|'Route 66' roughly parallels the Southwest Cheif and is very|
much in evidence in the town of Williams.
Eventually a different pattern of lights appears on the horizon, the station light is switched on and the Southwest Chief pulls into view. I half expect to see Philip waiting for us at the door but it is of course a new attendant. He shows us to our roomette and informs us that breakfast is served from 0500. That is terribly early given that it is now almost midnight but he doesn't know when the last sitting will be because of the delay. We set the alarm for 06:30 and I give up on the idea of a shower tonight. I enquire about the delay and the attendant informs me that it was due to police attending the train to remove a passenger at Albuquerque and then getting stuck behind a freight which had 'killed it'.
|Breakfast is enjoyed as we traverse the Cajun Pass. BNSF's GE ES44C4 #7063 is seen climbing one of the tracks through the mountains with a long intermodal train. This section would have been in darkness were it not for our 90 minute delay.|
I could have slept worse but am already semi-awake when my alarm sounds. Looking out of the window I can already tell it is warm. I elect to pop down to the diner to find out what the deal is with breakfast and return with the good news that we can snooze for another hour. When we do go go down to breakfast the train is traversing the Cajun Pass, a busy stretch of railway through the mountains which surround LA. The landscape here is very dry and has been tarnished by the devastating Blue Cut Forest Fire which had ravaged the area just months earlier. Several passengers we had spoken to talked of drought in California and the fact that there had not been significant rainfall for 5 years. I elect to have the omelette which is one of just a couple of options still available. There is much discussion about yesterday's delay. It turns out that it was our rather camp waiter who called the police to the train as there was a drunk making threatening remarks towards staff and passengers. The story goes that when he was refused travel he clung on to the train and they had to call the police- who evidently were in no hurry. This was the third person the dining attendant had had to remove from the train this week! Other passengers who had seen the unruly man expressed their thanks that he was not permitted on board, 'anything could have happened'.
|Journeys end for the Southwest Chief- LA Union Station a mere |
2265 miles from Chicago.
So that was it. Coast to coast with Amtrak completing and as I often find on these long journeys I had surprised myself with how little of my magazines I had read and how my i-pod had remained largely untouched.