Amtrak Coast Starlight
August 16 & 21, 1998
Los Angeles to San Jose, California
This is the travelogue of my journey on the Amtrak Coast Starlight from
Los Angeles to San Jose, California on Sunday, August 16, 1998 and the
return journey on Friday, August 21, 1998 (not yet posted). On my
northbound journey, I traveled in Superliner II Sleeping Car #1430,
Car Number: 32072, Car Name: Arkansas, Room Number 3.
After experimenting with using Sam Pottinger's
(of Sam's Steel Rails West)
digital camera last weekend, I went out and purchased the newer model of
the same camera. This model has two major features that help reduce two
of the problems that I found with the earlier model. First, the diskette
drive on this camera is twice as fast as the one on the previous model
which reduces the minimum time between taking pictures in half. The
second additional feature is that you can now view a photo before storing
it. That means that you can decide to keep or eliminate a shot before
having the camera take the time to store it to disk. If you didn't like
the most recent picture that you took, you had to first play the picture
back before you could delete it. Now, if you don't like the shot that you
just took, you can delete it before saving it. I haven't figured out how
to activate this feature yet, but the box does says that you can do this!
Here is the model of this particular digital camera:
Sony Digital Mavica Digital Still Camera MVC-FD71
with 10x optical zoom and quick access FD drive 2x.
Below you will find links to the photographs taken during this journey
on the Amtrak Coast Starlight. The photographs are posted in the same
sequence as the order in which they were taken. The first set was taken
on or before the short journey on the northbound Amtrak San Diegan that
connects Fullerton with the Coast Starlight in Los Angeles. The first
several frames shows the inside of the TrainWeb office upstairs from the
Amtrak Ticket Office in the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot plus some shots taken
around the Fullerton Station. The next set of photographs was taken
on the northbound Amtrak Coast Starlight. Keep in mind that the order of
each set of photos reflects the sequence in which these scenes were
observed out the window of the Amtrak Coast Starlight.
If you have an internet connection of 56K or faster, use the quarter page
photo index. If you have an internet connection of less than 56K, which is
what most of us still have from home as of 1998, I would suggest starting
with the "thumbnail index" rather than the "quarter page index." Once
the index page is displayed on your screen, you will be able to click on
any of the photos in the index to bring up a much larger image.
Select one of the following sets of photographs:
- Thumbnail Index:
- Quarter Page Index:
09:30 AM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Los Angeles CA
Well, here I am again, right where I left off last week! I'm back
in the "Arkansas" Superliner Sleeping Car that had severe electrical
problems on my last trip and plunged the entire train into darkness for
the remainder of our trip from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles.
This is a bit odd. I'm in the same Sleeping Car that I was in on my
southbound Amtrak Coast Starlight trip on Monday, August 10, 1998, but the
rest of the train is the same consist that I had on my northbound Amtrak
Coast Starlight trip on Saturday, August 8, 1998! They just replaced the
"Texas" Sleeping Car with the "Arkansas" Sleeping Car! I guess it is a
good sign they were able to fix this car and have it back into service
09:44 AM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 Glendale CA
09:48 AM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Glendale CA
09:48 AM is the scheduled departure time.
Evidently they are a bit short on crew today. Donald, the Car Attendant
from the next Sleeping Car, #1131, just came through collecting the
tickets for the Conductor.
Mary Coleman, the Car Attendant, came around to every room and handed each
person a schedule for the Coast Starlight. Each room already had a number
of materials such as stationery, safety instructions, and a route guide,
but she did go to each room to make sure that everyone had both a schedule
and a route guide!
10:36 AM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 Simi Valley CA
10:39 AM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Simi Valley CA
10:29 AM is the scheduled departure time.
Mary, the Car Attendant, came by again and asked if there was anything she
could get for me. I asked if she could get a Bloody Mary for me from the
Pacific Parlour Car. Mary then offered to also get some fruit for me and
a roll and to fix me up a plate of food. I told her that I appreciated
that. Within a few minutes, she was back with a plate of fruit, a sweet
roll, my drink and lots of Amtrak napkins!
11:14 AM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 Oxnard CA
11:24 AM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Oxnard CA
11:02 AM is the scheduled departure time.
The onboard entertainer made an announcement that he would be
wandering about the train providing live entertainment. He also
announced that there would be a special show in the "Kiddy Car"
at 1:30 this afternoon.
The Dining Car opened at 11:30 AM and made the usual announcement that
service would be on a first come, first served, basis and that as soon
as the Dining Car was filled, a waiting list would be started.
I waited for the Dining Car to fill up and then put my name on the
waiting list at about 11:45 AM.
