What is a Passport Stamp??

Since the setup of the Trails and Rails the APRHF has learned about a new group that collects Passport Stamps from the National Park Service. They are much like a train or car enthusiast. They will go all over to get an impression of these stamps and catch the elusive ones. What stamp is this you may ask? It is the Texas A&M Trails and Rails Stamp. This stamp is a one off and quite rare. It is also unique in the fact that during the Trails and Rails Season it is on the Southwest Chief between CHI and LAP. The Trails and Rails Guides travel on #4 Wednesday and Friday and then #3 on Tuesday and Thursday. You may be at the station on either end to get an impression too. Otherwise you must be on the train. What a neat way to get the stamp though. You get to ride Amtrak, Enjoy the presentation and get your stamp for your collection. Like I said earlier it is available in the off season at the LaPlata Amtrak Station. That time frame is from January to April.

Here is the Validation of the Stamp from Joe Holly:

I have added the image of the Texas A&M Univesity Southwest Chief stamp to the database. I obtained it on Saturday morning after a 1700-mile overnight roundtrip run. Yes, I know it is absurd, but it’s how I roll at times when I get the itch to hit the road. I decided I needed 2 days away (Friday and Saturday) and Holly obliged as long as I was home in time for Easter. (She wanted no part of this crazy trip). I rented a car for this one since I didn’t want the miles on mine. I ended up with a Prius! I got about 50mpg overall and paid for the car rental plus some just by getting such good gas mileage compared to my car. I always thought I-68 was a quiet expressway, but I-72 takes the cake. It felt like I was in the 1980s again with no semis even. That was the most peaceful drive I’ve had since Nevada in 2011. Make sure you have gas for the drive though as there are not many stops, but then I only filled up once between Morgantown, WV and Macon, MO for just $32 anyway. (I use the gasbuddy app too which usually saves me about 10-15 cents/gallon). By the way, I did make it back at 12:30AM on Easter, so Holly was happy, but I have taken all day to recoup.

I spoke with Robert Tabern (see info below which is public on his website) whom gave me the contact information for Bob Cox (president@aprhf.org). Bob is the caretaker of the La Plata, MO Amtrak station among other duties. I setup a meeting at 8AM with him to open up the station for me and get an impression of the stamp. The stamp is only available in La Plata from about December till early May. At other times, it is on the Southwest Chief which you can look up the schedule for if interested. They run the train for a Fall colors trip, otherwise it would be in La Plata earlier than December normally. I happened to ask what would happen to the stamp should it no longer be available due to the program ending. Surprisingly, they’ve already planned for that! It will go into the railcar with the Trails and Rails display in the cabinet which is located behind the Depot Inn about a half mile from the La Plata train station. I stopped by and took a look at the display which is well done. Wish I had more time to look! The key for the railcar is at the hotel desk. You just need to ask for it and you’re free to look around. Trails and Rails display is in the railcar with the light switch. The other railcar has more exhbits, but a motion sensor light.

I have heard from Bob Cox that Robert Tabern has a large collection of Trails and Rails stamps, so I am hoping he will send me a scan or better yet, join the NPTC!

I also stopped at Lincoln Home NHS for the NHA stamp and the 25th which I missed earlier. The stamps are all out, but the 25th is in a gray bank zipper bag next to the cash register. I also stopped at Ulysses S Grant NHS and found the 25th there too. It is near the cash register in a white bin under the counter. Last stop was at Cahokia Mounds SHS for a stamp in my Unesco World Heritage site EN book.

La Plata Station Address: 535 N Owensby St., La Plata, MO 63549 Phone number is 660-956-0460

joe holly
Joe at the LaPlata Station

The actual stamp impression

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