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Coast Starlight Northbound Route Guide
www.trainweb.com/routes/route_11/coaststarlight_north.html

Northbound

Coast Starlight

Route Guide

 

Welcome aboard!

You're traveling on the Coast Starlight-Amtrak's hottest train with the coolest scenery. Linking Los Angeles and Seattle, the three state, 1,389-mile route of the Coast Starlight offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the west while serving key cities along the Pacific coast including Santa Barbara, San Francisco/Oakland and Sacramento, California; Eugene and Portland, Oregon, and Tacomo, Washington. While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost in train travel- a veritable land cruise-featuring spacious new Superliner II bi-level equipment. Menus in the dining car have been designed with a distinct local flavor, which includes assorted wines, salads, beers, entrees and desserts from along the route of the Coast Starlight. First-class passengers will delight in numerous service enhancements including our Pacific Parlor Car-exclusive to the Coast Starlight. We've developed this guide to acquaint you with amenities about the new Coast Starlight; and the "points of interest" section details the fantastic and breathtaking sights along the route it travels.

History Of all Amtrak's western long-distance trains, none can compare with the Coast Starlight with a traddition of excellence harkening back to the glory days of the "Streamline Era" of the late 1940s. Indeed , the name Starlight first emblazoned the sides of a premier Southern Pacific night train operating along the California coast. In those days, to travel over this route between Los Angeles and Seattle, the journey involved three seperate trainsover two diffrent railroads. The Southern PacificRailroad provided rail service along the California coast with trains like the famous Daylight, the Starlight and all the Pullman Lark. Between the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland, SP also provided service with such trains as the Shasta Daylight and the Cascade. Beyond Portland, one had a choice of several connecting trains to Seattle operated over the "Joint Line" by Union Pacific, Great Northern and Northern Pacific. In 1971, when Amtrak assumed the operation of the nation's rail passenger service, it became possible to take a single tri-weekly train from Seattle through to Los Angeles and by June 1973, the Coast Starlight began operating daily operating daily between these two cities. In 1981, Amtrak introduced its double-deck Superliner fleet inaugurating a new era of travel luxury on the Coast Starlight.

Meet the Crew That Makes the Magic Happen Amtrak and your crew are proud to host you on board. Coast Starlight crew membersare specially trained to provide superior service and it is our goal to do everything possible we can to ensure you enjoy your trip with us. The Conductors is in charge of all members and together with the Engineer operating the locomotive, is responsible for the safe operation of the train. Assistant Conductorsaid in collecting tickets, assisting passengers and carrying out various operating duties. The Chief of On-Board Service supervises the on-board service crew, and ensures that superior service is maintained in all aspects of the train;s activities including the Chef and the kitchen staff, the Stweard and dining car crew and the coach and sleeping car Attenndants. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask any member of the crew.

The Fun Starts Here! The Coast Starlight features on-board activities the whole family can enjoy. Listen for announcements of the specific time and location of activities, and most of all-have fun!

Movies in the Sightseer Lounge Car Video presentations, including features for children during summer months, will be shown.

Hospitality Hour Join fellow passengers in the Sightseer Lounge Car for a drink and complimentry snacks and don't forget to ask about regional specialties.

Games Listen for announcements. Games are usually conducted in the Sightseer Lounge Car and small prizes will be awarded.

Enjoy On-Board Accommodations That Pamper and Please!

Roomy Coach Seats Sink back in your seat and snooze or enjoy the scenery from the upper deck of our modern coaches. Seats on our Superliner II coaches are equipped with both adjustable back and leg rests. Your Coach Attendant will see to your needs. Pillows are provided. Since your seat is assigned for the length of your journey, please do not change with out first consulting a crew member.

Dining Car Service Our dining car offers complete meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in an elegant and comfortable setting. A distinct new menu features both hearty fare and lean cuisine as well as foods and beverages indigenous to the route of the Coast Starlight> Major credit cards are accepted. A crew member will contact you if if reservations are necessary.

