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6 days 5000 miles 4 trains GBB - LAX - SAS - CHI - GBB

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#1 KmH



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Posted 11 May 2017 - 07:48 PM

6 day, 5000 mile, 4 train loop.

Southwest Chief • GBB – LAX

Sunset Limited • LAX – ALP

Texas Eagle • ALP – CHI

Illinois Zephyr • CHI- GBB


Monday, May 1 – Day 1

Happy 46th Birthday AMTRAK (May 1, 1971)


I hit the road at 11:00 AM.

I had a 3 1/4 hour drive ahead of me to get to the Amtrak station in Galesburg, IL (GBB).


I used my Nikon D300s DSLR to shoot video of my trip.


My train, the #3(1) Southwest Chief, wasn’t scheduled to depart Galesburg until 5:38 PM so I gave myself a ‘just in case’ 3 hour 25 minute time cushion.


I found the Amtrak station in Galesburg without difficulty, shot some exterior video clips in between rain showers, and then headed to a Mexican restaurant (Hacienda Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, 2105 E Main St, Galesburg, IL ) for an early dinner before boarding the Southwest Chief. I had tamales, rice, beans and lemonade. Chips & a decent, mild red salsa were served as an appetizer. The meal was OK and they did have a quite good tomatillo based salsa verde that went nicely with my tamales. The refried beans were a bit salty, which is often the case in these parts.


Back at the station I shot some station interior clips. Outside it was mid 40s, windy and raining off and on outside which prevented some clips I wanted to shoot.


The SWC arrived a bit early and those wanting to boarded.


For this first leg of a 6 day, 5000 mile, 4 Amtrak train loop I opted to ride coach all the way to Los Angeles. I had traveled in coach overnight from Ottumwa to Denver on the California Zephyr and wanted to experience 2 nights in coach to see how I held up.


I was assigned to a window seat next to a young man also LA bound that also boarded in Galesburg. I noted there were several rows of empty seats that had no destination slips. That made me wonder how the TA-C decided 2 people, with different names, should sit together all the way to LA?

My seat mate was faithfully dedicated to his cell phone and tablet when cells were not available for his phone. Early on I was able to get his attention long enough to find out he was making his first ever train trip and happy he had an aisle seat as he had zero desire to watch the scenery go by as we railed towards Los Angeles.


As soon as I had boarded I stuck my laptop GPS receiver to the window and deployed my laptop on the fold down table.  It displayed my DeLorme Street Atlas USA  2015 Plus and the GPS Status showing where we were, our compass heading, the train’s speed, and our altitude above sea level. (DeLorme was bought/absorbed by Garmin.)


My seatmate was accommodating when I needed/wanted to leave my seat and it was fun seeing on my GPS when the train first hit 90 MPH after leaving GBB.

Soon after going to sleep soon after Kansas City I had to shoulder my seatmate back over to his seat & bring my fully reclined seat up a couple of notches to keep him there. Other than that the night was uneventful.


Day 2 – May 2

I woke at 6:30 AM having slept as well as I expected to, and was sufficiently rested for the fresh day.

It was partly cloudy, the area had gotten some spring snow, and the SWC was just a bit late as the first town we went through was Holcomb, KS site of the 1959 murder of the Clutter family told of in Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood. At this point we were on BNSF’s La Junta subdivision.


Day 2 on the SWC rivals the scenery on the Day 2 of the California Zephyr route, but in a not directly comparable way.


I made my first trip to the back end of the train to shoot shot footage out the ‘railfan window’ only to discover this SWC had an extra car, a Pacific Surfliner coach car, on the end of the consist. The door from the last SWC car was disabled preventing other than OBS or train crew access to the Surfliner car. So unfortunately, no footage of the tracks receding into the distance behind the train. I did get footage through the door window of the interior of the Surfliner car as a consolation.


Soon we were railing past the John Martin Reservoir some 12 miles or so east of Las Animas, CO. We would be on the BNSF Boise City sub from Las Animas to La Junta, stop for a smoke/leg stretch break and then veer SW onto the Raton sub as we departed La Junta.


