Arizona Railway Museum

Odometer (Legend):  520,096


Odometer (ILX):  30,203


Any mode of transportation that involves a set of wheels interests me. Well, and even some that don’t:


On Saturday, friend and I took the Acura ILX to a place in Chandler, Arizona called the Arizona Railway Museum.  We’re both train nerds, having completed two train rides on Amtrak last year.  The ARM is home to a dozen or more historic train cars (and a couple of locomotives) that are on display for the public to view for a $2 entry fee.



Original sign from Southern Pacific showing departure times.


Entering the yard where a series of display cars awaited us.



Here’s a bedroom with bunk beds inside the car AT&SF (Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway) #405, built by Pullman and delivered in 1927.


This is one of the dining rooms.  This particular car was vandalized and lit on fire a couple of decades ago.  It’s since been restored and repainted in period-correct colors.


Our tour guide described this 1910 car as a “men’s smoking car.”  Only men were allowed to smoke, apparently!


Here’s a feature that I thought was pretty innovative.  A “shoe locker” is located just inside the entrance to each of the bedrooms.  At night, attendants would go down the hallway, open up the locker from the outside, and polish the passengers’ shoes!  “But yours don’t look like they’d need shining,” said our tour guide as he looked at our sneakers.


Check out this hand-operated “bike” that was used to survey tracks.  Kind of like an early 1900’s exercise bike!


This room is set up for “day” use.


Below, I’m seated in the lounge of a Pullman car that was built in Massachusetts in 1879.  In 1901 it was the president’s car on the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad.  Accommodations are pretty nice!


For some reason the wood paneling in this hallway made me think of the Titanic.  I guess this train car would’ve been in service right around the same time as the ship was built in the early 1900’s.


Before the days of freon, cooling of the cars was achieved by blowing air over ice!


We crawled up inside the below diesel locomotive dating back to July 1950.  Quick stats:

  • 1,625 horsepower
  • 900-gallon fuel capacity.
  • 58 feet long
  • Weighs 292,000 pounds (146 tons)
  • 60 mph maximum speed


Here’s Matt pretending to pilot (engineer) the Southern Pacific #2562 steam locomotive which has a fascinating story featured here.  It dates back to 1906 and at one point in its history was nearly sold as $1,500 worth of scrap metal.


Our next stop on the train to-do list was a place in Mesa, Arizona called Roy’s Train World.  I found a couple goodies for my N-scale train layout there, including a used Amtrak Bachman locomotive for only $20.


Here’s my train set in action.

Speaking of rail, my friend Ryan shared the below graphic with me recently.  It illustrates a potential route network for a high-speed rail system in the United States.  Could you imagine taking a 220 mph train to get from A to B?  Ryan’s skeptical about the viability of such a system.  “They might have oversimplified the route over the Rockies. Not sure if a train can go 220 mph through snow drifts at 11,000 feet.”  I tend to agree with him.


New Car Mania

The Acura fever is contagious!  After spending the last several years driving a Honda Pilot, my step-mom traded up to an Acura MDX last Friday.  She picked it up from Jody Wilkinson Acura in Salt Lake City, Utah – the same dealership that hosted the National Acura Legend Meet in 2010.

Here is one of the pictures pulled from the online ad.  This MDX is in a new-for-2013 color called Graphite Luster Metallic and it has the Ebony interior.  It’s equipped with the Technology package so it has navigation and all the goodies.


Here’s the traditional key handoff picture with Tanya and the salesperson, James, who she worked with.


When my dad called me to tell me about their purchase, I instructed him immediately to take a picture of the odometer.  They were just getting on the freeway after leaving the dealership and the MDX had 13 miles on it.


First fuel-up in Beaver, Utah.  They wasted no time getting started on the break-in for the new ride, leaving directly from the dealership to take a 303-mile drive to St. George, Utah to spend some time with the grandkids.  As you can see, the MDX got some dealer-installed accessories before leaving the lot, including the roof racks and the running boards.  Looks great!


Congrats, Tanya!

