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A Round Trip to El Paso on the Sunset Limited

by Chris Guenzler

After all the other trips I had done this summer, I was just sitting around waiting for Santa Ana Unified School District to call me for a job. With no call as of Wednesday August 26, 2009 I decided I needed a quick weekend getaway. I hadn't ridden the Sunset Limited since January 3, 2007 and since the schedule might revert back to the old 10:30 PM departure if the Sunset Limited becomes the through seven day a week Texas Eagle, I thought I'd better document the daylight running out of Los Angeles before it becomes a thing of the past. I packed on this Friday morning before driving to the Santa Ana Train Station. I walked over to Track 1 and waited on a bench. A Metrolink Train came first.

The Santa Ana Train Station.

Surfliner 573 8/28/2009

Surfliner 573 came into Santa Ana with the low level train set and yes it had the Dome Car. I put my luggage in the rack of the Amfleet Car I boarded and headed to the Great Dome for my trip to Los Angeles Union Station.

Leaving Santa Ana.

The big curve at Orange.

Me in the Great Dome during our station at Anaheim.

Curving onto the BNSF mainline.

The train pulling into Fullerton. The train made its stop in Norwalk before heading to Los Angeles.

The La Canada/Flintridge Fire had started burning today and was out of control before our train arrived onto Track 12 at LAUPT. I walked down the platform as I knew my train to El Paso would arrive on Track 11.

Sunset Limited #2 8/28/2009

The Sunset Limited backed onto Track 11 with Engines 70 and 24, Baggage 1212, Transition 39011, Sleeper 32115, Diner 38056, Lounge 33022, Coaches 31016, 34090 and 34035, Sleeper 32054 with Private Cars Sanford UP 140 800495 and Sunset UP 150 800486. I boarded the 32054 and took Room 8. Our train departed Los Angeles on time with my watching my DVD of Jackie Chan "New Police Story".

We crossed the Los Angeles River with the fire in view and would leave Los Angeles via San Gabriel.

Passing Lincoln Park with Eastlake in the middle.

Passing a hill on the way to Alhambra.

A small yard before we reached Alhambra.

That fire was seen once again.

The Sunset Limited entered and traveled through the Alhambra Trench on its way to San Gabriel.

The train exited the trench at San Gabriel.

The Mission San Gabriel Arcangel

Crossing the San Gabriel River.

The Metrolink line to San Bernardino took off at CP Bassett.

Near New Siding the UP is constructing a small yard and sound walls.

El Monte Civic Center.

The view towards Cal Poly Pomona.

The former Southern Pacific Pomona Station which the Sunset uses the platform there as its stop.

A few miles east we stopped at Ontario.

Two views of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Jurupa Hills.

There was a couple miles of stored Union Pacific motive power at West Colton.

The West Colton Yard Tower.

The crest yard at West Colton.

The Trim Tower at West Colton.

Train in the departure yard.

Engines at the West Colton Diesel Services Building.

Slover Mountain continues to shrink with each trip when I pass by it.

BNSF crossing at Colton.

Former Southern Pacific Stations at Colton.

Cajon Creek.

The Santa Ana River.

Grain Elevator east of Interstate 215. Now the Sunset Limited will climb San Timoteo Canyon.

Views of San Timoteo Canyon. There are now two housing developments near the Beaumont end of the canyon.

Views of the San Bernardino Mountains.

One of the housing developments.

Mount San Gorgonio.

Mount San Jacinto.

Wind Mills.

The Sunset Limited dropped down into the Low Desert.

The Whitewater River before we reached Palm Springs 15 minutes early and had a fresh air break out in the 109 degree desert air. I got off for a picture of our train.

The Sunset Limited at Palm Springs. I walked back through the train to my room as there was a strong hot breeze blowing in my face after I took this picture.

The view looking towards San Jacinto before the Sunset Limited left Palm Springs for Yuma on time.

Click here for Part 2 of this story