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A Tioga Pass Private Car Trip Los Angeles to San Diego and return 12/11/2016

by Chris Guenzler

Chris Parker told me about an ad on about the private car "Tioga Pass" trip from Los Angeles to San Diego and return. I called Norm Orfall and arranged for my participation then told Robin Bowers, who also would participate. Robin and I would leave Santa Ana on Pacific Surfliner 1761 to LAUPT, meet Chris Parker there, go to Philippe's for a early lunch then board the car. We would pay Norm then have a whole day of fun on his "Tioga Pass".

12/11/2016 I arose at 5:00 AM, put the corrections in my Beaumont Pass story, uploaded it to my Railfanning Page, fixed breakfast then drove to the Santa Ana station, deciding to take a few pictures this early morning before Robin arrived.

Santa Ana station on this early morning with the sky begining to drip.

Pacific Surfliner 1561, a low-level trainset arrived with Robin and I boarding the first coach. I bought some San Diego Trolley Day Passes for only five dollars from the cafe attendant and the train made its way to LAUPT where we arrived on time and I was off for a better picture of the train which brought me here.

Pacific Surfliner 1761 at rest. From here we walked over to Philippe's and had a French Dipped Roast Beef sandwich, cottage cheese and a Coca-Cola. Chris Parker soon joined us and we all caught up on things. Philippe's has an excellent trolley display in their back room and I had ridden several of the lines in the display. Robin and I then walked back to LAUPT to Track 9A where the "Tioga Pass" was at rest.

Our private car for today. 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.

I then boarded the car and was ready for the trip. I gave Norm one of my railroad calendars and talked with the other passengers as they arrived on board, after which the train departed LAUPT on time.

The train left LAUPT with the Coast Starlight waiting for its 10:15 AM departure for Seattle. I returned inside the car and talked with the other passengers as well as enjoying Norm's stories of his days with the Santa Fe Railroad. The train made a fast trip to Fullerton where we picked up two more passengers then sprinted to Anaheim where there were plenty of Los Angeles Ram fans waiting for Pacific Surfliner 567 to take them to their game today. The train ran to Orange and I went onto the rear platform to give you a trip through Santa Ana, including the station stop there. We start with the crossong of Santiago Creek then through CP Lincoln.

The train has reached the City of Tustin and I returned inside for more great conversation. We stopped at Irvine then climbed to the highest point on the Surfline before dropping down the grade to San Juan Capistrano, our next station stop before running the rest of the way to the beach where I went outside on the rear platform. Now let's enjoy the ride along the beach south to County Line.

View heading along the beach.

The Haines family came to see us go by on this late morning. Michael who is a 5th Grade teacher whom I work with first thing in my mornings at Heninger Elementary School in Santa Ana. Now back to the trip.

The train has reached County Line and entered San Diego County. Now enjoy the rear views from County Line to just before CP Don.

The trip to just before CP Don. Now here is Control Point Don.

CP Don is the south end of the current double track from CP Songs. Now enjoy the rear views down to CP Eastbrook.

The trip to Control Point Eastbrook.

Click here for Part 2 of this story!