The Sunset Limited (2)

The Sunset Limited (2) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 13

Morgan City:

The Sunset Limited (2) begins as we cross the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City. The river is a tributary of the Mississippi. There are two road bridges and one rail bridge crossing the river here.

The population peaked in the 1970s and has declined by about 35% since then.

Many of the houses in this area are in need of some TLC. This may be because, in 2018, the median income in Louisiana was just under $48,000. This compares to a US average of $62,000.

New Iberia:

The train is lightly loaded today. If those who travel by car and plane took the train they’d travel in comfort and see so much more of the magnificent scenery.

New Iberia has a short platform so the train moves forward to let the coach passengers get on. There are about 20 of them.

As we leave New Iberia the line from Avery Island curves in on the left. Avery Island is the home of Tabasco.

Towards Lafayette:

Our journey takes us past a great deal of agriculture. Rice and sugar cane are two major crops because the climate is suitable for them.

We reach Lafayette, the fourth largest city in Louisiana. The station has been rebuilt because the original one burnt down in May 2001.

A childhood on a rice farm:

In the last part of the podcast I learn about growing up on a rice farm. I hear that it was hard work but that there was a great sense of family. The family had a natural well which gave them large quantities of water for irrigation and cooling down in the summer heat.

The photographs that accompany the podcast:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If so please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I continue my journey on the Sunset Limited  along the southern border of the United States towards Los Angeles.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Railroad Blues by Bobby Cole, Country Train Ride by Michael Nickolas & Carl Carter and Southbound Train Alt Mix by William Pearson for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Sunset Limited (1)

The Sunset Limited (1) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 12

At the station:

The Sunset Limited (1) begins when I arrive at the station in New Orleans, its quite early in the morning and I need breakfast. I’m able to get something to eat and drink in the Magnolia Room. The Magnolia Room is the Amtrak equivalent of an airport lounge.

The Union Station retains the style of the 1950s, it opened in 1954 .

Our train:

Our boarding call is in good time for a prompt departure. I have the time to take a few photographs and spend a little time talking to the station staff.

The carriage where my Roomette is located is the newest I’ve travelled in. No signs of wear! I put my things in the Roomette and walk down to the Observation car where I will spend much of the journey.

We’re off:

We pass through the Amtrak service yards shortly after leaving the station. Carriages and locomotives are being prepared for their next journeys.

We soon cross the Mississippi on the Huey P Long bridge. It opened in 1935. The bridge, and approach viaducts, are some 4.5 miles long. The bridge was named after a Louisiana State Governor and Senator. He was assassinated a couple of months before the bridge opened.

Into the Bayous:

Our journey takes us into the Bayou country. Here we see swamps, forests and slow moving water. If we are lucky we might see an alligator – sadly not this time.

We travel through some small communities. This really is a beautiful part of the world.

Agriculture:

I learn that one of the major crops in this part of the world is rice. Rice farming is big business here. We pass the ‘paddy’ fields where the rice is grown as we travel onward.

The photographs that accompany the podcast:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I continue my journey on the Sunset Limited  along the southern border of the United States towards Los Angeles.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Swamp Blues Stinger by Bobby Cole, New Orleans Jazz Band – Drums and Tuba by Michael Nickolas and Down in New Orleans by Ron Komie for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

A day in New Orleans


A day in New Orleans – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 11

To the hotel:

A day in New Orleans begins with our late arrival at the station, a taxi ride to our hotel and a good night’s sleep at the French Market Inn. Get more details here.

Morning:

I woke refreshed, dressed and went to reception to meet my friends. We decided to go across the road to Cafe Beignet on Decatur Street. You can find out more about the restaurant here.

We then went through Jackson Square and the Colonnade Market to the hop on, hop off bus stop. The route that the bus takes is here. We got off when the bus reached Basin Street Station as there is a small museum there.

We then got on the next bus and travelled through the Garden District, past some of the famed above ground cemeteries and into the City Centre.

On foot:

We then walked back to the Garden District and stopped for a reviving cup of coffee. Our route then took  us towards one of the famous cemeteries. We spent an hour or so looking round. They’re like towns of small houses arranged on streets. The same families have occupied some of the mausoleums for hundreds of years.

