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Santa Fe 3751 Chase to San Bernardino 4/21/2012

Plus San Bernardino Railroad Days 2012 and riding Santa Fe 3751 back to LAUPT.

by Chris Guenzler

Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751 was planned to make a two-day excursion from Los Angeles to San Bernardino for Railroad Days. This year, I would photograph the train and San Berndardino Railroad Days for the first time, then ride back to Los Angeles on Sunday.

Winston Walker and his daughter Christy picked me up at my home and we drove to the Santa Ana station and parked.

From there we walked over to the Track 1 platform and waited for Pacific Surfliner 763.

Pacific Surfliner 763 arrived and we boarded the lower level of the cab car for our trip to Fullerton.

Winston and Christy were on their way to Los Angeles to ride Santa Fe 3751 this morning out to San Bernardino. All too soon, we arrived in Fullerton and my train riding for the day was done. Here are the cabooses that reside in Fullerton as part of the Fullerton Train Museum.

Santa Fe caboose 999110, nee Santa Fe 1789 built by American Car and Foundry in 1929.

Coast Rail Services caboose 1002, history currently unknown.

Southern Pacific caboose 4049, nee Southern Pacific 1403 built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1961.

Amtrak F59PHI 457 in the Operation Lifesaver paint scheme, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1998.

Pacific Surfliner 763 departed Fullerton for Los Angeles and I met Carl Morrison in the northeast parking lot. We drove to Los Angeles while listening to my CD of Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick". Winston called as we were parking on East 4th Street in Los Angeles and said Santa Fe 3751 was already at LAUPT. Carl and made our way to the station, parking on Rameriz Street for free and walked to the station then up to the platform to photograph the steam engine and train.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751 and train at LAUPT this morning.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751 before the trip to San Bernardino.

The cab of the steam engine. Now we will look at the train.

Baggage car 5659 "Gordon N. Zimmerman", ex. Union Pacific maintenance-of-way 904227 1975, exx. Union Pacific 24427 1969, nee Union Pacific 5659 built by American Car and Foundry in 1954. The Friends of Southern Pacific 4449 purchased the car in July 1997 and it remained in gray colors and wore the name "Better Idea" until it was repainted in Daylight colors in August 2003 and re-named after a dedicated volunteer, Gordon N. Zimmerman.

Amtrak dome-lounge 10031 "Ocean View", ex. Amtrak 9361 1971, nee Great Northern 1391 built by Budd Company in 1955. It was converted to head-end power from steam heat in March 1985 and renumbered 9300. Re-numbered 10031 in April 1999, the car is now Amtrak's only dome car on the fleet and is used on special trains and is also the featured car on select trains during different times of the year. This car is equipped for food service on the lower level and the entire dome section consists of lounge tables.

Pacific Railroad Society Pullman Sleeper "National Forum" PAR 1207. In 1955 and 1956, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Wabash Railroad, both of whom partnered to run the City of St. Louis, received some of the last sleepers to be built before the advent of Amtrak. In addition, these cars, named in the National series, were also the last passenger cars built with open sections.

The National cars contained 6 sections, 4 double bedrooms and 6 roomettes (6-4-6). Although similar in accommodations to the pre-war American (4-6-6) series of cars built for the UP, the Nationals had numerous improvements and modifications. The most notable changes from the Americans design were the placement and design of the four double bedrooms. In the Americans, the double bedrooms were over one of the trucks and closest to the vestibule. This meant that one of the most expensive accommodations were located in the one of the noisiest areas of a passenger car. In the Nationals, the bedrooms were moved to the quieter center of the car, away from the trucks and vestibule. In addition, unlike the American bedrooms, the toilets in the National bedrooms were enclosed.

The Nationals were assigned to the City of Portland, City of Denver and City of St. Louis trains. Numerous changes in the passenger traffic occurred on the UP during the late 1950's and early 1960's. By June 30th, 1968, due to reduction in passenger traffic on the UP and the discontinuance of the City of St. Louis with the merger of the Wabash into the Norfolk and Western, the Nationals' service was relegated to the secondary service on the Denver to Portland Portland Rose. By December 1969, the Portland Rose was history and the Nationals were idle. During the 1970-71 ski seasons, the UP Los Angeles passenger office operated at least two ski trains to Sun Valley utilizing the idle Nationals. In addition, the Union Pacific used the Nationals in special excursion service until the advent of Amtrak in 1971.

