Amtrak Surfliner Inaugural Celebration - June 1, 2000
Amtrak Surfliner Inaugural Celebration on June 1, 2000! The celebration train started from
San Diego at 7:30 A.M. and made stops at Oceanside, Santa Ana, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara.
This page is mostly photos since we were able to post those immediately after we returned to
the TrainWeb office at the end of the Amtrak Surfliner Inaugural Celebration. Additional
details will be posted later. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!
Click On Each Link For Photo Highlights:
Surfliner christening in San Diego
Post christening photos in San Diego
Amtrak Surfliner Committee
Inaugural festivities in San Diego (1)
Inaugural festivities in San Diego (2)
People and festivities in San Diego (1)
People and festivities in San Diego (2)
Speeches in San Diego
Celebration in Santa Ana
Speeches In Los Angeles (1)
Speeches In Los Angeles (2)
Nose to nose trains the night before the event
Click On Each Link For Additional Photos:
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Ray Burns, Shivam Surve, and I, Steve Grande, of TrainWeb along with Kirk Shneider, author
of California by Bus, Train and Ferry headed out of Fullerton at 7:52 P.M. on the
Amtrak Pacific Surfliner (the route, not the trainset) down to San Diego on Wednesday evening,
May 31, 2000. When we arrived at San Diego, there were two trainsets on the track across from
ours. One was a California Car trainset and the other was the Surfliner trainset! They were
attached to each other F59PHI to F59PHI, nose to nose! We spent the night sharing a couple
of rooms at the Best Western that is five blocks from the San Diego station.
At 6:00 A.M. on Thursday morning, we got up and were out of the room heading to the station
at 7:00 A.M. We were at the San Diegan Santa Fe before the 7:30 A.M. scheduled start of the
festivities. The first two tracks closest to the station building are the north and south
tracks for the San Diego Red Trolly. A North San Diego County Coaster train was on the next
track away from the station and he Amtrak Surfliner trainset was on the track after that.
A number of people had already arrived for the speeches and festivities.
There were several small bands playing live music. Mascots from a number of San Diego
attractions mingled with the guests. Free refreshments were served to the Surfliner celebrants
including coffee, orange juice, bagels and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! Newscrews from a number
of radio and TV stations as well as photographers and reporters from a number of newspapers
were mingling among the guests taking photos of both VIPs and other attendees as well as of
I met and talked with a number of people involved in the rail passenger community
that I have not run into for quite some time. Above is a photo of Jack Wilson,
Operations Manager for the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, standing to the left of me.
Ray Burns also got a chance to greet George Warrington again, President of Amtrak.
Ray had not spoken to Mr. Warrington since the Amtrak Las Vegas Talgo celebration.
After all the speeches, Mr. Warrington, along with a number of the
other Amtrak people instrumental in bringing the production of this train to fruition
headed over to christen the train. For today's train, there was an F59PHI at each end of
the train. Everyone was gathered around the F59PHI that was attached to the Coach/Baggage
(Cab Control) Car. This locomotive was at the south end of the trainset. Normally, there
will not be an F59PHI at this end of the train as the entire trainset can be powered by
the F59PHI at the north end of the trainset and the engineer can control the train from
the Cab Control room in the Surfliner Coach/Baggage Car.
Two bottles of Champagne were smashed on the coupler of the F59PHI to christen the first
Amtrak Surfliner trainset to be delivered! There were several poses for photographs after that.
for several more photos of the christening.
When Mr. Warrington, President of Amtrak, saw Ray Burns of TrainWeb kneeling
in the front to get a good photo, Mr. Warrington pointed at Ray and said something like:
"Ray, I guess I'll be able to see these photo on the website!" Ray and I were a bit surprised
that Mr. Warrington had remembered TrainWeb from the Las Vegas Talgo Celebration. Above is a
photo of Mr. Warrington pointing at Ray Burns as he made that comment.
At the festivities at the Oceanside Station, Shivam Surve of TrainWeb took the opportunity
to take a picture of Mr. Warrington (President of Amtrak) with the mascot from legoland. This photo is
Photographers and video people kept coming by and wanting to photo/video me working at my
notebook computer on the train. The current photographer taking my photo is from the
Los Angeles Times. Maybe my photo will be in the Friday L.A. Times and maybe not.
