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Sea to Shining Sea by Rail

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Well as most of you here know I had a job interview in Portland, OR so I could escape the charters life. So I had to make a trip to Portland in order to go to "Orientation" which is more like an interview then anything else. When I was about to book my flight to Portland I decided I should price Amtrak for a laugh.


Turns out the day I picked was a day the Empire Builder was in its lowest roomette bucket about three weeks out from the trip. So I logged into rail agent (for travel agencies) and made my reservation. My initial plan was to fly to Chicago, meet up with a friend then ride. But I waited too long waiting for him to pull the trigger all of the decent flights to Chicago were booked up and way too expensive for this trip.


So I then priced the Lake Shore Limited and it too was in the lowest bucket for a roomette. So I booked that, then my flights to New York. And my flight home from Portland. So all I had to do was wait.


2/24: Problems, Problems, and more Problems


So the day before my trip on the 23rd I checked in for my American Airlines trip, printed out all of my tickets, and packed. Every trip I say I'll do better then packing at the last minute. That hasn't happened yet.


So I wake up at four am for a six am flight across town. It's really strange that I've used the Columbia airport now twice in two months time and never in 23 years of living here. So my dad drives me to the airport and we need to stop and get gas near the airport. No biggie till we go to turn the car back on and it won't start.


We were lucky we had a person at a nearby pump who jumped us off. Time to boarding was now 20 minutes. The new problem the car wouldn't go above 25 mph without violently shaking. So we poked at 25 down the interstate for five miles to get me to the airport. I rapidly cleared security which is an advantage to a small airport.


And walked right on to my first flight operated by Piedmont Airlines on an E145 jet to go to Charlotte. The pilot said our flight time was a whopping twelve minutes. We spent more time taxiing at the airport then in the actual air.


I got off of my plane on the Tarmac at Charlotte and made a fairly tight connection to my next flight an American Airlines A319 for New York LGA. We started taxiing on time and returned to the gate. We had a problem with the flight computer which made us three hours late.


It was a very smooth flight however I was not impressed with American and their gate agents being extra stringent on everything. Either way we made it to LGA by noon so that worked out.


I boarded the wrong bus at LGA and ended up at Harlem 125th street. My plan was to go to Woodside then go out to the Atlantic Ocean. So I took Metro North to NYG because I thought riding the Lake Shore it would be cool to at least arrive in its historic terminal.


From Grand Central I then walked to Times Square where my favorite NY restaurant has a location: Juniors. I sat at the bar to avoid an hour wait and right as I was paying I got this fun phone call. "We are calling to inform you that your train has been cancelled with no alternative transportation provided." So I finished paying then took off for an A train to Penn Station where I made a bee line for the ticket office.


At the ticket office I learned it wasn't a problem with my first train but with the Empire Builder so I begged the agent to rebook me. Which he did at no extra charge onto the California Zephyr and Coast Starlight in sleeper. Unfortunately I wouldn't make my interview with Alaska Airlines with the starlight. So I decided I would take the train to the Bay Area then fly.


With all of the troubles I had been having this day I decided I wasn't going to leave the Club Acela at this point because I didn't want another mishap. My friend from Kingston Tyler came in on an Empire Service to hang out for a few minutes. I honestly think we only managed to have fifteen minutes before my train started to board.


We all walked from the Club Acela down to the Lake Shore Limited and I stowed my stuff in my room. Luckily I managed to get a Hudson Side room which I considered a very good sign for the day. Before we left I walked up to the locomotive for a photo op before I settled into my room.


The train left exactly on time with 2 coaches, 2 sleepers, a baggage car, and a diner lite. I was feeling a bit tired before long so I made my top bunk down so I could have my seats on the bottom and a bunk to sleep in or relax in. I didn't doze off surprisingly as we went up America's Rhine. We made great time headed north towards Albany.


We arrived early into Albany where the train combines with the Boston section. I enjoyed watching the two trains combining and I walked into he station for a minute to get a photo of the Albany skyline. After we departed Albany I went to the diner lite for my meal where I was sat at a table by myself. They were not taking reservations for the diner either.


