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Coast Starlight home from Seattle 1/9-10/2017

by Chris Guenzler

We got up at 6:15 AM and I posted the Orange County Railway Historical Society meeting notice on before having breakfast. I checked things on the Internet before we left the Alkire's house for the last time on this trip. I really hated to leave. Bob drove Elizabeth and I down to Edmonds where he dropped us off and would pick up Elizabeth at King Street station and drive her to work in West Seattle. I bought my Sounder ticket using coins from that evil Link Light Rail ticketing machine yesterday while Elizabeth used her Orca Card as she usually does for her travels. We waited on the handicap platform for Sounder train 1707 to arrive. The two car train arrived and we boarded the second car, taking a seat on the mezzanine level Puget Sound side of the train bound for Seattle. I am always on the lookout for new photo locations along our route. We enjoyed the ride along the shore and then our crossing of the Ballard Locks before we went through BNSF's Interbay Yard. We saw the old tracks of the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar before we plunged into the downtown tunnel and arrived at King Street station. After the crowd of workers had hurried off to their jobs, we exited the Sounder train.

The pushing end of the train.

The leading end of our Sounder train at King Street. We took the elevators up and over the walkway then walked into the station. I put my baggage on a bench and Elizabeth watched them while I walked upstairs to the balcony high above the waiting room to show you the restored station.

The restored lower level of King Street station. I walked back downstairs for more pictures of this gem of a railroad station.

The lower level. I used the facilities then sat with Elizabeth until Bob called and said he was almost there. We said our goodbyes and would see each other when we come up for Winterail 2017 in Corvallis, Oregen. She walked away and I felt sad to see her go! I was at the bench in front of where the sleeping car passengers get their boarding passes for their rooms and I was first in line, got mine then waited in front of Gate 3.

Coast Starlight train 11 1/9/2017

I walked out to the train and met Louie, my sleeping car attendant, put my stuff in my room then detrained to get the consist.

Cascade Service Talgo at rest.

Coast Starlight train 11 at rest in Seattle. This Coast Starlight had engines 817 and 124, baggage 61507, transition 39033, Sleepers 32048, 32072 and 32016 "Pennsylvania", diner 38016, Business Class 34512, lounge 33026 and coaches 34094, 31000 and 34038. Our AC told me to board now as my door had been shut so I walked through the train back to my room 3 in the 32072. We departed Seattle at 9:39 AM (9:35 AM}, four minutes late, and was heading home.

Leaving the Sounder train behind. We certainly had two good trips aboard them on this trip.

The Northern Pacific station in Kent still stands south of the Sounder stop here. The train made its trek south to Tacoma where we departed at 10:37 AM {10:21 AM}. Now we will run along Puget Sound.

Views along Puget Sound. Later we stopped at Olympia-Lacey and left at 11:22 AM {11:11 AM} or 11 minutes late.

Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve was established in 1976 to protect rare examples of mima mound landforms and Puget prairie grasslands. The site includes a small Garry oak woodland and savannah (widely spaced oak trees with grass understory) and also supports a variety of prairie dependent butterflies and birds and Douglas-fir forest. The NAP currently comprises 637 acres of grassland covered mima mounds, forest and oak woodland. In 1966, the National Park Service designated mima mounds a National Natural Landmark, for its representation of our Nation's natural landscape. The site is one of only 17 landmarks found in Washington State.

The Centralia station, from which we departed at 11:46 AM {11:35 AM}, 11 minutes late, and we made our way to Kelso-Longview and at noon, I was called into the dining car for lunch. We starting following a freight as I sat down then he was out of our way at Vader. I was seated with a couple from Roswell, New Mexico and a lady from Oakland. I had the Angus Beef Burger and pudding for dessert. We stopped in Kelso-Longview at the end of lunch and left at 12:42 pm {12:19 PM}. I put on my DVD of Emerson Lake & Palmer's "Live at Montreaux 1997".