After we left the cemetery we went in search of a streetcar. Some of the New Orleans street cars date from the 1920s. The Charles line first opened in 1835 and is the oldest streetcar route in the world. When you board a streetcar you are ‘boarding a piece of movable New Orleans history’. Find out more about the New Orleans streetcars and other public transport here.

Afternoon:

The streetcar took us into the main ‘Downtown’ area. We decided to get off and look for a late lunch.

After lunch we returned to the hotel to rest our weary feet, and in some cases, take a ‘Zizzzzzz’.

Refreshed by our rest we met up in reception and went out for an aperitif and dinner.

Evening:

We first went to the river to marvel at the majesty of the Mississippi as it makes its way to the sea.

After crossing the road back into the French Quarter our walk took us through streets of houses with amazing ironwork, past a jazz band playing on a street corner and some strange sights. We found a lovely bar, the Pirates Alley Cafe, for a relaxing drink.

Refreshed we walked back towards our hotel for the last part of ‘a day in New Orleans’. We were had an excellent dinner at Tujague’s restaurant. This is a traditional restaurant that opened in 1856. You can find out all about it here.

The photographs that accompany the podcast:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I board the Sunset Limited for the start of my journey along the southern border of the United States towards Los Angeles.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Taste of the French Quarter and Tasty Louisiana Barbecue by Bob Khurana, New Orleans Jazz sting by Michael Nicholas and Down in New Orleans by Ron Komie for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The City of New Orleans (3)

The City of New Orleans (3) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 10

The bus journey continues:

The City of New Orleans (3) begins as we reach Arkansas on our bus. The train has no stops in Arkansas so I wonder whether this is an extra state!

We soon pass Osceola. The town is on the Mississippi which forms the border between Arkansas and Tennessee.

Memphis:

The bus is making reasonable progress. We reach Memphis during the rush hour and our progress is slow. Once we get south of the city the road is clearer although we’re on a single track highway.

We stop at another truck stop to pick up an additional driver and a member of the Amtrak team.

Marks:

The next stop is at the small town of Marks. The station opened on 4th May 2018. It results from two decades of work by local civic leaders. The total cost came to $1.2 million. The station was the result of an agreement between Quitman County, Amtrak and Canadian National.

As our journey continues we pass Yazoo City, a flag stop on the rail route. We don’t stop as there are no passengers. We are now 400 rail miles south of Carbondale.

When we reach Jackson we change bus. We had been notified that we would be on a bus for the last part of the journey because of flooding.

On to New Orleans:

As we start our last 180 miles to New Orleans we meet up with people we’ve not seen since morning. This bus is full but I’m sat next to a man who is accompanying a school party who are visiting New Orleans.

It is late when we arrive, so off to the hotel and bed.

The photographs that accompany the podcast:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I spend a day looking round the amazing city of New Orleans.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Train Station by Jason Donnelly and Railroad Blues by Bobby Cole for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The City of New Orleans part 2

The City of New Orleans part 2 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 9

Carbondale:

The City of New Orleans part 2 begins as we realise that the train will go no further. It is 6.30 am and we are in Carbondale. We are given the options of returning the way we came or going on by bus.

Some of the passengers are not happy!

Our train failure is news! A local TV station comes to report on the situation and interview the passengers – it must be a slow news day!

We hear that buses are coming, but from some distance away. Because there will be a delay I go to look for coffee but find that the shops don’t open early. Its after 9.00 a.m. and nothing is open!

The buses arrive, they are driven on to the platform. The first gets caught on some fencing and suffers slight damage. It is soon full so we get on the second one which, after a short delay, sets off for our journey south.

Going South:

The bus makes reasonable progress. Our route takes us past shopping areas all with single storey buildings and brands that are new to me. We then come to an area with hotels.

The bus then turns off down a dirt track. At the end of the track we come to Fulton station. Its basically a container with a couple of windows. The person we were meant to pick up has gone. I can’t understand why – we are only 7 hours late!

Someone calls 911:

The bus turns, we retrace our route to the highway and get going. A passenger complains loudly about the route we are taking. The Amtrak staff member tries to calm her. The complaints continue. She is disturbing the other passengers so she is warned that she must be quiet or get off the bus.

A police car overtakes us. The bus stops. All because the complaining passenger dialled 911. The policeman gives the passenger a choice, keep quiet or get off. There’s not much here so she stays.

