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Surfliner Amfleet Train 573 11/22/2006

plus a Metrolink Trip to Riverside

by Chris Guenzler

I love Amfleet Cars as that is what I rode in San Diegan Service for years. Other than the 60 seat Business Class Cars they were all gone when the San Diegans were assigned Horizon Fleet Cars. The Amfleet rode smooth and seats were comfortable while the Horizon Cars were boxy and noisy. I rode a Horizon Car in T service in Boston with 2/3 seating and thought this was all that they would be good for. The seats did not recline very far and I never cared much for them. Trips back east I would always reconnect with them in the Northeast Corridor. Over time the San Diegans would get California Cars which did not recline any better than the Horizon Cars they replaced. I at least still had the Amfleet Business Class Cars in those Horizon consist. My San Diegans then became Pacific Surfliners when those cars were delivered. When we got enough Surfliner Cars those Amfleet Business Class Cars all went back east. Two sets of the Horizon Cars were left, one protecting the Surfliner pool and the other as Amtrak West Excursion Train. Each Del Mar Race Season and Thanksgiving Season the Horizons were used in order to expand the Surfliner sets. That was until 2006 when the Excursion Set was sent back to the Midwest for the new Illinois trains like the Carl Sandburg, Lincoln Service and Suluki. Amtrak sent west some Amfleet Cars for Pacific Northwest and Surfliner Service. I would now get a chance again to ride Amfleet where I first started riding them.

I drove down to the Santa Ana train station for Surfliner 573 to Fullerton. I would then take Metrolink to Riverside and back before returning to Santa Ana on the Metrolink. I parked in the north parking lot and decided to take a look at the final phase of station construction.

The new gate at the north end but the motor for it and its southern mate has not arrived yet to be installed.

The south gate is being worked on. I went inside the station to check the status of Surfliner 573. Inside the Amtrak office is the Christmas Train layout that our fantastic head agent Gary has put up for many years. The layout is still under construction.

I will show you the completed layout once it is finished. I learned that Surfliner 573 was running eight minutes late out of San Juan Capistrano. I went out into the courtyard, climbed the stairs before using the bridge over the tracks then down the stairs to the east platform. As I waited I heard a horn from the north.

Metrolink 811 arrived from Riverside headed to San Juan Capistrano. A few minutes later I heard a horn from the south and around the corner came my train.

Surfliner 573 11/22/2006.

The train pulled into Santa Ana and I looked to see which door the assistant conductor would open.

The look down the side of my old friends. After all the passengers had detrained, I boarded the car and found a seat. The consist of this train was engine 454, Amfleet Capstone Coaches 82506, 82620 and 82500, Horizon Coach 54562, Cafe/Business 58107 and Business Class 57000, Baggage 1241 and engine 457. The train left Santa Ana and headed north.

The inside view of the Amfleet Coach 82620.

The assistant conductor then took my reserved coach ticket used on the Pacific Surfliner during the Thanksgiving Season. No unreserved or Rail to Rail Tickets being Metrolink Monthly Passes.

The small bathroom in car 82620.

The larger bathroom that can be used by the handicap.

Another view inside the 82620. I relaxed as the train made its way to Anaheim and onto Fullerton. I enjoyed the ride which bought back a lot of good memories. All too soon we were making the turn onto the BNSF and into Fullerton where I detrained.

Surfliner 573 at Fullerton.

Once train 573 had done its station work, it departed for Los Angeles. I went up and over the bridge to wait for my Metrolink train to Riverside. I bought my Metrolink Ticket to Riverside.

Surfliner 774 had come into the station standing room only. How could this have happened? Los Angeles had let people with unreserved tickets or needing to buy tickets to board the all reserved train. The train crew could not even get through the train because of all the people aboard. They took about a ten minute hit which delayed my Metrolink train a few minutes as I could see it coming slowly down the tracks. Surfliner 774 finally left Fullerton.

Metrolink 704 11/22/2006

We had to wait for a clear signal before we could depart Fullerton. I just sat back and relaxed as the train headed east through Placentia, Atwood and Yorba Linda before we entered Santa Ana Canyon. We stopped at West Corona, North Main Corona, La Sierra before arriving into Downtown Riverside. I detrained to buy a Metrolink Ticket back to Santa Ana.

Metrolink 705 11/22/2006

I was the only passenger in the top of the cab car so it was a quiet trip back to Fullerton which we arrived on time. I went up and over the bridge to wait for Metrolink 684. That train though never came. The Metrolink signs started flashing telling us that "The Metrolink 600 Train expected at this time is running 15-30 minutes late." Thirty minutes later it stopped and we had a green signal. I knew that if 684 would show up it wouldn't be going to Irvine. Time kept on ticking and soon it became apparent that 684 would never show up. Why did not the message boards ever tell us the train had been annulled? Soon a headlight appeared down the tracks and soon we would learn what had happened to that train.

Metrolink 602 11/22/2006

The train came in and the conductor explained that 684 had never gotten new track warrants and that the BNSF dispatcher would not issue new ones over the radio. He just had that train annulled. But not just one train it became two trains. Metrolink 684 goes to Irvine then turns as Metrolink 804 to Riverside. We were two trains combined into one just as Metrolink 806 to Riverside would be 45 minutes after 804 should have gone. A great way to start Thanksgiving Weekend. We ran to Anaheim, Orange where those poor passengers would wait for 45 extra minutes before boarding to go home and then Santa Ana where I detrained ending another interesting rail adventure.