The food in the diner honestly wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Reading here you might think it's a tragedy but it wasn't bad. The chef/food specialist tried really hard to make things good. He warmed the dinner rolls up with some sort of drizzle over them. They tasted fantastic. I could have eaten ten of them.


The beef dish I forget the actual name was actually great. It tasted good, was very tender, and all around a great presentation. I have no complaints. I then went back to my room in 4911 and worked on my novel some. Before unwinding some more with Roller Coaster Tycoon II.


I went to sleep somewhere west of Utica and woke up as we were approaching Cleveland. I honestly love traveling by rail at night looking at the far off lights. I stepped off for a fresh air stop at Cleveland for a little bit of ice cold air before Reboarding. I fell back asleep and woke up again approaching Toledo. Again I took advantage of the fresh air stop to get some air.


2/25: the day of connections


Afterwards I relaxed in my room and watched the sunrise over the Ohio Fields. My favorite hour to be on a train is really just before sunrise as everything is waking up for the day. I've always enjoyed that especially on 98 in northern Virginia and doing it in Toledo suburbs was good enough.


I went to the diner lite for breakfast around seven am and again I didn't think it was that bad. I had the French toast for breakfast while not as good as the normal diner French toast wasn't awful. I then went back to my room to relax as we crossed Indiana.


I honestly struggle with the thought sometimes that people can be happy living in a place that's so flat. Where I live in SC we have rolling hills so it's not completely flat.


We departed Elkhart on time where I got to look at an engine that at one time I worked on the restoration of. Unfortunately due to a hyper railfan that restoration tanked. Before south bend my attendant came in and dropped off sheets asking me to do my own.


I didn't get around to putting sheets on the bed till the Illinois border because I love the industrial scenes of the rust belt in northwest Indiana. I then packed up what little stuff I was carrying and got ready to detrain.


We arrived in Chicago a few minutes early to which the LSA said, "go buy a lottery ticket. It's not everyday were on time." I then when turning around to listen to her day that bumped into someone.


I then went to the lounge for a few minutes to store my bags before walking up to my favorite train photography spot to watch my friends commuter train arrive. Which was rapidly followed by the northbound Hiawatha led by a charger. I did not get photos however because cold weather killed my camera battery.


I then walked back to Union Station and met up with Keiwoon and we walked to the White Palace on Roosevelt Road. We spent the entire layover basically at lunch and catching up. It was really nice to catch up. I stood outside the lounge with him till it was time to board my train the California Zephyr for Sacramento.


I settled into my room on the crew dorm 0540 because that's the only space they had available when I was at New York penn. I sat in my room till we left and I saw Kei on the Roosevelt road bridge. Then I went down to the Sightseer Lounge for the Chicago suburbs. It was enjoyable but rather dull because no one was really talking which I found strange. Generally every time I ride in a SSL people are always chatting and talking.


None the less we arrived into Galesburg early where we had a fresh air stop. I photographed the steam engine for a friend and a BNSF passenger train in the station. While we were headed west at Cameron Junction where the Southwest Chief diverges for the Santa Fe Main I saw a BNSF mixed train. One passenger car, one freight car, and one locomotive.


At about that point I met a nice couple going to Glenwood Springs and talked till we crossed Ol Man River. At the point I was feeling famished so I went to the diner for dinner. Again we weren't taking dinner reservations which I'm not accustomed too. I was sat with a British couple traveling ultimately to San Fransisco with a stop over in Denver.


The British couple said something I found very funny. "Only in America do you have 25 hours in the day." They were referring to all of the time zones going west on their trip. I had the steak which was very enjoyable. I photographed the steam engine at Ottumwa before relaxing in my room. I attempted to make phone calls to my friends in Portland because my initial place to spend the night cancelled on me.