Spectacular Sightseer Lounge Car Large picture windows afford magnificent views of the passing scene. Comfortable seating invites conversation and dont forget the Cafe Bar which offers assorted wines, salads, beers, snacks and desserts from California, Oregon and Washington. Souvenirs are also available for sale as well as playing cards and blankets. Lounge Car hours are generally open from 6am to midnight.

First-Class Amenities Add a Touch of Class and Sophistication Private Sleeping Compartments - Your Sleeping Car Attendant will prepare your room for daytime or night time use, provide wake-up calls and bring the morning paper and beverages. Personel audio systems bring you recorded music on Channels 2 or 3, and train annoucements on Channel 1 and 2. Simply turn the channel selector near the reading light. . Standard (economy), Family, Special and Deluxe bedrooms are available. Special bedrooms are designed for passengers with disabilities and have a private bathroom and Deluxe rooms have private baths and showers. Sleeping accommodations may be purchased on board from Conductor if space is available.

Pacific Parlour Car A special lounge for sleeping car customers, the Pacifc Parlour Car, is exclusive to the Coast Starlight and offers a relaxed atmosphere from which to enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the west coast countryside. The Pacific Parlour Car features a reading library, play area for children, games for kids and adults, feature-length-baked pastries. An afternoon hospitality hour features wines or champagne from vineyards along the route of the Coast Starlight enhanced with hors d'ourves.

Special Amenities First-class passengers will find improved in room amenities such as fresh flowers, upgraded toiletries and embossed stationery. Complimentry meals are provided in the dining car or may be brought to your room and each sleeping car guest will be presented with a special appreciation gift emblazoned with the special Coast Starlight logo before departing the train.

Scenic Photo Tips Medium-speed films (ASA 64 or higher) are recommended for shooting scenery through the train windows. If you shutter speed is adjustable and light conditions permit, set it a higher speed (1/125 or 1/250) for the clearest results . Hold your lens close to the window to eliminate glare and reflections. For inside shots, flash is recommended. To avoid glare and reflections, do not point the flash directly at the windows.

For the Technically Inclined

Genesis Locomotives Award-winning, lightweight and aerodynamically designed, these locomotives are built by General Electric in Erie, Pennsylvania. Capable of achieving 103 mph, they feature on-board diagnostics, computer controlled systems and a revolutionary head-end power system. Each locomotive coats $2.3 million.

