AC who ended up just below track level. I helped him up and he was alright so then I looked at the track and ties to determine where we had derailed. From here AC Adam and I walked back down to the car and after someone checked on us and took our names, we left Julian for Oceanside and he got me back there for a late running Pacific Surfliner 583 running with Amfleet cars today to return me to Santa Ana and my car that took me home. My Amtrak train crew did a fine job including asking me if I was alright and if I needed anything. What a day it had been surviving my first train derailment.

The Expo Line to Culver City was extended and I made my first trip to the new end of this line, It was another trip to Solana Beach with AC Adam picking me up and we drove over to Poway for the Poway-Midland Steam Train trip. On Saturday I did trips on the Detour Trains on the Olive Subdivision. I rode the Surfliner to LAUPT then the Red Line to the Blue Line. I visited the Watts Towers on the way down the Blue Line where Chris Parker picked me up and we drove over to the Lomita Railroad Museum then we drove to the The Grove/Farmers Market in West Los Angeles where we rode the Trolley. We then drove to Glendale to the Americana Plaza and we rode the Trolley there. I took Amtrak home. I took Amtrak Bus/Train to the Sacramento to see Union Pacific 844 on the 150 Year Tour and to take the long station walk twice from and to my train. AC Adam and I did the Metrolink's Carmageddon 2 weekend service Chatsworth to LAUPT. I did the Port of Long Beach Train Tour and then ran a Train Riders Group and OCRHS Trip to ride trains in San Diego County where for $12 you can ride all the San Diego Trolley, Coaster and Sprinter. All these stories can be found on my web site at

My rail mileage was 1,332,102.4 on January 1, 2012 and on December 2, 2012 it was 1,359,204.8.

The year started with 6191 Days of Sobriety on January 1, 2012 and ended with 6557 on my 55th Birthday on December 31, 2012.

May each of you have the best holiday season and may next year be one of the best in your life. Take care of each and everyone of you, be safe and until next year, goodbye!

Chris Day 6528