(May 14, 2001) Tomorrow afternoon we'll be hopping on Amtrak #449 at Back Bay Station and riding the Viewliner Sleeper to Chicago Union Station where we will be transferring to my favorite train, the Southwest Chief, which runs the route of the great "Super Chief" of the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
The "Santa Fe" was another great railroad who's employees and passengers/customers held it's name and reputation in the highest of esteems, until of course it too was ravaged by just another gang of fakers who's only real goal in life was to squeeze the last red cent out of the once great railroad's coffers and squeeze the last bits of sweat and hope from their employees heart and souls....Making a mess of all the once greatness and pride that were solidly embedded in the backbone of railroads and their railroaders.
I am taking this trip for two reasons. 1) To ride a long haul train with full a full compliment of services before the am-hackers rip the living daylights out of the long haul trains and 2) To get away for a couple of weeks, see my Sister and her kiddos (my 3 year old nephew Ed is a railroad nut).
I am going with my girlfriend Nannette who happens to be a flight attendant for American Airlines. AA, another once proud transportation company who now specializes in demoralizing it's dedicated employees. She always wanted to "take the train" so I am sure this will be an "enlightening experience" for her.
I took the Southwest Chief about eight or nine years ago with my good friends Ben Perry (train dispatcher, now retired) and Jimmy Carlson (locomotive engineer). We all agreed the the service and the people who worked "The Chief" on that trip were absolutely awesome. They did a hell of a job and you could tell the crews were damn proud of their train.
Two of the highlights of this trip for me, besides seeing my Sis and the little ones, will be staying at two hotels with deep railroad roots. Fred Harvey's El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon and the La Posada Hotel in Winslow AZ which sits on the Santa Fe mainline and is a stones throw from ol' Route 66.
Keep checking back for new photos and updates.
HIT HERE to join the fun!