Gourmet lunch:

We stop at Loves. It is a truck stop. At least it is an opportunity to get something to eat.

The photographs that accompany the podcast:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where the journey on the Rail Replacement Bus continues and we reach New Orleans.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Train Station by Jason Donnelly and Country Road both by Bobby Cole for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The City of New Orleans part 1

The City of New Orleans part 1 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 8

The first part – Departure from Union Station, Chicago

The City of New Orleans part 1 starts as I board the train in Chicago Union Station. We leave on time.

After a short distance the train stops. We then reverse. The train stops again. We learn that a set of points have failed. After some manoeuvres we get going again. By now we are running late.

It is dark outside and the lights of Chicago are magnificent. The total journey on the City of New Orleans is advertised as taking 19 hours – click here for more details. Long distance passenger trains in the US often run late because freight trains take priority. We already know that the last part of our journey will be by bus because of the flooding.  That will lengthen the journey.

The Café Lounge opens and we cross the Chicago River. Those wishing to dine are called to the Dining Car.

Our route through the night:

The schedule for our train takes us through a number of stations in Illinois and then south through Kentucky. When I wake in the morning we should be in Memphis Tennessee.

I go to bed. It appears that the train is now running very late.

I awake in the middle of the night to find the lights flashing on and off. The train is stopped. I finally get to sleep again. I wake at 6 a.m. to find that we’ve reached Carbondale. We are now 4½ hours late and still in Illinois!

The train is going no further:

We hear that the train has broken down and can go no further. The issue is that the electrical supply to the carriages has failed. This means no air conditioning or rest rooms (toilets).

We are offered a choice of either return on the Saluki train the way we came or continue by ‘Rail Replacement’ bus. We still have 625 miles to go until New Orleans.

Carbondale station:

I have to proceed towards New Orleans, no matter what time I arrive. I decide to wait for the Rail Replacement bus. It is a beautiful morning. I is also April 1st!

As I enter the station building I see a sign saying that guns aren’t allowed. There is another saying no soliciting ….

The photographs that accompany the words:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I take the Rail Replacement Bus for the journey south.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Chicago Blues and Railroad Blues both by Bobby Cole for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Southwest Chief part 6

The Southwest Chief part 6 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 7

The first part – From Mendota into Union Station, Chicago

The Southwest Chief part 6 starts as I interview two fellow travellers in the Observation car. The observation car is a very sociable area on an Amtrak long distance train.

As we progress towards Chicago the weather brightens. The total journey on the Southwest Chief is advertised as taking 40+ hours – click  here for more details.  Long distance passenger trains in the US often run late because freight trains take priority.

The old railway buildings at Mendota are now a rail museum. There is a steam engine by the platform. The platform is short, the sleeper passengers are first. Then the train has to pull forward, across a level crossing,  for the coach passengers.  This means that a long traffic queue builds up!

There are many grain silos by the side of the track in this part of Illinois. One of the silos in Mendota has a corn-cob painted on it.

Through farmland to Naperville:

The arable farms are large in this part of Illinois, they stretch into the far distance.

The next stop is Naperville. This is the last stop before Chicago’s Union Station. The station first opened in 1910 and is used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, the California Zephyr, the Carl Sandburg and the Illinois Zephyr. It is also used by over 20,000 Metra passengers each week.

About 30 minutes later we reach the magnificent Union Station.

theWit – my hotel in Chicago:

I stay the night at theWit, a DoubleTree hotel from Hilton. This hotel is spectacular and centrally located. I have a lovely room, the breakfast is  fantastic and the staff…..

The staff at this hotel are fantastic and really helpful. I made a good choice booking here. I shall return on my next trip. (Sadly delayed by Covid 19).

The Museum of Science and Industry:

I only scratch the surface of this brilliant museum. I visit the gallery reserved for U 505. It is an amazing story and brings the Second World War Battle of the Atlantic to life for visitors.

I then  find myself in the Transport gallery. This is home to an amazing model railway. It recreates the highlights of the Empire Builder  route. Listen to US Rail Journeys, Series 1, for my journey on this route.

The photographs that accompany the words:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I join the City of New Orleans for a journey to Carbondale.

Links:

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can find out more about my home in Chicago – theWit here.