Superliner II Cars The high level rail passenger car, originally conceived by the Santa Fe Railway in the 1950s, was improved upon by Amtrak when the first series of new Superliner cars were placed in service in 1974-76. Gleaming new Superliner II series of cars recently placed in service on the Coast Starlight are built by the Bombardier Corporation and incorporate the latest in rail car comfort, convenience and technology.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Los Angeles (elevation 297 ft.) El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de la Reina de Los Angeles, the "City of Angels," was founded in 1781. During the interveningt years, the city has grown into the commercial hub of a vast region . Los Angeles Union Station is a fitting blend of Spanish and Art Deco styles, reflecting both Los Angeles earliest heritage and the great film tradition. Across from the station is historic Olvera Street, a colorful district marking the site of the original village. Between Los Angeles and Oakland, we trace the same route of the old Spanish mission road, El Camino Real-the "Royal Road." From 1769 to 1823, Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra founded a chain of 21 missions and 4 chapel missions along this road from San Diego to Sonoma. Each was built to be one day's journey apart by horseback. As we travel up the coast, many of the prominent features of the landscape have names dating back to this romantic era in California's past. Departing Los Angeles, we head out of the city following the concrete-lined Los Angeles River and pause briefly at Glendale (elevation 432 ft.) with its 1924 Spanish-Mediterranean depot. Burbank (elevation 555 ft.) is famous for the movie and TV production lining the Santa Monica Mountains to the right including the Disney, Warner Brothers, Columbia and NBC studios. Racing up the board, thickley-populated San Fernando Valley, our train sweeps around the curve the Chatsworh (elevation 951 ft.) and heads into the mountains. We enter a series of tunnels marking Santa Susana Pass (elevation 1,119 ft.) The rugged character of the passand its close proximity to Hollywood has attracted film makers from very early days. Beyond Simi Valley our train heads towards the coastal plain with the Santa Susana Mountains on the left and the Simi Hills on the right. Turning north, we reach Oxnard (elevation 45 ft.). Hub of the rich Ventura County agricultural district, Oxnard was founded in 1899 by four brother of the same name who had large interests in beet sugar culture. Crossing the Santa Clara River at Ventura (elevation 4 ft.) on a long low trestle, we first catch sight of the Pacifc Ocean. We will continue our journey along the coast for the next 104 miles. Notice the seawall along old highway 101 following our route. It protects the road and tracks from the surf. Above Carpinteria (elevation 6 ft.) keep your eyes open for Bates Beach, one of two along our route where bathers sometimes forget to wear their suits-or anything else! The beautiful suburbs of Summerland (elevation 48 ft.) and Miramar (elevation 6 ft.) pass quickley. A frash water lagoon on the left, home of the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens marks the entrance into Santa Barbara (elevation 6 ft.) A city of beautiful gardens, homes and Spanish architecture, Santa Barbara was first discovered in 1602 by Sebastian Vizcaino, a Spanish explorer who landed here on Saint Barbara Day. The old mission was established in 1786 has remained in continous use since its founing. Note the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree on our right as we depart the station. Native to Australia, it was planted in 1877 and today its branches spread 160 feet. Above Santa Barbara, notice that many off-shore drilling platforms. The oil field at Ellwood (elevation 42 ft.) suffered the only direct enemy attack on the continental United States experienced in this century. On February 25, 1942 Captain Kozo Nishino surface his Japanese submarine I-17 and fired 17 rounds into the oil field, but inflicted little damage. Gaviota (elevation 92 ft.) is Spanish for "Seagull." We cross the state beach on a high trestle. Closing in on the right in this windswept country are the Santa Ynez Mountains, and out to sea the Santa Barbara Islands dot the horizion. Passing over Jalama Beach on high trestle, we round the bend at Pt.Conception (elevation 106 ft.) The light house was built in 1855, and is still in use. For the next 30 minutes we pass directly through Vandenburgh Air Force Base, the Strategic Air Command's Western Missle Test Range, and the