Facebook Page
The Coast Starlight, Mother's Day weekend 2005 -- Page 5
Mr. Toy's Train Travel Tales

The Coast Starlight

Mother's Day Weekend 2005

Page 5

Sacramento and into the Bay Area

An old mill and a modern office building greet trains at Sacramento

We had made up some time, and were now only 95 minutes late. But it was not to last. We had a brief delay during breakfast at Davis, when head end power, (the electrical generator in the locomotive that provides electricity to the entire train) failed and had to be switched to the other locomotive.

Speaking of breakfast, I ordered the French toast again. It wasn't as good as northbound. It tasted like it had been sitting awhile. It didn't surprise me. I saw the chef earlier, and whenever I see this particular fellow, breakfast always suffers.

A house on the marshes of the Sacramento River Delta

We had another delay just after Martinez when we had to wait for train #6, the eastbound California Zephyr, and then a freight train.

In years past, whenever we passed the Carquinez bridges I would get a nice photo of them from underneath. However, on this trip we were on the left side of the train. Rather than do the same shot over again, I opted to stay in our room and photograph the approaches to the bridges instead. In all the years I've taken this ride, this is the first time I actually looked at the inland side of the bridges. While not as photogenic, it was interesting in its own right.


The southern Carquinez bridge approach

I stepped outside for a little local air at Emeryville, then we slowly worked our way to Oakland, stopping for a time in Amtrak's Oakland railyard.


At Jack London Square we go right down the street!

Heidi looks over new track on the Capitol Corridor route

Ruins on the marshes at Drawbridge, north of San Jose

Delayed for a good lunch

Being late had some benefit. Usually there isn't time for a full lunch before we get to Salinas, so we often just split a sandwich from the lounge cafe. But this time we had time, so we took the time. However, there had been no announcement indicating the diner had opened for lunch, so at around 12:20 we thought we had better see what the story was. The diner was nearly full, but they found us a pair of seats at one end of the car with another nice couple from the cruise group. I had a tasty, juicy burger, which filled me up so I didn't need dessert. Darn!

South of San Jose there were two more delays. While we ate they announced that a freight train ahead of us tripped a detector, and had to be inspected before it could get out of our way. Later, back in our room, we heard that a crossing signal near Morgan Hill had failed, and had to be activated manually by UP crews before we could proceed through it.

A house in near the Pajaro River. We're back in Monterey county now, almost home.

The GraniteRock quarry at Aromas always offers some interesting industrial photo-ops

Three views of Elkhorn Slough in north Monterey County.

Above left: From the right side vestibule window at the north end of the slough, looking southwest.

Above right: Looking east across marshes near the middle of the slough, south of Kirby Park.

Right: The southernmost area of the slough, with ranchland in the background, looking east immediately north of Dolan Road.

Below: One last look at Train #11

So we arrived in Salinas four hours late. Too late to catch the bus to Monterey, which had to make its next run for train 14's passengers. But the nice lady at the station had a taxi waiting to take us directly home, at Amtrak's expense.

In all, it was an enjoyable ride, save for the few inevitable glitches that seem to pop up with almost every Amtrak trip. I'd like to make this trip at least twice a year, but circumstances and quirky work schedules seem to prevent us from doing it more than once each year. Maybe we can get it down to every eight or nine months as a compromise. We'll see.

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Return to
Mr. Toy's Train Travel Tales

See also the

The Del Monte Club Car

And be sure to visit the
Toy Box home
Monterey Peninsula Toy Box