Amtrak Surfliners (San Diegans)
The Ticket to 2000 and Beyond
The New Amtrak Surfliners (San Diegans) Passenger Equipment
To Be Delivered Early In The Year 2000!
Amtrak announced a $100 million investment to purchase new passenger
trains for the San Diegan corridor. To kick-off this announcement,
a special Amtrak train did a whistle-stop tour from Los Angeles to
San Diego between 11 AM and 3 PM today, Wednesday, February 18, 1998.
The consist had a locomotive at each end. A newly remodeled Amfleet
Concept 2000 Custom Class Car followed the lead locomotive. After that
was one of the 3 dome cars that are being refurbished to be put into
service on the Central Coast San Diegan. A regular coach car
followed the dome car. Information and artistic renderings of the new
San Diegan equipment was on display in the dome car.
Those of you who are familiar with my travelogues know that I usually
write them while the trip is in progress and I write each event as it
happens in real time. I am writing about most of what happened today
after the fact. However, I thought it would be humorous to still post
what I wrote this morning before I knew how the day would turn out.
The times listed below are only approximate, but I do know that
everything started pretty close to lunch time!
WED FEB 18 1998 11:00 AM FULLERTON CA
I have heard a rumor from three different sources that there is supposed
to be a special train on a Whistle Stop Tour going down the Amtrak San
Diegan Route today, Wednesday, February 18, 1998. The latest rumor is
that it will be regular Amtrak San Diegan Equipment, but will have displays
on board of the new Amtrak San Diegan equipment.
I have also heard a rumor that some Amtrak officials may be on hand,
such as Gill Mallory, the President of Amtrak West.
I don't know the validity of any of these rumors, other than I think there
is a very excellent chance that something special will be stopping at many
stations along the San Diegan line today. So, if you have some time on
your hands, come stop by the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot or any of the stops
along the San Diegan route and take your chances!
TrainWeb is located right here in the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot. We
have a couple of video cameras and a still camera handy. If anything
interesting shows up, we will post the story and the photos to this
page within minutes of the departure of the train.
(Note: TrainWeb moved to La Plata, Missouri, in 2006.
Click Here for
information on our new facility in Missouri. For information about our involvement in
La Plata, Missouri, with the Depot Inn & Suites, our new live RailCams, and the future
Silver Rails Resort,
WED FEB 18 1998 11:30 AM FULLERTON CA
We got a call from one of our sources within Amtrak that a special train
will definitely run from Los Angeles to San Diego today. It is believed
to have information and drawings of the new Amtrak San Diegan
equipment on display. However, the time that the train will pass through
Fullerton is still not known.
Ray and I usually dress casual in the office unless we are expecting
special guests. We dressed casual today as usual. Thinking that there
may be some media and cameras in Fullerton when this train arrives, we at
least put on our white T-shirts and caps with the "trainweb.com" logo.
WED FEB 18 1998 11:50 AM FULLERTON CA
We heard over the scanner that the dispatcher is holding movement of a
freight train to make way for the Amtrak Special! I started watching
out the window for any activity. I heard the arrival of an approaching
Amtrak locomotive before I saw anything. But, in moments I saw an
Amtrak locomotive start to pull into the station followed by a Concept
2000 Custom Class Car and a rare Amtrak Dome Car!
I ran down the stairs with my webcam. Ray followed right behind with the
still camera. I started taking video of the train, especially the Dome
Car. I saw some of the people from the Fullerton Railway Plaza Association
on the platform and said hello to them.
Dawn Soper, who Ray and I had met before in relation to some other
Amtrak projects, was on the train. She greeted us on the platform and
invited us onboard! Naturally, we accepted immediately! Jack Wilson,
Product Line Manager of the Amtrak San Diegans, also spotted us and, not
knowing that Dawn Soper had already invited us along, invited us again!
Naturally, we accepted again!
I was very excited about this opportunity and totally forgot about our
office. Fortunately, Ray remembered the office was still open. He ran
back to grab a cell phone battery, his jacket, and locked up. Ray
heard the call to "Board!" and almost fell down the stairs trying to get
to the train before it left! Fortunately, we both had plenty of time to
get on board. On this special "whistle-stop" run, "Board!" often means
it is time to start thinking about getting back on the train. Don't
depend on such a liesurely pace on a regular run!
WED FEB 18 1998 12:15 PM FULLERTON CA
In the first photo above you can see the Dome Car after it arrived into
the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot. The middle photo shows the Amtrak
San Diegan Service - The Ticket to 2000 and Beyond banner with the
Mayor of Fullerton, Don Bankhead, standing behind the center of the banner
and Amtrak West President Gil Mallery standing behind the left side of the
banner. The third photo is a close-up of the banner.
Click on any photo below for a larger image.
Ray and I went up into the Dome Car. The above photos were taken from
inside the Dome Car. The photo on the right
is of the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot platform. This is one
of the Dome Cars that is going to be placed into service on the
Amtrak Central Coast San Diegan in April or May of this year.
The dome will provide a beautiful view of the coast. The Amtrak
San Diegans travel right along the shore for part of the distance
between San Diego and Oceanside and then again for almost another hour
between Ventura and Santa Barbara. However, the trains on which these
dome cars will be used, the Amtrak Central Coast San Diegans have
almost an additional two hours of running along the coast between
Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo!
This is just one of three Dome Cars being restored by Amtrak West. Two
of them will be placed into service on the Amtrak Central Coast San
Diegan and the third will be held in reserve. These Dome Cars will
be used as the Cafe Cars on those trains. Most of the seating is at
tables. This seating arrangement will be preserved and make it an ideal
place to enjoy beverages, snacks or light meals while watching the
Amtrak provided food and beverages for everyone on this trip including
a sandwich box lunch. Above you can see some of the food that was
spread out downstairs in the Dome Car.
