Facebook Page

Coast Starlight Tehachapi Loop and Altamont Pass Detour Train Travel Meetup Group Trip 2/4/2012

by Chris Guenzler

I decided to ride the Coast Starlight Detour Trip over the Tehachapi Loop and Altamont Pass, which was occurring due to bridge work on the Coast Line, and invited all members of the Train Travel Meetup Group. Seven people signed up for this unique northbound trip. That morning, Winston Walker picked me up and we drove to the Santa Ana station then walked over to Track 1 via the Santa Ana Boulevard crossing. We waited and saw the late-running Pacific Surfliner 564.

Pacific Surfliner 564 arrived in Santa Ana.

Pacific Surfliner 564 departed.

Train time came and went.

We had a flashing yellow so knew the train was coming. A call to Julie, Amtrak's automated agent, gave us an ETA of 9:03 AM.

Pacific Surfliner 565 arrived and we boarded the cab car for a quick trip to Los Angeles.

AC Adam, Winston Walker and Robin Bowers, our group so far.

Robin would use this for his Train Travel Meetup Group profile picture. We departed, proceeded to Orange then at CP Maple, crossed over to Track 2 to get to Anaheim. We departed there and at CP La Palma, crossed back over to Track 1 which we took to Fullerton. From here the train made the final sprint to Los Angeles.

Views of BNSF Hobart Yard.

The last Great Dome on the Amtrak system was back in Los Angeles. We arrived at LAUPT at 9:54 AM.

Coast Starlight 14 2/4/2012

The rear of the Coast Starlight.

The private car "Tioga Pass" was bringing up the markers. The train had Engines 4 and 184, baggage 1750, transition 39033, sleepers 32007 and 32013, Pacific Parlour Car 39974, diner 38044, lounge 33039 and coaches 34061, 34508 and 34041 as well as "Tioga Pass" 800693. Gail Burns, a member of our group, stopped by our seats for a quick visit before we departed, which we did on time.

We passed the old housing projects as we came to Mission Tower and headed up the west side of the Los Angeles River.

A view as we ran along the river.

Gold Line trolleys at their shops before the train crossed the Los Angeles River.

The Metrolink shops. We ran through Glendale and Downtown Burbank stations.

At Burbank Junction, we reached the point of no return when we left the Coast Line for the Saugus Line and the detour began.

Bob Hope Airport from the its north side. The train went through the Sun Valley Metrolink station and went into the siding for Metrolink 262 which we waited on for a few minutes. After it had passed, we headed next through the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station.

The view over "Tioga Pass" on the rear of the Coast Starlight.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct before we climbed up the grade to the 6,979 foot San Fernando Tunnel.

The former Southern Pacific Saugus station with its steam engine before we ran through the Newhall Metrolink station.


A swap meet was occurring at the Saugus Speedway just before the Saugus Metrolink station.

The curve east of the Saugus Metrolink station then we headed to the Metrolink Via Princessa station.

Curving into Soledad Canyon.

Taking more curves to Lang.

Rolling through Lang before passing through the 328 foot Tunnel 19.

The train entered the 266 foot Tunnel 18 and as we exited, we came into the heart of Soledad Canyon.

The Vasquez Rocks.

Climbing Soledad Canyon.

The Vasquez Rocks.

Still climbing Soledad Canyon.

The San Gabriel Mountains.

Still climbing Soledad Canyon.

The Wild Animal Preserve in Soledad Canyon.

The San Gabriel Mountains.

The railfans were out today.

Nearing the top of the grade at Vincent. At CP Quartz we took the siding for Metrolink 264.

Metrolink 264 met the Coast Starlight.

The Vincent Hill Restaurant before we dropped down Vincent Hill.

Looking down into the Antelope Valley.

Curving under the Pearblossom Highway as we drop into the Antelope Valley.

The Palmdale Cutoff.

The Palmdale Metrolink station.

The Palmdale Lockheed Martin Plant.

The Joshua Trees of the Antelope Valley.

Metrolink at Lancaster.

A new solar collecting plant.

The unused Antelope Valley.

Water in the high desert.

The northern end of the Antelope Valley.

Ansel Hill, where at Ansel, we met Union Pacific 5368 West with 112 cars.

Click here for Part 2 of this story