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Metrolink Golden Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Celebration Special Train 2/4/2017

by Chris Guenzler

On my last trip to Riverside on Metrolink last Tuesday Conductor Henry told me about the special 661X train that Metrolink would run on Saturday February 4th, 2016 for the Golden Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Celebration in Los Angeles. I asked for a schedule and Henry went up to the cab car to get me one. On the way home I called Robin Bowers to see if he wanted to ride it and he did. So we made our plans and he would meet me at the Santa Ana train station about 8:00 AM. Friday night I got an idea why could I not ride Pacific Surfliner 562 and 763 and get some more Guest Reward points for me before our trip. I called and left a message with Robin letting him know What I wanted to do.

Before the Trip

I got up at 5:30 AM and went to my credit union and put in two checks from the Albany & Eastern Excursion train I am running the morning before Winterail. Next it was by the post office to mail off two sets of A&E tickets to people who have paid for my trip. Details are located on the Winterail home page with a link to my ticketing page. After that it was time to buy my Amtrak tickets then fix breakfast and check my E-mail before I drove down to the Santa Ana train station where I bought my Saturday weekend pass. I then waited for my first train of the day to arrive into Santa Ana.

Pacific Surfliner 562 arrived into Santa Ana and I boarded the Surfliner Cab Car for my quick trip to San Juan Capistrano. We got into San Juan early and I took a walk behind the building finding a major surprise.

There is a Wig-Wag crossing signal behind the building at San Juan Capistrano.

Pacific Surfliner 562 left San Juan Capristrano on the way to San Diego and I used the restroom at the south end of the platform.

The remaining section of the old San Juan Capistrano Santa Fe station. I walked to my boarding spot.

Pacific Surfliner 793 arrived into San Juan Capistrano and I talked with my conductor for most of the trip back to Santa Ana. I detrained and walked up to the 3rd level open air balcony on the pedestrian bridge. I then yelled to Robin that I had a few pictures to take before I joined him.

Pacific Surfliner 761 left Santa Ana for Goleta.

Pacific Surfliner 564 arrived into Santa Ana then I crossed the bridge and took the stairs down before it left and said hello to the conductor on 564 this morning.

Pacific Surfliner 564 left Santa Ana for San Diego. I walked over to Robin and we got caught up on things before our Metrolink train came into the station.

Metrolink 857 came into Santa Ana backwards so Henry was on the other end of the train. We sat in the Quiet Car for a few minutes before walking the train to the Cab Car and finding Henry there. I indroduced Robin to Henry and then we sat down. At Tustin, Robin spotted Christy Walker boarding our car and we sat and got caught up on things.

All too soon we arrived at San Clemente Pier and detrained. We helped a lady who had put twenty dollars into the Metrolink ticketing machine and did not get any tickets. This machine has not worked right for at least four years that I am aware of. I give her timetable with the phone number and told her to press school group so she would get a person right away.

The San Clemente Santa Fe sign post.

Pacific Surfliner 1567 came through the pier stop and the gate horn sounds like a steam engine whistle.

Robin and Christy at San Clemente Pier Station. We waited for our train to pull in. Christy will be taking Metrolink 660 to Oceanside then Metrolink 663 home to Tustin

Metrolink 661X Golden Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Celebration Special Train.

We boarded the empty coach and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

Looking down the San Clemente Pier.

The San Clemente Pier.

North Beach looking towards Dana Point.

When I said empty coach, I truly meant empty coach. As the train moved north through Orange County we picked up very few passengers. After Buena Park we walked forward to see the conductor who we meet at the door of the cab car and he inspected our tickets. We detrained at Norwalk ending our special train coverage.

Metrolink 661X heads to Los Angeles.

Back to normal riding

We walked up the stairs at Norwalk before we walked across the bridge but it was time for a pair of pictures.

A BNSF stack train waits at Santa Fe Springs.

Metrolink 662 arrived into Norwalk. The Metrolink conductor who brought up Metrolink 661, my normal weekend train I ride, said he had 960 passengers jammed aboard his train and said I was very smart to have taken the special train this morning. I agreed!

BNSF engines at rest for the weekend at La Mirada.

Scenes of Fullerton Airport.

Before Anaheim we crossed the former Southern Pacific Tustin Branch.

Right after Anaheim, we crossed the Santa Ana River.

The train's reflection in the window of the building.

After Santa Ana, the former Southern Pacific Costa Mesa Branch. The train stopped at Irvine and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo where we met Metrolink 663.

We have green hills again after our now normal rainfall.

The old barn.

The mustard plants are in bloom from all of our rainfall. We stopped at San Juan Capistrano and then met Pacific Surfliner 573 at Serra. Now the run along the beach.

The San Clemente North Beach sand project has been a major failure.

Looking towards Dana Point.

The San Clemente Pier.

The surf has been running high along our route.

San Mateo Creek has been running out to sea after our normal rainfall.

View looking down the coast.

San Onofre Creek reaches the ocean only at high tide. The train took us to Oceanside where I detrained for a picture while Robin went to Burger King.

Metrolink 665 ready to take us back to Santa Ana. He had a good series of rides today and soon we were back to Santa Ana, where we detrained.

Metrolink 665 at rest in Santa Ana.

Metrolink 665 leaves Santa Ana as we walked back to my car and I thanked Robin for joining me today on our unique rides. I went home and relaxed.