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The First Run of the Pacific Surfliner Express Train 563 2/15/2011

by Chris Guenzler

It was announced that there would be a Pacific Surfliner Express train known as 563 which take the place of Pacific Surfliner 565 on weekdays. After leaving San Diego at 7:05 AM, it would only stop at Solana Beach, Oceanside, Irvine and Anaheim before reaching Los Angeles at 9:33 AM, thereby missing San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel, Santa Ana, Orange and Fullerton. Laguna Niguel and Orange are Metrolink stops that are Rail-to-Rail program stops.

To serve those missing stops, except for San Juan Capistrano, Metrolink 687 would now leave Laguna Niguel at 8:33 AM and arrive in Los Angeles at 9:55 AM on its new schedule. On weekends, Surfliner 565 would continue to run on its normal schedule.

Steve Grande and I decided to ride the first trip from Oceanside to Anaheim and Steve decided we should go Pacific Business Class so we would have Train 563 printed on the tickets. Steve would leave from Anaheim Canyon and I would join him in Orange. I did that just a case something happened that would prevent us from getting on Metrolink 800 in Orange, and then I would drive him back to Anaheim Canyon.

I arose on that Tuesday morning and after my morning duties, drove to Orange, parked and saw something reversing from the north into Orange station.

Here is the BNSF local coming off the Olive Subdivision early this morning.

After this picture, it headed back to La Mirada and I bought my Metrolink ticket to Oceanside.

Orange is a very quiet place at 5:35 AM.

Red signals at CP Maple.

The former Santa Fe station in Orange.

The signal at CP Maple was now red over green, meaning Metrolink 601 was approaching.

Metrolink 601 arrived.

The train departed.

Metrolink 803 then arrived on time at 5:57 AM and I found Steve upstairs in the cab car and we were off to Oceanside.

My ticket for our Surfliner Express 563 trip in just under two hours.

My ticket, as well as Steve's, for our Surfliner Express 563 trip. The train stopped at Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine, Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano before we reached the shore running along the Pacific Ocean.

We reached the views of the Pacific Ocean on this dark morning before we made our San Clemente stop at North Beach.

Dana Point as we headed south down the coast.

Two views of the Clemente Pier.

A pair of surfers out enjoying their morning.

The sea lions were out on their reef.

Looking back up the coast towards Dana Point.

Where San Mateo empties out into the Pacific Ocean.

San Onofre Creek looking down the coast.

Passing the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, known as "Dolly Parton" by railroaders.

Later the mudflats of the Santa Margarita River.

Oceanside Harbor, which always reminds me of "A three hour cruise" from the television show "Gilligan's Island". The train arrived and we detrained at Oceanside.

Metrolink 803 had brought us here. Now we would see what else goes on railroading-wise while we waited for our Surfliner Express and relocated down to beyond the Sprinter station.

Metrolink 803 and Coaster 638.

Coaster 638 heads out of Oceanside for San Diego.

The Sprinter arrived, after which Steve and I moved to the station and watched the now Metrolink 850 depart for Riverside. Coaster 631 then arrived and would transform into Coaster 640 for San Diego.

Coaster 640 departed Oceanside for San Diego.

Pacific Surfliner Express 563 First Run

About five minutes late, Pacific Surfliner Express 563 arrived with Steve and I boarding the Pacific Business Class car and soon left Oceanside but not at a fast rate.

My ticket was taken by Conductor Randy Wylie and I enjoyed a Coca Cola. The car attendant, Gloria, bought us each a copy of USA Today.

The San Luis Rey River as we approached Oceanside Harbor.

That "Three hour cruise!" was still going around in my head. We slowed to meet Pacific Surfliner 562 in the siding.

The nocturnal Pacific Sun Railroad lays over at Stuart Mesa Yard.

Passing the traffic on Interstate 5 as we sped north.

Later at San Onofre Creek, we returned to our beachfront running.

San Mateo Creek.

More surfers this morning.

There was a storm coming in this morning with more rain expected through the rest of the week.

Two more views of San Clemente Pier.

There was a lot of sand left along San Clemente Pier this winter and a few minutes later, we turned inland.

The homes of Dana Point.

The train was really moving as we went through San Juan Capistrano without stopping this morning.

The hills as we neared Laguna Niguel.

We slowed for the crossover at Laguna Niguel, passed Metrolink 687 then crossed over to get by Pacific Surfliner 564.

The train arrived at Irvine, making its first stop in Orange County seven minutes late.

One of the two blimp hangars just past the Tustin Metrolink station.

The train sped through the Santa Ana station. I always feel a little funny when I go through my home station.

Santiago Creek was dry but not for long.

Speeding through Orange.

Crossing the Santa Ana River with the Big A in this view.

We saw Anaheim Stadium as we pulled into the station at 8:57 AM, four minutes late, and detrained.

Pacific Surfliner Express 563 headed straight to Los Angeles Union Station, arriving on time at 9:33 AM. The two of us went down through the tunnel into the Anaheim station for a few minutes.

The Pacific Surfliner Express sign in the station before we went up to the platform to wait for Pacific Surfliner 566. While we were waiting, Metrolink 687 arrived.

Pacific Surfliner 566 came in and we boarded for the short trip to Orange.

Excellent Amtrak Conductor Joe at Orange where we detrained.

Pacific Surfliner 566 heads for San Diego. While Steve was getting his Metrolink ticket to Anaheim Canyon, I had a picture to take.

This mural had caught my eye from the train but now I had a good close up. I then bought my Metrolink roundtrip ticket for San Bernardino and we went through the tunnel to the east platform.

A daylight view of the Orange station being transformed into a Ruby's Diner. We waited for Metrolink 800 to pick us up.

A high green meant our train was getting close.

Metrolink 800 arrived and we boarded. At Anaheim Canyon, Steve detrained and I stayed on for my trip out to San Bernardino.

Two views of the Union Pacific Riverside Local at their Santa Ana River trestle.

New Metrolink equipment at their Eastern Maintenance Base, after which the train arrived at San Bernardino.

My old friend, Metrolink F40PH 800.

BNSF 7434 East at San Bernardino.

Metrolink 811 ready to take me back to Orange.

That Burlington Northern GP9 had been cut way down in the yard at Adams Steel in Anaheim. The train returned me to Orange, where I detrained.

Metrolink 811 on its way to San Juan Capistrano before I drove home.