While we were stopped in La Junta I mentioned to the TA-C (Penny) I was going all the way to LA and asked if I could move to the 2 empty, unassigned seats at the front of the car that lack fold down tables for the duration of the trip.

She allowed me to do just that though she made sure to say she could not guarantee she might need to seat someone else with me at some point. It turns out that wasn’t necessary and I had both seats to myself. In fact the 2 seats directly across the aisle were also vacant, except the leg between ABQ & GLP, for the rest of the trip. I noted my former seatmate also rode solo the rest of the trip.


Out of La Junta I made sure to get footage as we crossed the Comanche National Grasslands, then went to lunch in the dining car. I had the Angus hamburger.

So next up scenery wise was the Army Ft. Carson Piñon Maneuver Site (for tanks), Raton Pass, Glorietta Pass, Apache Canyon and the run down to Albuquerque.

ABQ station was a crowd scene with lots of people getting off/on the train.

We had picked up the Glorietta sub back in Las Vegas, NM and were on it to south of ABQ where we re-joined BNSF’s Southern Transcon/Gallup subdivision at the Dalies junction. The Gallup sub takes us to Winslow, AZ . With the train essentially on-time it got dark shortly after leaving Gallup.

For dinner I ate food I had brought with me - hard salami, Colby cheese, homemade sourdough bread, trail mix and packaged chocolate pudding for desert.

Past Winslow we were on the Seligman sub to Needles, CA, the Needles sub to Barstow, and the Cajon Sub to San Bernardino.


Day 3 - May 3

I woke at 5 AM, PDST and was disappointed the train was on time as it meant going over Cajon Pass in darkness. I’d been hoping the train would be a couple of hours late.

I shot what video clips I could once we departed from San Bernardino and on the San Bernardino sub we arrived at Los Angeles Union Station some 20 minutes early.

Being my first time at LAUS I had a Red Cap take me to Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge and I now had 14 hours before I would leave LAUS in a sleeper on the Sunset Limited.


Los Angeles Union Station

Once I got checked in to the Metro Lounge and had coffee & muffins for breakfast I left and shot lots of video of LAUS including the East portal Patsaouras Transit Plaza and the exterior of the MTA Building. I didn’t go in the MTA building to look at the art work they have on display.

Late afternoon I went to Olvera Street for an early dinner of Mexican food. I chose the El Paseo Inn restaurant and had a very good Chili Verde Burrito and a nice cold draft Modelo Especial.


At 9:00 PM the Red Cap came to take us out to the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle sleeper cars, though the train wasn’t scheduled to depart until 10 PM. My sleeper was in the SL car right next to the Dining car. When he dropped me off I noticed the car # was 0320, a westbound Southwest Chief number.

It turns out the TA-SC hadn’t yet set the car number. When she did the car number was 0230, not the 0231 that was on my ticket. Plus, I was booked in Room #6 but the TA-SC told me to use Room #2. That worked OK for me.

The TA-SC put the lower bunk back into Day mode for me. Since it’s just me I sleep in the upper bunk so I have more room to move around as soon as I get up. With time to kill I took a shower and then got settled in my Roomette.

We pulled out on time and I watched out the window for a bit before going ‘upstairs’ to bed.


Day 4 – May 4

I woke just as we were leaving Maricopa, AZ. I tended to my morning routine and then went to the Dining car for breakfast. I had the omelet w/cheese, sausage patties, coffee and orange juice. I didn’t much care for neither the roasted potatoes nor the croissant biscuit.

The plan for the day was to shoot video clips according to my shot list.

I went to lunch after leaving Lordsburg, NM and I had the Southwest salad with the chicken breast. I finished talking with my lunch companions just in time to shoot video as we crossed the Continental Divide. I had dinner and desert, Seared Shrimp/Amtrak Signature Desert, before we got to Alpine.

In Alpine I was booked in the TE coach car.