I don't know where the video people were from, but there are television crews all over the
train. Some of them are probably independents as there are labels on the equipment indicating
the professional videocameras are rented.
We asked Cindy Camara of Amtrak Marketing to pose with the Inaugural Surfliner Cap so that
we could get a picture of the front and back of it as seen above and she was nice enough to
cooperate with our request!
Although not on the itinerary for this train, the train also stopped at Oxnard and Ventura,
each for just a couple of minutes to pick-up or drop-off special guests.
The GPS coordinated display was displaying a variety of messages for the first time that I've
been on the trainset. During the first two days of operation, all the display showed was
"Amtrak". Today, however, it displayed the following messages in the order indicated:
- "Welcome aboard Amtrak's Surfliner!"
- "Restrooms are on each car level"
- "Trash cans are at each end of the car"
- "Trash cans are also at the lower level"
- "There are also recycling containers."
- "Come visit our cafe car."
- "Our cafe car is on the lower level"
- "Cafe car is next to the Business Car."
- "All exits are on the lower level."
- "For your safety read Emergency Booklet."
- "The Bouclet is in each seat back pouch." (Not my spelling!)
- "In an emergency, follow crew instructions"
- "Amtrak thanks you."
In between each of the above messages, the unit would display the closest Amtrak station.
Later, I found out that the station names were being changed manually and not by the onboard
GPS system. I'm very interested in seeing this display automatically controlled by the onboard
GPS system which will hopefully be in operation soon. Now it makes sense why the
only stations that came up on the display were some of the stations that were on the
itinerary of this special inaugural celebration train, including:
- "This station is San Diego"
- "This station is Santa Ana"
- "This station is Los Angeles"
While I was inside the Surfliner car, I noticed George Warrington and Gil Mallery talking
together and went to take a photo of them through the window. As I was about to take the
photo, I saw Shivam Surve of TrainWeb, walk up to Gil Mallery and ask him to take a photo
of Shivam with George Warrington, President of Amtrak. At that time, Shivam did not know
that Gil Mallery is President of Amtrak West! Thus, above you can see a photo of Amtrak West
President Gil Mallery taking a photo of Amtrak President George Warrington posing with
Shivam Surve of TrainWeb!
San Diego wasn't the only festivity location serving free food! Los Angeles was serving free
tacos, hotdogs, popcorn, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and a number of other food items! Ray and
I were almost the last people to get into the line for hotdogs and they ran out of hotdogs
just after serving us! After reboarding the train, I was actually sorry that I had one of the
free hotdogs as they started serving free sandwiches and other food on the train! They had
a type of tuna sandwich that I really like and seldom find anywhere. I had to have one of
those even though I wasn't really hungry. Fortunately, they were just finger sandwiches and
were not too big. In Santa Barbara, they were serving free raviolis, vegetables with dip, and
Everyone we talked with had a very high opinion of the new trainset! A number of people had
various suggestions of how this or that could be better or should have been done differently,
but overall, just about everyone thought it was a significant improvement over the trainsets
that the Surfliners will be replacing.
The following is just a start at a list of people that were on the Surfliner Inaugural
Celebration train. There were many more people on the train, including just about everyone
that we know at Amtrak! Little by little, as we can remember the names of the people that
were on the train, we will add them to this list:
George Barlow and wife,
Osvaldo Grobel Murgel,
Charles Roebuck III,
Ed Stauss and wife,
If you have names of additional people that I missed, please
click here to send them to me by e-mail at
If you were on the Amtrak Surfliner Inaugural Celebration Train and would like to write
something about the event and your experiences, please
click here to send your writing to me by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be happy to post your
writing at this website!
Everyone disembarked from the Amtrak Surfliner Inaugural Celebration Train at Santa Barbara.
I believe the train will be deadheading back to Los Angeles later in the evening. Most of the
people from the Celebration Train took the next southbound train that departed out of
Santa Barbara at 3:50 P.M. Our Celebration Invitation served as our ticket for travel on this
A lot more photos & information about the new Amtrak Surfliner trainset!
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