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Trainriders Trip to ride the entire San Diego Trolley System 1/15/2007

by Chris Guenzler

At our last Train Riders Meeting at the Rail Restaurant almost always the 4th Monday night of the month, I suggested a trip to ride the entire San Diego Trolley system. On Martin Luther King JR Holiday we would normally go to San Luis Obispo but Union Pacific was going to be doing track work so busses would be used. It was a very cold morning when I got to the east platform at Santa Ana where the passengers looked dressed like Metra passengers in Chicago with scarfs and long jackets not like the usual Metrolink passengers. It was one morning that I could not wait to get inside that warm train.

Metrolink 602 arrived into Santa Ana to pick me up to take me to Fullerton. I rode the cab car and after stopping at Orange and Anaheim we arrived in Fullerton where I detrained. I needed to call Guest Rewards about an error that they made about my last trip. I left Fort Worth on January 1st, 2007, my ticket reads January 1st but their computer has it as leaving on December 31st, 2006. I want my trip credited in 2007. I explained all this to Mike who told me I had to send a copy of my ticket receipt and I need a pen. When I bent down to get it, my glasses broke. I was not too pleased with Guest Rewards at this point for causing this whole situation. With no glasses would this be a case of the blind leading the blind. I went and sat on a bench waiting for someone to show up. A BNSF freight came through westbound which put a smile of my face then Metrolink 700 for Riverside showed up. Steve Grande and Tom Anderson joined me and we waited for Surfliner 562 to arrive into Fullerton.

Surfliner 562 pulled into Fullerton to pick up most of our group. Chris Parker had boarded in Los Angeles. Tom sat with me and had brought some railroad books that I enjoyed looking at on our trip south this beautiful clear cold morning. Winston Walker and Pat Moran joined us by boarding in Santa Ana. We met Surfliner 763 at CP Capistrano before we reached the beach.

Surfliner 562 lived up to its name running along the surf of the Pacific Ocean south of the San Clemente Pier. At CP Songs we met Metrolink 850 and at Oceanside Surfliner 565. At Solana Beach we met Coaster 633 then Surfliner 567 at Sorrento Valley. We then ran over Miramar Hill and down Rose Canyon to San Diego which we arrived a few minutes late.

Surfliner 562 at rest in San Diego. Our group walked over to the San Diego Trolley ticketing machine where we all bought Day Passes for our journey on their system. Members of our group today were myself, Chris Parker, Winston Walker, Steve Grande, Tom Anderson, Jonathan Ortiz. Harry Ortiz, Jim and Julie Nowell, Dave and Virginia Bousquet, Dencie from Anchorage, Alaska, and Pat Moran, all who rode the Surfliner. Joining us in San Diego was Ingrid Dickson who lives there.

A trolley for San Ysidro came through the Santa Fe Depot station first.

Next an out of service trolley set came through the station but this was a unique moment. Today was the first day for two-car train operation on the Green line using one car of the newest SD-70 3000 type number 3006 and one car of the SD-100 2000 type number 2006. This long awaited project eliminates the use of the lifts on the 2000 type since the 3000 types have slide out ramps under the regular doors. This first train had 2006 and 3006 running together. It had been a computer problem between the two types of cars which had finally been overcome.

After that unique train, our train to Old Town came and picked up our group. We rode this Blue Line train north to Old Town stopping at County Center/Little Italy, Middletown and Washington Street. We arrived at the old Town Transit Center and walked across to the dead heading train that would now be our Green Line train to Santee. The trolley left Old Town on time and we headed across the San Diego River to Morena/Linda Vista. We then headed east on this mostly elevated line to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, Hazard Center, Mission Valley Center, Rio Vista, Fenton Parkway, Qualcomm Stadium, and Mission San Diego. This was where the old line ended before the Green Line was completed. We stayed elevated to Grantville, crossed Interstate 8, up the 4.4 grade to the tunnel to the SDSU Transit Center. We exited the tunnel to the Alvarado Medical Center Station. We next stopped at 70th Street before we joined the Orange Line for the trip to Santee. The trolley made its way to Grossmont Transit Center, Amaya Drive, El Cajon Transit Center, Amela Avenue, Gillespie Field and then on to our last stop at Santee where we detrained briefly.

Our train had arrived at Santee and it was now time for a group picture.

The Train Rider Group at Santee. We reboarded for the one stop trip back to Gillespie Field where we detrained to wait for an Orange Line train. Our group then enjoyed all those airplanes taking off from Gillespie Field.

An Orange Line Train came into Gillespie Field to pick us up. We boarded stopping at Amela Avenue to the El Cajon Transit Center for a fifteen minute bathroom and other needs stop. We all reboarded the next Orange Line train and headed towards Downtown. We continued to retrace our route to the junction of the Green Line and took the left to La Mesa Blvd. The trolley then dropped down the grade to Spring Street, Lemon Grove Depot, Massachusetts Ave, Encanto/62nd Street and to Euclid Avenue. Our route next passed through the cemetery and around the horseshoe curve. We came to Commercial Street after our 47th Street Station and ran down the middle of that street to the stops at 32nd and 25th & Commercial Stations. We came to the junction of the Blue Line at 12th & Imperial Transit Center. The trolley headed through downtown San Diego stopping first at Park & Market and to City College where we made the tight turn where the station use to be. A new building here will have both tracks run beneath it {the southbound track already does} so this tight curve will be eliminated. Continuing on, we stopped at Fifth Avenue, Civic Center and then into the American Plaza Stop. At the junction at the south end of the Santa Fe Station we went left onto the Bayside Line, part of the Orange Line. We stopped at Seaport Village, the Convention Center, Gaslamp Quarter and finally back to 12th & Imperial. Our group all detrained following me over to the Blue Line and for once, here came a Blue Line Train for San Ysidro. We all boarded and first traveled though the San Diego Trolley Shop complex. Heading south to San Ysidro, we stopped at Barrio Logan, Harborside, Pacific Fleet, 8th Street, 24th Street, Bayfront/E Street, H Street, Palomar Street, Palm Avenue, Iris Avenue and then the last station at the San Ysidro Transit Station. The group remained onboard and now being hungry was waiting to head north to Bayfront/E Street for lunch.

At the Bayfront/E Street Station we detrained for lunch.

Our group walked over to the Black Angus for lunch.

Our group enjoying a good lunch at the Black Angus. After a great meal we walked back to the Trolley Station to wait for a trolley back to the Santa Fe Station.

The group waiting for the Trolley which came a few minutes later. We all boarded taking this trolley back through downtown San Diego to the Santa Fe Depot stop with five minutes to spare. All of us except for Ingrid Dickson and Tom Anderson boarded Surfliner 785 for home. Ingrid lives in the San Diego and Tom was staying in San Diego for dinner and would catch a later Surfliner this evening. Surfliner 785 left San Diego on time and returned us all to where we boarded the train this morning. I detrained at Santa Ana ending not only another excellent Amtrak trip but also another wonderful Train Riders Group excursion.