Due to the blizzard forcing me now to arrive into Portland at 1115 at night Tom decided it was too late for me to come in. So I called my friend and ex Julia who kindly offered me her fold out sofa. To be honest I was kinda surprised that her boyfriend whom I don't see eye to eye with was ok with it. That phone call was interrupted multiple times by crappy cell service in Iowa.


After that I called my best friend Malcolm who was so kind he offered me some southwest miles so I could fly from OAK to PDX. Without that I would have been paying three hundred additional dollars.


I stepped off the train in the snow at Omaha for a few minutes before turning down for the night.


2/26 beauty and boredom


I awoke to us speeding over the amber waves of grain in eastern Colorado as we sped towards Denver. As we negotiated the railyards of Denver I got dressed because we were early and I figured I had an hour to explore Denver.


We arrived and they let us off which ended up being a mistake. As there was a crew miscommunication but oh well. I started my hour long rush tour of the area by the train station. Which really was about ten minutes till I decided I was too cold and wanted back on board. I walked all of a block


When I arrived back at the train they had all the doors shut because they were removing the locomotives due to mechanical issues. So I stood on the platform and talked to a really lovely person traveling to Sacramento. After about thirty minutes they let us back on where I went to the lounge car to get a seat with my new friend.


Once power was restored the diner reopened for service and I went there for a breakfast. I was worried I would miss the good scenery because of being in the diner but we ended up leaving 45 minutes behind. For breakfast I had the pancakes which was lovely. It's been so long since I've had pancakes because my dad hasn't made them in forever which used to be a Sunday tradition.


After breakfast I went back to the lounge. The train wasn't that full with only two sleepers and two coaches so there was no problem being in the lounge all day. The first bit after leaving was nothing short of spectacular. Everything was snow covered and beautiful. At winter park they allowed us off for a fresh air break which I took advantage of.


After winter park the Sunnyside of the mountain was dry and red, the shady side was covered in snow. We slowly kept crossing and I would see a house what looked like miles away from a road or a town. Which made me think how do these people get supplies and how often. Some looked so far from civilization I thought they might have to get gas everytime they go somewhere.


With the stops being so far apart time wise I have to say it kinda got a bit boring. The sightseer wasn't really full of people talking or doing anything so just endless scenery. Which is good but at the same time talking to people helps me enjoy what I see more.


After awhile I went to lunch in the diner also without a reservation and sat with two people from North Carolina who boarded in Denver. I had a hamburger as we entered some fairly narrow canyons. The food was good and afterwards I went back to the lounge.


When we departed Glenwood Springs we only had about thirty people on board between sleepers and coach. I still spent the rest of the day struggling to stay awake as I hadn't really gotten a full nights sleep but I managed to power thru it. When we reached the stop at Grand Junction the conductor told us we could all visit the store in the station.


To which everyone did except for me who took a platform hike. I had dinner eventually as the sun set over Utah and had dinner with a railfan from Galesburg, and a couple from the Netherlands. They didn't speak a lot of English but were fluent in German. So I helped them order in the dining car using German because I'm fluent.


It was an enjoyable dinner with a fairly good steak. After that I went to my room made a quick phone call and turned down for the night.


2/27 Donner Pass and Sacramento


Well I had intended to wake up for the fresh air stop at Salt Lake City but I slept thru that. When I woke up I noticed we were coming into Winnemucca about twenty minutes early. So I walked the platform in the snow at whatever time it was. And because I couldn't sleep I watched the sunrise from the empty sightseer lounge. Which was amazing across the desert.


I went to the diner for a quick breakfast before Reno and donner pass around seven AM and had another batch of pancakes before returning to the sightseer. I took a walk at Reno to the head end and back before settling in for Donner Pass. I was surprised to hear historical announcements in the car.


Turns out there is a trails and rails program which was very informative. I spent a lot of time just admiring the beautiful Sierras. Eventually I struck up a conversation with a retired Norfolk Southern engineer and dispatcher whom I had lunch with as well.


It was really quite enjoyable talking to someone again. We enjoyed the ride west over the grade. I went to lunch on the west side of the grade with them. Again I had the burger because when you are a picky eater amtraks menu isn't that great.