launch site for military missiles and satellites. As we approach from the south, the huge white-flag bedecked support building ings of SLC (Space Launch Complexes)6, built to be the home of the nation's Space Shuttle program appear on the right. They are now abandoned. At Pt.Arguello, the scene of many shipwrecks over the years, we make a turn to the north. One of the most famous wrecks occurred here on September 8, 1923, when a flotilla of Naval Destroyers steered into the rocks at 20 knots. Believing they had passed the point, the squadron commander ordered a course change into the Santa Barbara Channel wrecking seven destroyers and killing 23 sailors. In spring and fall, migrating whales may be spotted off the point. Above the appropriately named station of Surf, (elevation 47 ft.) we cross the Santa Ynez River. At Pt.Purisima we see several more SLCs on the left as well as the Minuteman Missile area before leaving the board coastal terrace and heading inland. We thread Schuman Canyon and ahead on the right can be seen Guadalupe (elevation 78 ft.) and the Santa Maria Valley, a rich agricultural district. Wind-blown sand and agricultural domiante the scene as we crest Callender Hill and head toward Pismo Beach (elevation 38 ft.) and another glimpse of the blue Pacific Ocean. This popular resort town is famous for Prismo Clams, wide beaches and massive sand dunes which can be viewed throught the tall eucalyptus tress on the left side of the train. Above Pismo Beach, our train leaves the Pacific Ocean and enters a small canyon heading San Luis Obispo (elevation 236 ft.) This delightful city was founded in 1772 and is a thriving college town and the gateway to fabulous San Simeon, site of the Hearst Castle, the extravagant home of the late newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Departing town, California Polytechnic State University appears on the right as we begin our climb toward Cuesta Pass. Rumbling over Stenner Creek Viaduct the fortress-like structures of the California Men's Colony, a state Horseshoe Curve its possible to catch a glimpse of our entire train wrapped aroung the loop. Spectacular views abound as we ascend 1,000 feet into the Santa Lucia Range. In the next 11 miles we pass through several tunnels all the while clinging to the mountainside. All the views are the right as we see our tracks over Stenner Creek Viaduct and San Luis Obispo far below. Emerging from the 3,616 ft. summit (elevatin 1,340 ft.) tunnel we descend to Santa Margarita (elevation 995 ft.). The region is one of the rolling hills well covered with wild oat and dotted with oaks. Growing in the bottom lands are some of the finest white oaks to be seen in California. Above Atascadero (elevation 849 ft.) we pause briefly at Paso Robles (elevation 720 ft.). Appropriatly named, Paso Robles is Spanish for "Pass of the oaks." At San Miguel (elevation 617 ft.) look to left as we pass close to the Mission San Miguel de Arcangle, built of Adobe in 1797. At Bradley (elevation 538 ft.) the valley opens up as we continue to follow the meanderings of the Salinas River. We pass King City (elevation 334 ft.) a commercial center at the upper end of the Salinas Valley. J. Ernst Steinbeck, father of author John Steinbeck, was King City's first railroad agent. Vast fields of lettace, vegetables and sugar beets line the tracks as we speed north through the Salinas Valley. San Benito Mountain (elevation 5,258 ft.) on the right, is the highest point in the Diablo Range. On the left is the rugged Santa Lucia Range. Soledad (elevation 184 ft.) founded in 1791 as a mission town, is Spanish for "Solitude." The large modern buildings to the right are the California medium security prison. Salinas (elevation 45 ft.) is the hub of "The Nation's Salad Bowl." North of here, we roll through Castroville, (elevation 21 ft.). The large plantings along the tracks are artichokes and Castroville is known as the "Artichoke Capital of the World." Ten miles further north we enter the rich Pajaro Valley rounding the big curve at Watsonville Junction (elevation 22 ft). At Logan (elevation 111 ft.) the canyon narrows and we thread Chittenden Pass-a narrow passage through the Santa Cruz Mountains-crossing the infamous San Andreas Fault on a bridge just beyond the rock processing plants. Emerging from the pass, we enter the Santa Clara Valley. Mt. Hamilton, (elevation 4,430 ft.) and the Diablo Range are visible on the right and the Santa Cruz Mountains on the left. At the upper end of the valley is Gilroy (elevation 190 ft.) center of a rich agricultural district, the "Garlic Capital of the World" and