I got back to the TE coach car in time to watch the Conductors and a local LEO board the car. Soon they came back off the car with a man in custody. I have no idea what the deal was.

There were not many seats left and I was assigned a seat on the lower level of the car. We were told that when we got to San Antonio seating would be reassigned. My seat mate and I chatted for a bit as we departed Alpine. I poured myself a night cap and once done imbibing my seat mate inquired if it was whisky. I said it was Angostura bitters and whisky and that I had sufficient supply that I could pour him a night cap too. Soon we both drifted off to sleep.


Day 5 – May 5

I woke when we arrived in San Antonio. I felt them disconnect the TE coach & sleeper cars from the SL potion of the train, and went back to sleep. I woke again when I felt the previous days Southbound TE hook up to the coach/sleeper cars. Soon thereafter the TA-C and Bruce, apparently an Amtrak supervisor of some kind (Amtrak name tag, but not in an Amtrak uniform) woke me and had me move to another coach car. Bruce wheeled my roller bag for me to the car and told me to pick any seat. The car looked to be freshly cleaned and I chose the seats behind the staircase that have no fold down tables.


As on Day 2 I had some of the homemade granola I had with me for breakfast along with coffee from the Café. The rest of the day was like Day 3 and Day 4 – shooting video clips and watching the scenery go by. The scenery was too often just trees close to the tracks on either side of the train.

I enjoyed seeing Tower 22 in Ft. Worth and the infamous Dealy Plaza in Dallas. I had dinner in the Café car, pizza & cup of noodles as we stopped for a bit in Longview.  I went to sleep as we were leaving Texarkana.


Day 6 – May 6, Saturday

I woke early, about 5 AM, and saw on my laptop that we were off route. Later I heard flooding had caused a detour. We approached St. Louis from the east side of the Mississippi River and went westbound over the MacArthur Bridge.  On the way I got 2 video clips of wild Tom turkey’s strutting their stuff near the train tracks.

Once out on the platform at the St. Louis station (smoke stop) I saw that the locomotives had been removed from the front of the train. There was no electricity, no AC, and the Toilets Closed sign was lighted. Some minutes later I saw that the locomotives were now hooked to the consist at the other end of the train. All the coach seats would be going backwards if left as is. They had everyone board and then the TA-C and Conductor proceeded to turn all the coach seats around. I have always wondered how they did that and now I have video of them doing so. We had to stand in the aisle and move out of the way a bit so they could go through the car and do what they needed to do. It was kind of like the ‘wave’ at a ballpark, but without raising our arms in the air.

Also quite a few new passengers got on and the car was near capacity.

We were by now running a couple of hours late. Announcements were made regarding connecting trains in Chicago and shuttle service to Galesburg so passengers could meet the California Zephyr/Southwest Chief. I still had a 2 hour cushion for my connection to the #383 train (Illinois Zephyr) to get me back to Galesburg, though I had lost 2 hours of time to see/video Chicago Union Station.

We actually made up a bit of time (padding?) and were were only 1.5 hours late into CUS.


I made it to the Metro Lounge (Business class seat on the #383) my own because I wanted to do it that way rather than use a Red Cap. I got checked in, put my bags in the storage room and headed out into the station to shoot what clips I could in the time I had. I shot clips in the new Metro lounge, had a beverage, admired some of the photographs, and headed out front so a red Cap could take me to my next, and last, train on this trip. I was non-stop from the time we arrived until myself and the Red Cap had to wait to go to my train. For the first time in my experience the Red Cap took my bags onto the train.

The Business class/Café car was on the end of consist.

Being single level cars and a rather short train with just 1 locomotive it sure accelerated briskly.

I shot video clips, had a beverage, and in just a couple of hours was back in Galesburg . I got home at 12:15 AM Sunday morning.


Take away’s

2 consecutive nights in coach was doable and actually more interesting, from a people watching perspective, than having a sleeper berth.


I won’t ride the Texas Eagle again. For me the scenery was not stimulating enough to foster any desire to see it again from that train.