After Roseville I went back to my room and made sure it was ready for me to leave at Sacramento. I had my stuff packed and ready to leave. Shortly after that we arrived into Sacramento thirty minutes early.


Part two coming.

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I followed the guides from California State Railroad Museum to their museum where I paid twelve dollars to get in. I was impressed with their dioramas and displays. In my career I've worked with quite a few museums so I know a good one when I see it.


The way they arranged the equipment with mannequin figures really helped tell the story. While mannequins from the 1970s definitely are lifeless they bring the scenes they are trying to portray to life somewhat. All of the equipment is in amazing shape unlike most rail museums where it rusts in the parking lot (cough B&O cough) or languishes in a deadline in an inaccessible location to the public.


They have plenty of interactive exhibits which are really nice for those wanting to bring small children. I impressed the supervisor of the high speed rail engineer simulation because I didn't jar my passengers. And I also called signals, and talked the supervisor thru what I was doing in a technical language. Truth is I do have some running experience with different museum railroads. However I did overshoot the platform at the end by 70 feet.


After that I walked to the rebuilt replica Central Pacific Railroad station and at the equipment parked there. Afterwards I walked around old town Sacramento. Old town really reminds me of Savannah, GA's River Street. I had a quick dinner in the old town district before I walked back to the Amtrak station.


I went to a ticket counter and five minutes later I had a ticket for Train No. 547 to Oakland Coliseum. I went out to my track to learn we had a brand new charger on our train.


I saw the engineer and asked how they were performing, he loved the new locomotives. After that I boarded my train in the first car. I noticed something really remarkable about the conductor when she came around to lift tickets.


She talked to everyone like she knew them and in most cases she did know something about them. She asked about people's kids by name so she truly did know something. There was someone going to a place they'd never been before with the Bart. She paired them up with someone who normally makes that transfer so they had a guide.


She truly cared about every passenger. I told her I was going to Oakland Airport and she said she would point me in the right direction once we got to my stop. I then sat back and enjoyed the sunset over the Central Valley.


I went down to the door where I really got to talk to Conductor Sharon for a bit. (I think that was her name). She is such a nice women, kind, caring, and honestly should be the one training new hires. When we arrived she took an extra minute to point out where the AirBart station was and how to get there. And also some basic safety precautions to take in that area.


I followed her instructions to the letter to the Bart station. Unfortunately I was still hassled by the local homeless population. But I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.


I cleared security in under two minutes and went back to where my flight was and waited. The flight was fairly short and somehow I managed to sleep a bit. I was worried I was going to miss the last Max train to Julia's so the minute the seatbelt sign was off I grabbed my one carry on and sprinted off the plane to the max stop. I made it with twenty minutes to spare.


I went to the wrong stop because she misunderstood her boyfriends instructions but walking back a single stop isn't bad. And I got settled in their new apartment (as of a week at this point) on the folding sofa. I chatted for a few minutes then we all went to sleep. There bedroom doesn't have a door (or really any walls). It's not visible from the living room but that's about it.




I woke up carefully at seven am to not disturb them. Even though they were getting up shortly anyway. Probably the only time I've ever put socks on to cross a wooden floor (to make zero noise). I quietly got dressed, grabbed my shoes and tip toed out.


I put my dress shoes on in the hallway so I wouldn't disturb them and carefully closed the door. While I was walking by the doorman I had a sudden bad pain in my foot more specific my toe. Turns out I had a open safety pin lodged into my big toe as far as it would go. I pulled it out and started walking a mile in the Portland rain to my interview.


After walking for about ten minutes I was there and I sat down with an amazing group of people and talked. Who were also interviewing for the job. The interview started shortly where they went over the company history, job description, and benefits.


I went to lunch with a group of people from the interview to a local burger joint then went back. We had a great discussion. I honestly wish I would have gotten their contact info but I didn't. I did not get the job so I called Julia who came down and met me on my walk back to her place.


