Monday December 4th was the last official day of the BNSF 2017 “Holiday Express” and we had one more trip to make in the late afternoon. Returning from Kansas City Union Station the night before the train was now parked on the north side of the yard in the old intermodal ramp along Kansas Avenue. The last trip of the series would be departing from this spot since there was plenty of parking here at the ex-intermodal ramp and today’s guests were not military families but instead local area residents and some employee families.
When the train returned to this location and the guests had departed, the equipment and crew would immediately deadhead back to their home base in Topeka to get ready for other local Christmas events around the system. However, my plan was to have my bags packed and ready to set off the train when we returned so a crew van would pick me up and take me to a hotel near the airport so I could fly back to DFW on Tuesday. A cold front with rain showers was due to come through around noon, so after breakfast I put on my PPE and got off to take advantage of the wide open ramp for a photo of the whole 15-car train. I actually walked the entire length and shot every car but I will not bore you with those here.
Later the wind picked up and it did rain a bit outside while I was enjoying my last lunch in the Fred Harvey. Afterwards I went back to my room to pack and a took a few photos with my iPhone to send to my wife who was curious about my accommodations.
The room had been great. In the absence of a small desk or table I sat on the bed and put my laptop on the chair to do my photo processing. That afternoon at 4:00 pm we all met in the Fox River and used its large open space for the official crew photo. I was proud to have had the opportunity to observe and work alongside such a professional crew!
Later on the parking area was filled with cars and we boarded a full train for the last trip. It was dark when we left and I am still not sure exactly where we went but I think it was west towards Holiday. I did not share any of the military family photos so here is one of our crew members and her wonderful family as an example of the type of photos I had now taken several hundred times in the past few days.
This trip seemed to fly by and soon we were back at the facility. On the way back to get my bags off the train I took this last official photo for the trip of happy passengers being safely assisted off the cars.
And so ended the railroad part of this unexpected Christmas train trip, and I could have not wished for a better time and experience! Happy holidays to all!