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PRS 75 Year Excursion Tehachapi and Palmdale Cutoff Trip

by Chris Guenzler

I decided to do this trip after talking to Marti Draper one morning on Surfliner 774 coming back from Oxnard. I would have to take the Thruway Bus to LAUPT the Saturday morning of the trip but could take a Surfliner home Sunday afternoon. I got a room at the Best Western in Bakersfield for Saturday night then contacted Conductor Larry of Let's Talk Trains fame to have dinner with him Saturday night in Bakersfield. All that was left to do was to live until the day of the trip.

The Trip North to Bakersfield 4/2/2011

I got up at 4:30 AM and after preparing myself for my day and a stop at the Post Office before driving down to the Santa Ana Train station and parked in the lot. They moved the bus loading location to Spot 3 and our new driver didn't know about it so he had backed into his boarding area. The trip to LAUPT was quick and I debussed visiting the station. After getting my ticket near the old ticket counter, I went to the end of Track 12 to wait for the train to back in.

Surfliner 799 waiting to leave LAUPT.

Surfliner 799 left for San Luis Obispo.

Southwest Chief 3 arrives into LAUPT.

Our train backed into LAUPT. We have Engines 156 and 510. Pony Express 800320, Amfleet 22510 and 82720, 82006, Great Dome Ocean View 10031, Amfleet 82710 and 82560, Nenana Full Dome, Silver Lariat Short Dome and the National Forum PAR 1207.

With the train spotted, we all boarded our assigned car and seats with the train leaving on time at 9:00 AM.

The train left heading for the Sunset Route passing the junction with the line to San Diego.

The former Union Pacific lead to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal was passed as we crossed the Los Angeles River. I walked forward in the train to the Pony Express to get some pictures on this trip today.

The yard tower at the Union Pacific Yard.

Motive power and the skyline of Los Angeles.

Yard Tower and motive power.

A Union Pacific freight backing into the yard.

Heading to the Alhambra Trench.

Our train passing through the Alhambra Trench.

Mission San Gabriel.

At El Monte the Metrolink San Bernardino Line comes in to run along the old Sunset Route.

A Metrolink San Bernardino Line train run by us on its way to LAUPT.

The Metrolink Flyover across the Sunset Route and the San Gabriel River.

The Metrolink San Bernardino Line heads off for Baldwin Park and points east.

There is a new elevated structure we crossed in El Monte.

The junction used by UP freights to head down and from to Orange County and other points.

The City of Industry Union Pacific Yard.

UP motive power at the City of Industry Union Pacific Yard.

Inside of the Pony Express. The train stopped in Ontario for passengers and I walked the train at this point to see who else I knew aboard this trip and found quite a few rare mileage riders.

Mount Baldy.

Two engines at a grain elevator at Fontana.

Interesting tanks.

Interesting sky.

The train has reached the West Colton Yard.

Train being pushed to the crest.

A set of Crest Units.

Pilot crew change at West Colton Yard.

The Crest Units went to work.

Our Amtrak Crew went to meet the new pilot crew to have a brief meeting.

The train pulled up to let our crew reboard the train.

More views of another set of Crest Units.

Two views of retarders.

The crest and the bowl yard.

The bowl yard is full of cars.

Crest Tower.

The departure yard has trains ready to roll.

The balloon track and yard bypass track.

We have reached the Palmdale Cutoff.

The train climbed the connecting track to the Palmdale Cutoff.

The train crossed over the Bypass Mainline.

Slover Siding.

The end of Slover Siding.

The train came to the bridge over the Metrolink San Bernardino Line.

The Metrolink San Bernardino Line.

Two views of Lyle Creek.

The rear of our train.

Heading to the Lyle Creek Bridge.

The train crossed Lyle Creek as we headed to Cajon Pass.

Click here for Part 2 of this story