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My 1,400,000.0 Rail Mile on November 3, 2014

by Chris Guenzler

It had been some time since I passed a major rail mile. In fact the last one was 1,350,000.0 on the Southwest Chief on July 1, 2012 at the crossing of Magnolia Avenue in the City of Riverside. Why have not I been riding more? First, the last two National Railway Historical Society conventions were held in Alaska (I flew there) and flew to Oklahoma City for the 2014 convention in Arkansas. Also I had not been on a long-distance train in two years which kept my mileage down, but the main reason was work. When I was substituing, it was jobs at various times during the day but then I would be too tired to ride. If I had had an 11:00 AM job, I could ride beforehand some mornings, but that was not that often.

So slowly over time, and thanks to Metrolink Weekend Day Passes, I would do most of my riding then. When I started my job at Heninger Elementary School in Santa Ana, I would sometimes ride to Riverside with Winston Walker and his daughter Christy. In addition, the loss of the Metrolink $7 dollar day pass was a factor. Slowly but surely I managed to finally get to the point where I knew I could reach 1,400,000.0 rail miles. I made a plan then stuck with it.

The Saturday before, I took Amtrak to Oceanside then made a round trip on the Coaster to San Diego then Metrolink home. The following day, it was Amtrak south to Oceanside then Metrolink to Orange, back to Oceanside and back to San Diego. On Monday, it would be Amtrak Pacific Surfliner 572 to San Diego then Pacific Surfliner 583 back, and at Oceanside Boulevard when the train crossed it at MP 227.2, I would be at the 1,400,000.0 rail mile.

11/3/2014 I went to my job at Heninger then drove to the Santa Ana station where I met Winston and Christy Walker after I had changed out of my work clothes. The train was almost 20 minutes late so I called Robin Bowers who had forgotten about it. He would take Surfliner 774 to Solana Beach to meet us there. We waited patiently for our train to San Diego.

Pacific Surfliner 572 arrived and we sat in Amfleet Car 82570. I was glad I was on an Amfleet train as the vast majority of my early riding was in cars like this. We stopped in Irvine before making our way south to San Juan Capistrano. After that it would be down to the Pacific Ocean and the start of our surf line running.

We started our surf line running.

Two views of the San Clemente Pier as my miles grow closer to the time this afternoon.

The tide was out on our southbound trip.

Leaving the beach at San Onofre. We crossed Camp Pendleton and soon were in Oceanside then departed and headed to Solona Beach.

Oceanside Boulevard, where my event would take place on Pacific Surfliner 583. At Solona Beach, AC Adam was a no-show at this point so that was just the way things were going for me today. We went through Del Mar then up Sorrento Valley before we climbed the Miramar Grade and went down Rose Canyon to Mission Bay. Next stop was Old Town followed by the Santa Fe station in downtown San Diego. We detrained from this Amtrak train which had no Wi-Fi, when it was supposed to, and had a Red Cap ride into the station. I called AC Adam and learned why he was not on the train to join us. Maybe he will make my 1,500,000.0 rail mile in the future?

Pacific Surfliner 583 11/3/2014

We were driven back to this same train and would you know it, this train did not have Wi-Fi either, so I can not tell anyone online that I would have passed 1,400,000.0 rail miles. We left San Diego on time and headed to Old Town, after which the next stop would be Solana Beach after the trip up and over Miramar Hill. We met a Coaster train at Sorento Valley then left Solona Beach where Robin boarded, and now I would be ready for that moment in about ten minutes.

At Oceanside Boulevard, Robin took a picture of me breaking the 1,400,000.0 rail mile.

Here was the sign I had made for this event.

One last picture after the fact. We arrived at Oceanside and I would relax all the way back to Santa Ana one happy train rider. After the trip we met at my house and I put up the mileage on my web page before Winston, Christy and I went to the Steer Inn for dinner then returned to the house, where Winston corrected my story before we went to the Orange County Railroad Historical Society meeting. After that I drove home, ending another great day in my life.