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A Trip to the Central Coast Railroad Festival 10/10/2009

by Chris Guenzler

I told Chris Parker about the Central Coast Railroad Festival to be held in San Luis Obispo and we decided to go. First problem was we couldn't find a rental car agency that we could return the car to on Sunday. Carole Walker, my excellent travel agent tried but did book us into the Motel 6 for the one night. No rental car meant that we couldn't take the train. Chris then suggested that he would rent a car and pick me up at Los Angeles Union Station and I would come up on the Thruway Bus. I planned several stops for us on the way to San Luis Obispo. The night before the trip I vomited and didn't sleep very well through the night. I got up at 4:15 AM and managed a waffle before I drove down to the Santa Ana Train Station and parked my car in the northeast parking lot. I walked over to the bus stall to wait for the Thruway Bus that would take me to Los Angeles on its way to Bakersfield. There was one other person on the bus when we left Santa Ana. At Fullerton Carl Morrison boarded and we talked all the way to Los Angeles Union Station. Here Carl went to the Overland Trail and I walked over by the Mozaic Apartments to wait for Chris Parker. He picked me up at 6:38 AM and we headed north in the rental car. We stopped at the Starbucks so Chris could drop off something for a friend and I walked over to the 7-11 to get some ginger ale. From here we drove to Chatsworth and tried to get to the rocks but when we couldn't find it we decided to get to Tunnel 28 and set up for our first picture of the day. While we waited I vomited slightly and felt slightly better. A few minutes later we heard a horn and knew Surfliner 768 was on the way to us.

Surfliner 768 was the first train and Conductor Bob Riskie was riding in the Fireman's seat as it headed into the Tunnel 28 beneath our feet. We relocated to a large rock outcropping for our next pictures.

A few minutes later Surfliner 799 popped out of Tunnel 28 with the Overland Trail with members of our Train Riders Group aboard heading to Santa Barbara for a wine tasting adventure today. We hoped to catch this train latter this morning. Back in the car we drove the Old Santa Susana Road to our next stop of the morning, the Santa Susana Depot.

The south side of the Santa Susana Depot.

The north side of the Santa Susana Depot.

A semaphore signal before we headed back to our rental car. We headed for the Simi Valley Freeway which we took into Moorpark and followed the Coast Line out to Oxnard to our next stop.

After asking a signal maintainer where the Ventura County Railroad shops were, we drove over to them and shot this picture. Next we drove to the entrance to the shop.

The Ventura County Railroad Shop Building. The Ventura County Railroad (VCRR) is a short-line railroad that is located in Southwest Ventura County, California. The VCRR currently extends a little over 12 miles, however it provides an integral corridor for movement of goods in the industrial areas of south Oxnard, the Port of Hueneme and the US Naval Base Ventura County.

The engines of the Ventura County Railroad owned by Rail America.

The caboose on their property. From here we headed north on US Highway 101. As we neared Santa Barbara we called Amtrak Julie to check on Surfliner 799 progress. We were about five minutes behind it. North of El Captain we caught up to it and knowing it had to slow for the curves at Rufrigio State Beach, we knew we could beat it to the Gaviota Trestle. We set up for a picture and less than three minutes later here it came.

Surfliner 799 at the Gaviota Trestle coming and going. From here we drove to Buellton so that Chris Parker could get something to eat and I would rest in the car while he did that. After that we drove north to Santa Maria and turned onto Betterevia Road and in a few minutes crossed some train tracks but had to make a U-turn after I spotted something.

CRI&P 5(82) 0-4-0T 4'- 8 1/2" at Santa Maria came from Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.

Santa Maria Caboose was also located here. From here we drove out to Betterevia and found the Santa Maria Valley Office. We drove to their office but no one was there.

Santa Maria Valley Railroad GP-9 1801.

A very old passenger car.

The La Condesa was always there. We headed back on the highway.

A line of former Amtrak Express Cars. From here we drove to Guadalupe.

Santa Maria Railroad Caboose on display in Guadalupe.

Union Pacific power used as local power.

UP water cars at Guadalupe. From here we headed north to Oceano our next stop.

The Oceano Depot.

An ex Union Pacific Caboose.

Southern Pacific wooden outside braced box car.

The highway side of the Oceano Depot which was moved 450 feet from its former location.

The Depot Sign.

Looking at the signs on the Oceano Station.

There is a model railroad in the Southern Pacific Box Car.

The Rock n' Roll Diner in Oceano. An employee told me the cars were former Santa Fe Railroad. From here and looking at our watches we knew Surfliner 792 would be leaving San Luis Obispo at 2 PM. We headed to Price Canyon to catch him there.

Surfliner 792 heading south through Price Canyon. We called Amtrak Julie and learned that south bound Coast Starlight would be into San Luis Obispo at 3:09 PM. We headed straight through SLO to the Stenner Creek Trestle and climbed up the hillside and waiting we did not have too long to wait.

Coast Starlight 11 on the Stenner Creek Trestle.

Our rental car parked under the Stenner Creek Trestle. We headed east of San Luis Obispo to where we had crossed the tracks on the way into town to set up for another picture of the Coast Starlight.

The ontime Coast Starlight heading south to Los Angeles. From here we drove to the Southern Pacific rebuilt freight house and parked the rental car in the parking lot.

The Central Coast Railroad Festival 10/10/2009

The only railroad display at the SP Freight House is this Southern Pacific Caboose.

I saw a group down in the future San Luis Obispo Railroad equipment yard and asked if I could take pictures for this story and was given the OK.

An outside wooden braced box car.

A narrow gauge box car.

A narrow gauge steam engine tender.

A camp car with its trucks in the second picture.

More views in this fenced in area.

A tractor.

More of the railroad equipment that this museum will have on display someday.

The newly rebuilt Southern Pacific Freight House.

For one dollar you could ride a speeder and I chose this one.

Me aboard this speeder.

Chris Parker was on the Speeder behind us. We traveled the entire 900 feet of display track before we went from where we started back up towards the station and then returned to where we started.

Union Pacific Helper Power at San Luis Obispo.

Union Pacific SD70Ace 8451.

The San Luis Obispo Water Tower.

A view looking south towards the Southern Pacific Freight House. From here we drove to the Motel 6 and checked in. We put the luggage in our room and then I got an idea that since we still had plenty of daylight left and with no more trains until tonight I suggested to Chris Parker we should go to Morro Bay and see Morro Rock and Chris agreed.

Click here for Part 2 of this story