the setting for the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival very August. San Jose , (elevation 85 ft.) founded in 1777 by the Spanish, became the first state capital of the newly proclaimed Republic of California in 1849. The recently resorted station is also the stop for connecting CalTrain suburban service in peninsula cities and San Francisco. Leaving San Jose, we pass Santa Clara (elevation 69 ft.) On the left we see the Great America theme park, but soon our train cuts diagonally across the south San Francisco Bay mudflats. At Drawbridge (elevation 9 ft.) we cross an army of the bay. Note the odd assortment of weaterbeaten buildings clustering along the tracks. Once a thriving community of railroad workers, bootleggers and duck hunters, Drawbridge is now protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the only "certified" ghost town in the Bay Area. Leaving the mudflats, we streak through the East Bay Suburbs of Newark (elevation 18 ft.) and Hayward (elevation 76 ft.) As we approach Oakland (elevation 12 ft.) heavey industrial districts crowd the right-of-way and the BART regional rail transit system parallels our route on the right. The large circular structure to our left is the Oakland Coliseum. Amtrak's new station is located in the heart of Jack London Square, Oakland's delightful waterfront dining and shopping district named after the famed writer of Call of the Wild and other stories from the frontier days. Emeryville, (elevation 8 ft.) is the Amtrak connecting point for San Francisco. Your bus will take you over the 8 1/2 mile long San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into the heart of the exciting San Francisco. San Francisco is a thriving cosmopolitan city famous for gourmet dining, exotic shopping, the Golden Gate Bridge and a beautiful climate. Amtrak's downtown station is conveniently located in the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street. Departing Emeryville we rush through Berkeley (elevatin 18 ft.) home of the University of California , on our way to Richmond. Look for the lights of the San Francisco skyline to left. Also at the left, across the broad waters of the bay are the Marin County Hills, with the bold outlines of Mt. Tamalpais, (elevation 2,604 ft.) beyond. As we pass Richmond (elevation 41 ft.) Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) trains can be seen on the right. BART provides rail transit service to point throughout the region. As night fall, our train skirts the shore of San Pablo Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay, passing through Crockett (elevation 14 ft.) On the opposite shore, just before passing the huge brick buildings of sugar factory on the left, is Mare Island, site of a former Navy Shipyard. Martinez (elevation 6 ft.) is the reputed home of the Martini, and the birthplace of baseball great Joe Dimaggio. John Muir lived here and the Muir home is now a museum. Martinez is the connecting point for Amtrak trains serving the cities of the San Joaquin Valley. Departing the city, we approach the great double-track steel Carquinez Strait bridge across Susiun Bay. To the right can be seen the "Mothball Fleet." These mostly War World II vintage merchant marine ships have been stored here for years, with some of them used as recently as Desert Storm in 1991. The large peak to the right is Mt. Diablo, (elevation 3,849 ft.) Racing across the bottom lands,we roll through Suisun-Fairfield, (elevation 12 ft.) and are soon at Davis (elevation 52 ft.) home of the University of California's College of Agricultural as well as the College of Letters and Science and the School of Veterinary Medicine. The 1913 adobe-style station at Davis is an historic landmark. East of town we cross the "Yolo Bypass" on a long low trestle. Built to divert flood waters, this normally rich agricultural land can be seen flooded waters, this normally rich agricultural land end of the trestle is Sacramento (elevation 42 ft.) Note the buildings of "Old Town" and the California State Railroad Museum on the right as we enter the city. The capital of California and the largest inland city in the state, Scaramento was first settled in 1839 by Capt. John A. Sutter, a Swiss settler. Built at the confluence of two rivers, we first cross the Sacramento coming into town and the American upon leaving. Continuing our journey north into the night, we travel the length of the Sacramento Valley. On the east is the Sierra Nevada, or "Great Snowy Range" of the Spaniards, and on the west, the Coast Range. Embracing over 12 million acres, the Sacramento Valley extends 