Sleeting on the way to Vancouver. More freight train interfrence was encountered.

An oxbow lake.

The Columbia River as we closed into Vancouver which we departed at 1:45 PM {12:58 pm} .

We crossed the Columbia River into Oregon.

Crossing the Willamette River into Portland and our next station stop. We arrived at 1:50 PM {2:05 PM}, 15 minutes late, and I detrained for some pictures and supplies.

The Mt. Bachelor Talgo cab car at Portland Union Station. I went inside and paid $5.00 for two 20 ounce bottles of Coca-Cola. I walked back out to the train and stopped for one more picture.

Cascade Talgo, meet Portland Streetcar. We left at 2:34 PM {2:25 PM}, 9 minutes late, and started up the Willamette Valley.

Crossing the Willamette River. Next I watched "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".

Oregon Falls.

Later, a bend in the Willamette River. We headed next to Salem leaving there at 3:49 PM {3:37 PM} and Albany at 4:12 PM {4:10 PM}.

A Willamette & Pacific SD9 in the yard at Albany.

The Albany station. We left at 4:21 PM {4:10 PM} and headed to Eugene where I took a fresh air break and went inside the station for just a minute. We left here at 5:15 PM {5:10 PM} and headed for the Cascade Mountains as darkness took hold. At 5:30 PM I went to the dining car and was seated across from a couple returning home to Martinez. I had the steak and the chocolate lava cake; both really hit the spot. I put on my DVD of "Best of Both Worlds" as we left Oakridge then near Cascade Summit, I put another DVD. The train conquered Cascade Summit and headed to Chemult where we departed 8:22 PM {8:08 PM} as it was snowing. We headed now to Klamath Falls, where we would arrive at 9:45 PM but would not leave until after 12:10 AM when our rested crew will take the train south. Did I not go through this delay already on the trip north? Their train did not arrive in Klamath Falls until 1:37 PM this afternoon. This time, however, I would be sleeping through it all. Every trip is adventure! I went to bed and the train departed at 1:04 AM {10:00 PM}, 3 hours and 4 minutes late.

1/10/2017 Before Dunsmuir the train then was delayed and passed a major rock slide, then left Dunsmuir at 3:29 AM {12:35 AM} and we went from siding to siding, meeting Union Pacific freight trains. I arose at 6:00 AM and took a cold shower before changing clothes. At 6:30 AM I was seated in the dining car with a man from Laguna Woods, a student for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and another man from San Luis Obispo. I had the buttermilk pancakes and sausage patties. We stopped at Redding near the end of my meal at 7:09 AM {2:21 AM}, 4 hours and 48 minutes late. I went back to bed and was asleep again as the train stopped at Chico 8:24 AM {3:50 AM}, 4 hours and 34 minutes late. I got up a short time later and put the bed up and started getting this story caught up.

Flooded fields before we crossed the Feather River then made the turn onto the old Western Pacific at Binney Jct. Water, water everywhere is the title of today's trip. I put on my CD of Keith Emerson's "Honky" on this rainy morning in Northern California.

Flooding in North Sacramento.

Crossing the Yuba River before we took the Haggin Connection to the old Southern Pacific mainline for the rest of the short trip to Sacramento, where we arrived at 9:52 AM. We departed at 10:14 AM {6:35 AM}, 3 hours and 39 minutes late.

Crossing the rain-swollen Sacramento River as we head through West Sacramento. Next the crossing of the Yolo Bypass which I could not wait to see.

The crossing of the Yolo Bypass. This is the first time in 11 years that the Yolo Bypass has been used to keep flood waters out of Sacramento.

Davis station, where my brother Bruce once worked. I really miss him, even after all this time. We left here at 10:34 AM {6:50 AM}, 3 hours and 44 minutes late and we headed next to Martinez as I listened to The Young Dubliners' "With All Due Respect".

Crossing the Martinez Carquinez Strait Bridge into Martinez, our next stop. Union Pacific 2678 East passed by while we were here, after which we departed at 11:26 AM {7:34 AM}, 3 hours and 52 minutes late.

