At our Orange County Railway Historical Society meeting, Winston Walker told me about a trip aboard the private car "Silver Splendor" to San Diego and asked me if I would like to go at half price. I readily agreed and would meet him and his daughter Christy in the parking structure at the Santa Ana station Saturday morning at 8:40 AM.
We duly met and then went up and over via the pedestrian bridge to Track 1 to wait for our train to Los Angeles.
Pacific Surfliner 565 arrived and we boarded the lower level of the Surfliner cab car for the quick trip to LAUPT and once there, walked over to see the Southwest Chief on Track 12.
The Southwest Chief at rest.
Amtrak P40DCu 815 built by General Electric in 1993.
Left to right, Coast Starlight 14, Pacific Surfliner 565 and Southwest Chief 3. We walked over to Track 8 to wait for Pacific Surfliner 572 to reverse into the station.
LA Rail Vista-Dome lounge-dining car "Silver Splendor", nee Chicago, Burlington and Quinicy 4735 "Silver Buckle" built by Budd Company in 1956. It was part of the last two complete conventional train sets to be ordered new in the pre-Amtrak era and traveled over 4.5 million miles on a daily basis between Chicago and Denver until 1980.
With standard coach seating for 50 and 24 seats up in the dome, "Silver Buckle" provided fast and comfortable service for budget-minded patrons until Amtrak's bi-level Superliners arrived. Officially retired in 1981, the car spent time in storage at Oakland, California and Beech Grove, Indiana before being auctioned off by Amtrak to a railcar shop owner in 1993. In 1997, the current owners, Heidi and John Caestecker, purchased the car in the Midwest and moved it to Fullerton with the intent of restoring it to operating condition as a luxurious dome-diner-lounge. Dining capacity will be 24 at tables upstairs and another 24 in the long end of the lower level. A cocktail lounge seating 10-12 will be featured in the short end, with kitchen and restrooms under the dome.
The stylishly appointed Vista Dome Lounge-Dining Car is the ultimate in land cruising excellence. The graceful glass-enclosed rooftop observation room provides unparalleled views in all directions. With day trip and dining capacity for up to 74 guests you travel elegantly while gliding along immersed in breath-taking landscapes. Attentive onboard staff will pamper you with respectful and lavish personal service of a long gone era in railway history.
With standard coach seating for 50 and 24 seats up in the dome, "Silver Buckle" provided fast and comfortable service for budget-minded patrons until Amtrak's bi-level Superliners arrived. Officially retired in 1981, the car spent time in storage at Oakland, California and Beech Grove, Indiana before being auctioned off by Amtrak to a railcar shop owner in 1993.
In 1997 the current owners, Heidi and John Caestecker, purchased the car in the Midwest and moved it out to Fullerton, California with the intent of restoring it to operating condition as a luxurious Dome-Diner-Lounge. Dining capacity will be 24 at tables upstairs and another 24 in the long end of the lower level. A cocktail lounge seating 10-12 will be featured in the short end, with kitchen and restrooms under the dome.
I walked back over to Track 9 and waited to board then I paid John for my ticket, after which we sat in the dome and now for a tour of this beautifully-restored carr.
The dome of the "Silver Splendor".
The passenger lounge at the "A" end of the car.
The beverage serving area in the "A" end of the car.
Seats in the "A" lounge.
The kitchen area.
The "B" end table area.
The plates to be used during our Luncheon-by-the-Sea trip.
A model of this car, which concluded our tour and I returned to the dome.
Winston and Christy Walker in the dome of "Silver Splendor".
The author. Two other familes and a couple boarded then Pacific Surfliner 572 departed Los Angeles on time.
Metrolink 661 at rest at LAUPT.
We have left the train sheds.
The former Terminal Tower.
We turned to start our run south along the Los Angeles River leaving the former Mission Tower behind.
The Southwest Chief and Sunset Limited at Amtrak's 8th Street Yard.
Pacific Surfliner 572 on the Los Angeles River Flyover.
Downtown Los Angeles. I enjoyed Hobart Tower, BNSF's Hobart Yard and the BNSF Commerce Engine Facility as we headed out of Los Angeles then went down to the rear door for a series of pictures of the Passons Avenue grade separation project.
The trip across the Passons Avenue grade separation project shoo-fly. Then I saw the bad news of the trip.
The last of the former old Santa Fe Railroad signal bridges on the San Bernardino Subdivision were now all out of service. This first old one was the west DT Junction bridge.
The westbound signal bridge at DT Junction had already been removed and replaced by these two searchlight signals.
The last signal bridge at Los Nietos had also been replaced, a unique and tradition of piece of railroad history was now lost. I returned to the ome and denjoyed the trip through Buena Park, Fullerton and Anaheim.
A few minutes later, we passed the former Orange Santa Fe station, now a Ruby's Restaurant then we continued on to Santa Ana.
We left Santa Ana and proceeded to Irvine.
Lunch was started with this bowl of Creamy Tomato Soup With Pesto Garnish for the first course. The second course was Mixed Green Salad With Dijon Champagne Vinaigrette and the third course was Penne Pasta With Chicken and Artichokes in Garlic Chardonnay sauce. The fourth course was New York Cheesecake with Raspberry Rum Sauce and would be served on the return trip tonight out of San Diego..
The base of Saddleback Mountain as we neared Irvine.
The train left the Irvine station behind.
We passed Pacific Surfliner 571 which would be the trainset that would bring us home. I returned to the rear door for some more pictures.
The end of the new siding from CP Solow.
The Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink station.
The end of the stub track at CP Avery. I returned to my table up in the dome and we ran to San Juan Capistrano where the rest of our group would board. Every seat in the dome portion of the car was taken, except the one next to me.
The train crossed San Juan Creek.
At CP Serra, we turned south to start our run along the Pacific Ocean.
The storm was just to our south at this point.
A surfer enjoying this wave.
The tree/flag memory has been moved away from the surf's pounding. I went to the rear door for our run along the surf.