However I have no regrets regarding any of this epic trip.


I would like to take the Sunset Limited to New Orleans and have another, tentative future LD loop trip planned –  GBB to GBB: Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, a couple of days to see/experience NOL, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Illinois Zephyr.

Edited by KmH, 11 May 2017 - 07:48 PM.

California Zephyr • Coast Starlight  • Southwest Chief • Sunset Limited • Texas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr • Capitol Corridor

. . . . Amtrak miles - 23,703, so far.

#2 BuffaloBoy


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Posted 11 May 2017 - 10:39 PM

I certainly hope you really enjoyed this trip but your trip report seems quite clinical so I didn't quite get a good vibe. You have inspired me, however, to try to ride the Southwest Chief in the future. I have always found your posts very enjoyable and right on point and knowledgeable. I will soak up anything you write!

#3 KmH



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Posted 12 May 2017 - 12:11 PM

Day 2 is the best day scenery wise.

From La Junta to some 22 miles past Lamy the SWC is the only train that uses the tracks. The Raton subdivision goes from La Junta to Las Vegas, where the Glorietta sub starts. The Glorietta sub runs to Dalies Junction some 6 miles west of Los Chaves, NM where it meets the Gallup sub and re-joins BNSF's Southern Transcon
The day starts with the plains and grasslands of west Kansas and the southeast corner of Colorado.
The southwest corner of Colorado is sparsely populated
The Rockies are in the distance and on my trip had a fresh covering of snow.
I saw a convoy of army trucks heading to the Ft. Carson Maneuver area.
Next up is Trinidad to Raton over Raton Pass and the steepest grades (3.3%) any Amtrak train negotiates.
A highlight for me was Wootton Curve, so named because it wraps around the buildings of Wootton ranch.
I got some nice footage of the locos out the right side window while on the curve and exiting the curve a nice clip back down towards Trinidad showing how much the train had climbed.
In 1866 Richens Lacey "Uncle Dick" Wootton built a toll road through Raton Pass.
The pass was one of the focal points for the 1878-1879 Railroad Wars between the AT&SF and the smaller Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Actually several railroads wanted to control Raton Pass.
At the time Raton pass was clearly the best way to get a train over the Rockies in southern Colorado to New Mexico, but there was only room for 1 company to put tracks over the pass.
The D&RG intercepted and decoded cables sent by ATSF President William Barstow Strong telling his chief engineer it was time to make a deal with Dick Wootton.
On February 26, 1878 there was a showdown. Both railroads had teams of personnel on the same train at El Moro, CO a tiny town some 20 miles from Dick Wootton's hotel. Santa Fe personnel kept a low profile on the train and when the train pulled into the station at El Moro they hung around until they saw the D&RG people check into the depot hotel for the night with the intentions of starting to lay track over the pass in the morning.
Instead of getting rooms for the night the Santa Fe people hired horses and carriages and headed to Wootton's place. They got there just before Wootton called it a night after a teen dance and were able to make a hand shake deal with Wootton allowing the ATSF to build track along his road.They hired a group of teenage boys that had been at the dance and by lantern light went into the pass and started laying out the route the train tracks would take.
The D&RG crew showed up a short time later to try and make a deal with Dick Wootton. They were not happy campers and some of them drew their sidearms. Wootton made it clear the Santa Fe folks got there first, and he like them better anyway, so no shots were fired.
​The ATSF & D&RG folks did get into a shooting brouhaha six weeks later at Royal George, another critical route through the Colorado Rockies a bit further north than Raton Pass. That fight went on for about a year. The US Supreme Court was even involved though in the end the D&RG prevailed.
South of Raton Pass is again plains and the general topography becomes Basin & Range. The SWC route is along the eastern edge of the Basin & Range Province that encompasses most of New Mexico and Arizona, all of Nevada, and the eastern part of California.
About 1/2 way between Raton and Las Vegas (New Mexico) the train goes by Wagon Mound, butte that was a major landmark for pioneers using the Cimarron Cutoff of the Old Santa Fe Trail.
Fourteen miles or so south of Las Vegas the train turns from SW to West and starts the climb to Glorietta Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The route crosses the Pecos River at Ribera and the climb becomes steeper. Glorietta Pass is some 300 feet lower than Raton Pass but the route provides long vistas towards the north while Raton Pass is more hemmed in. The decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign of the Civil War was fought near the pass in March 1862.