We then went to get hot chocolate and just sat and talked. Honestly she is my best friend in the world because she truly understands me and cares. We talked about everything from my breakup with Kathleen which still terrorizes me somewhat, to what was wrong with the recruiters not wanting me. And she even found me a career field I would be good in so I might just take her advice.


She also thinks I need to move to Portland as soon as possible which I find really nice. She's really a damned good friend. At about five we went back to her place and I gathered my stuff. I taught her how to shop for the best airfares on websites I use. Gave her her Christmas gift then went on the max to toms house.


Tom and I sat for maybe two minutes before deciding we wanted some food and went to an Italian place. We tried without success to find a train to chase over Cornelius pass after that.


3/1 the Gorgeous day


I woke up around seven am and walked a mile to the Max stop so I could go get breakfast with Julia. I honestly don't mind the walk in the Portland rain. I caught my max and off I went. We chose a classic diner for breakfast.


We sat enjoyed each other's company and talked about travel. I invited her on my next European Holliday. I had amazing pancakes and then she went to study for a test.


Tom and I decided we would drive into the gorge for the day. For starters I can't say enough nice things about the gorge. It's absolutely gorgeous pardon the pun. I love everything about the gorge. We went out into the gorge as far as Arlington. We drove on the Washington side out as far as white Salmon before getting lunch in the Dalles.


We then went out to Arlington because he wanted to show me the garbage train branch line. After finding no trains we worked our way back to Portland. We went to Burgerville for dinner which is an amazing local burger chain. After that we watched a movie at his townhouse before bedding down for the night.


3/2 unexpected day trip.


Well Julia and I had planned to go bowling this evening at six thirty but other then that I had no plans for the day. So I was going to ride WES to wilsonville then work my way over to Vancouver to railfan. Well after walking a mile to the max Tom texted me and asked if I wanted to go chase a shortline in the coastal mountains.


It honestly best my plan so I went to his office stop met him and we went to I5. We stopped for a late breakfast midway to Corvallis and went towards Toledo. We intercepted the train somewhere west of the summit and started following it east. Tom was a bit mad because they stalled on the hill and wasted an hour.


I took a really cool photo of it framed in a covered bridge before we got bored and gave up on it. Then we drove the backroads back to Tigard. I still had some time to kill so I took WES to wilsonville and back to Beaverton. Which did make me a little late because I didn't read the schedule.


I met up with Julia, her boyfriend Kevin, and Melissa at Julia's place and we talked for about thirty minutes before leaving for food. And I completely embarrassed myself because I've never used chop sticks before. I had all three of them coaching me how to eat then but I still didn't really get the grasp of it.


They thought I should get a fork but I didn't want to surrender so I kept trying and eventually I managed to eat it all. But it took time lots of time. We then walked to Melissa's apartment to get her car to drive to downtown to a place named the Punch Bowl. Turns out there was an hour wait for a lane and Julia had a test in the morning.


So instead we played table soccer in which I ran the score up rapidly (mostly because I've worked in an arcade before). After that we walked over to the Departure Bar which is on the 17th floor over Pioneer Square. Where we stood on the terrace and admired the view. Afterwards we went home and I texted Kevin my exact location on my mile walk thru the woods back to toms.


3/3 leaving home


Well tom drove me to the max this morning and I made it to downtown by about eight fifteen. I walked around for the hour before going to Powels City of Books for an hour. I ended up buying two books for me, and two books for my best friend malcolm (even though I will read them first).


After Powels I walked to Union Station to photograph a charger on the cascades. Before door busting the Hello From Portland gift store to buy a Portland shirt. After that I caught a max to the airport. I was very sad to see the city that is slowly becoming my home receding in the distance.


I had burgerville at the airport to celebrate a good trip before boarding my United A320 for Houston. I ended up getting stuck next to the flight attendants while boarding due to people returning to gate to gate check luggage. I mentioned I wanted to be a flight attendant, specifically for United to which impressed her. She introduced me to the entire crew and was very nice.


