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To La Plata and the Coal Mine and Northeast Missouri Old Threshers Steam Engine

by Chris Guenzler

This trip is for me to host the La Plata Railfan Event also known as the Silver Rails Train Festival. After that we will be going to Rock Island for Train Festival 2011 and I will also do some other trips to surprise you with in this series of my journey. I started packing the day before then the morning of this trip I passed my 1,310,000.0 Rail Mile before I returned home and finished preparing for this trip. My mother drove down to the Santa Ana Train Station and after saying goodbye to Marti, my excellent night time Amtrak agent, I took the elevators up and over the pedestrian bridge to Track 1 to wait for my train to Los Angeles.

First I saw Metrolink 609 leaving Santa Ana for Los Angeles.

Next Metrolink 686 from Los Angeles to Irvine came into and out of Santa Ana. A few minutes later I heard a whistle and knew my train was arriving.

Surfliner 583 7/13/2011

The train came in and I boarded the lower level of the Pacific Business Class Car for a relaxing trip to LAUPT. I read the USA Today and just kicked back as the train stopped at Anaheim and Fullerton before making the final sprint to LAUPT arriving there a few minutes early. No Southwest Chief in the station yet so I made my way over to Track 11 to wait. Departure time came and went by and at 6:28 PM the train finally backed into LAUPT after they had to replace one of the cars at the last minute.

Southwest Chief 4 7/13/2011

The train backed in with the following consist of Engines 120 and 99, Baggage 1754, Transition 39033, Sleepers 32072 Arkansas and 32000, Diner 38019, Lounge 33011 with Coaches 34092, 34050 and 31025. The passengers all boarded and I had Room 11 in the 32072 Sleeper with Joe Washington as my Sleeping Car Attendant. The train left LAUPT at 6:50 PM and I had a 7:30 PM Dinner Reservation by the 8th Street Amtrak Coach Yards.

The train went up and over the Los Angeles River Flyover and was off to Fullerton with me listening to my CDs of "Black Sabbath Live, the Ozzy Osbourne Years". At Fullerton I took a fresh air break before being called into the Dining Car for Dinner. I was seated with Brian going to Naperville along with Gena and her son Addison heading to South Bend. I had the New York Strip which was excellent and finished up before San Bernardino, our next fresh air break. For the climb over Cajon Pass I listened to the second disc of the Black Sabbath set. After that I called it a night.

7/14/2011 I awoke, changed clothes then went to the lounge car to read the USA Today that was under my door. I gave the paper to a Boy Scout then returned to my room and did one Sudoku Puzzle before waiting for the Dining Car to open at 6:30 AM. I was seated with two first time train riders, a women going to Albuquerque who has driven many road trips and a women who was going to Chicago who once worked for the Milwaukee Road for 30 years at Chicago Union Station. I had French Toast and some crispy bacon. I returned to my room to watch Yard Goat Images DVD of "Steam Specials in the Heartland". After that I showed three of my programs to a father and son who are going to Albuquerque to ride the New Mexico Railrunner, Santa Fe Southern and the Cumbres & Toltec Railroads. Following that I put on my Miley Cyrus CD "Breakout". I timed out my next Orange County Railway Historical Society Meeting Program for August as the train closed into Albuquerque. While there I got on-line using Herzog-Data like I almost always do, cleaned out my E-mail then enjoyed some of the very warm 86 degree air outside. I put on my Metallica CD "Master of Puppets" for my listening enjoyment as we left Albuquerque on time and headed onto Lamy. There I put on my live DVD of Cheap Trick. At Glorieta we meet the westbound Southwest Chief this afternoon. After that and Lamy I put on the Greg Lake CD "King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Greg Lake In Concert" which I always enjoy hearing. I updated my 40 Years of Amtrak Program before we arrived at Raton for a much longer fresh air break with the Boy Scouts loading onto the train and unloading from the train. After that we left Raton for my first trip across it since the fire which shut down the route for a few days.

The south side of Raton Pass was where that horrible fire took place. The train climbed up to the Raton Tunnel and soon we were in Colorado with me waiting for my 6 PM Dinner Time on the train this evening. At 6 PM I went to the Dining Car and was seated with a father and his daughter going to Woodstock, IL for a family reunion and a lady who once worked at the Amtrak Beech Grove Shop. I had the steak and vanilla ice cream for dessert. I relaxed in my room until La Junta. I took a brief fresh air break at La Junta before the train left La Junta on time and headed out into the night. I made up my bed and called it a night.