About a mile past the tight left curve at the top of the Pass is an interesting house on the right side of the train as we head down the west side of the mountains and again veer SW at Kewa Pueblo and follow the Rio Grande River Valley to Abuquerque.


If BNSF is ever successful at abandoning the Raton Sub the SWC route will change drastically. As it is now Amtrak, Kansas, Colorado, & New Mexico pay BNSF to maintain that section of the route. I suspect the route would stay on the Emporia sub and bypass all the current stops between Emporia, KS (not a stop) and Gallup, NM. Bypassing ABQ doesn't seem to be a reasonable move, since it's a service stop and a major city in New Mexico, though Amtrak could leave the Transcon at Belen, go to ABQ and backtrack to re-join the Transcon back near Belen. However, I don't see a place to turn the train around at ABQ.


At any rate as the train gets closer to Gallup the ground and the cliffs start taking on a reddish hue that is accentuated by the setting sun. Sunset happens soon after leaving Gallup during Daylight Saving time. It's to bad we don't get to see northern Arizona in daylight too.


Day 3 is all about the Inland Empire, LA, and LA Union Station of you consider LAUS an attraction worth checking out.


Here are the SWC route notes I had with me on my tablet on the train. Items in red comprised my shot list.

Southwest Chief #3

GBB – LAX (See Route Changes at end)


May 1 – late afternoon

Mendota sub ends at Galesburg

SWC has coach at end of consist. Railfan window available.


Other tracks split/join out left window departing station.

Ottumwa Subdivision for 7.3 mi

·         Cameron Connector & locos out right window then left window for locos, then right window for

Chillicothe sub join - to Ft. Madison (Original route was Chillicothe from CHI to GBB.)

Marceline sub to KC.


Agriculture to just before • we cross the Mississippi River (Ft Madison Toll Bridge) right before we get to Ft. Madison, IA (Fresh air stop). The FMTB is considered the longest double-deck swing-span bridge in the world.

Upstream island in the river is Dutchman Island

• IA end of bridge Iowa State Prison out right side of train.

• 17 mi after Ft Madison cross Des Moines River into Missouri.

•Sunset about 8 pm May 1.

Santa Fe Lake left side of train just before La Plata at sunset.

• Pulling into La Plata just past the 3rd overpass is the Rail Lookout Cabin provided by the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation on the right.

Kansas City (Fresh air stop).

Emporia sub into KC.


May 2

Soon after KC station Topeka sub to Emporia

Emporia sub for 13.5 miles.

La Junta sub

We pick up the Arkansas River a bit out of Dodge City, KS to as far as Lamar, CO.

Shortly after we leave Garden City we go through Holcomb site of the murders (Clutter family) that inspired the book “In Cold Blood”.

Sunriseabout 6:06 am @ Lakin (5:40 MDT), KS about 20 west of Garden City.

Time zone change @ Kendall some 18 miles past Lakin.

• John Martin Dam/Resevoir 16 mi past Lamar. Holds Arkansas River water.

• 5 miles more we cross the reservoir.

• Cross Purgatoire River just before Las Animas & 1.3 miles before the prison.

9.5 miles more the • Bent County prison is on the right side of the train as we approach Las Animas, CO


La Junta & rail yard (Fresh air stop).

• Split on to Raton sub leaving La Junta, shoot out right side or back of train.

We follow US-350 towards Trinidad on BNSF Raton subdivision. Amtrak is the only user of the subdivision now. We go through the Comanche National Grassland from crossing Hwy. 19/71, at line of bushed on right, to about Dehli, CO, some 22 miles.

