I wake up on Monday at 6:35 a.m. PT, 10 minutes before our station stop in Elko, NV. Thinking it may be a smoke/stretch-your-legs break, I quickly put on my clothes and go to the bathroom to put in my contacts. However, it is a quick one-minute stop and we depart at 6:50. We have lost more than 30 minutes during the night and are now 3:29 down for the trip.

We eat breakfast (leftover cheesecake from last night’s dinner and a cinnamon bun I bought in Grand Junction) as the Utah mountainous desert goes by.

Around 9 a.m., outside of Battle Mountain, NV, we slow to about 30 mph. On the scanner, I hear the conductor ask the engineer if we are behind a freight train. He gives a cryptic yes and no answer, saying we are behind a freight train, but not directly behind it and the freight is doing well.

At 9:20, I hear the tail end of a conversation on the scanner that worries me. I can’t tell if it is our train talking to the dispatcher, but someone is told that they are doing switch work at the border, it won’t be finished until 2:30 p.m. and to plan accordingly. I assume it is the Nevada/California border, but I’m not sure as I missed the beginning of the transmission. We are scheduled to be at Reno at the time of this conversation, but should now be there around 1 p.m. If we sit for a while, I guess I’ll know the reason.

Outside of Winnemucca, we stop at a red signal for 15 minute before we are given permission by the UP dispatcher to pass the signal.

Winnemucca features a triple stop – the first to change the crew, the second for the diner car and the third for a smoke/stretch break.

We left Winnemucca at 10:50, which put us 4:37 behind schedule

We were restricted to 30 for most of the way from Winnemucca to Sparks.

At 2:45, we made an emergency stop as a truck was backing up on the crossing, according to the engineer. I knew something was up when I heard the brakes squeal as we came to a stop. I think the 30 mph limit may have save us from hitting the truck.

The train was inspected and we resumed five minutes later.