Rolling along the Carquinez Straits west to Emeryville. I had a noon luch reservation so I was doing well. The train stopped at Emeryville and I was called into lunch, being seated with a quiet couple from coach. I enjoyed the Angus Beef Burger and a chocolate cake. We left here at 12:12 PM {8:20 AM}, 3 hours and 52 minutes late and headed to Oakland - Jack London Square station. Passing through Amtrak's West Oakland Coach Yard, I saw the non-running California Zephyr set due to a rock slide on Donner Pass and two new Caltrain F125 locomotives. We pulled into Oakland-Jack London Sqaure at 12:12 PM and had to wait longer than normal due to an FRA inspection of the locomotives on our train. We departed at 1:13 PM {8:50 AM}, now 4 hours and 23 minutes late as I watched Alice Cooper's "Coopertown Reunion 1998". That took me to San Jose and beyond.

Caltrain engines at their maintenance facility in San Jose.

Caltrain trains at San Jose. We departed there at 2:23 PM {10:07 PM}, 4 hours and 16 minutes before the train headed to Salinas. My next DVD was Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Live at Montreaux 1997". It was still raining so that is why there are no photographs in this story. We rolled south of Gilroy and headed into the Pajora Gap where we cross the San Andreas Fault and my return to the Pacific Tectonic Plate.

A Conrock switcher at their plant. We were delayed by maintenance workers clearing off the tracks south of Watsonville Jct. as they are cleaning off the tracks from debris that flooded onto them.

Elkhorn Slough on this rainy afternoon. The train ran on to Salinas where we departed at 4:15 PM {11:48 AM} 4 hours and 27 minutes late. I wrote the story and did the pictures so I could upload when I get home tomorrow. I had a 5:30 PM dinner reservation and was seated with a coach passenger. Tonight I just had the steak. We made it to Paso Robles and left there at 6:15 PM (1:38 PM}, 4 hours and 37 minutes late. I decided to try to sleep for a while so I made the bed and took a nap. While I was asleep we stopped at San Luis Obispo 7:46 PM {3:20 PM}, 4 hours and 26 minutes late; Santa Barbara at 10:35 PM {6:02 PM}, 4 hours and 43 minutes late; Oxnard at 11:19 PM {7:05 PM}, 4 hours and 14 minutes late, and Simi Valley at 11:19 PM {7:46 PM}, 3 hours and 43 minutes late. It was here that I got up and Louie made up my room.

1/1/2017 The train stopped and left Van Nuys 12:11 AM {8:22 PM}, 3 hours and 49 minutes late and left Burbank Airport at 12:19 AM {8:31 PM}, 3 hours and 46 minutes, and then finally into Los Angeles at 12:36 AM {9:00 PM}. Despite the lateness, it been been a great trip with great food and many outstanding views. I want to thank Louie and the entire dining car staff for excellent service and Bob and Elizabeth Alkire for an excellent stay and visit with them. I was first off to the bus bays.

On to Santa Ana

The only bus was the late train bus and I lined up and they put my bag under the bus. The bus person came out and tried to scan my ticket but her scanner did not work. She left, then a Thruway Bus from Bakersfield to Santa Ana came in. I knew this bus only stopped in Fullerton so I wanted to ride it home as it would be quicker. After about five minutes, they decided that all Fullerton and Santa Ana passengers would ride that bus. The five of us got our bags and walked over to the bus. The bus person came out again and said not to worry about scanning as we were all on the manifest. We boarded and soon left LAUPT with the other passengers still not boarding the late bus. I called my mother and told her that I would be at the northwest parking lot in forty-five minutes. It was a rainy night and our bus driver did an excellent job driving and we stopped to drop off three people in Fullerton then drove down to Santa Ana, where I thanked the driver for the safe trip home. My mother drove me home, ending an excellent trip on the Coast Starlight.