The Museum of Science and Industry is here.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Chicago Blues by Bobby Cole for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Southwest Chief part 5

The Southwest Chief part 5 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 6

From La Plata, Missouri to Princeton, Illinois

The Southwest Chief part 5 starts as we  pass wet and muddy farms and cross flooded level crossings. As we approach La Plata in Missouri the train is still running late. This morning, sadly, there is no sun – just rain and flooding. The total journey is advertised as taking 40+ hours – click  here for more details.  Long distance passenger trains in the US often run late because freight trains take priority.

After leaving La Plata we pass flooded land where we can’t see where the river ends and land begins. There is an awful lot of floodwater here. Luckily another passenger is on hand to tell us why.

Fort Madison and the toll bridge:

We reach the station at Fort Madison and have a chance to stretch our legs. There is even floodwater in parts of the town as we go past. After two miles we reach the mile long Fort Madison toll bridge. The bridge takes us from Iowa to Illinois. The top layer of the bridge is for vehicles and the lower one for trains.

The bridge, used by 100 trains a day, was built in 1927.  It swings open, up to 5 times a day, to let river traffic through – click here to see it open. The ‘swing’ section is 525 feet long (160 metres).

The Mississippi really is vast!

Onward into Illinois:

As we travel through Illinois the sky starts to lighten. Here and there a touch of blue and yellow. There is a short stop at Galesburg and then we continue on to Princeton.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I complete my journey to Chicago.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

 

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Country Train Ride by Michael Nicholas & Carl Carter for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Southwest Chief part 4

The Southwest Chief part 4 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 5

From Raton to nearing La Plata

The Southwest Chief part 4 starts as we approach Raton. The train is running late as we reach Raton. It is dusk and we are seeing the last of the sun. The total journey is advertised as taking 40+ hours – click  here for more details.  There are frequent delays to long distance passenger trains as freight takes priority so they are often late.

After leaving Raton (pronounced ‘Ratone’) we pass through the Raton Tunnel. The tunnel is at the highest part of the pass at 7,588 feet (2,323 m) above sea level. As we leave the tunnel we cross in to Colorado.

The Southwest Chief is usually the only train to use this section of line. There is one ‘Chief’ each way each day. Freight trains use a by-pass route with easier gradients.

I have an enjoyable dinner. I then talk to two teachers who like to travel by train. They find it less stressful and love the scenery.

I get up in the morning to flooding by the side of the tracks. Very different weather to the day before! We travel through rain and floods for the rest of the journey.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I continue my journey to Chicago.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

 

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Railroad Blues by Bobby Cole and Country Train Ride by Michael Nicholas & Carl Carter for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Southwest Chief part 3

The Southwest Chief part 3 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 4

From Albuquerque to Las Vegas, New Mexico

The Southwest Chief part 3 starts as we leave Albuquerque. We stopped in Albuquerque for enough time for everyone to have a decent ‘air’ break. It is a beautiful day as we return to the desert. The total journey is advertised as taking 40+ hours – click  here for more details.  There are frequent delays to long distance passenger trains as freight takes priority so they are often late.

We pass through the suburbs of Albuquerque as we leave the city. We pass scrapyards, industrial sites and housing. A few of the houses have solar panels. I would have expected everyone to have solar panels because there is so much sun.

We pass through unforgiving desert. There are many amazing rock formations. In the distance there are snow capped mountains. In some places there is a fence beside the line to keep the cattle from straying.

The train has a short stop at Lamy. The town has a population of 218 (2010 census) by serves as the station for Santa Fe, 18 miles up the road.

We pass a river and go through an area with trees breaking into leaf. We then go back to the desert. The train climbs steadily as we travel onward. We then stop for over an hour as we wait for the westbound Southwest Chief to pass.

Our journey takes us past Starvation Peak. We then descend, through long S bends, towards Las Vegas. The New Mexico Las Vegas!

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I continue my journey to Chicago.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

 

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Southwest Chief part 2

The Southwest Chief part 2 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 3

From San Bernardino to Albuquerque

The Southwest Chief part 2 starts as we leave San Bernardino. Night has fallen and I retire to my Roomette to sleep. The total journey is advertised as taking 40+ hours – click  here for more details.  There are frequent delays to long distance passenger trains as freight takes priority so they are often late.

