Saturday, November 22, 2008
Two days in a railfan's heaven
Here's a selection of photos from last week's visit to the rail buff's shrine at La Plata, Mo. Click on each photo for a slightly larger version. (See the Nov. 20 blogpost below for the story of my trip.)
A handcar and other railroad implements greet guests at the front door of the Depot Inn. Train stuff of all kinds is scattered around the property.
Inside, the check-in desk looks like a railroad station ticket office.
There's enough reading material in the lobby to please the most dedicated railfan, and an old-fashioned pool table as well.
The wall separating the breakfast area from the pool features a huge, detailed model train that bears close study.
This stained glass Super Chief in one window gives the place almost a religious ambience for rail buffs.
There's no dearth of rail memorabilia, even in the hotel's swimming pool.
The pool is refilled from a replica of an old steam locomotive water spout at upper left.
The amenities of the Pullman Suite, where I stayed, include a fireplace and a big flat-screen television . . .
. . . and a jacuzzi big enough for two.
The long corridor to the standard bedrooms features rail memorabilia . . .
. . . including dozens of signal lanterns from a variety of railroads . . .
. . . and, of course, model trains of all makes and sizes.
The old Santa Fe Ry. station at La Plata is a photographer's paradise.
Art Deco ambience marks the station's interior.
Where's the train? When is it going to get here?
A remarkably large contingent of passengers from a small town greets the eastbound Southwest Chief.
The polite and patient Amish were the last to board the train.
Above the tracks near the station lies an enclosed, heated railfan's lookout, complete with His and Hers outhouses to the left.
On the short path from the hotel to the lookout lies an old roadside memory for railfans of a certain age.
The lookout itself is modest but snug and warm, with tables and chairs inside. The antenna beams continuous video of passing trains to all the TV sets at the Depot Inn.
During two and a half hours at the lookout, only one freight train came by, appearing so quickly that I was able to get only one photograph. That was the only disappointment of the trip. (The building across the tracks hosts Trainweb.com and its sister operation, Trainparty.com.)