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Iowa Depots and the Trip Home

by Chris Guenzler

After a great night sleep at the Best Western Pioneer Inn at Grinnell, Iowa, I went and had a good breakfast before I checked out. I drove south on Iowa 146 to US 63 which I took into Oskaloosa.

The Union Pacific in Oskaloosa, IA. From here I drove US 63 south to US 34 east to Iowa 16. I stopped at the bridge over the BNSF but alas no trains were to be seen. From here I headed into Eldon, Iowa and found more than I knew was here.

The Eldon Rock Island Depot is the centerpiece of a railroad themed park called Mainliner Park.

The Eldon Rock Island Station.

Rock Island Pool Caboose 52554.

There is a shed with a Rock Island emblem on it.

There is an industrial switcher here as well.

Rock Island Signal.

A Rock Island Crossbuck.

A Rock Island Crossing Signal.

There is a wooden train set for kids to play on. From here I continued south on Iowa 16 which took to Iowa 98 into Douds. Here I found the Douds Rock Island Station.

The Douds Rock Island Station.

The Douds name plate on the station. From here Iowa 98 ends but after crossing the Des Moines River turns into V64 which I took south to the junction with J40 which I took west into Bloomfield. There I found something else interesting.

There is a house that has among other things a Santa Fe Caboose 999438.

There are track worker cars.

A Speeder.

Two different style signals. From here I found the Bloomfield CB&Q Station.

The Bloomfield CB&Q Station. From here it was an easy drive back to La Plata with a stop in Queen City for some Coca-Cola for my trip home. I parked the rental car #1, good riddance to it and stored my stuff behind the front counter since the Pullman Suite wasn't ready yet. I took the golf car out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point and found out the Wireless Internet is down. I worked on this story as I took pictures a few trains that went by this early Sunday afternoon.

BNSF 5062 West.

The BNSF 7420 was the second engine.

The rear DPU was BNSF 7211.

BNSF 7491 East.

UP 7746 West.

UP 7884 West. From here I returned to the Depot Inn & Suites and got the key to the Pullman Suite. I checked E-mail, took a sauna bath, finished this story up to this point and watched some pro football. I discovered that I was out of space for my web site. A phone call and two E-mails took care of it as watched the afternoon NFL Football Games. Bob Cox picked me up at 4:30 PM and we drove to Coltons in Kirksville and I had a fantastic steak dinner. Bob returned me to the Depot Inn & Suites. I watched a little TV, took a shower and another sauna bath and uploaded the corrections Winston had sent me, I checked the status of the train and at 7:10 PM Brock drove me down to the Amtrak Station where I waited for the train to arrive.

Southwest Chief 3 11/14/2010

When the train pulled in I asked the Conductor about upgrading and she said we would take care of that in coach. they loaded the family in the sleeper then pulled the train up. The train consisted of Engines 158 and138, Great Dome Ocean View 10031, Baggage 1206, Transition 39027, Sleepers 32034 and 32086 Louisiana, Diner 38024, Lounge 33014 and Coaches 34042, 34048 and 31017. I boarded the 34042 and was given Seat 7 which I was only in for less that five minutes. The Conductor helped me take my bags to Room 9 in the 32034 and then the AC wrote me a ticket for my sleeping car room. I worked on the story for a while before calling it a night with me having a bed for my next two nights on this train.

10/15/2010 I was up at 6:30 AM for breakfast in the Dining Car. I had French Toast and bacon seated with a gentleman for San Luis Obispo. I went back to bed until La Junta where I took a fresh air break.

The Southwest Chief at rest at La Junta.

Amtrak's Great Dome Ocean View 10031. The train left La Junta 16 minutes late this morning and headed west to Trinidad. I read the Pueblo newspaper before I worked on part 1 of my December Orange County Railway Historical Society Meeting and finished the timing of it as the train climbed Raton Pass. Later I took a fresh air break at Raton and did some Sudoku Puzzles before I went to the Dining Car at 11:30 AM for lunch. I was seated with an older couple from Australia and we had very nice conversations about both of our homelands. I had the Beef Angus Burger along with Vanilla Ice Cream. After lunch I put on my DVD of "Alice Cooper Theater of Death Live at the Hammersmith 2009" which took me to Las Vegas and beyond. This was the same show that I wrote a story on with complete picture coverage when Chris Parker and I saw it at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles last November. That took me past the meeting of Train 4 the Southwest Chief when we ran through the siding around him today at Fox Siding. The train crested Glorieta Pass then dropped down grade through Apache Canyon to Lamy. From there the train continued the trip on into Albuquerque our next servicing stop on the trip. I got off to more cold temperatures and then got on-line and uploaded the story to this point. I searched the web and the train left for points west on time. At 5:30 PM I went to the Dining Car and we seated with a mother and son from Fairfield, Ca. I had the steak and more Vanilla Ice Cream. After dinner it was my DVD of Aerosmith Live that took me to Gallup and on into Arizona. After that, tired I made up my room for my last night aboard the Southwest Chief.

11/16/2010 I was up at San Bernardino and enjoyed some donuts along with some Orange Juice on the way to Riverside. The train left there on time and soon I was at Fullerton where Surfliner 562 was taking on passengers. The train made the final sprint into Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal and arrived there at 7:17 AM or 58 minutes early. It had been another great trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

Surfliner 564 11/16/2010

It was nice to walk from one train to another right from my Sleeper to the Pacific Business Class car for my trip home to Santa Ana. The train left LAUPT on time and it was a relaxful trip home to Santa Ana. I got picked up and taken home for three nights before I leave Friday on my next trips.