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Coast Starlight 14 Detour Trip 4/28/2018

by Chris Guenzler

Norm Orfall posted on that his car, "Tioga Pass", would be going over the Tehachapi Loop on the Coast Starlight on April 28. I then learned the train would also detour the next day so planned a Coast Starlight Business Class trip as a reward for my Day 8500 on Friday the 27th. With train tickets set, the question now was where to stay. I checked all the motels in Oakland but only one was under the $100 range and that was the Jack London Inn so I decided to give it one more try. Chris Parker decided he would ride "Tioga Pass" once more because with Amtrak no longer letting private cars on their trains, it might be his last chance to ride one. He would stay with me in Oakland then ride Business Class with me back to Los Angeles. So Saturday morning I arose and showered before getting the pages made for this story. Following breakfast I drove to the Santa Ana train station and made my way over to Track 1 to wait for my train.

Pacific Surfliner 763 4/28/2018

Pacific Surfliner 763 arriving at Santa Ana and I boarded the Business Class car then went into the Superliner coach and set up my computer. The Conductor asked for names at the door so it was so easy boarding the train this morning. The train stopped in Anaheim then Fullerton before the final sprint to Los Angeles.

Coast Starlight 14 4/28/2018

The Coast Starlight backed into LAUPT and first I met Brain who rode with me on the circle trip to Oakland. Once we were boarded, by name only at this point, I took a right side seat with Brian across the aisle from me upstairs. Soon other passengers joined us including a new friend Dennis from Yardley, Pennslyvania. Julian from Atlanta, Georgia was also in our car. Yolanda was our car attendant. Chris Parker was on the Tioga Pass and he will have a great trip. We left LAUPT at 10:15 AM, five minutes late, and we were off on this unique trip.

We started the detour at 10:31 AM at Burbank Junction.

The water project in the San Fernando Valley. We slowed to meet Metrolink 262 near Sun Valley and made it through the tunnel where I saw Bill Compton at the north end of it. At Saugas they threw off a fare evader then the train proceeded through the tunnels before going through Soledad Canyon.

Views in Soledad Canyon.


The Vasquez Rocks.

Another lesser-known rock formation.

At Ravenna we went into the siding to meet Metrolink 264 then ran through Vincent Grade/Acton station anddescended into Palmdale where everyone's rare mileage would start at Palmdale Jct. The train then sprinted across the Antelope Valley. I went to the dining car for lunch and had an Angus Beef Burger. We met Union Pacific freight trains at both Dennis and Oban during lunch. The train ran over Ansel Hill before we dropped into Mojave.

We passed through the windmills and started up the westbound grade of the Tehachapi Mountains.

The Tehachapi with Monolith to the right. Soon we went under CA Highway 58 and reached the summit of the Tehachapi Mountains then ran through the town of Tehachapi and crossed the rest of the valley.

The train is now headed down to Cable.

We reached Cable and would next take the tunnel section of this line.

The green of the Tehachapi Mountains.

Our train at Marcel.

The train entering Tunnel 10. Now let's enjoy the trip around the Tehachapi Loop.

The trip around the Tehachapi Loop.

Green hills west of Rowen.

Looking down at a BNSF train at Caliente.

Bealville from west switch at Cable.

Train at Bealville.

The green hills and cloudy skies.

More views on the curves at Bealville.

West switch at Bealville.

West of Tunnel 2.

The train entering Tunnel 1. Now the trip around the horseshoe curve at Caliente.

The trip around the horseshoe curve at Caliente.

Kern Junction. We made our Bakersfield stop with the arrival at 3:00 PM and a departure at 3:34 PM. No one was allowed off as we were surrounded by mainline tracks. North of Bakersfield we met Train 11 at Cawelo then I visited with people in the lounge car. I returned to my seat and gave updates on

Western Rail {WRIX} SD38AC 201, built by EMD in 1971 as Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range 201, at a feed plant in Traver.

You can see all the way to the Sierra Nevada Mountains through the haze.

Calwa Crossing in south Fresno.

BNSF mainline heading north to Fresno. The train ran through Fresno at 5:22 PM.

California high-speed construction near Highway City. We went to the dining car at 5:30 PM and I had the Signture Steak with potatoes which was excellent. Good conversations were had during dinner. Train 14 stopped at Madera at 5:49 PM, Chowchilla at 6:02PM, Merced at 6:17, Turlock at 6:40 PM, Modesto at 6:51 PM then ran onto Lathrop where it had to be wyed.

The train on the southeast leg of the Lathrop Wye. We arrived at South Lathrop at 7:21 PM.

The middle of the Lathrop Wye. We left North Lathrop at 7:42 PM.

The train on the northeast leg of the Lathrop Wye. We stopped to change pilot engineers then left East Lathrop at 7:50 PM. We ran back to the connection to the old Western Pacific line and started the run for Oakland. We ran through Tracy then climbed the east slope of Altamont Pass, arriving at Altamont siding at 8:21 PM and Livermore at 8:40 PM. We sprinted through Pleasanton then ran through Hearst and Niles Canyon. We went through Niles at 9:09 PM then stopped at Newark to drop off the pilot engineer. From here we turned onto the Mulford Line which ended the detour and ran the rest of the way to Oakland, arriving there at 9:56 pm, 32 minutes late. I detrained feeling fantastic after a great day of train riding. Tomorrow I would be able to do it all over again. I walked back to the "Tioga Pass" and found Chris Parker and Bob Jacoby, and after saying goodbye to Bob Riskie, the three of us walked to the Jack London Inn for the night.