In the left two photos above, Amtrak West President Gil Mallery awards the Mayor of Anaheim (a)
The Ticket to 2000 and Beyond. The right photo above shows the
interior of the remodeled Concept 2000 Custom Class Car where Pacific Class
Service is provided. Major changes to this Amfleet car include a new color
scheme and the replacement of the Amfleet seats with Superliner roomy
reclining coach seats!
The left photo is of the special Amtrak train at the Irvine station.
The next photo shows from left to right, Jack Wilson, Product Line Manager
of the San Diegans, Johnny M. Johnson, Amtrak West Director of Engineering,
Gil Mallery, Amtrak West President and Ray Burns, Marketing Director of
TrainWeb. Also seen in the background is
Kenneth E. Bosanko, Deputy Secretary for Rail and Transit for the
State of California. The right hand photo shows Ray Burns talking with
the Mayor of Fullerton (a) in the Dome Car.
A view from the Dome Car of the surf near San Clemente.
At one end of the Dome Car was a keyboard instrument. I wasn't sure if
it was a piano or an organ, nor did I think to ask if it would also
remain after the cars were refurbished.
The left photo above shows the San Diego Red Trolly as seen out the windows
of the Dome Car! The center photo shows the Dome Car in the San Diego depot.
The photo on the right is Amtrak West President Gil Mallery giving his
presentation in San Diego about the new San Diegan Equipment and plans for
If you would like more information about the Concept 2000 Custom Class
Car, then click here. When
those cars debuted over a month ago I reviewed them and posted photographs.
I think they are a tremendous improvement over prior Amfleet interiors
and you can view those photographs and read that review by
Here is the information about the new
equipment from Amtrak West's own news release:
AMTRAK'S NEW SAN DIEGAN EQUIPMENT
The Ticket to 2000 and Beyond
Eight new bi-level train sets are being purchased by Amtrak for
operation in the busy, state-supported San Diegan Corridor,
representing $100 million investment -- the single largest investment
Amtrak has made in California in the company's history. Each
five-car train will include 425 passenger seats and exceed Buy America
requirements and meet the standards set forth by the Americans with
Disabilities Act. Each train will consist of one Custom Class Car, one
Coach/Cafe Car, two Coach Cars, and one Coach/Baggage/Cab Car.
Each car will offer wide comfortable reclining seats; large panoramic
windows; electrical outlets for laptop computers; ample overhead storage
for carry-on luggage; digital information display; and seating and
accessible rest rooms on the lower level for mobility-impaired passengers.
In addition, every car wil be equipped with electric sliding doors
controlled from a single location and only 10 inches above the station
platform, allowing passengers to step on and off the train with ease
rather than wait for a conductor to lower and raise train steps, as is
The trains will be manufactured by the New York based GEC Alsthom
Transportation Inc. (GATI). The first train is expected to begin
operation in the San Diegan Corridor in early 2000.
Coach Cars (2 per train) - Each Coach Car provides seating
for 90 (18 lower level, 72 upper level).
Custom Class Car - Amtrak offers Custom Class service with
reserved seating for up to 77 (17 lower, 60 upper). Seats are roomier
than coach class seats and are equipped with personal in-seat audio and
video systems. Custom Class passengers will also enjoy special
areas on both upper and lower levels, providing complimentary beverage
Coach/Cafe - The lower level of the Coach/Cafe Car offers
walk-up counter service and at-table seating for 12 persons, as well as
seating and rest rooms for mobility impaired passengers. The upper level
provides coach seating for 72, and each Coach/Cafe Car is
also equipped with public cellular Railfone®.
Coach/Baggage/Cab Car - Each Coach/Baggage/Cab Car provides
seating for 84 (12 lower level, 72 upper level) and, on the upper level,
an enclosed control booth for locomotive engineer, enabling essential
push-pull train operation(1).
F59PHI Locomotives - Each train set will be pulled/pushed by a new
F59PHI locomotive manufactured by General Motors Electro-Motive Division.
These new locomotives feature computer-controlled fuel injection systems
for maximum efficiency; specially designed cabs to protect crew members
from noise and vibration; emissions well below California's most stringent
standards; and a unique aerodynamic style for low drag. Amtrak will begin
accepting the new locomotives later this year.
(1) Amtrak's San Diegan service is capable of operating in either
push or pull mode, powered by a locomotive at one end. The cab car allows
the engineer to operate the locomotive from a control booth with full view
of the tracks while the locomotive is pushing the train. The push-pull
capability prevents the need to turn the locomotive or train around
at end terminals, allowing for expedited shifts of operating direction.
Click here to see additional still photographs
that were taken of this event. These photographs include a color copy
of the photograph that was printed on the cover of the National Association
of Rail Passengers (NARP) March 1998 Newsletter and in the April 1998
issue of the Amtrak San Diegan News.
Only a few of the 90 images that I captured from the videotape are
displayed in the above material. If you would like to view the complete
set of 90 images captured from the videotape, then select one of the
photo "proof" sets below. The 64x48 Thumbnail Images page will load pretty
quickly while the 160x120 Quarter Page Images will take some time to load.
From either, you can click on any image on the page to load a
full-size 640x480 photo.
64 x 48 Thumbnail Images
160 x 120 Quarter Page Images
Amtrak News Release About The New Equipment
Concept 2000 Custom Class Car /
Amtrak News Release /
San Diegan Name Change Survey
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