7/15/2011 I was up after Lawerence and after Joe made up my room because of a quick room turnover in La Plata, I enjoyed a Cinnamon Roll and Orange Juice. I put on my DVD of David Bowie Live as the train made its way into the BNSF Argentine Yard to the northern side fuel pads to refuel the Southwest Chief. After that it was across the state line into Missouri and our next stop of Kansas City, my last fresh air break of this trip. At 7:30 AM it was already 88 degrees in Kansas City and muggy. I hope La Plata will be a little cooler. I can always hope. The train left Kansas City eight minutes late and we were on the way to my stop of La Plata. As the train got near Sibley, I got my camera ready.

The train crossed a very full Missouri River with minor flooding north of the levee.

I wondered which railroad this train is from as it was on the joint BNSF/NS track. If I see this one later I will know.

This BNSF train waiting to follow us will be behind us all the way to La Plata. I put on my CD of Yes "Union" to get me most of the way to La Plata. The road along the tracks near WB Jct is under water. No one will be chasing trains on that road for a while. I read the USA Today as we ran at track speed across northern Missouri. Like all good train rides this one ending too soon arriving into La Plata at 9:56 AM ending another fantastic trip aboard the Southwest Chief.

La Plata 7/15/2011

I was meet by Bob Cox and Maria who drove me to the Depot Inn and Suites. There Brock handed me the keys to the Pullman Suite where I got on-line and cleaned out my E-mail. After that I took the golf cart out to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point to check things out there.

My all time favorite path is the ex Wabash Railroad right-of-way from the Depot Inn & Suites to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point.

BNSF 4756 East which was the second train I saw at WB Jct waiting for us.

Next the BNSF 1003 West stopped to wait to cross over at La Plata due to a broken rail on Track 1.

BNSF 4687 East with NS 9298 in it's consist was the train in question back at WB Jct. From here I dropped off the computer at Trainweb before I started the drive to Novinger. I stopped in Kirksville at KFC for a three strip meal to go before I went to Novinger where I had to ask directions to find the place but finally did where I met Steve and Barbara who would be visiting this unique museum with me.

The Novinger Coal Mine 7/15/2011

This is the building that houses the Novinger Coal Mine Museum. If you want to visit this museum it is by appointment only so call 660-488-6795 to schedule a visit.

CB&Q Caboose 13979 is outside of the museum.

Novinger, Missouri Brief History

The community of Novinger, Missouri, was formed in approximately 1878, during a time of railroad expansion across Northeast Missouri. At that time, the Pacific Railroad began extending its line towards Kirksville, necessitating the crossing of farm land, and specifically that of John C. Novinger. In exchange for permission to run rail across his farm, Novinger negotiated the construction of a depot, named "Novinger," officially marking the formation of the city of Novinger. Novinger was subsequently incorporated on April 5, 1901, and John Frank Novinger, son of the town's founder, was elected its first mayor. Although the railroad expansion initially spawned the forestry industry in the area, which supplied the necessities for the rail lines and depot, mining was to be the future for the town of Novinger. In 1890, with the organization of the O.K. Mining Company, the town's first coal mine was opened on a hill adjacent to the city. The introduction of coal mining was a significant event in the formation and history of Novinger and for several decades was driving force behind the economy, expansion, and identity of the city. Although the industry experienced down times over the years and Novinger suffered from a competitive imbalance, the Novinger coal mining business prospered through the early 1950s. At the coal businesses peak, the Novinger Commercial Club boasted a population of 5,000, and the town had 27 developed coal mines, four churches, two railroads, two banks, two newspapers, a good school, and numerous retail stores. This expansion was the direct product of the Novinger coal business, which fed markets all over the Midwest. An offshoot of the mining boom was the ethnic diversity it produced in the town. Over the years, people of various descents settled in the area, including those of German, English, French, Irish, and Italian origin. During the early years, the individual ethnic groups remained close knit and lived in close proximity to one another. Over the years, like the country in general, the groups settled into one community and engaged in cross marriage and association. For some time following the fall of the coal industry, the city and its population fell into decline, appearing to be a town that time had left behind. Many of its remaining citizens were retired coal workers and their families, who relied on the business and employment opportunities located in neighboring Kirksville for subsistence. This increased the decline of the infrastructure and morale of its citizens. In the late 20th and early 21st century, Novinger has undertaken a renewal project in an effort to revitalize the city and promote its history and legacy in the area.

The Museum

I now went into the museum to see what they had inside.

This is what you see when you enter.

This display case had a picture of the former Novinger Train Station on it.

Film projectors from the old Novinger Movie Theater.

Many interesting things to be found here.

Much of Novinger history can be found in the display cases and above them.

In the front corner more interesting things could be found.

No there's an old piano.

The trunk and table drawer were both interesting.

Three more display cases of interesting history.

More interesting things including dolls my mother would love to see.

Those models wear their clothes well.

You never know what you will find in a museum when you visit one.

More period clothing.

Love that crib.

Click here for Part 2 of this story