She also gave me a lot of advice as to what to do for the next interview. That is if I don't follow Julia's advice and become a teacher in Multinonah Public Schools. But this attendant took such good care of me she brought me a free snack from the lunch. A very caring crew.


I sat next to a World War II veteran and his wife on the flight. And I honestly enjoyed talking to them the entire flight. It definitely made the time pass faster. I really enjoyed talking to them and I learned a lot.


On my second flight back to Columbia on board a Expressjet erj 145 we had a sour flight attendant. And I spent the entire flight reading the book I bought for Malcolm "Railroaders without Borders." My dad picked me up in my now working again car and took me to my favorite local chain for a quick dinner.


I have to say I'm a big supporter in eating local chains, and local food. So I had my fried chicken from rush's at my house. I wasn't even at my house an hour when I started to feel homesick for Portland.


All in all I had a great trip across the country and would do it again. I've met some cool people, saw beautiful scenery, spent time with my best friend and her friends, and maybe just maybe found where home is.


In conclusion. My heart rests where the sun sets.


Photos to come soon.

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Enjoyed your report. It reads like a novel. Sorry your interview didn’t work out but other doors will open.



Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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My first flight at Charlotte, NC after a twelve minute flight from Columbia. A person really wonders how these flights are economical.



Metro North at 125th Street. Two minutes after I left here Amtrak went by.



M7 bound for New York at 125th street.



New York New York on my walk to lunch.



The Lake Shore Limited at New York Penn



A glum ride up the Hudson Valley.



The bear mountain bridge.



The Lake Shore Limited's at Albany.



The Lake Shore Limited at Albany.



The diner lite meat dish.



The Lake Shore Limited at Cleveland.



The Lake Shore Limited at Toledo



The National New York Central Museum at Elkhart.



One of four remaining and preserved New York Central Steam Locomotives. 3001. I was involved in an unsuccessful restoration of this engine.



The Capitol Limited and Pere Marquette.



The Lake Shore Limited at Chicago.



Union Station along canal street.



Downtown Chicago.



The train my friend in Chicago was riding to come visit me.



The Canal Street crossing.



A Northbound Hiawatha.



The Chicago River and Chicago skyline.



A Charger on the Illinois Zephyr that's being wyed.



Metra's Rock Island District.



Northwestern Terminal

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The California Zephyr at Chicago with its first set of engines. Due to a mechanical problem near Omaha they traded in Denver with the ski train.



Out of service forever two Pacific Parlor Cars await transport to Beech Grove.



A Budd 10/6 sleeper acting as a spacer car for the Hoosier State.



An Illinois Service from Carbondale waiting for us to clear on the St Charles Airline.



Downtown Chicago from the train.



Aurora Illinois downtown.



Miles upon miles of fields. Too many fields.



BNSF Inspection train on the house track at Galesburg.



BNSF inspection train at Galesburg.



Chicago Burlington and Quincy 3006 a Hudson type at Galesburg.



A BNSF mixed train.



Old man River at Burlington.



Old man River at Burlington.



BNSF F units for snow plow duty.



Sunset over Iowa so flat.



The California Zephyr at Ottumwa.



Chicago Burlington and Quincy 3001 at Ottumwa.



Omaha Union Station.



A Santa Fe GP38 at Denver.



Burlington Northern painted equipment at Denver.



Part of the Denver Skyline.



The Ski Train locomotives.



Denver RTD Silverliners.



Denver Union Station. It feels more like a hotel lobby then a train station.



A streetscape in Denver.

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The California Zephyr charging up the front range.



The California Zephyr charging up the front range.



Slowly climbing to the summit.



The Rockies in all their splendor.



Looping up the Rockies.



The difference between the snowy side and the sunny side.



The California Zephyr at Winter Park.



The Colorado River.



Central Colorado is beautiful.



Every curve brought a new surprise.



Glenwood Canyon.




The California Zephyr at Glenwood Springs where the train emptied out.



Colorado Red rocks. Look at that Boulder.



The California Zephyr at Grand Junction. It's a junction but not that grand.