• Ft. Carson’s Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site left side - 13 miles after Delhi.

• 5 miles after Model, CO (15 miles after  Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site) is a State Prison we might be able to see some 3500 feet away on the left of the train, but right, right curves to right for locos.

A mile further is a curve to the left that may allow a view of the locos out a left side window.

Cross Purgatoire River again Ag starts again to Trinidad.


• 2.5 miles after Trinidad a left turn in front of a ½ mile wide earthen dam forming Trinidad Lake from Purgatoire River. Locos video chance left side. Dam chance out right.

Follow along Raton Creek

Climb towards Raton Pass

• We join/follow I-25.

• Wootton Curve. Locos out right side. Go to back window immediately after shooting out right side.

• 1.4 mile CO/NM Border & start of ½ mile long Raton Pass tunnel immediately after crossing the CO/NM state line - 7,588 feet on the far end of the tunnel is the high point on the SWC route – and we descend to Raton (Fresh air stop).

 Tunnel is second Raton pass tunnel, opened in 1908.

• 4.5 miles past Raton we cross the Canadian River.

Wagon Mound & Wagon Mound mountain.

Cross the Mora River after hard right turn through cut in hill • above the grade Steel girder bridge at river. 3800 feet further locos out left as we approach Watrous.

Glorieta sub starts leaving Las Vegas.

• Bridge 3 mi after Las Vegas stop. Right curve, bridge in immediate left curve.

• 3 mi further we cross US-85 part of the original Route 66 and run near it for about 8 miles.

• We rejoin the old Route 66 (US-84&85/I-25) just after Bernal.

Bernal - • Starvation Peak out left

• 3.5 mi later are  loops to shoot/video locos out a left, right, then left again out side window.

• Ribera - we cross the Pecos River

Glorieta Pass after Rowe.

• Tight left turn in Glorieta – chance for locos video out left window.

• 1.5 mi interesting house on right side.

• Apache Canyon – We veer way from old Route 66 & Canyoncito siding starts.

• Lamy, NM

• 3800 feet past Los Cerrillos on right side is Devils Throne.

• 22 miles after Lamy Rail Runner commuter line joins from right. Or 5.5 miles past Los Cerrillos.

• 2 miles more – bridge

• ¾ mile – under I-25

• 6 mi – Kewa Pueblo, curve to left – chance to video locos, Cochiti Lake diversion canal on right that starts 7.5 mi north at Cochiti Dam. The dam holds back the Rio Grande River.

• 5 mi - Rio Grande River on right.

6 miles more we rejoin old Route 66 (I-25) – on the left


•••• Albuquerque – 50 minute service stop … VIDEO. Depart 4:55 PM.


• Bridge over Rio Grande 10 miles out of ABQ.

• 16.5 miles out of Isleta we join the BNSF’s Southern Transcon.

Gallup sub to Gallup

• 8.5 miles cross Rio Puerco River

At Mesita-  Rio San Jose on left for next 4 mi or so.

• 3.6 mi past Mesita big left turn and bridge. Loco video chance left side.

• Near Rio San Jose until lava flows start just after McCarty’s.

• 5.5 mi past Thoreau cross Continental Divide

Sunset • May 2, 7:09 MST about an hour after leaving Gallup.

Little Colorado River between Holbrook and Winslow left side.

Seligman sub – Winslow to Needles


May 3

Colorado River AZ/CA border.

Needles sub - to Barstow

Cajon sub – to San Bernadino

If we run late

Cajon Pass – The top of Cajon Pass is SW of the town of Summit Terrace.

Look for the Mormon Rocks (just before Cajon Junction • hwy-138/I-15) on the right side of Sullivan's Curve, and freight traffic on other tracks.

The Pacific Crest Trail and the San Andreas Fault go through Cajon Pass.

South tracks have a 3% grade. The Duffy Street disaster freight train was on the south tracks.

BNSF has 3 tracks through Cajon Pass.

