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Coast Starlight - Seattle to LA

'Training' Wheels

Coast Starlight round trip Fullerton, CA, to Seattle, WA,

with photos of the Parlour Car, Bedrooms, Diner, Tulip Festival, Seattle,
Mt. Vernon, La Conner, Anacortes, Port Townsend, and Boeing Museum of Flight, and the Washington State Ferry System.

March 31 - April 9, 2011

By Carl Morrison,

Homeward Bound - Coast Starlight - Seattle to Los Angeles

View from a Superliner

(Double-Click any photo below for a double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

View from our sleeper in King St. Station.

A superliner car had been set aside in Seattle,
looking rather lonely by itself.

Qwest Field, the pro football stadium.

Baseball stadium above and left.

Sounder commuter train in the yard as we left, below.

Clocktower south of the station, with the correct time!

Tacoma's Union Station, no longer used for trains.

Glass decoration on an overhead Tacoma Bridge.

Another stop for the Coast Starlight.

Portland lift bridge south of the station. 
An unusually sunny day in Portland.

Cherry trees in full bloom along the river.

About 4 p.m., William, the Parlour Car Attendant, provided complimentary wine and cheese at Wine Tasting time.

Outside the Parlour Car, a pooling dam for a factory provided a nice waterfalls.

At Niles we took a southerly route towards Bakersfield to proceed through the Tehachapi Loop on the way to LA.
You can tell how big the hillside NILES sign is by comparing it to the cattle grazing nearby (right).


We spotted the tourist train's switcher along the river.

The Parlour Car provides a great place for sleeping car passengers to converse.  This particular conversation, between Bob Manning of Southern California and Mr. and Mrs. Fowler from Newfoundland, Canada, was international in scope.

Wind turbines through Altamont Pass.

Beautiful, green countryside.

The Internet only worked about 40 minutes after William reset the router. 

We spotted many railfans along the way, photographing this rare occurrance of the Coast Starlight through this freight-only route.

Container lift, rail tub cars, and trailers
await more intermodal containers.

Grain elevators with motive switching power.

In case you've seen the "Contented California Cows"
in the milk and cheese ads, this is the reality.

No green grass here, but rather
dry feed, available 24/7 however.

Zachay and Yours Truly in Bakersfield.
Zach was a happy, positive, Amtrak employee that plans to stay that way through his career, even though veterans tell him it won't last.

Our Parlour Car was the "Sonoma Valley".

I had never seen a "Railroad Poice" caboose.

The former SP Bakersfield Depot is now a UP crew office.

I stepped back on in a coach car and framed this UP 845 Locomotive through the lower vestibule window.

Typical Superliner, upper level, coach seating from the middle of the car.

Half of the Sightseer/Lounge Car has tables.

The other half is chair seating facing the big windows.

Oil well, irrigated vineyard, and snow-capped mountains in the background, typical landscape near Caliente, CA.

Citris trees.

More vineyards.

Caliente Post Office.

Climbing toward Tehachapi.

Many tunnels on the way to the loop.

As we approached the loop, we could see a freight train coming down through the loop. 

Tehachapi Loop

From above the loop, you can see how the freight had come down the hill, on the left, around the hill, and continued down around the right side of the hill, and finally into a cut to leave on the left, under the entering cars.

We entered the loop through a tunnel
under the exit to the loop.

Luckily we were on the inside of the double-track, so we could see the loop as we passed the oncoming freight.

Up the hill, the tail end of the freight comes out of the tunnel, down behind our train, around the loop,
back under us and further down the hill.

The locomotive entered the tunnel under us when its last car was still around the loop, up the hill, and through the tunnel as shown in the photo to the left.

Soon we reached Tehachapi, the town.

More wind turbines near Tehachapi.

It was still light enough in Mojave to see the many planes stored there.  Not sure what the items are in the foreground.

Next:  Slide Show of all Photos in this Report.

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