A Short Round- Trip on The SW Chief

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A Short Round- Trip on The SW Chief
Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, January 17, 2020 7:34 PM

Newton Kansas to Albuquerque, New Mexico..

I know this is not the usual time of the year to take a vacation, but my wife's staging' business is in its slump season'.  So we felt, a week off was a good thing in January.

From this area to Alb,NM is approx 12.5 hours on the #3  SWC. Neither of us had ever been to Albuquerue; So we booked it; 2 days, to see what Albuquerque offered.     Rented a car, saw  AT&SF #2926, < http://nmslrhs.org/ > The Tram, https://sandiapeak.com/   and  the  Museums. Lots of restaurants with good food, weather was mild, until Thursday,  and it was time to catch #4 SWC .

All the way back home....Snow, sleet and ice! Sigh

The 'ride' on both #3 and#4  was really interesting; we met, and talked with a number of folks, on and off the trains.     The Dining Car food, and crew was' excelent', at meal times.     The Snack Bar on the lower level of the Sightseer Lounge was convenient, between times.  The view from that Lounge Car was terrific!  

The train crews on both trains were both helpful, and fielded all questions with a smile. Great attitudes on their parts. It made the trip that much better!

They seemed to be as much of a Team, as they were a Crew.Thumbs UpThumbs Up

The route is BNSF all the way, and the trip over Raton Pass was quite an experience.  It has to be quite a job for the engineer to manitain both speed and keep passenger comfort in mind.  The route is laid with combinations of bolted rail and CWR ; certainly made for an interesting ride, and transiting from one car into the next.Smile, Wink & Grin

We arrived back in Newton, about an hour late, it was sleeting, and snowing, as it had been alternating all the way across; the wind had iced all the outside surfaces at the station.     The single station agent, had her work cut out; chasing the baggage from the baggage car, and back to the Station, in severe ice conditions. Whistling

[ edited to add content 01/18/2020 ]

 

 


 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, January 18, 2020 12:00 PM

Thanks!  Glad to know Amtrak is capable of a good job!

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, January 18, 2020 12:26 PM

Yes, my ride on the Texas Eagle, I have noticed a vast improvement in training of Amtrak car attendents and Dining Car folks.   They treat you as a customer now instead of a bother.   Someone is doing their job finally in this area.   I don't give compliments easily either.   I used to rip on Amtrak crews in these columns but they are definitely better now on the Long Distance trains.     

Also noticed on the Chicago to Milwaukee Trains they run those trains better now as well.   Noticed the last trip home they blocked off a car or two based on customer load for the trip so they did not have to have it cleaned inside (thus saving money).   Still plenty of room in the other cars.    Another trip they had marked 4 seats facing each other as reserved for crew only.   As the train approached standing room only capacity they lifted the signs on those seats and gave them to paying passengers.    I was wowed, that never happened before.

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Posted by diningcar on Saturday, January 18, 2020 1:55 PM

While in the lounge car did you observe the upper quadrant semiphore signals in the vicinity of Wagon Mound? And about that name 'Wagon Mound', it was along the old Santa Fe Trail and its shape from a distance looked like a covered wagon as once traveled that Trail. There are many other significant locations between La Junta and Albuquerque and the old Santa Fe brochures described them.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, January 18, 2020 2:31 PM

diningcar

While in the lounge car did you observe the upper quadrant semiphore signals in the vicinity of Wagon Mound? And about that name 'Wagon Mound', it was along the old Santa Fe Trail and its shape from a distance looked like a covered wagon as once traveled that Trail. There are many other significant locations between La Junta and Albuquerque and the old Santa Fe brochures described them.

Yes, Sir! Saw the upper quadrant semphore signals in a couple of locations on the route up and over Raton Pass!  #3 went over in daylight (Mtn Time Zone) while we were seated in the Lounge Car.  the round 'searchlight signals' were also evident, and working, as well.   WE were told thatr the usual passing spot for #3 and #4 is a point they call 'Fox' siding.   Although, when we left Newton, Ks on Monday at 0230AM CST)   both trains #3 & #4 passed/stopped at the station platform at Newton . The lone station agent got  'twofer' that morning! She was another of Amtrak's employees who didi her job cheerfully, and competently, was ready with any info passengers asked her about.

The Westbound #3 was really interesting; In our 12 .5 hour trip, after daybreak we made stops at several pointsm, and the conductor announced, several smoke breaks for anyone so inclined. while climbing the Pass west of Trinidad, Co.  The cew pointed out a couple of large herds of antelope and a number of mule deer, and even a large herd of elk.  At Lamy, NM the Conductor had mentioned to me about the railroad equipment, around the Station. [Santa Fe Southern RR] . Looked as if it had been stationary for some time(?).   Going East on #4, it was still there but it appeared that several of the freight cars had been moved,(?).

Pretty good trip! 

 

 

 


 

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 18, 2020 7:54 PM

Sam, did you see any jackalopes? Though they may not live in that area, but only in western Colorado and Wyoming, and in eastern Utah. I have seen mounted heads for sale in western Wyoming.

Johnny

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Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, January 24, 2020 5:42 PM

Deggesty

Sam, did you see any jackalopes? Though they may not live in that area, but only in western Colorado and Wyoming, and in eastern Utah. I have seen mounted heads for sale in western Wyoming.