The MDX has consistently been Acura’s best-selling model.  However, when put into perspective with the Honda brand, Acuras are still pretty rare. In February 2013, it sold 2,946 units which was fewer than a third of the number of units as the Pilot sold (9,614) in the same timeframe.  The Honda Media Newsroom release is here.  The ILX also had a pretty good month at just under 2,000 units sold.

Another new car story took place this week, when my friend Matt (who works for Nissan / Infiniti) traded in his company lease vehicle, a silver 2012 370Z Sport for a new 2013 model this afternoon.


This is a new color for 2013 called Magma Red.  Also new are the LED lights integrated into the front bumper which serve as daytime running lights.


Left:  80 miles on the odometer.  Right:  520,080 miles on the odometer.  The Z is powered by a 3.7 liter V6 engine that produces 332 horsepower.


Matt’s car is equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission and the Sport package which includes upgraded brakes and larger diameter wheels which are a new design for the 2013 model year.


This car is also equipped with a backup camera within in the rearview mirror.



First fuel-up at Costco – the same exact pump, in fact, where Matt filled up his old Z last year.


It’s only a matter of time until he heads for the hills in this canyon carver!

Legend Updates

I spent a few minutes working on the Legend this weekend.  The front passenger side bumper light lens was cracked and had taken in water.  I found a really nice one on Ebay that had arrived, so I went ahead and installed that.  Here is the comparison between old and new.


Speaking of the front end of the Legend, I was reminded of a day in August 2008 when a curb stone in a parking lot “grabbed” my bumper as I was backing out and detached it.  That was an embarrassing day.  Legends are kind of notorious for this due to the design and the low clearance.

Seeing the car all bruised up like that reminds me of 2007 before it went in for bodywork after I hit those deer.  Here’s a picture I recently dug up of me and my dad on the day I sent the car in for rework in northern Utah.

In ILX maintenance news, at 30,047 miles the car went in for an oil change at Acura of Tempe.

The engine air filter was changed as well.  Tires are still original and were marked as “yellow” status for wear.  The only recommendation that the technician made was for a manual transmission fluid service due to the mileage.

For any who might’ve missed it, here’s a video documenting the build of the 2013 Acura ILX that competed earlier year in an endurance race called 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

I leave you with this!  I might have nightmares about it tonight :D.


5 Responses to “Arizona Railway Museum”

  1. Tyson,

    Why is the gas pump decision “the hardest decision of your life”? Is it because you can’t decide what is better, all zeros in the total $ column or all zeros in the total gallons column?

    Also, would putting in 10.001 gallons make it more difficult to calculate gas mileage?

    Having exactly 10.000 gallons is kind of nice come to think of it. 🙂 Also, I do like the movie 10 with Bo Derek 🙂 🙂

    • The pic at the gas pump isn’t mine, I just thought it was funny because as someone who likes “round numbers,” it’d be an internal struggle to choose between exactly 10 gallons vs. exactly $40. Haha. Where are you off to next in your TSX?

  2. The Blue Ridge Parkway is definitely going to be my top destination this year.

    Are you definitely going there this year?

    If so, have you researched the areas that you want to check out around the parkway? Let me know.

    Some areas of the Parkway that i found exceptional where the Peaks of Otter area, Crabtree Falls, Grandfather Mountain, Mabry Mill, and the Linn Cove Viaduct bridge. But the entire road was out of this world really.

    • Carlos, due to time constraints I’m not sure that I’ll see much of the BRP. I arrive on Friday night the 23rd of August at the NALM host hotel in Asheville. On Saturday, there are several events going on, including a dyno event, go-karting, a cookout, and a car show. Sunday morning I’ll need to hit the road to start heading westbound so that I can make it back to work by Tuesday. Seems crazy, because it is! Thanks for the tips on things to see in the area. Still hoping you can make it out there to meet up!

      • WOW!! You are planning to leave Asheville Sunday morning to be in Phoenix by Tuesday morning???. Isn’t that like 2000 or more miles one way? You would have to average 1000 miles every 24 hours?

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