I awoke a couple of times during the night but soon got back to sleep. Whilst I slept we passed through a number of stations where the only train that stops is in the middle of the night!

I awoke to a beautiful morning with the High Desert bathed in amazing colours as the sun rose. We soon saw that the desert was very unforgiving. The desert is hot and arid with many amazing rock formations. In the distance there were snow capped mountains.

The episode ends with our stop, on a beautiful morning,  in Albuquerque in New Mexico. This is the first opportunity in many hours for an ‘air’ break for many of the passengers.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I continue my journey to Chicago.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

 

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

The Southwest Chief part 1

The Southwest Chief part 1 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 2

I spend some time investigating the history of Los Angeles Union Station in the Southwest Chief part 1 . This magnificent building was the last of the Union stations to be built. Find out more about Union station here.

I then went to my platform to board the Southwest Chief for the 2,265 mile journey to Chicago. The journey is advertised as taking 40+ hours – click  here for more details.. There are frequent delays to long distance passenger trains as freight takes priority.

I arrive on the platform in time to see the Southwest Chief reversing into the station. All around me commuters are rushing for their local trains home to enjoy the beautiful evening.

Although the train was late arriving at the platform we departed on time. We travel through Fullerton and on to San Bernadino in this episode. We listen the announcements about dinner as we travel through a beautiful evening.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I continue my journey to Chicago.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

 

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks.com has licensed California Sun Instrumental Mix (by Bobby Cole) and Surfari (by G Mosby, E Wilson & B Gagnon) for use as incidental music in this podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

From London to LA

From London to LA – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 1

I travelled from Heathrow to Los Angeles in From London to LA. I flew with British Airways from their flagship Terminal 5 on a Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’. The flight to took nearly 11 1/2 hours. Find out more about flying with BA here.

I took the FlyAway bus from the airport to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. This bus service runs at regular intervals throughout the day and night. Click here to find out more about this service.

I stayed in the DoubleTree in downtown Los Angeles before starting on the first leg of my train travel. The hotel is located three blocks from Union Station.

The DoubleTree has the lovely Japanese Kyoto rooftop garden. The Kyoto Garden is based on an ancient Japanese garden in Tokyo built for the 16th century samurai lord Kiyomasa Kato. The original was an oasis from the discord of Tokyo, this is an escape from downtown Los Angeles. Click here to find out more about this hotel.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I will start my journey to Chicago.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

 

To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Spotify and Stitcher.

Music:

AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Musopen.org has licensed the version of the Flower Music used in this podcast.

Audioblocks.com has licensed the other incidental music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

US Rail Journeys – From the Sierra Nevada to Richmond, Ca

Series 1 Episode 16

From the Sierra Nevada to Richmond is the last part my journey westwards on the California Zephyr. I left you at the end of the last episode at the top of the Sierra Nevada. Today we come down the mountain and travel through California to Richmond.

The speed limit is 30 mph as the train descends the mountain. We certainly don’t want to be on a ‘runaway train’. At one time there was hydraulic mining, where the topsoil was washed away by water. This was banned because of the damage it caused.

Our first stop is Colfax, named after a US Vice-President. There is a statue of a miner panning for gold at the station. We travel on to Roseville where we pass large rail yards and a wagon repair depot. For more details click here.

Next we reach the State Capital at Sacramento, click here, where we pass the locomotive works. We then pass through Davis and Martinez before we reach the end of my journey at Richmond.

I hope you have enjoyed the series. There will be a second series of US Rail Journeys in the Autumn (Fall). In series two I will travel on the Southwest Chief, the City of New Orleans and the Sunset Limited.

Click on a ‘thumbnail’ to open the gallery for the journey from Across the Sierra Nevada to the Donner Pass.

My thanks go to the passengers and crew on our journey from Chicago to the Bay Area, aboard the California Zephyr, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Want more information?

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher as well as this website.

Steam Railway is used as the theme music under licence from AKM Music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019

US Rail Journeys – Across the Sierra Nevada to the Donner Pass

Series 1 Episode 15

Across the Sierra Nevada to the Donner Pass continues my journey westwards on the California Zephyr. I left you at the end of the last episode as we started the climb across the Sierra Nevada. Today we continue the climb, through spectacular scenery, to the Donner Pass.