I heard one of the Car Attendants mention that further up the line
the Sleeping Cars are totally booked. He was telling some passengers
who were not on the ocean view side of the train that they could move
to the ocean side until we got to San Luis Obispo. But, after that, they
would have to move back to their own rooms as every room would be full
with passengers. An announcement was also made just south of Santa Barbara
that Coach Seating would "Max Out" by the time we finished boarding
passengers from San Luis Obispo!
12:20 PM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 Santa Barbara CA
12:34 PM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Santa Barbara CA
12:03 PM is the scheduled departure time.
Looks like it might be 3 stops in Santa Barbara: One for the baggage,
one for Coach and one for the Sleeping Cars. There was already a
San Diegan in the station when we approached the station. Our train
had to wait until that one was ready to pull out.
The crew was trying to pull forward far enough to clear State Street
so they could let the traffic start moving again. However, our train
is pulling a private car on the end and there are passengers that will
be boarding that private car in Santa Barbara.
When I arrived at the Fullerton Depot this morning, I heard the
announcement that the Amtrak Southwest Chief had been delayed and
would not be arriving until about 10:30 AM instead of 7:15 AM. I didn't
think much about it at the time, but I should have, as that meant there
would be a problem connecting Southwest Chief passengers with the
In any case, the passengers from the Amtrak Coast Starlight were bused
to Santa Barbara and there were many passengers that were supposed to
board the Sleeping Cars in Los Angeles from the Southwest Chief that were
now boarding in Santa Barbara!
Mary had to deal with all the additional people boarding at this
station instead of Los Angeles, but she still had time to "knock"
on my door and check on me!
To expedite boarding of the passengers transferring from the Southwest
Chief in Santa Barbara, much of the luggage was put into the 1411 Coach
Car, the closest car to where the bus dropped off those passengers. The
Conductor is coordinating with those passengers and the Car Attendants
to transfer the luggage from the 1411 cars down to the correct cars in
San Luis Obispo.
The passengers across from my room came down on the Coast Starlight and
went to Albuquerque and were now returning. I knew the southbound Coast
Starlight no longer connects with the eastbound Southwest Chief, but
they described the route in details. They took the Coast Starlight south
to Sacramento, the Amtrak bus over to Stockton, the San Joaquin to
Bakersfield, the bus from Bakersfield to Los Angeles, and then the
Southwest Chief out of Los Angeles. That is the new way these trains
connect now that the Southwest Chief has been scheduled to depart before
the Coast Starlight arrives each evening? I'd rather just hang out in
Los Angeles for 24 hours. The return trip is the normal Southwest Chief
into Los Angeles and then the Coast Starlight north out of Los Angeles
about an hour later. These trains usually connect without a problem,
and when there is a problem, a bus connects passengers from Ontario over
to meet the Coast Starlight in Santa Barbara.
The Engineer just did "Shave and a haircut, two bits" three times on the
locomotive horn. Dave Scale, the onboard entertainer, just did a reminder
that a show for the kids will begin at 1:30 PM, in about ten minutes,
in the "Kiddy Car." He also let everyone know that the "Kiddy Car"
was downstairs in a Coach Car two cars after the Sightseer Lounge
Car. "Calling all kids! Calling all kids! The Magic Show is about to
begin! We already have a big crowd in the Kiddy Car, but there is room
for more! Are you ready kids?" A roar of kids' voices could then be
heard over the P.A. system that sounded like it was from an audience
full of kids in a children's studio TV show! There MUST BE a lot of kids
down in the Kiddy Car!
Just before coming into San Luis Obispo, the train started to lose air in
the brake system. The engineer stopped the train just before the bridge
and the crew walked the train to find the problem. They found it between
the baggage car and the Transition Sleeping Car. The crew shut down the
HEP (Head End Power), laced up the connector, and then walked the rest of
the train just to check if there might be any other loose connections.
The Conductor announced over the P.A. system that the problem was vandalism.
Evidently some kids had placed one or more rubber tires onto the tracks
and that is what knocked out the brake hose.
03:21 PM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 San Luis Obispo CA
03:38 PM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 San Luis Obispo CA
02:58 PM is the scheduled departure time.
The wine tasting in the Pacific Parlour Car usually starts shortly after
the train departs San Luis Obispo. If your train is crowded and you want
to make sure you get a good seat, I'd recommend that you head down to
the Pacific Parlour Car before or else immediately after departure from
San Luis Obispo.
