Railway links are not in English
Across the continent to Sacramento
17. - 20. July.

After the first night in the transcontinental train it is now noon, and we are entering Denver, Colorado. Our childre are playing cards in the observation car.

Many passengers are detraining and new passengers are entering. Some of the others are getting some exercise on the platform.
Notice the small stools at the doors, for the convenience of the passengers. The doors must not be operated by the passengers, is the staff not there, you are not supposed leave the train.
Here west of Chicago the type of cars are the “Superliner”, bi-level cars. You walk through the cars on upper level. One entrance with a staircase is located in the middle of each car.

As usual the train is reversed into the station. The motive power is these GE-engines, of which the one to the left is a spare, if anything should happen to the roadmachines. There is no real AMTRAK depot in Denver.

We have now left the BNSF tracks and are on the Rio Grande beautiful route from Denver to Salt Lake City in Utah. Right outside Denver we got the view to snow covered mountains, and soon the California Zephyr crawl up into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Soon the terrain is wild and picturesque with tunnels and views back to Denver and the many industries, among others the nuclear weapon factories.

To the northwest are the highest tops in the Rockies. It is a national park. After a while we reach the highest point on the journey, aprox. 3000 meters above sea level in the Moffat tunnel.

The most scenic section I find is through the Gore Canyon, Colorado. The Colorado River has cut its way through the mountains and made provision for a single track railroad. Sit in the left side to enjoy, driving west!

Here the train met people in kayaks and a dangerous trip down the river. One of them disappeared in a moment in the roaring water.

After some kilometres the valley opens up and the river floats calmly further to the west.

Now red light again and we are waiting. In front of us are two Union Pacific freight trains, one in our direction, the other against. There are not many long sidings, and the traffic control allowed the one in front of us to go-ahead and not let us pass right here! This part of the railroad no trans drive very fast, and especially not the freights…

Glenwood Canyon. A grandiose gorge, again the Colorado River in the middle. The passengers follows the scenery from the observation car, it is relevant to use the top windows as well to observe the cliffs and eagles.

The train is not alone with the river in the Glenwood Canyon. Interstate 70 is cut through the gorge in a multimillion project. Oh, yes, the beautiful nature is easy assessable, but who has lost?

All kind of small vessels, mostly rubber boats, make their way on the Colorado River in the season. Here a party of explorers enjoy a swim in the calm water. Other places young men greeted the bypassing train by dragging their pants down and display their ass. Strange pleasure!

The diner was unfortunately out of order after the first evening in Iowa. We were told the freezers got broken and the food spoiled. The staff was sitting in the car doing nothing, and there was called for cold take-away food, delivered strategically spots during the ride. Here the conductors from the sleepers receive the food from a hotel-car, which this time is delivering our food. The gentleman in blue t-shirt was a kind of boss, and he was very deplorable…

After one more night, this time in Utah, this is the last morning, now in Nevada. Here are Central Pacific’s tracks right beside of the Western Pacific’s tracks. These days they all belongs to Union Pacific, so from Salt Lake City to Winnemucca there is in fact double tracks, even though they are not always parallel.
This picture is a lucky shot, since an eastbound freight has just passed, and we are in good speed passing a similar bridge.

We arrived at Sacramento, California, nine hours late, so all plans of a nice evening downtown in Old Sacramento was abandoned. We rushed into a taxi at 11.30 PM and went to the motel Nina and Poul used last time near the Sacramento River.
Next morning Simon and I visited the State Railway Museum, here is Simon in front of the fine Gen. Stanford steam engine, one of the stars of the museum.

The museum was rebuilding its collections. Here is a diorama build to display the great work of Chinese labour constructing the magnificent Central Pacific Railroad across the Donner Pass of Sierra Nevada (which we did cross the evening before).

In Sacramento Old Town you can get both food and souvenirs, but also a big, nice ice cream.

Next page from the trip

Return to the frontpage!