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Pearl Harbor Troop Train and San Diego County Railfanning

by Chris Guenzler

12/7/2013 This weekend was the time the 2013 Pearl Harbor Troop Train would be running and we had a storm coming in. I had planned with AC Adam to go to the Great American Train Show at Del Mar on Sunday after we photographed a few more trains in San Diego County. I was the host of Let's Talk trains today so was up early and parked in the parking structure just as Pacific Surfliner 763 arrived in Santa Ana. I walked across the pedestrian bridge then went up on the upper level balcony to start my photography.

Pacific Surfliner 763 left Santa Ana for Goleta this morning.

The new message boards that were just installed were much easier to read than the old red ones. Pacific Surfliner 564 was on approach.

Pacific Surfliner 564 came in to do its station stop at Santa Ana with the Troop Train cars on the rear. I walked down to ground level, down the tracks south of the platform and past the fence between the tracks to have a better view of the train.

Pacific Surfliner 564 departed.

The private cars of the Troop Train came into view.

Pennsylvania Railroad RECC 7149 "Colonial Crafts" PPCX 800061 built by Pullman in 1949 and entered service as part of Pennsylvania Railroad Train 70 for New York. It was retired in 1971. Bob Brown purchased it from Penn Central and used it as vacation home at museum in Western Pennsylvania. In 1985, it was purchased by Rod and Ellen Fishburn who restored it.

Santa Fe cocktail lounge car 1370 "Acoma" was built by Budd in 1936 and designed for the new streamlined Super Chief. It was the first, full-sized, all stainless steel, "streamlined" lounge car built for any railroad. In 1994, the current owners put the car through a multiyear renovation including new trucks, backup generator, new kitchen with a large fridge and two freezers, beautifully restored lounge and fully functional crew's quarters. It is owned by Pacific and Southwest Rail Adventures.

Club-lounge with barber shop and shower "Overland Trail", ex. Amtrak 3500, nee Southern Pacific 2981, built by Pullman in 1949.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Vista-Dome 4735 "Silver Splendor", 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.

Amtrak P42DC 42, the Veterans Unit.

Amtrak 42 was bringing up the rear of Pacific Surfliner 564 out of Santa Ana on its way south to San Diego this morning. I went home to host "Let's Talk Trains" and joined the chat room as I always did. After the show I went down to 17th Street and sat out in a rain storm while waiting for a 38 minutes late- running Pacific Surfliner 573.

Pacific Surfliner 774 arrived first and then I saw Pacific Surfliner 573 pulling into the station.

Pacific Surfliner 573 with Amtrak 42 leading the cars of the Troop Train back north through Santa Ana. Later in the afternoon, after going to The Habit to get my mother and I dinner, I went over to CP Lincoln and waited for Pacific Surfliner 580.

Amtrak 42 was on the rear of Pacific Surfliner 580 but I clicked the shutter a bit too early, after which I returned home and watched two NHL hockey games before calling it a night.

12/8/2013 Up early and after breakfast and scraping ice off my car's windshield, I drove to the Santa Ana station and parked the car in the sun light.

Pacific Surfliner 562 arrived and I sat in a Superliner coach for my trip to Oceanside, reading Trains Magazine on the way. At Oceanside, I detrained and went to the Coaster ticket machine to buy my ticket to the Carlsbad Poinsettia stop then walked over to wait for the train.

Coaster 680 arrived, passing Metrolink 661 which is the train I normally ride on weekends. I boarded a coach for the two-stop trip to Carlsbad Poinsettia. San Diego Charger fans boarded the train, carrying beer to drink on the way to the game and were loud so I was glad to get off the train when it arrived at Carlsbad Poinsettia.

Coaster 680 departed and I walked over as AC Adam was just arriving to pick me up. We drove over Poinsettia Lane and found a place to park then walked over to the bridge.

Pacific Surfliner 567 heads north at Poinsettia Lane in Carlsbad.

Pacific Surfliner 564 was running 55 minutes late this morning.

Pacific Surfliner 769 met Pacific Surfliner 564 at Ponto. From here we drove south to Del Mar where AC Adam dropped me off and I hiked out to my next photo location.

The location for my next series of pictures of Pacific Surfliner 566.

Pacific Surfliner 566 came through Del Mar. From here we drove to the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the Great American Train show there.

Views at the Great American Train Show. After looking around the various vendor stalls and tables, we went to The Habit for AC Adam and I went to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream cone. After that, we drove over to Cedros Bridge in Solana Beach.

The view off Cedros bridge in Solana Beach with CP Valley below and the station in the background.

Pacific Surfliner 572 left Solana Beach on the final lap into San Diego. AC Adam drove me back to the Solana Beach Amtrak station and dropped me off while he parked. I visited the Coca-Cola machine before going down to wait for Pacific Surfliner 579. AC Adam soon joined me down on the northbound platform.

Coaster 688 arrived just before Pacific Surfliner 579.

Pacific Surfliner 579 arrived and I took a seat in a Superliner coach. Everything was good until Serra where we had caught up to a very late-running Metrolink 663 and had a red signal. We were on his tail almost all the way to Irvine before we found a green signal then departed Irvine and was back at track speed almost to Santa Ana, when we came to a flashing yellow. I detrained at Santa Ana and thought I had finished taking pictures for the day.

Pacific Surfliner 579 departed and I returned to the car and was heading home when I crossed Santa Ana Boulevard on Santiago Street when on the rear of Pacific Surfliner 580 was Amtrak 42, the Veterans Unit, so I made a quick U-turn and found a place to park south of the station before walking over to the southern end of the Santa Ana station platform from some pictures.

Pacific Surfliner 580 departed with Amtrak 42 pushing it to San Diego. From here I went home and wrote the story.