Three wines were served during the wine tasting. Just about every seat in
the Pacific Parlour Car was occupied. This train has the one Pacific
Parlour Car that has not yet been refurbished. There seems to be more food
served on the refurbished Parlour Car. I didn't see them serve the hot
chicken wings in this car. The cheese is also served as big chunks rather
than the smaller chunks in the refurbished Parlour Car. Also, sliced
cheese and a variety of fruit was served in the refurbished Parlour Car
which was not served during the wine tasting in this car. The wine was
very good, and as usual, they had each type of wine available for purchase
along with a Coast Starlight canvass carrying bag.
During the wine tasting, Conductor Walt Moore came by and sat down with me
for a few minutes to talk about the new Sony Digital Camera that he saw
on my table. I've noticed that this camera does seem to attract a bit of
04:45 PM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 Paso Robles CA
04:47 PM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Paso Robles CA
04:00 PM is the scheduled departure time.
I'm planning on having dinner with a friend in San Jose this evening, but
with the train running late and getting later, I wasn't sure that was
going to work out. Considering that all I have eaten today was the sweet
roll and some melon in the morning along with a little crackers and
cheese at the wine tasting, I didn't know if I would be able to last until
so late at night. Besides, it might get so late that I might not be able
to meet with my friend at all. Thus, rather than risk not eating for the
rest of the day, I had dinner in the Dining Car at 5pm. I wasn't very
hungry, so I ordered the light vegetarian dish. I forgot the name of it,
but it was basically a lot of rice with vegetables, tomato sauce and
artichoke bottoms. Even at that, since I wasn't very hungry at the early
5 PM dinner hour, I didn't eat much of that.
I did have a very interesting conversation with someone else seated at
my table. He brought an instrument along with him that he didn't want
to leave at his coach seat. It was an unusual type of viola that hasn't
been popular since the Renaissance. He was just returning from a seminar
in southern California of other people that play this instrument. They
had come from most the west coast, but the presenters had come from all
over the United States and even overseas. We discussed his special
instrument, the resurgence of interest in such instruments that had gone
out of favor, and the state of music education in public schools. I don't
have a big interest in music, but I think the fact that the instrument
was one that hasn't been popular since the middle ages fascinated me. I'm
a big Mannheim Steamroller fan, and though their music isn't exactly the
same, I think the source of the interest and enjoyment is the same.
06:56 PM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 Salinas CA
07:00 PM OUT SUN AUG 16 1998 Salinas CA
05:50 PM is the scheduled departure time.
There has been a call for medical assistance in the #1411 Coach Car.
An announcement went over the P.A. system for anyone with medical
expertise, a doctor or RN, to please come to the Coach Car. That
reminds me, I forgot to mention the medical emergency on my last trip
on the Coast Starlight last week. An Assistant Conductor was injured pretty
bad. The people who attended him guessed that he may have broken one or
more of his ribs. I guess he fell down on the train. I don't know if he
just fell in the aisle or fell down a stairway. He was having trouble
breathing because of the excessive pain. Some people who had previously had
a broken rib said that the pain can make it difficult to breath. Just like
now, there was a call for medical assistance and the Conductor was taken
from the train by ambulance at the next stop.
08:35 PM IN- SUN AUG 16 1998 San Jose CA
07:20 PM is the scheduled departure time.
Click here forinformation and photographs related to my stay in San Jose. I've included
suggestions on where to stay in San Jose and how to get around the area
using public transit.
While I was in the San Jose area, my curiosity got the better of me and
I had to figure out how the Amtrak Capitols connected witht the VTA Light
Rail at the Great America Station. I had been to the Great America Station
on both the Light Rail and on the Amtrak Capitols and had seen no sign of
either from the other!
I figured out why. They are about 3 to 4 tenths of a mile apart! If you
get off the Amtrak Capitol, you will see a stairway on the platform that
leads to an overpass directly above the station. Take this stairway up to
the overpass. I have no idea where people in wheelchairs go to get to the
Light Rail Station from here. There are only stairs and no ramps or
elevators going up to the overpass.
Now here is the funny part. We measured this by car. The closest Light
Rail Station is south of the overpass. The Light Rail Vehicles actually
go over this bridge, but they don't stop on it. You can walk down the
northside of the bridge (take a left) to the Great America Light Rail
Station or walk down the southside of the bridge (take a right) to the
Lick Mill Station. The Lick Mill Station is actually closer by about a
tenth of a mile or so. However, both the Light Rail Schedules and the
Amtrak Capitols Schedules promote the connection as being the Great
America Station. I suppose this is because both the Light Rail and the
Amtrak Capitols have the same "Great America Station" name and it is
easier to explain that they connect at this station. But in reality, the
Lick Mill VTA Light Rail Station is closer to the Amtrak Great America
Amtrak Capitols Station, though not by much!
