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My 950,000.0 Rail Mile in the Great Dome 8/29/06

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up on this morning and after doing my rail mileage from yesterday, I figured out what my new mileage for today would be. I could n'o believe it when I got done before checking it twice. If I did my riding like I had planned today I would be passing 950,000.0 rail miles at MP 200.9 on the Metrolink San Diego Sub. Steve Grande of was planning on joining me on the 774/785 roundtrip as the Great Dome would be running on this train set. After a rocky start to my day, I drove down to the Santa Ana Train Station and parked in the parking structure. I had a few minutes so I decided to take this opportunity to show you how our new station bridge and platforms were coming along.

The blue tarp has been removed and you get to see how it looks. A Metrolink train is seen leaving Santa Ana for Los Angeles.

The new steps to the west platform with the handicap ramp to the right.

The east side tower and bridge.

The east side canopies roofs have been tiled and final tile work is still to be completed. I waited for Surfliner 562 to arrive into Santa Ana to pick me up.

Surfliner 562

Surfliner 562 coming into Santa Ana. We met Metrolink 683 after Tustin then at Laguna Niguel we met Metrolink 607. At CP Serra we met Surfliner 763 then later after passing a cloudy shoreline met Metrolink 850 waiting for us at CP Songs. At CP Westbrook we met Surfliner 565 then pulled into Oceanside. At CP Craven just short of Solana Beach we met Coaster 633 before I detrained. I walked over to Track 2 to wait for my next train.

Surfliner 567

Surfliner 567 arrived into Solana Beach. I boarded then we headed to Oceanside meeting a waiting Coaster 640. We then ran all the way to CP Songs where we met Surfliner 564. At Serra Metrolink 600 was waiting for us. At CP Avery Surfliner 566 was passed. We did Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim before we met Surfliner 768. We stopped at Fullerton then we ran nonstop to Los Angeles Union Station. I walked from Track 8 to Track 9 to board my next train of the day.

Surfliner 572

We left LAUPT on time then made a quick run to Fullerton where I detrained for this picture. I walked over to the former office and found Steve Grande who was expecting me. After we did a tour of parking garages in Fullerton looking for a parking spot we returned to the office then walked over to the Fullerton Station to wait for Surfliner 774. Surfliner 573 came into Fullerton first then departed just as Surfliner 774 was pulling in.

Surfliner 774

Surfliner 774 rolled into Fullerton.

It had the last dome car on the entire Amtrak system in its consist. Steve and I boarded taking a pair of seats in the Great Dome. We left Fullerton a few minutes late.

Steve Grande of enjoying the Great Dome.

Myself enjoying the Great Dome.

Passengers enjoying the Great Dome. Our train headed to Anaheim then after CP La Veta I showed Steve the work for the double tracking to CP Lincoln. At Santa Ana, Steve got his first look at the Santa Ana Station Work. He was impressed. As we traveled south, Steve realized that it had been at least a year since he had been to San Diego. We stopped in Irvine then met Surfliner 775 at speed just short of the crest of El Toro Hill. Our train descended to San Juan and after leaving I showed Steve the new bike trail before San Juan Capistrano. At CP Capistrano we met Metrolink 853 ready to start its run to Riverside after the crew switched ends. We started our beach running under cloudy skies.

The San Clemente Pier. I further on I showed Steve the grading between CP Flores and CP Puller for the future double tracking. We met deadheading to the yard Coaster 639 heading to their shops at Stuart Mesa at CP Westbrook. Just before Oceanside we met Surfliner 579 then did our station work. After Oceanside Steve got to see the grading for the Sprinter line into Oceanside then further south the new bridge at Agua Herronda Lagoon. We stopped at Solana Beach then met Coaster 643 at Sorrento Valley. I showed Steve the mainline between CP Moreno and CP Tecolate before we arrived into San Diego seven minutes early.

Surfliner 774 has arrived into San Diego. Steve and I took a walk around the west side of the train.

Views of the Great Dome in San Diego. Steve and I walked into the station where I bought more Coca-Cola. We then walked out into the front courtyard and found some shade to wait for the boarding of Surfliner 785. We heard an announcement then got in line to board the train. At the front of the line was railfan Matt Allen who talked with us both ways on our Great Dome adventure.

Surfliner 785

Surfliner 785 ready to head north to Goleta. We left San Diego on time and near the top of Rose Canyon we met Coaster 562. At Sorrento Valley we took the siding for Surfliner 578. We stopped at Solana Beach then went on to Oceanside where Coaster 654 was waiting to leave from the siding. At CP Songs we met Metrolink 602 before stopping at San Clemente. A few minutes later I got Steve in position to take a picture of me passing MP 200.9. We passed grade crossing at 201.0 and counted to four and Steve clicked off the picture.

The spot at MP 200.9 where I passed my 950,000.0 Rail Mile. I celebrated with a Coca-Cola. A few minutes later at CP Serra we took the siding to run around Surfliner 582. We then stopped at San Juan Capistrano and once on the move again Assistant Conductor Mike Monroe stopped by to congratulate me on my 950,000.0 rail mile. Just before Irvine we met Metrolink 604 and after that we met Metrolink 688. As we closed in on Santa Ana I said goodbye to Steve before finding Mike at a door so I could detrain at Santa Ana.

After I got off at Santa Ana I walked down for one last picture of Surfliner 785 with the Great Dome. I drove home ending yet another fantastic Amtrak adventure.