Between 1969 and 1971, the Pacific Railroad Society leased the "National Forum" and other National cars for excursion service. Impressed with the cars, PRS bought two of the Nationals. In October 1971, PRS purchased the "National Forum" and three months later, purchased the "National Embassy".

The "National Forum" has been used extensively in excursion travel. The National Forum is the only PRS car that is Amtrak compatible. In 1993, PRS members Will Walters and Marti Ann Draper completed the Amtrak work with assistance from Bill Farmer and Dave Abbott.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Vista-Dome 4735 "Silver Splendor" 800604, nee "Silver Buckle" built by the 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.

Southern Pacific lounge 2981 "Overland Trail", ex. Amtrak 3500, nee Southern Pacific 2981, built by Pullman in 1949.

Amtrak Horizon coach 54552.

Canadian National observation car 93 "Tioga Pass" built by Canadian National in 1959. The car was part of an order for 12 similar cars designed for railroad executives. Originally number 23, and later number 93, "Tioga Pass" spent most of its life in Edmonton, Alberta. There it served the Vice President of the Mountain Region. Records show the car traveled all over Canada, providing some 30 years of faithful service. By the early 1990s, though, the car was largely redundant and seldom used. Like the passenger trains on which it used to hitch a ride, the automobile and airplane offered quicker and more convenient transportation in today’s fast-paced corporate world.

In 1992 Canadian National decided to sell the car, and a local businessman in Barstow, California named Rutherford P. "Rudy" Hayes bought it sight unseen because, as he put it, "I always just wanted one." In an epic trip, the car traveled from Edmonton to Barstow in January 1993. Through fierce cold and driving blizzards, the passengers stayed warm inside. Its new owner was like a proud father, pronouncing the car was all he ever thought it would be. Unfortunately, Rudy never got the chance to travel on his new car. He died of a heart attack only months after it was delivered. The car sat, forlorn and neglected in front of the Harvey House train station in Barstow for several years.

Aronco Leasing Company purchased the car in 1997 from the Hayes estate. A victim of benign neglect, numerous repairs and upgrades were needed before the car could be used again. Starting in 2002, the Tioga Pass has undergone the most extensive restoration since its construction. An exhaustive examination of all of the major mechanical components of the car was undertaken, including the wheels, suspension, couplers, and airbrakes. This thorough examination allows the car to be considered as good as new. At the same time, a number of upgrades were made to allow the car to operate behind Amtrak trains, such as installation of heavy-duty power cabling and signal and communications wiring.

The rear of the Santa Fe 3751 train at LAUPT. We returned to Carl's van and after a quick detour to reach Interstate 10, we went east to Atlantic Avenue where we exited, turned right on West Hellman Avenue, then another right onto South Marguerita Avenue to a pedestrian Bridge over Interstate 10 and made our way out to over the middle of the San Bernardino Freeway and set up for our pictures. We knew we had a westbound Metrolink train due in a few minutes to practice with.

The view both ways from the South Marguerita Avenue pedestrian bridge. Now we waited for Metrolink 354 to pass us.

Metrolink 353 came and went.

The shadows of Carl and I, after which I called Let's Talk Trains, gave a quick report then we waited for the moment when I spotted the train approaching.

Santa Fe 3751 and train from the bridge. We headed east to our next photo location with us starting to listen to the new CD of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson "Thick as a Brick 2". We exited the San Bernardino Freeway at Exit 32A and turned left on Hamburger Lane, parked and I walked over to the grade crossing and saw Santa Fe 3751 heading our way down the tracks, so we set up for pictures.

Santa Fe 3751 and train at the Hamburger Lane grade crossing in Baldwin Park. We returned to the San Bernardino Freeway, heading east to Interstate 15, going north to 4th Street then east to Etiwanda Avenue and north to the Metrolink grade crossing.

Santa Fe 3751 at Etiwanda Avenue. We drove San Bernardino and parked in the parking structure and would now look around San Bernardino Railroad Days 2012.

Click here for Part 2 of this story