 

Not from the Sightseer Lounge n the SWC....Last Jackalopes, I saw were in a restaurant, and Bar; at Park Ave, and Highland in Memphis...[Baretta's[..

      They were stuffed and mounted; bodies, heads, antlers, and all... DinnerMust have been over a dozen of them! Whistling

The story[tale?] was;Cowboy the owners had 'shot'BeerBeerBeerBeer them on a trip out West...      At least that is what they told everyone who asked.... Mischief

 

 


 

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Friday, January 24, 2020 8:56 PM

samfp1943

 

 
Deggesty

Sam, did you see any jackalopes? Though they may not live in that area, but only in western Colorado and Wyoming, and in eastern Utah. I have seen mounted heads for sale in western Wyoming.

 

 

 

Not from the Sightseer Lounge n the SWC....Last Jackalopes, I saw were in a restaurant, and Bar; at Park Ave, and Highland in Memphis...[Baretta's[..

      They were stuffed and mounted; bodies, heads, antlers, and all... DinnerMust have been over a dozen of them! Whistling

The story[tale?] was;Cowboy the owners had 'shot'BeerBeerBeerBeer them on a trip out West...      At least that is what they told everyone who asked.... Mischief

 

   Might have to consider putting them on the "endangered" list.

_____________

   "A stranger is just a friend you ain't met yet."  ___ Dave Gardner

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, January 24, 2020 9:07 PM

I have not seen any jackalopes on the hoof (or is it "paw?")--perhaps they are too wary to go near highways or railroads--but I have seen mounted heads for sale in a store in, as I recall, Evanston, Wyoming.

Several years ago, when I was riding coach to Chicago, as we entered Colorado, the coach attendant announced that we should be on the lookout for herds of the beast. My seatmate asked about them, and I described them for him. He seemed to understand what I told him.

Johnny

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, January 25, 2020 5:57 PM

Paul of Covington
Might have to consider putting them on the "endangered" list.

 

I think it might be too late for that!

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by SealBook27 on Monday, January 27, 2020 10:33 AM

Samfp1943:  Thanks for the info.  I've been trying for several years to arrange travelling on the Chief to see the Grand Canyon.  Might have a good chance this year. 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, January 27, 2020 1:29 PM

SealBook27

Samfp1943:  Thanks for the info.  I've been trying for several years to arrange travelling on the Chief to see the Grand Canyon.  Might have a good chance this year. 

SealBook 27:   The Grand Canyon trip is definitely dooable, from the SWC.  On our return on #3 there was a couple who had ridden from Chicago to the  stop at Wiliams Az.  Road the GCRwy to the Canyon, and back. Then caught the SWC back to Chicago. 

      Since our ride down(#4) and back(#3) were about 12.5 hrs; we had opted for Coach seats, and then at about dawn, we moved to the Sightseer Lounge car (snack bar on its lower level); we  lunched in the Diner, and had our dinner on the way back East on our return trip. Excelent! Thumbs UpThumbs Up  Enjoyed two full days in Albuquerque as a reward !! Recomend it! Whistling

 

 

 


 

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Posted by SealBook27 on Monday, January 27, 2020 3:34 PM

Thanks again.  Didn't realize there is a Sightseer Lounge.  Sounds invitiing.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, January 27, 2020 5:54 PM

[quote user="SealBook27"]

Thanks again.  Didn't realize there is a Sightseer Lounge.  Sounds invitiing.

[/quote]

Here is a photo of a similar sightseer lounge car that was present on the SWC rides we were on:

linked @ http://www.trainweb.org/amtrakpix/locoshots/suplounge/33022B.jpg

car was furnished with a mix of seats, on both sides; and tables with bench seating for four.

Here is also a linked montage of interiors and exteriors of those kinds of cars.

Linked @https:www.trainweb.org%2Famtrakpix%2Flocoshots%2Fsuplounge%2F33039A.jpg

 

 


 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, January 27, 2020 10:04 PM

samfp1943
The Grand Canyon trip is definitely dooable, from the SWC.  On our return on #3 there was a couple who had ridden from Chicago to the  stop at Wiliams Az.  Road the GCRwy to the Canyon, and back. Then caught the SWC back to Chicago. 

While the SWC comes close to Williams, that station has been bypassed decades ago in a re-alignment.  The Amtrak stop is at Flagstaff.  There is a bus to Williams, but it is almost a half mile walk to the GCRwy station.  See page 3 of the linked schedule:

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/timetables/Southwest-Chief-Schedule-110319.pdf

Edit: As an alternative you could do something like what I did-- rent a car in Flagstaff, stay at the GCR's hotel on the Williams station grounds (an old Fred Harvey hotel) and take the GC train.  Then you could also visit the Verde Canyon RR, like riding a rail line thru the Grand Canyon.  Then you could drive to Winslow and stay at La Posada (another former Fred Harvey hotel) and watch the endess trains leaving that yard.  Of course you could also get off the SWC there.

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Posted by diningcar on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:26 AM

The Grand Canyon Railway hotel in Williams is 1990's construction.The former Fred Harvey hotel is adjacent to the GCRWY depot (former ATSF Depot) and is a museum. 

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