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Pacific Railroad Society presents Excursion 552 The Perris Express 1/21/2017



by Chris Guenzler



I came home from my first day of the school year at Heninger Elementary School in Santa Ana and went on Trainorders.com when I saw a post Ride the special train to Perris and OERM on Saturday 10/1/2016. I clicked the link and bought my ticket. I called Chris Parker to tell him about it then called Robin Bowers about it. My new mileage would be limited but it would be a fun day of train riding and time to spend with my friends. The trip was then reschudeled until January since the day was chosen by the Union Pacific Railroad Historical Society Picnic.

The Trip Information from http://www.pacificrailroadsociety.org

That's right, Metrolink does not normally provide service to Perris on weekends, so this will be a special train from Los Angeles to Perris via the San Bernardino line outbound and the Riverside line inbound. Our special train will travel down the middle of Interstate 10 to San Bernardino, then South towards Riverside where we branch off on the new Metrolink Perris line. Stops will be made on the new branch for photo opportunities. At Perris, we'll take turns riding an historic bus to take us the final two miles to the museum. This special PRS excursion includes admission to OERM, an all day ride pass, and lunch in Pinecate Park at the museum. This is your chance to ride many of Los Angeles's historic trolley cars, Pacific Electric Interurban cars, see Ward Kimball's Grizzly Flats Railroad, and visit PRS' funeral car, the Descanso. Equipment for this special train will be Metrolink bi-level coaches.

The Trip

I got up at 5:00 AM , fixed my breakfast then got online and received my final update on the Perris Express trip I would be taking today. I went to the store and brought in the groceries before driving to the Santa Ana train station where I met Robin Bowers. We waited and down the platform were women with picket signs going to Los Angeles for a march for Women's Rights.





The train came in on time and we found seats on a very crowded train. This train became standing room only at Anaheim and only became worse by the time we left Fullerton. We arrived at Los Angeles and found Chris Parker on the station platform.





Today was a vino train to Santa Barbara put on by LARail. Robin and I went down to the tunnel and picked up our tickets behind the fish tank at the East Portal of LAUPT. We picked up our tickets as well as Chris Parker's ticket. we walked over to Philippe's where we found Chris Parker and we got in line. I ordered a French Double Dipped Roast Beef Sandwich, Cottage Chesse and a can of Coca-Cola. After a good early lunch we all returned to LAUPT. There I saw the most crowds that I hane ever seen. Women everywhere with protest sign galore in every area and the main tunnel of LAUPT. I made my way safely down to the Track 13-14 tunnel and watched people which today was really interesting. A PRS person then told me the train was in the yard and it would come into Track 5 this morning at LAUPT. We walked over and up to Track 6 and waited for our train to Perris.

The Perris Express

One Metrolink train came into the station but the second one had the National Forum so we all knew that our train was coming in. I walked to get into postition to get on the bike car and I was right at the place where the door to that car stopped. Once the doors were opened I was first aboard and took the rear table on the left side of the train. I called Chris Parker and told him what car number I was in and Robin found me because he knew what car I usually travel in. Robin sat across from me and Chris Parker sat next to me for the trip to Perris. We were delayed even more because a woman took a fall. At 9:50 AM the Perris Express started the trip.





We started leaving LAUPT.





Dodger Staduim up on the hill to the north.



We made it only to Mission Tower when we got stopped by a red signal. After a few minutes we got a red over yellow signal and we crept forward into the siding.





First we crossed the West Bank line.





Next the crossing of the Los Angeles River.





That was followed by the junction with the East Bank line. We met Metrolink 353 before heading east.





The grade of the old Pacific Electric to Pasadena.





After the Cal State Los Angeles station we crossed the westbound lanes of the San Bernardino Freeway and headed down the middle of that highway.





Near El Monte we escaped the San Bernardino Freeway and climbed the El Monte Flyover high above the Rio Hondo River.





Two views of Mount Wilson.





The old Southern Pacific Sunset Route crosses the Rio Hondo River.





Two views of Mount Baldy also known as Mount San Antonio.





Three views of the San Gabriel Mountains.





Crossing the San Gabriel River.





This is where Walnut Creek enters the San Gabriel River. We went into the siding at Bassett and waited on Metrolink 357.





We stopped with a very nicely painted tank car BOCX3039 at a plant. Metrolink 357 went by us and we proceeded through the Baldwin Park station then made the turn to the east.



The old sand and gravel pits along our route. We went straight through the Covina station.





The ever present San Gabriel Mountains.





As we sped through the Pomona-North station the former Santa Fe station came into view.





Next we ran by the old Santa Fe station in Claremont.





A very needed dam at the base of the mountains with our very wet rainy season this year. We went through the Montclair station.





The clouds are now covering the mountains before we ran through the Upland station.





A wye before we ran through the Rancho Cucamonga station then onto the BNSF Kaiser Yard before running through the Fontana station.





Two views north before the Rialto station we went through.





A view after the Rialto station before we went under the Palmdale Cutoff.





The former Southern Pacific Palmdale Cutoff.





Lyle Creek Wash Channel. We then climbed the San Bernardino Metrolink Flyover.





The old San Bernardino Santa Fe Shops Smokestack still stands.





We crossed over BNSF A Yard and started down the San Bernardino Metrolink Flyover.





The San Bernardino Mountains to the north.





The BNSF A Yard in San Bernardino before we pulled into what is left of the San Bernardino station where our engineer will switch ends.





A UP DPU went east of a train while we waited to depart San Bernardino. Now we will head south to Highgrove.





The Union Pacific Flyover in Colton.





Crossing the Santa Ana River with the old Pacific Electric Riverside bridge in the view. We soon arrived at Highgrove and went south just past the switch to the new connection to the Metrolink Perris Line. The engine crew then switched ends once again and he returned to the locomotive. While we sat they announced we would stop at every new station and could get off and take pictures of the train and station at each.





A Union Pacific local was switching a lumber yard with engine 4000 not a Big Boy.





The train started around the Perris Line connection.





An eastbound BNSF stack train headed through Highgrove on the mainline.





The train at the Hunter Park/UCR station.





Box Springs Mountain.





The grade of the former Pacific Electric Riverside line. Now views as we climbed the Box Springs grade.









Views as the train climbed the Box Springs grade.





The train at the Moreno Valley/March Field station. Now we would run straight to the South Perris station, so enjoy the views to South Perris.











The trip to South Perris station.





Our train at South Perris. Our engine crew would switch ends one last time for us and take us back to the Perris-Downtown station.





A view on the way to the Perris-Downtown station. We walked back to the cab car to detrain.





Two views of our train at the Perris-Downtown station.



Click here for Part 2 of this story!