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Train Travel Meetup Group and OCRHS Rides San Diego County Rails 10/27/2012

by Chris Guenzler

For this trip, I invited fellow members of the Train Travel Meetup Group from Fullerton and the Orange County Railway Historical Society. I put together a trip where we would ride all the Coaster, San Diego Trolley and Sprinter for a $12 Dollar All-Day Regional Fare that San Diego County offered and would take Amtrak to and from Oceanside.

I arose early this Saturday morning and drove to the Santa Ana station where I would meet members of both groups, although I was rather disappointed at the low turnout.

Our group for today was Winston Walker and his daughter Christy, and Richard Breyspreck, all from the Orange County Railway Historical Society.

Pacific Surfliner 562 arrived and we boarded, taking seats in the rear open Superliner coach. We enjoyed each other's company on the trip to Oceanside as the trin made stops in Irvine and San Juan Capistrano. Soon we started our running along the Pacific Ocean.

My favorite flag of the United States of America.

San Clemente Pier.

The birds were flying in formation over the breaking waves as we made our way to Oceanside, where we all detrained.

Pacific Surfliner 562 at rest. We walked over to the Coaster ticket machine and managed to get our Regional Day Passes for $12 each. I walked down under and over to Track 2 for a picture of my usual Metrolink train which I was not riding today.

Metrolink 661 almost ready to head to Los Angeles without me this very sunny and bright morning. I returned to Track 1 after our Coaster train had arrived from Stuart Mesa.

Coaster 680 at rest and ready to take our group to San Diego. The train stopped at Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad Poinsettia and Encinitas.

There was a container ship offshore just before we stopped at Solana Beach. We then made the stops of Sorrento Valley, San Diego Old Town and San Diego Santa Fe Depot, where we all detrained.

We boarded this Green Line Trolley. The new trolley line arrangements are as follows. The Blue Line now runs from San Yisdro to American Plaza, the Green Line runs from Santee via Old Town and the old bayside line to 12th/Imperial, and the Orange Line runs from the Santa Fe station to El Cajon. The limited Silver Line with the PCC car runs on a very limited schedule.

Our Green Line train would wait until the connecting Orange Line one left for El Cajon. Once it did, we departed, stopping at Seaport Village, Convention Center, Gaslamp Quarter and then our last stop at 12th/Imperial. Once we arrived, we found out that the Blue Line was shut down from 12th/Imperial to 24th Street with buses substituing for the trolleys. It was time for a new plan so we would go to La Mesa and see the depot and railroad display there, then go to El Cajon and onto Santee, where we would meet AC Adam for lunch.

Our Orange Line Trolley at 12th/Imperial which we boarded. This trolley made station stops at 25th/Commercial, 32nd & Commercial {under construction improvements}, 47th Street, Euclid Avenue and Encanto/62nd Street, at which point I called Let's Talk Trains and talked to Kansas City Nathan. The Trolley also stopped at Massachusetts Avenue, Lemon Grove Depot and Spring Street {under construction improvements} before we arrived at the La Mesa Boulevard station where we detrained.

Our train left La Mesa and we started to look around.

The La Mesa station is the town's oldest building in its original form, and is the sole surviving San Diego and Cuyamaca Railway station in existence, built in 1894. This station and display is part of the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum.

Baggage cart beside the station.

Southern Pacific caboose 1058 built by the railway in 1941.

Pacific Fruit Express refrigerated car 11207 built by the company in 1957.

Mojave Northern 0-6-0ST 3 built by Davenport in 1923. It was later transferred to Southwest Portland Cement Company as their 3, then in 1966, donated to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association in Perris before moving to La Mesa in 1981. The Mojave Northern Railroad was built in 1915-16 by the Southwestern Portland Cement Company, from its plant at Leon in northern Victorville, five-and-a-half miles to Sidewinder valley in the Mojave desert. It was extended five miles to Bell in 1947 and seven more to Reserve Quarry in 1951. 3 worked mainly in the Leon cement plant until steam operations were replaced by diesels in 1957.

Something on the nose of the engine did not look right.

The plate is upside down, making it a backwards 3.

A view of the display train.

An Orange Line Trolley arrived at La Mesa.

Our trolley for El Cajon arrived to pick us up and stopped at Grossmont and Amaya Drive stations before arriving at El Cajon, where we all detrained. We were caught in the 30 minute gap period on the Green Line so would just take pictures of what came through while we waited.

Our Orange Line Trolley.

That now empty trolley departed so that the operator could switch ends before he returned to the Santa Fe Depot.