160 miles sout and is 60 miles wide atits greatest extent. With the San Joaquin Valley to the south, the Sacramento Valley forms the great Central Valley of California-425 regions on earth. At Roseville (elevation 160 ft.) a great railroad center with classification yards and locomotive shops, we turn north, pausing briefly at Marysville (elevation 61 ft.) Beyond Red Bluff (elevation 309 ft.)the gateway to Lassen Volcanic National Park, we leave the Sacramento Valley pausing briefly at Redding (elevation 557 ft.) be fore heading into the foothills. Between a succession of tunnels and bridges we catch glimpses of Shasta Lake, created by the waters of the Pit, McCloud and Sacramento Rivers impounded by might Shasta Dam. This massive projest was completed in 1944. For the next 32 miles our train follows the winding course of the Sacramento River. The country gets more rugged as we ascend the Sacramento River Canyon. Soon the grey splintered granite spires of Castle Crags may be seen towering to the left like medievel castles 2,084 feet over the valley floor. Pausing briefly at the railroad town of Dunsmuir (elevation 2,290 ft.) we continue north into the canyon past spectacular Mossbre Falls on the right. Climbing out of the canyon, we catch our first glance of Mt. Shasta (elevation 14,380 ft.) on the right. While not the highest peak in the U.S. , Mt. Shasta is certainly one of the most spectacular. Snow covered most of the year, Mt. Shasta is in sight from the train for many miles after it is first glimpsed and many dramatic views can be had - even on moonlight nights. Mt. Shasta City (elevation 3,555 ft.) is a quaint alpine community at the base of the mountain for which it was named. At Black Butte (elevation 3,903 ft.) notice the perfectly shaped 6,250-ft. cinder cone on our right, evidence of the mountains recent volcanic past. Skirting the base of Mt. Shasta our pace slows and we cut directly through spectacular lava flows as we continue to ascend towards Grass Lake (elevation 5,063 ft.) the highest point on the route of the Coast Starlight. Above Grass Lake we wind through a remote pine-covered landscape characteristic of the Modoc Plateau country, Later, in the Butte Valley we race through the rural communities of Mt. Hebron (elevation 4,262 ft.) and Dorris (elevation 4,243 ft.) then enter the first two short tunnels and cross and the state line centering Oregon. Twenty miles further north is Klamath Falls (elevation 4,105 ft.) a lumbering center and distribution point for some of the nation's finest potatoes. Lying on ancient volcanic ground, many homes in town are heated with hot water from natural hot-water springs. North of town, we reach the eastern shore of Upper Klamath Lake, which we follow for 18 miles. At Modoc Point, (elevation 4,154 ft.)across the Lake to the left. Upper Klamath Lake is one of the largest bodies of fresh water west of the Rockies. Note the snow-white pelicans, which are protected by law and live on the lake in great numbers. Leaving the lake, our train climbs rugged "Calimus Hill" into Chiloquin (elevation 4,190 ft). Our pace quickens now as we enter the high, flat Klamath Basin country. We cross the Williamson River and follow its course for the next 15 miles to Kirk (elevation 4,533 ft). Near Yamsay (elevation 4,651 ft.) the skyline on the left is broken by jagged Mt. Theilsen, (elevation 9,178 ft.) and Mt. Scott (elevation 9,128 ft). Between these two landmarks can be seen the remains of Mt. Mazama which now forms the rim of Crater Lake. The lake lies in the center of an extinct volcano 6,177 feet above sea level. It is six miles long and four miles wide, with precipitous walls rising 1,000 feet from the water's edge to the rim. Named for an Indian cheif, Chemult, (elevation 4,761 ft.) is the gateway to Crater Lake National Park and the central Oregon ski areas. Leaving Chemult we turn west passing Umli, (elevation 4,775 ft.) and Crescent Lake, (elevation 4,779 ft.) in quick succession. Delightful vistas of beautiful Odell Lake can be had on our right as we follow this magnificent body of water for four miles. The lake's depth, 2,000 ft. in places, gives it a wonderful blue color which sets off Maiden Peak, (elevation 7,811 ft.) in the distance. Emerging from a tunnel at Cascade Summit, (elevation 4,840 ft.) we cross the divide at Willamette Pass. Here we meet the head waters of the Willamette River, a water course we will roughly follow all the way to Portland. From this point our train begins the gradual descent of the Cascade Range, utilizing steep-walled Salt Creek Canyon. For more than 60 miles the route roughly