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So you thought you have ridden all of Metrolink like I did?

by Chris Guenzler

Coming back from the Fullerton Train Rider's Group Trip to San Luis Obispo last month, we were running over an hour late. We came to a red signal at CP Montalvo and sat for a few minutes. What we then saw was a Metrolink train leaving the UP Coast Line for the Metrolink Station at Montalvo. There were passengers aboard that train and it made me think. I thought I had ridden all of the Metrolink but when I saw that train leave the Coast Line it struck me that I had not. I told Steve Grande about it and he realized that he had not either. I told Steve that I could take a train out here, spend a night at a hotel and take a Metrolink Train back to Los Angeles and then home. Steve, after thinking a minute said, "We could take the Metrolink Train out to Montalvo, taxi back to Oxnard and take Surfliner 796 home." A quick check of the Metrolink Schedule showed we could take the first evening train out of LAUPT to Montalvo, then taxi to A Burger for dinner and 796 home. From Orange County we would be taking Surfliner 579 to LAUPT. We picked May 16th as the date for our trip.

Surfliner 579 5/16/2005

I met Winston at the Santa Ana train station after I had bought my Metrolink ticket LAUPT to Montalvo so I would not have to worry about it in Los Angeles. I visited the station store for some Coca-Cola for the trip and I visited with Marty, my wonderful night time station agent. Surfliner 579 pulled into Santa Ana and we boarded the train for LAUPT. Our Surfliner consisted of Cab Car 6907, Superliner 31020 and 31004, Surfliner Coach 6400, Coach/Cafe 6302, Pacific Business Class 6805 with engine 460 pushing the train to LAUPT. We made our way to Anaheim and then Fullerton where Steve Grande and Jack boarded our train. The train ran at restricted speed from Fullerton to La Mirada before we returned to track speed for the rest of the trip to LAUPT. We arrived there at 4:18 PM. I walked forward before we arrived as I needed to get Winston a ticket from the machine on the south end of the platforms at LAUPT. I had told Ken Ruben to meet me at this machine when he had called Lets Talk Trains last Saturday when I was a guest. I walked over to Track 5B where the train to Montalvo was loading. I found our party including now Ken who did not buy a ticket with three minutes before departure.

Metrolink 113 5/16/2005

We boarded a very crowded Metrolink 113 for Montalvo. Our train had engine 889, Coaches 120, 179 and Cab Car 626. We departed LAUPT on time and minutes later passed the Pasadena Gold Line Shops followed by going by the Metrolink Shops. We ran by what was left of the former Southern Pacific Taylor Shops before we ran to Glendale. The train passed the blue tarp wreck damaged Metrolink cars prior to the Downtown Burbank Station. Our train then turned west onto the former Southern Pacific Coast Line to the Bob Hope Airport Station, Van Nuys and Northridge. We had a great view of the hills on this mostly cloudy late afternoon on our way to Chatsworth. We made our way through the Chatsworth Tunnels and at CP Hasson we met Metrolink 118 before we ran to Simi Valley. At Strathearn we passed a four unit all Southern Pacific led UP westbound freight on our way to Moorpark where our group finally got to sit all together. We did Camarillo but sat for over twenty minutes waiting for the late running Surfliner 798. It had engine 121, HorizonCoaches 54552 and 54516, Cafe/Business 58108, Baggage 1204 with engine 122 bringing up the rear markers. To leave Camarillo we had a flashing red signal and proceeded at restricted speed until we reached the next green signal and sprinted to Oxnard. We then continued west through North Oxnard before we crossed the Clara River. We came to the junction and swung off the mainline beginning our new rail mileage. We turned north and under the Highway 101. We crossed a street running between storage units and light industries. We came off the Montalvo wye onto the Santa Paula Branch. Once we cleared the switch, we came to a stop before we backed into the Montalvo Metrolink Station. Once we came to a stop Steve, Winston and I had now ridden the entire Metrolink system.

A picture of our train in Montalvo.

Winston walking away from our Metrolink Train. Ken bought his Metrolink ticket at Montalvo in order to be honest.

The train backs away from the station to go to the overnight layover area. The Amadeus Taxi and Shuttle had a van waiting to take us back to A Burger in Oxnard. The driver took us on a way to Oxnard that gave all of us a better feel for the city. We split the cost of the shuttle van when we arrived.

Oxnard 5/16/2005

A Burger is across the street from the Coast Line and the west end of the Oxnard Transportation Center. We went inside of A Burger and I ordered an A Burger, Fries and a Chocolate Shake. That train with the all SP power showed up and started switching his train out. Once I had finished eating, I walked across the street to watch this all SP power set working the Oxnard Yard.

From the Oxnard Station platform the SP units pulled their consist by me.

I ventured up on the street bridge for a picture overlooking the station area and the west end of the Oxnard Yard. Once I was back on the platform, I went inside the depot to find out the status of the Coast Starlight which was due in at 7:25 PM. I met Steve on the platform and we watched the freight pull back and forth as we waited to see the Starlight. The Coast Starlight pulled in just thirty minutes late and Steve realized that this train is the same one he took to Sacramento on Friday. Ken went in and got his ticket back to Los Angeles before our group waited for Surfliner 796 to arrive.

Surfliner 796 5/16/2005

The train pulled into Oxnard in the push mode with Cab Car 6900, Coach 6414, Pacific Business Class 6852 {used as a coach}, Coach/Cafe 6300, Pacific Business Class 6806 and engine 463. We all boarded the 6414 and once underway, The excellent and always smiling Conductor Rosie collected tickets. We ran to the west end of the siding at Camarillo to let Metrolink 119 do its station work there. Once we were back on the mainline, we did our station work at Camarillo before running to Simi Valley. We went to Hasson to wait for a westbound UP freight before we rolled through the Chatsworth Tunnels and out into the San Fernando Valley. We did Chatsworth, Van Nuys, Bob Hope Airport and Glendale. Surfliner 796 arrived into LAUPT three minutes early and Ken left our group there. We waited for our 10:10 PM departure as the train filled up with new passengers. We left LAUPT on time and made a quick run to Fullerton where Steve and Jack detrained. At Anaheim the halo on the "Big A" was lit up meaning the Angels had won their game tonight in Cleveland. We pulled into Santa Ana a few minutes early with Winston and I saying our goodbyes. I drove home ending another Amtrak and Metrolink trip now having ridden every mile of the Metrolink system.