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Lets Talk Trains 4/10/2004

by Chris Guenzler

Following my previous time on Lets Talk Trains on December 13th, 2003 I received an e-mail for one of my fantastic and regular readers who wondered how I got to the show and all that I did before and after. Since I was going to be on the show again on April 10th, 2004, I decided that I would write about this trip. It starts with me contacting Richard about which date I would like to be a guest on the show. Next I make my hotel reservation at the Best Western on E Street in Chula Vista. Since this was going to be a holiday weekend with the World celebrating Easter on Sunday I bought a Business Class ticket for my trip south. I then contact Richard a few days later for the pick up time Saturday morning and then waited for Friday afternoon to come arrive so I can start my quick trip to San Diego for another appearance on Lets Talk Trains.

At least that was my plan. The Thursday night before the show on Saturday, I developed severe stomach cramping that made me get very little sleep that night. It felt so bad in the morning that I called in sick and once the store on the corner opened I drove down for some ginger ale which at least made me burp. I went back to bed and rested as the cramping slowed down. I laid on the den couch and watched. Mars Attacks on cable TV which always makes me laugh. I felt somewhat better and decided if I could make it to San Diego I could just rest in the hotel. The cramping still was happening but not as often. I drove to the Santa Ana Amtrak station, canceled my 578 Business Class ticket and went outside to sit on the platform, cramping every so often, as I waited for Surfliner 768.

Surfliner 768 4/9/2004

The train pulled in about ten minutes late and I took the picture of it arriving, I boarded the lower level of Car 5 so I could be near the bathroom if I needed it. Conductor Jeff took my ticket and I settled in for my trip to San Diego. Once the train started moving I felt slightly better as I read an Orange County Weekly. It was a nice sunny Southern California Spring morning as the train took me to Irvine and then we ran to CP Avery where we waited for a late 769.

Once on the move again we rolled into San Juan Capistrano. From there we ran down to Capo Beach and started our Surf running through San Clemente, crossing into San Diego County and climbing the bluff to San Onofre where the siding is being extended south. The train made a quick run to Oceanside where we came in on the mainline with northbound Surfliner 573 in the siding doing his station work on the ocean side platform at Oceanside. We continued south passing the new siding between CP Swami and CP Cardiff before arriving in the trench at Solana Beach. The train passed through Del Mar and across Sorrento Valley before climbing the Miramar Grade to CP Cumbres. Back on double track we first met a short BNSF freight followed by Surfliner 775. With no further delays we ran the rest of the way to America's finest City of San Diego.

Surfliner 768 after arrival in San Diego.

After taking a picture of our train at the station I walked along the platform to get a picture oif a Coaster Train getting ready to head north to Oceanside.

It dawned on me that in all my trips to San Diego I have never taken a picture of the station so I did that on this trip. I walked over to the San Diego Trolley ticket machine at the Santa Fe depot, depot and purchased my one way ticket to Chula Vista and sat down to wait for my trolley to arrive.

A few minutes later it did and I boarded the last car. The Blue Line took me through Downtown San Diego and gave great views of the new Petco Park home of the Padres. After passing the Trolley Maintenance Yard, a few stations and cramps later I detrolleyed at E Street in Chula Vista.

After a goodbye to my trolley picture, I walked across the parking lot to the Best Western Inn and checked in.

My room was not ready so I camped out in the lobby for just ten minutes and I was told my room was now ready. I entered and laid down on the bed waiting for Guiding Light to start. After watching that I took a bath followed by a nap. Waking up about an hour later I decided to walk across the street to the Black Angus like I always do. I had the Teriyaki Chicken Breast but passed on my usual ice cream with fudge sauce.

After a little TV and feeling better I went back to the Trolley Station for several more pictures.

I returned to my room with some other body systems now working, watched a little TV and relaxed before calling it a night.

Show Day 4/10/2004

Feeling like my old self, I enjoyed a continental breakfast and watched a few interesting programs on the Oceanside PBS station. I learned the Oceanside Harbor Lighthouse is only a replica. After I checked out, I waited for Richard to show up.

He pulled up in his car with the San Diego Rail Decals on a very overcast day here in San Diego {Do not ever move here!} and we drove to a Starbucks near the studio for the preshow meeting that happens before most shows.

Here are the hosts Richard and CJ going over materials for this morning's show.

After an hour at Starbucks "with a few good laughs tossed in" we all head to the studio. There is normally a show taking place before the Lets Talk Trains Show so we wait for that show to finish before we invade the studio. Once we get settled all you have to do is listen to the show.

Once the show is over, Richard normally drives me back to the San Diego Amtrak Station but today we made a slight detour.

We stopped by the San Diego Maritime Museum as I always wanted a picture of the former Southern Pacific Ferry Berkeley that is on display. After a quick picture, we headed to Amtrak where Richard and I said our goodbyes.

I waited at Ash Street for the arrival of Surfliner 768.

On the weekend, Surfliner 768's equipment turns in Surfliner 577 for the trip north to Los Angeles. I boarded the lower level of Car 4 and the train left right on time. Conductor Lisa took my ticket and I visited the lounge car for a chocolate chip cookie. I was reading my Southern Pacific in Oregon book as we met 572 at CP Crosby and 774 at CP Songs. All to soon it seemed I was back in Santa Ana ending another Lets Talk Train Show and train trip.

One last picture of 577 and I was off to do other things.