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The Coast Starlight 11 Detour Trip 4/29/2018

by Chris Guenzler

We were awoken at 3:32 AM by the sound of a glass bottle hitting the door frame and breaking then the sound of two girls' bodies slamming themselves against our door at the Jack London Inn. Chris called the front desk and they called the police. I slept very soundly again until 6:05 AM when I showered and then prepared for my day of riding the Coast Starlight.

A Union Pacific stack train came throungh the street in Oakland. Bob Jacoby, Chris and I walked over to the Buttercup Grill where I had French Toast and bacon which was excellent.

The Western Pacific station in Oakland.

Capitol Corridor Train 720 came down the street in Oakland.

Coast Starlight 11 arrived at Oakland's Jack London station and we waited in a line to have our tickets scanned before we boarded Business Class. The train left Oakland on time at 8:50 AM and we were off and running. The tracks were bumpy down to Newark this morning, where we arrived at 9:20 AM and started our detour all the way to Burbank Junction. We ran by the Southern Pacific Fremont station before arriving in Niles at 9:37 AM.

Looking into Niles Canyon.

The crossing at Niles.

The train curving onto the old Western Pacific, the route of the fabled California Zephyr. The train headed through Niles Canyon and through Tunnel 1 and 2.

Niles Canyon Railway train getting ready to start the day. We entered the Livermore Valley and Livermore at 9:55 AM. We crossed the Greenville Trestle and heading up Altamont Pass.

The train climbing the pass.

The Greenville Trestle which we had just crossed. Now let's enjoy a trip across Altamont Pass.

The trip across Altamont Pass. We ran across the flat San Joaquin Valley, crossing the San Joaquin River and passed through the ACE Manteca station before reaching the former Southern Pacific connection where we continued on to Lathrop.

The train on the Southern Pacific connection. The train arrived at East Lathrop at 10:52 AM.

The train on the southeast leg of the wye and stopped at South Lathrop at 10:58 AM.

The train at South Lathrop and then backed to North Lathrop, stopping at 11:09 AM.

The train on the northwest leg of the wye and departed Lathrop for good at 11:18 AM. We started our sprint towards Bakersfield, running through Modesto at 11:40 AM.

The Stanislaus River south of Modesto. We sped through Turlock at 11:54 AM.

Foster Farms S6, originally Southern Pacific 1062. We made our way to Merced at 12:15 PM, after which I had an Angus Beef Burger for lunch. During that time, the train made its stops at Madera at 12:43 PM, Fresno at 1:09 PM and Calwa Crossing at 1:16 PM. After lunch, it was Selma 1:27 PM and Kingsburg at 1:30 PM, followed by Goshen Jct at 1:44 PM and Tulare at 1:54 PM. We rolled through Tipton, Delano and McFarland before we came to Earlimart at 2:37 PM. We arrived at Bakersfield at 3:01 PM.

Train 14 left at 3:04 PM. We left Bakersfield at 3:20 PM and would head for the hiils doing track speed, running through Edison and Sandcut as we headed onward to Bena. We came to Caliente and noticed we were following a BNSF stack train.

Union Pacific 4441 East stack train from Caliente. We then had a yellow signal and were on our way again.

Our train on the Caliente horseshoe curve before going through Tunnels 1 and 2.

The Allard Horseshoe Curve before we went through Bealville before entering Tunnel 3.

The train took the curves to Tunnel 5 and we found UP 4441 East at Cliff siding. We ran through Tunnels 6 and 7 and were bound for Rowen.

The train at Rowen. At Woodford we went around UP 6522 East and would next head to the Tehachapi Loop.

The trip around the Tehachapi Loop. We made our way to Marcel followed by Cable and realized that we had met five Union Pacific freights since Bakersfield but only two BNSF freight trains. We then ran through Tehachapi and Monolith before descending to Mojave, followed by Lancaster and Palmdale before climbing to Vincent then into Soledad Canyon. We met Metrolink 269 at Lang siding and met Union Pacific 8424 West at Humphreys. We continued on to Via Princessa, Santa Clarita and Newhall before entering the San Fernando Tunnel. Exiting at 7:15 PM, the train made its way through Sylmar and Sun Valley, and upon reaching Burbank Junction, the detour was completed at 7:31 PM. We made a brief stop to unload our Union Pacific pilot crew then ran to LAUPT, arriving at 7:55 PM, thus ending the two days of unique Coast Starlight detours.