parallels the trail over which the pioneers toiled on the last leg of their journey into the Willamette Valley. Gradually descending the canyon's western wall, spectacular views abound on the rightas our train passes through numerous tunnels and clings to the sides of steep cliffs. We are in deep snow country and some of the tunnels are actully snow sheds built to protect the tracks from snow accumulation or avalanches. turning sharply, we take a northeasterly course for five miles, cross Salt Creek, and make another hairpin turn passing McCredie Springs, (elevation 2,076 ft.) a popular health resort centered around mineral springs. Below Oakridge, (elevation 1,206 ft.) look for the quaint red covered bridge which spans the river on the left side of the train. At Westfir (elevation 1,108 ft.) the tracks cross to the east bank of the Willamette River, the tress open up and the terrain becomes less rugged. The large body of wateron the right is Lookout Point Reservoir. Looking to the right we see the triple peaks of the Three Sisters Mountains and to the left, Diamond Park. Increasing industrial and lumbering activity indicate we are suburb of Springfield, (elevation 457 ft). After crossing the Willamette River, we pass the University of Oregon campus on the left and enter Eugene. Eugene, (elevation 453 ft.) is known as the "Lumber Capital of the U.S." and is western-most city on the 25,000-mile Amtrak system. Here are located the University of Oregon and the Northwest Christian College. Leaving Eugene, we pass through a region of board alluvial plains dotted by prosperous farms and small communities. This is the Williamette Valley, Oregon's wine country, with the Cascade Mountains on the right and the Coast Range on the left. Above Junction City, fields of mint plants line the tracks. Eighty-percent of the mint oil in the U.S. is produced from plants grown in the upper Willamette Valley. Crossing the Willamette River south of Harrisburg (elevation 336 ft.) we enter a vast grain seed production area sometimes referred to as "The Plains of Lebanon." Tangent (elevation 280 ft.) is aptly named. It is a railroad term for the straight track on which we have been traveling since Harrisburg. Rising prominantly on the right are the volcanic cones of Ward Butte (elevation 825 ft.) and Saddle Butte (elevation 625 ft). Salem (elevation 191 ft.) is the state capital and the second largest city in Oregon. To the left, as we depart the city, are the Capitol and Supreme Court buildings and close to them is the campus of Willamette University. Founded in 1842 as the Oregon Institute, Willamette University is the oldest institute if higher learning in the Pacific Northwest. We quickly pass through Gervais Woodburn and Hubbard in a region famous for its raspberry, blackberries, loganberriesand strawberries and cross the Pudding River departing Aurora (elevation 119 ft). Aurora was established as a commune by a party of Germans in 1850s. Near Canby (elevation 170 ft.) brillant fields of daffodils and tulips may be seen in the spring and early summer. The Willamette River closes in on the left as we reach Oregon City (elevation 102 ft.) Willamette Falls is also on the left. Founded in 1842, Oregon City was the end of the Oregon Trail and the original capital of the Oregon Territory. The first Protestant church and the first Masonic Lodge west of the Rockies were established here. We continue to follow the Willamette River north through the suburbs of Calackamas and Milwaukie then cross the river to enter historic Portland Union Station, opened in 1896. On the right in the distance rises 11,245-ft. Mt. Hood. Portland, Oregon (elevation 30 ft.) northern terminus of Southern Pacific's historic "Shasta Route," is the connecting point for Amtrak service east via the Pioneer. First settled in 1843, Portland lies on both sides of the Willamette River, 12 miles southof its confluence with the Columbia. One of the nation's important fresh water ports and a port-of-entry, Portland Oregon's largest metropolitan area. Known for its parks, fountains, gardens and jazz festivals, the "City of Roses" is most famous for its Rose Festival held each June. Departing Portland, our train follows the Willamette through the busy industrial section of the city then turns to cross the river and the Columbia River. This mighty stream, which, including its tributaries has a drainage area of 259,000 square miles, has a total navigable length of 2,136 miles. Depth of the river at this point its 29 ft. On the opposite bank is Vancouver, Washington, (elevation 65 ft.)the oldest continuous settlement in the