Another Orange Line Trolley arrived.

Next, a Green Line Trolley from Santee arrived to load passengers.

Another Orange Line trolley then came in.

Finally, our Green Line Trolley for Santee arrived and the four of us boarded. This trolley stopped at Amele Avenue and Gillespie Field stations before we continued to Santee.

Our group at Santee.

Our trolley. We met AC Adam and walked over to Anny's Fine Burgers where I had a classic burger and a chocolate shake. It was an excellent lunch and we were ready to go back on the Green Line.

This was our Green Line Trolley which we would take back to 12th/Imperial. We departed Santee Town Center and ran down the middle of Mission Gorge Road. The Trolley's next stop was the former Weld Boulevard station, now known as Gillespie Field station, then we made a series of curves, climbing up and over the last of the freight line, then stopped at Amele Drive station before going under Interstate 8. Our trolley continued rolling to El Cajon Transit Center and on to the Amaya Drive station. It stopped at Grossmount Center before crossing Interstate 8, after which we ran through Baltimore Junction and started down the grade.

Next we ran to 70th Street station before continuing to drop along the canyon wall in order to reach the valley floor, where we stopped at Alvarado Medical Center, which has a riddle along the top of north embankment wall, reading from west to east. The trolley entered the 4,000 foot tunnel under San Diego State University and right in the middle of it is SDSU Transit Center station. We exited the tunnel and came out into a small canyon and crossed a bridge then dropped down the 4.4 percent grade along the cliff, losing elevation before crossed over Interstate 8 to Grantville station, which is located 40 feet above the ground, then crossed the San Diego River.

Our route then took us to Mission San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium, Fenton Parkway and Rio Vista stations before we crossed the San Diego River. We stopped at Mission Valley Center then crossed the San Diego River to the stations at Valley Transit Center and Hazard Center, passed a golf course then made an "S" curve which took us over the San Diego River. We stopped at Moreno/Linda Vista station before crossing the San Diego River again, this time into Old Town. We ran to the stations at Washington Street, Middletown, County Center/Little Italy and then stopped at the Santa Fe station, where some passengers transferred to the waiting Orange Line train sitting in front of it.

Once the Orange Line train left, we departed and retraced our earlier trip, stopping at Seaport Village, Convention Center, Gaslamp Quarter and then the last stop at 12th/Imperial.

Our Green Line Trolley at 12th/Imperial, where we walked over to see if the Silver Line PCC was here today.

San Diego PCC Car 529 built by St. Louis Car Company in 1946. It operated in St. Louis before it went to Muni in San Francisco in 1957 as their 1122 and served the J, K, L, M and N lines for 25 years. This PCC car is the such car to run in San Diego since 1949.

The San Diego Trolley yard.

Interior of PCC car 529.

Our group riding 529 on our trip.

The Amtrak station. Unlike my last non-stop trip on the Silver Line, this time we made all of the normal stops, namely Gaslamp Quarter, Convention Center, Seaport Village, America Plaza, Civic Center, Fifth Avenue, City College {under construction improvements} and Park & Market before we returned to 12th & Imperial. After a great ride, we took the Green Line back one station to the Gaslamp Quarter to get a PCC photo runby.

Our Green Line Trolley has left Gaslamp Quarter station.

PCC Car 529 at the Gaslamp Quarter.

A few minutes later, we boarded this Green Line Trolley to return us to the Santa Fe Depot, where we waited for the Coaster to arrive.

Coaster 688 came in and we boarded this train, which became Coaster 689, for our return to Oceanside.

We returned to Oceanside and on our walk to the Sprinter, here it is at rest. The Sprinter departed on time and made the station stops at Coast Highway, Crouch Street, El Camino Real, Rancho Del Oro, College Boulevard, Melrose Drive, Vista Transit Center, Civic Center - Vista, Buena Creek, Palomar College, San Marcos Civic Center, Cal State San Marcos, Nordahl Road then our last stop at the Escondido Transit Center. I detrained there for a quick picture.

The Sprinter at rest at Escondido Transit Center. We all returned to Oceanside.

The Sprinter at Oceanside. We would now wait for Amtrak Pacific Surfliner 591.

Metrolink 664 returned to Oceanside from Los Angeles before going to Staurt Mesa for the night. We had to move over to Track 2 for our train tonight.

The moon over Oceanside.

Pacific Surfliner 784 arrived on Track 1.

Our Pacific Surfliner 591 arrived and picked us up to return us to Santa Ana. I told some stories which made for a quick trip back. It had been a great trip to San Diego County to ride some of their trains there.