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Metrolink Catch the Sparkle Special Train Service 11/23/2017

by Chris Guenzler

I found a flyer on a Metrolink train about this unique service to the Mission Inn in Riverside. I asked Robin Bowers if he wanted to go and he said yes. We would take Metrolink 634 to Laguna Niguel then ride the Special Train 856X to Riverside then go see the event at the Mission Inn then return on Metrolink 707 to Fullerton then Metrolink 608 back to Santa Ana ending another fun filled Metrolink trip. You get your special Metrolink $7 ticket out of Metrolink ticketing machines. I would go to Mission Viejo and Robin would board at Santa Ana. That afternoon I drove to the Santa Ana train station.

Metrolink 634 picked me up in Santa Ana and I had a quiet trip to Laguna Niguel. I arrived there finding no train in the pocket track. I asked the conductor and he said the train was coming from Oceanside. Later I had a yellow signal followed by a green. Soon my train came into view.

Metrolink Special Train 856X to Riverside came into Laguna Niguel and I boarded the Bike Car on the train at a table. The car started to fill up at Irvine and Tustin and Robin boarded at Santa Ana and joined me. The train filled up the rest of the way and we ran as a full train out to Riverside. There we went to the first bus which left with just the two of us. It dropped us off about four blocks from the Mission Inn so we walked the rest of the way there.

On the way there we passed the children's area set up on a closed street. I found my spot and a lady sitting below me told me she had been coming here for years and this was the best spot for viewing. I felt very lucky to be here this evening.

The predark Mission Inn.

There are mannequins in all the windows.

One strand of lights were on. About five-thirty the crowd counted down from ten to zero then the lights went on and the fireworks began.

What a firework show and lighting it had been. I was so glad I had finally came to Riverside to see it. I walked back to the Metrolink station and boarded Metrolink 707 to Fullerton. Robin joined and we left Riverside on time and ran that way all the way to Fullerton Jct where it all ended. We had a red signal and Amtrak's Southwest Chief was on Track 1 arriving at 7:12 PM and not leaving until 7:29 PM. We sat there for over thirty minutes before we could come into Track 1 and we detrained using the Harbor Blvd underpass to reach a waiting Metrolink 608 that had been waiting for us passenger to arrive. It was a quick trip to Santa Ana ending another Metrolink adventure.