Building the route required complex engineering because there were so many challenges. The train’s first stop in California is at Truckee, a town of around 16,000 people.

The train goes round many very tight curves as it climbs the Sierra Nevada towards Donner Lake and the Donner pass. Donner Lake and the Donner Pass are spectacular.

This episode ends with us high up in the Sierra Nevada. There is a very long drop to the river valley below.

I’ll tell you about the last part of the journey to the Bay Area in the final episode of US Rail Journeys in two weeks time.

Click on a ‘thumbnail’ to open the gallery for the journey from Across the Sierra Nevada to the Donner Pass.

My thanks go to the passengers and crew on our journey from Chicago to the Bay Area, aboard the California Zephyr, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher as well as this website.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019

US Rail Journeys – From the middle of nowhere in Wyoming to Reno

Series 1 Episode 14

In  episode fourteen I travel on the California Zephyr from The Middle of Nowhere in Wyoming to Reno. We continue along the diversion to Salt Lake City and then, having rejoined the usual route, on to Reno .

The route takes us through some pretty desolate desert. I certainly wouldn’t like to get stranded out there!

The train passes through the desert communities of Elko, Winnemucca and Lovelock  on our journey through Nevada. All the time going westward, much faster than the wagon trains of old.

As we approach Reno there are more roads, cars and business parks. A sign of ‘civilisation’ approaching fast. The stop at Reno was long enough for us to get off. I noticed that the sleepers in Reno station are concrete; most in the US are still wood.

This episode ends with us back in the countryside as we reach the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Learn more about the Sierra Nevada here.

I’ll tell you more about the route across the Sierra Nevada, built with amazing engineering skill, as we travel on the California Zephyr in the next episode of US Rail Journeys in two weeks time.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery covering the journey from The Middle of Nowhere in Wyoming to Reno.

My thanks go to the passengers and crew on our journey from Chicago to the Bay Area, aboard the California Zephyr, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher as well as this website.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019

US Rail Journeys – Across Wyoming to Rawlins – S1 Ep.13

In  episode thirteen I travel on the California Zephyr from north of Denver, Colorado,  then along our diversion across Wyoming to Rawlins, an oil town in Carbon County.

The diversion is to allow engineering work on the California Zephyr’s normal route. We are travelling along the historic Overland route last regularly used by a passenger train over 20 years ago. The Amtrak Pioneer. The Pioneer ran for nearly 20 years from June 1977 until May 1997.

Although we stopped many times on our journey none of the stops were in a station, so we had no air break for many hours.

We passed through Greeley where the former Union Pacific Rail Depot which closed when the Pioneer service ceased in 1997. Find out more about the history of this station by clicking this link.

We then crossed the desolation of Wyoming passing through Laramie in the early afternoon – click this link for more details. We have left the arable farming area and now we only see cattle; and in many places there is nothing!

As the afternoon progresses we come into a belt of the first snow of the winter. Considering that this is early October I imagine that it can be pretty cold in mid-winter. In the desolation there are some wind farms, I imagine that the winds can be fierce here.

This episode ends as we reach Rawlins in Wyoming’s Carbon County (more details here) and our locomotives are refuelled. The station first opened in 1901 and finally closed in 1997.

I’ll tell you more about the journey as we travel from Rawlins to Reno on the California Zephyr in the next episode of US Rail Journeys in two weeks time.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

My thanks go to the passengers and crew on our journey from Chicago to the Bay Area, aboard the California Zephyr, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher as well as this website.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019

US Rail Journeys – Mount Pleasant through Denver on the California Zephyr – S1 Ep.12

In  episode twelve I travel on the California Zephyr from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, through Denver and then northwards to our diversion through Wyoming.  The diversion is because there is engineering work on the normal route between Denver and Salt Lake City. The diversion takes us along the historic Overland route. The last regular passenger service to use this route was the Amtrak Pioneer. The Pioneer ran for nearly 20 years from June 1977 until May 1997.

We travelled from Burlington through the late afternoon towards Mount Pleasant in Iowa where the station opened in 1912. Over 13,700 passengers used Mount Pleasant station in 2017.

We then stopped at Ottumwa where the station canopy lacks any glass. Ottumwa is the fictional home of Radar O’Reilly from M*A*S*H. 12,200 passengers used the station in 2017. The Rock Island Line services used to stop here.

