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More encounters with Amtrak 42, the Veterans Unit

by Chris Guenzler

11/30/2013 Amtrak P42DC 42 was the protection unit at LAUPT so I had hoped it would be there on Saturday. My plan was to go and get some pictures of the trains at the brand new Tustin Ranch Road bridge and then ride to Los Angeles and photograph Amtrak 42. So I left the house about 7:15 AM and drove to a parking lot I found on Google Earth and parked, then started my walk.

It was a clear morning and Mount Baldy stood out to the north.

Looking south are the blimp hangars. The bridge has a mesh screening on it so you have to be back from the middle in order to get any pictures at all.

The plaque commemorating the opening of the bridge a week ago, on November 23, 2013. Now I waited and finally saw a headlight coming my way from the east.

Pacific Surfliner 763 had Amtrak 42 pushing the train to Goleta this morning.

Due to having to wait for traffic to clear, I was only able to manage a poor going-away shot. Amtrak 42 would come back after dark on Pacific Surfliner 784 to San Diego, then return to Los Angeles on Pacific Surfliner 595 tonight. I now waited for one more train here this morning.

Pacific Surfliner 564 from the Tustin Ranch Road bridge. I then drove to the Santa Ana station to wait for Pacific Surfliner 563 to take me to Fullerton and bought my Metrolink Saturday Pass before boarding the train for the quick trip.

While I was in Fullerton, BNSF 7108 West went through town, after which. I walked underneath the track at Harbor Boulevard to Track 3 to wait for my first train ride of the day.

Metrolink 660 arrived to take me to Oceanside and on the way south I called Let's Talk Trains, then returned to Santa Ana on Metrolink 665 and went home, watching plenty of NHL hockey. That night I asked my good friend, and excellent Conductor, Victor D'Agostino II, to call me with what train Amtrak 42 would be on in the morning and he agreed to do that.

12/1/2013 I arose early and after having a good breakfast, drove down to Califia Beach at San Clemente. After paying for four hours of parking, I started my walk by checking the signal here.

I was surprised to find a yellow over red signal. Could something be coming south? I hiked to my favorite photo location complete with a bench and sat down, enjoying the early morning sounds of surf crashing and California sea lions calling to each other out on the rock on which they live.

Views from my photo location. That signal soon turned green and I knew Pacific Surfliner 763 would be my first train of the day. Victor sent me a text telling me that Amtrak 42 would be on Trains 566 and 777. Thank you Victor. I could now plan my day so I would take photograph until Pacific Surfliner 566 then drive home, later ride Metrolink to Fullerton, Pacific Surfliner 774 home, then go to Chestnut Street in Santa Ana for my picture of Amtrak 42 pushing Pacific Surfliner 774 northbound. Soon, a headlight could be seen around the point to my south.

Pacific Surfliner 763 heading to Goleta was my first train of the morning.

Next came Pacific Surfliner 562 heading to San Diego. This train is one of my usual weekend rides to Oceanside to ride Metrolink on my Weekend Daily Passes.

Next along was Pacific Surfliner 563 heading north to Los Angeles.

I was enjoying this jogger as Metrolink 661 was approaching.

Metrolink 661 for Los Angeles. I also enjoyed watching the kayakers.

That was until they had problems returning to the shore.

Pacific Surfliner 564, with Victor aboard working, passed my photo location on the way to San Diego.

Metrolink 857 from San Bernardino, heading to Oceanside, went south next.

Pacific Surfliner 567 heading to Los Angeles.

Now Pacific Surfliner 566 would be next so I kept a keen eye to the north.

I spotted the headlight of Pacific Surfliner 566 coming my way.

Pacific Surfliner 566 with Amtrak P42DC 42, the Veterans Unit, came through Califia Beach at San Clemente State Beach. I drove back to Santa Ana and enjoyed some television before my first train ride of the day.

Click here for Part 2 of this story