Interstate 15 does not traverse Cajon Pass, but rather the nearby, 400 foot higher Cajon Summit.

Sunrise May 3, 6 am, Riverside, CA.

San Bernardino sub

Near Riverside Freeway (CA-91)

After Fullerton near I-5.

• At Pico Rivera cross under I-5, through rail yard.

• Redondo flyover - over LA River/Washington Blvd.

About 7 minutes to LAUS.


The SWC heads back in 33 hrs and 55 minutes.


•••• LA Union Station


Route changes

Until 1979, the train traversed a different route from Kansas City to Emporia. That year, it was rerouted via Topeka, Kansas to replace Amtrak service lost with the discontinuance of the Texas Chief. The reroute allowed Amtrak to maintain service to the Kansas state capital of Topeka and to Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas.

Prior to 1996, the Southwest Chief operated between Chicago and Galesburg, Illinois, via Joliet, Streator and Chilicothe on the ATSF's Chilicothe Subdivision. Following the merger of the Burlington Northern and the Santa Fe in 1996, a connecting track was installed at Cameron, Illinois in order to allow both freight and passenger trains to connect from the former Burlington Northern Mendota Subdivision to the Chilicothe subdivision. The Chief was rerouted on the old Burlington Northern through Naperville, Princeton, and Mendota to Galesburg This route segment is also served by Amtrak's California ZephyrIllinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg.


In early 1994, near its western terminus, the train was rerouted between San Bernardino and Los Angeles onto the Santa Fe Third District via Fullerton and Riverside. Previously it served Pasadena and Pomona via the Santa Fe Pasadena Line, until that route was closed to all through-traffic. This resulted from ATSF selling that segment to the Los Angeles Metro for use as a light rail corridor. The Los Angeles Metro Gold Line now uses that stretch of right-of-way.

Edited by KmH, 12 May 2017 - 12:11 PM.

California Zephyr • Coast Starlight  • Southwest Chief • Sunset Limited • Texas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr • Capitol Corridor

. . . . Amtrak miles - 23,703, so far.

#4 oregon pioneer

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 05:51 PM

Very nice detail! I appreciate the perspective on riding coach, as I am considering Business Class or Coach on at least one segment of my next trip. And I see, you are someone else that takes home-made granola for breakfast, when not being served!



I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.

#5 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 10:01 PM

Nice trip report, I'm getting too old for two nights in Coach, but have good memories of trips there!

Your plan to visit New Orleans via the Sunset, and then the Crescent is excellent, but consider taking the Cardinal ( like the Sunset it runs three days,a,week)instead of the Lake Shore to CHI.😎
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#6 MrEd



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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:15 AM

thanks for the trip report

-MrEd, Charlotte NC

#7 KmH



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Posted 15 May 2017 - 03:03 PM

I finally got a chance to review my GPS logs and verified the detour off the normal route we took to avoid flooding in MO.

We started the detour at Poplar Bluff, MO, went east rather than north, and crossed the Mississippi River at Scott City, MO - Thebes, IL, which is south of Cape Girardeau, MO.

California Zephyr • Coast Starlight  • Southwest Chief • Sunset Limited • Texas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr • Capitol Corridor

. . . . Amtrak miles - 23,703, so far.

#8 v v

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 06:23 PM

Enjoyed reading this, thanks

#9 anumberone


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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:18 AM

Nice job reporting on your much awaited journey.
Am wondering what mapping you had in your GPS to be able to identity the route so well. Was you able to save the entire trip or did you have to download to your computer along the way.
I never have ridden overnight in coach, but can see it would be more interesting in some ways than a upper bunk with no window, which on some routes I've been on is like is like sleeping on a ship in a stormy sea.
I know from reading this and your post's leading up to this you had this trip really planned out, was you able to see and photograph everything you intended?

#10 shelzp


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Posted 03 July 2017 - 02:20 AM

Enjoyed every word of your report! I love the SWC and followed right along with your description of the beauty in NM.

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