Sunset over Utah from the westward Zephyr.

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The California Zephyr at Winnemucca.



Sunrise over the Nevada Desert.



The California Zephyr at Reno in the trench.



The east side of Donner Pass.



Climbing part of the original transcontinental Railroad.



Jordan Spreaders that are on snow patrol over the snowiest railroad line in America according to trains magazine.



Donner Lake



High Up in the sierras.



A small southern pacific steam locomotive at Roseville.



Our conductor had all his ducks in a row. Apparently he used to have a bunch of ducks at his house, but has since given them up. Now he travels with ducks given by passengers, and crew.



The California Zephyr at Sacramento.

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A live steam scale engine in the foyer to the California State Railroad Museum.



Central Pacific 4-4-0 No. 1. See what I mean about good looking displays.



Another 4-4-0 displayed on an early railroad truss bridge.



Very old coaches like the ones originally used on the Central Pacific.



Another 4-4-0 engine on display.



The mighty can forward. A lot of people would like to see it restored to operation. But that would require disassembly to get it out of the building.



A Great Northern RPO.



The future looks like an ICE III which is already obsolete in Germany.



Lucas Bebe's private railcar.



This museum has way too many 4-4-0s.



A narrow gauge engine in the rafters.



More equipment at the Central Pacific station.



A Santa Fe Northern. In good condition despite being outside.



A second Santa Fe Northern despite being outside like the entire B&O museum collection. It's in good shape.



Southern Pacific Budd car serving on the Sacramento Southern.



Old Town Sacramento.



Old Town Sacramento feels like Savannah GA to be honest.



A Capitol Corridor bound for Auburn.



I like taking photos of train crews just doing their job. I love the human element it adds.



Eastbound Capitol Corridor to Auburn.



My Capitol Corridor to Oakland Coliseum with a Charger.



Sunset over the Central Valley.

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The Gorgeous Columbia River Gorge.



BNSF from somewhere on the Washington side.



I love the Cascades.



A local backing up in the Gorge somewhere.



Did I mention I love the Gorge.



The local ducking into a short tunnel in the gorge.



Looking towards Oregon.



Union Pacific near the Dalles.



A rolling meet somewhere in the gorge.



Eastbound Union Pacific in the gorge.



Union Pacific at Arlington where tom took me to see a dump. Literally a dump.



The Columbia River from I84



Fallbridge where the Oregon Trunk diverges and goes to Bend.



Beautiful cloud formations in the gorge.



Union Pacific entering Cascade Lochs



TriMet at Beaverton Creek. My max stop.



The Willamette Valley.



The Coastal Mountain Range.



The coastal mountain range.

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The Portland and Western Railroad's Toledo Hauler in the coastal range.



The Toledo Hauler running east towards Corvallis with six engines on the point.



The Toledo Hauler at another chase stop.



The Toledo Hauler fighting the coastal mountain range as it trudges east at twelve miles an hour.



We don't have trestles like this in South Carolina.



The Toledo Hauler in the Oregon rainforest.



The Toledo Hauler in the small hamlet of Summit.



Creating the grade with two of its six engines working. It stalled out twice on the grade.



The Toledo Hauler somewhere south of the main road on a dirt road. There was a waterfall I could hear from the crossing but not see from the road bridge.



Is this a train photo? Or a photo of the Harris Covered Bridge.



The last photo of the Toledo Hauler.



The West Side Express operated for Trimet by the Portland and Western.



One of Trimets new to them RDC 1 cars. Originally from Canada.



Trimet MAX at toms usual stop at Sunset.

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Downtown Portland on a Saturday Morning.



Pioneer Square where a large hotel used to stand.



The Portland Transit Mall with a max.



The Pioneer Courthouse.



I like the colonial style of this building.



The Portland Streetcar.



Portland Union Station a place many of you are familiar with.



A Cascades Charger waiting for its next run with the amount Olympus set.



Portland Union Station from the pedestrian bridge over the station.



A Cascades NPCU on the amount Olympus Trainset.