It was dark when we reached Osceola, 80 miles on from Ottumwa. Osceola saw 16,000 passengers in 2016. A further 33 miles took us to Creston. The station at Creston is like a small industrial unit. It was built in 1969 and was used by just over 3,800 passengers in 2016.

We reached Omaha after another 108 miles and crossing the state line between Iowa and Nebraska. After a short air break we set off into the night. I slept whilst the train travelled through Lincoln, Hastings, Holdredge, McCook and Fort Morgan stations on the way to Denver.

We reached Denver after breakfast. The train spent over 40 minutes in Denver and this gave me the opportunity to look round the station. Denver Union Station was rebuilt in 1914. The platform area was rebuilt again between 2014 – 2014 and is very modern.

We left Denver going north to the diversion route which took us non-stop across Wyoming. I say ‘non-stop’ because we didn’t stop at any stations between Denver and Salt Lake City. The journey out of Denver, however, was more stop than go for the first few hours and give us a scenic tour of Denver’s scrap yards.

I’ll tell you more about the journey across Wyoming on the California Zephyr in the next episode of US Rail Journeys in two weeks time.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

My thanks go to the passengers and crew on our journey from Chicago to the Bay Area, aboard the California Zephyr, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher as well as this website.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019

US Rail Journeys – Chicago to Burlington on the California Zephyr – S1 Ep.11

In the eleventh episode I travel from Chicago to Burlington on the California Zephyr. The episode starts at the historic Drake Hotel in Chicago where I stayed for a night. After a restful night I took a taxi to Union Station for the start of my journey on the California Zephyr.

Our journey takes us from Chicago, across Big Muddy and on to Burlington. This is the first part of the journey on the California Zephyr travelling from Chicago to the Bay Area.

Our first stop after leaving Chicago is at Naperville station. Nearly 50,000 Amtrak passengers travelling on the California Zephyr, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandeberg used the station in 2014. In addition Metra commuter services also call at the station.

Our journey from Chicago to Burlington on the California Zephyr continues to Princeton, which was used by nearly 36,000 passengers in 2014. We then stopped at Galesburg where there is a Railroad Museum. The station was used by over 100,000 passengers in 2017.

Our final stop in this episode, shortly after crossing the Mississippi, is Burlington, Iowa. The station was built in 1944 and is very much in the mid-century modern aesthetic style. Nearly 9,250 passengers used the station in 2016.

I’ll tell you more about the journey on the California Zephyr in the next episode of US Rail Journeys in two weeks time.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

I thank the passengers and crew on our journey from Chicago to the Bay Area, aboard the California Zephyr, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Steam Railway is used for the theme music, under licence from AKM Music.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher besides this website.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019

US Rail Journeys – Milwaukee to Chicago – S1 Ep.10

We travel from Milwaukee to Chicago in the tenth episode of US Rail Journeys. This is the last part of our journey on the Empire Builder as the train travels along the  Milwaukee Road.

Originally a plank road for horses and carts Milwaukee Road became the name given to the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.

The first stop after leaving Milwaukee is at Glenview station which opened in 1995. The Empire Builder, Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service and Metra commuter services use the station. Passengers who want to travel from Glenview to either Chicago or Milwaukee may not use the Empire Builder. They must use the other, more frequent, services.

After Glenview the next stop on this short leg of our journey is Chicago Union Station. This magnificent station opened in 1925 and stands on the west side of the Chicago River. The station is the fourth busiest in the US, and the busiest outside New York. Nearly 3.4 million Amtrak passengers plus around 130,000 Metra commuter passengers a day used the station in 2017. To find out more about the station follow this link to the Union Station website or this link to the Wikipedia entry. The station is a major hub for Amtrak long distance services.

I said ‘goodbye’ to the Empire Builder and took a taxi to my hotel. After 22 hours in Chicago I’d be leaving on the California Zephyr. I’ll start to tell you about that journey in the next episode of US Rail Journeys in two weeks time.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

I thank the passengers and crew on our journey from Portland to Chicago, aboard the Empire Builder, for their tolerance of the man waving the microphone. It truly is a magnificent journey.

Full definition copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available on Flickr. In addition a selection are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Steam Railway is used for the theme music under licence from AKM Music.

This podcast is also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher besides this website.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2019