Northeast, established as a fort in 1825 by the Hudson's Bay Co. From here to Kelso-Longview, we follow the Columbia River. Oregon is on the opposite shore, as we pass the marshy bottom lands of Lake Vancouver and get a glimpse of the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant. Kelso-Longview, (elevation 26 ft.) is known as the "Smelt Capital of the World." Each year during January and February, thousands of the tiny silver fish swim up the Cowlitz River to Spawn. Departing town, we pass through a 1,200-ft tunnel and follow the Cowlitz River to Castle Rock, (elevation 59 ft). Here our train crosses the Toutle River, made famous when mud flows emanating nearly 40 miles away during the eruption of Mt. St. Helens reached the Cowleitz River. The valley opens and on the left is Abernathy Mountain,a spur of the Coast Range. Winlock, (elevation 309 ft.) is known as the "Egg Capital of the World," (note giant egg, a monument to the town's production on the left.) Above Winlock, we enter the broad and fertile valley of the Chehalis River dotted woth farms. A group of monkey flowers brighten the wayside in spring and summer. Other plants likely to attract attention are the thimleberry, with its white blossoms; the salmonberry with its yellow fruit; the pink fireweed and the white ocean spray, or arrowwood, all growing among larger plants on the wooded slopes. In June, the omnipresent dandelion with its fluffy crown of seeds, the purple lupine, the red and white clover, the white yarrow and host of other flowers give beauty to the view. As our train enters Centralia, (elevation 188 ft.) look beyond the ball fields on the right towards the mountains to view Mt. St. Helens. Its spectacular in 1980 sent ash in this direction and some of the grey material can still be seen in the countryside. Centralia was founded in 1875, by a former slave from Virginia. Crossing the Skookumchuck River, our train continues north to Olympia-Lacey, (elevation 20 ft.) Olympia is the capital of Washington State and is situated on the southernmost inlet of Puget Sound. Above Olympia, we cross the Nisqually River and our train follows Commencement Bay, the southeast arm of Puget Sound passing Steilacoom, (Elevation 12 ft.)-ferry gateway to Anderson and McNeil islands on left. Scotch broom flourishes about Steilacoom and its bright yellow blossoms form a pleasing feautre of the landscape. Tacoma, (elevation sea level) is beautiful situated on series of terraces above the head of Commencement Bay, and commands fine views of the Sound, the Cascade Moountains and the white cone fo 14,408-ft. Mount Rainier. Founded in 1868, Tacoma is an Indian word meaning "big snow mountain" and refers to Mount Rainier. Tacoma is a major seaport with an excellent harbor and 25 miles of waterfront. The large blue building on the right is the Tacoma Dome,a convention center. Puyallup, (elevation 42 ft.) pronounced "Pew-OWL-up," was once home of Ezra Meeker, a pioneer who in 1852 crossed the plains with an ox team to settle along Puget Sound. In 1906 he reaturned to New York marking the Oregon Trail at many points by monuments. The town is named after a local Indian Tribe. The brillant yellow flowers of the gosmore, or cat's ear, a near relative of the dandelion, abound by the wayside. Near Kent, (elevation 40 ft). Long Acres Racetrack is on the right. On the outskirts of Seattle, we pass Boeing Field on the left, home of the famous family of Boeing jetliners. This historic airport is still being used for private aircraft and for Boeing test flights. The orginal red-bricked Boeing plant is now the Museum of Flight. Seattle, Washington, (elevation 20 ft.) is the connecting point for Amtrak service to Vancouver, B.C. Seattle, the largest city of the Pacific Northwest and a seaport of great importance, is situated on Elliot Bay, between Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Seattle was settled in 1852, and named after a Duwamish Indian chief. In 1897, the city boomed as the shipping point for the Klondike gold fields. Known as "The Emerald City," Seatlle has a mild climate, due to the warm ocean current of the Japan Stream, and ranks among the most healthful citites in the world. King Street Station is only blocks away from the busy harbor and piers which make Seattle a gateway to the Orient and Alaska. The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair, is north of downtown and can be seen as our train approaches the city. Adjacent to the station is the King Dome, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Marines.

 

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