Another Max running in downtown.



Downtown Portland from the Steal Bridge.



Mount Saint Helens from the Max on a clear day without the Portland Rain.



Multnonah Falls in Lego Form at the airport. How cool is that.



My last flight to Columbia with a really rather crabby flight attendant.


And those are all the photos.

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Thank you guys for all the kind words. I'm a bit sad I didn't get the job too. But I had a great trip and I might be back in Portland as soon as next week. I hope that comes to pass with a job with a major political party in Portland. The short trip made me realize why I love the Rose City so much.

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Wonderful photos, thank you!


It was nice to see a photo of the Winnemucca station stop. That is one of three or four stations that are all about the same travel time from my house in the middle-of-nowhere-eastern-Oregon. It has been upgraded since the last time we boarded there, just as Chemult (our most regular departure station) has.

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I did not get the job ...... to what was wrong with the recruiters not wanting me....even found me a career field I would be good in so I might just take her advice.

I doubt, if somehow I got hired, I'd last ten minutes as a Flight Attendant (OK, maybe one flight). I am quite reclusive in this life, and I think any airline's recruiter is looking for people that they evaluate as a "team player". This is important because airlines expect adherence to the "company line" (Amtrak gives their public contact employees far more latitude "to be themselves"). This is even more important should there be "the unlikely event" when all Attendants need be "on the same page". An Attendant who suddenly "has a better idea", and even if it IS a better idea, could impede the successful evacuation of an aircraft.


Only you know to what extent you are that kind of person.


But with these wonderful friends you have in the Northwest, who clearly love and support you, you will find a career path in a region within which it appears you want to settle.


Good luck.

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Wonderful photos, thank you!


It was nice to see a photo of the Winnemucca station stop. That is one of three or four stations that are all about the same travel time from my house in the middle-of-nowhere-eastern-Oregon. It has been upgraded since the last time we boarded there, just as Chemult (our most regular departure station) has.

Where in my adopted home state of I might ask. It wasn't a bad station actually considering it's the middle of nowhere.

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Wonderful photos, thank you!


It was nice to see a photo of the Winnemucca station stop. That is one of three or four stations that are all about the same travel time from my house in the middle-of-nowhere-eastern-Oregon. It has been upgraded since the last time we boarded there, just as Chemult (our most regular departure station) has.

Where in my adopted home state of I might ask. It wasn't a bad station actually considering it's the middle of nowhere.



Near Seneca, "Oregon's Icebox", which is high in a mountain valley between Burns and John Day on US Hwy 395. I am off to the edge of the valley in the pine trees.


I am fond of the whole state of Oregon. It is a climatically and politically diverse state, with a unifying sense of self-reliance and love of the outdoors. It is not a rich state (in money, at least), but we do a lot with what we have.

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Wonderful photos, thank you!


It was nice to see a photo of the Winnemucca station stop. That is one of three or four stations that are all about the same travel time from my house in the middle-of-nowhere-eastern-Oregon. It has been upgraded since the last time we boarded there, just as Chemult (our most regular departure station) has.

Where in my adopted home state of I might ask. It wasn't a bad station actually considering it's the middle of nowhere.

Near Seneca, "Oregon's Icebox", which is high in a mountain valley between Burns and John Day on US Hwy 395. I am off to the edge of the valley in the pine trees.


I am fond of the whole state of Oregon. It is a climatically and politically diverse state, with a unifying sense of self-reliance and love of the outdoors. It is not a rich state (in money, at least), but we do a lot with what we have.

I love Oregon for those exact same reasons actually. Where I'm from we aren't really self reliant. Oregon has this really interesting vibe where local products are cherished, and people are friendly. I can't wait to move to Oregon.

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Good pictures. I've ridden all the trains you did plus visited Portland and rode TriMet. Recently, I flew threw Charlotte for the first time in many a year and was totally disappointed in the crowd handling and boarding procedures. My home is in Nashville and believe we have one of the best and most locally entertaining airports in the country.

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