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Talgo Roundtrip Portland and Tacoma and the Flight Home 5/12/2008

by Chris Guenzler


I woke up at 6 AM and after showering, I checked e-mail and got my corrections from Winston Walker, my excellent proof reader, before I uploaded the trip to Portland on the Coast Starlight. I enjoyed a Continental Breakfast at the Portland Airport Days Inn prior to checking out. I walked over to the MAX 82nd Street NE Station and took it into town getting off at Chinatown. My usual walking route to Portland Union Station was disrupted due to light rail construction so it took me a few more minutes to detour than normal. I made my way to Portland Union Station and got into line to have tickets taken and seat assigned. Tom Anderson then joined me and we got seat 13 and 14 in Car 6 of Train 500. We waited for the train to arrive and the gate to open which they announced was a sold out train.

Cascade Talgo Train 500

Cascade Talgo 500 came into Portland Union Station right on time and soon I was out taking a picture of this train which would take us to Tacoma. Tom boarded first and found our seats with me quickly joining him.

Tom was making his first ever trip aboard a Talgo.

I felt right at home aboard the Talgo. We visited the Bistro Car where I got a Chocolate Chip Cookie as the Talgo left Portland on time. I pointed out the scenic and railroad highlights as the train headed towards the Columbia River. After crossing the mighty Columbia River into Washington the train arrived into Vancouver. Tom was impressed by the Talgo ride and how quiet it was. Before Longview-Kelso they put on a classic movie.

The movie was a classic "North By Northwest".

A BNSF Freight welcomed me to Tacoma.

Train 500 doing station work in Tacoma.

Train 500 leaves for Seattle and we went inside the Tacoma Station. Tom walked over to Freighthouse Square while I plugged into the station power and worked on this morning's story. The southbound Coast Starlight came through Tacoma about fifteen minutes late. Tom returned and I walked over to Diary Queen to get some lunch to take with me on the next train. We went out onto the platform to wait for our train to arrive just 5 minutes late.

Cascade Talgo 513

Cascade Talgo 513 arrives in the Tacoma Station. We found a table in Car 6 as the train left Tacoma. I ate my lunch before I put on my Rush "R-30" DVD Disc 2 which took me almost to Portland. The train arrived at Portland Union Station on time and ended these great trips aboard Amtrak's Cascade Talgo.


Tom and I walked over to the Chinatown MAX Station and caught an Airport Trolley which got us there in plenty of time for our flight home to John Wayne Airport. We ate dinner at Stanford's Restaurant and Bar before we headed over to Security, which was quick with no delays. Once we got inside the Terminal I learned our Flight 590 would be leaving Portland at 7:45 PM {7:00 PM}. At the Gate I was told this flight left Las Vegas 45 minutes late with mechanical issues that was found on the plane at Las Vegas.

Alaska Airline Flight 590

At 7:10 PM they started loading the plane. This is one thing airlines do not do well. If the plane is late, why not change the way you load the airplane. Instead of First Class first, why do not load the plane from the back first so passengers do not have to wait for people to get into their seats which would speed up loading the airplane. You could easily save ten minutes by doing this and get into the air quicker. We took off at 7:40 PM and flew over a sea of clouds. Coming through the marine layer was the bumpiest ride I have had yet landing at John Wayne. We met my Mother up on the Departure Level and I drove us to the Santa Ana Train Station missing Surfliner 595 by a few minutes. In fact we saw the rear markers as we crossed the tracks to get there. I drove Tom north to Fullerton where we found Surfliner 595 at the station there. I dropped Tom off in front of the station before I drove back home thus ending another excellent Amtrak adventure.