12:57 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 San Jose CA
10:36 AM is the scheduled departure time.
02:21 hours late at time of actual departure.
I made a little mistake in calculating the time that I needed to leave the
hotel to arrive at the station at the time that I wanted: 11 AM. Thus, I
decided to look into taking Bus #11. That is the bus that runs from
Gish & First Streets to the San Jose Diridon Amtrak / Caltrain Station.
I walked down the block to the corner of Gish and First Streets and crossed
the street where I usually crossed to get to the southbound VTA Light Rail
Station. The Light Rail Station is in the middle of the street. This time
I went all the way across the street to the sidewalk on the side of the
street with the southbound automobile traffic. Right at the corner was
the bus stop. There was a sign at the bus stop which indicated that Bus #11
was the ONLY bus that serves this stop.
I spotted the bus as it came north on First Street and made a left turn at
the prior intersection to circle the block. I got read to board the bus as
it rounded the corner at First and Gish Streets. The bus driver almost
went right past me! I guess he doesn't often pick up passengers at the end
of this line! He pulled to the side about 40 feet down from the bus stop
and I had to run down to the bus. As he had rounded the corner, I could
see that he was looking for oncoming traffic and had only caught me
standing at the bus stop out of the corner of his eye at the last moment.
When I boarded the bus, he apologized for having almost missed me and for
having me run down the block with my suitcase. In compensation, he let me
The bus went through the downtown and Japantown area of San Jose,
crossing the VTA Light Rail tracks a couple of times before finally
ending up at the San Jose Diridon Amtrak / Caltrain Station. The total
trip is only about 25 minutes. Thus, I arrived at the station about
11:30 AM, well ahead of the late running Amtrak Coast Starlight! This
is a very convenient and fast way to get between this set of hotels in
San Jose and the Amtrak Station. However, keep in mind that Bus Route #11
only operates between about 9 AM and 2:30 PM with the bus running about
once per hour! You can see a full map, schedules and fare information for
all of the VTA buses and Light Rail System at:
I found out that the reason the train was so late was that a freight train
had broken down in front of the Amtrak Coast Starlight and they had to
wait until that problem could be fixed. They lost almost three hours.
I had called the 800-USA-RAIL number before I went to sleep at around
midnight. At that point they were reporting the train as on-time. I figured
02:25 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Salinas CA (estimated)
02:27 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Salinas CA (estimated)
12:06 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:21 hours late at time of actual departure.
Wow! 3:14 PM in the afternoon already! I had planned to go down to the
Pacific Parlour Car for the afternoon Champagne Party, but I thought the
time was still early in the afternoon. I just came back from lunch. I'm not
used to just finishing lunch and it already being time for the Champagne
Party. Since the train arrived late into San Jose, I ended up at the
bottom of the wait list for lunch and had a late lunch. Also, I'm used to
expecting the Champagne Party to be held around the time the train is in
San Luis Obispo. These two factors threw off my timing and the announcement
of the Champagne Party took me by surprise!
No problem! Roger our Car Attendant came to each and every room and
brought Champagne to everyone! So, now I can keep on working on my
computer, enjoying the view, and sipping Champagne right in my own room!
Roger came by about 20 minutes later and I obtained a refill on my
Champagne. This is quite a challenge! The track from Oakland to Santa
Barbara is pretty rough to begin with, but add to that a speeding train
trying to make us some time, and you've got a really rocky ride. Try to
pour Champagne from a bottle into a stemmed wine glass under those
I have not posted the hot box detectors, radio frequencies and times that
we passed each hot box detector on this trip. However, I am following along
listening to my radio scanner and keeping track of exactly where we are on
this route as we pass each one. For more information about the radio
frequencies used on this route and the location of hot box detectors, see:
Roger came by again with his inquisitive announcement: "Champagne?" As I
accepted my third glass of Champagne, I replied: "Are you back again? I'll
have to make this my last if I plan to get any more work done on this
04:14 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Paso Robles CA
04:16 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Paso Robles CA
01:47 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:29 hours late at time of actual departure.
Looks like we lost another 8 minutes. I grabbed a copy of the new
Coast Starlight Tourist Magazine. This one was for the
months of August-September 1998. As usual, this issue looks pretty good.
If you would like to subscribe to it, it costs $12 per year. Just call
800-882-7560 and tell them you would like to subscribe to the
Coast Starlight Tourist. If you call, PLEASE tell
them you were sent by TrainWeb! I'd greatly appreciate that.
The Coast Starlight Tourist also has their own web site at
www.cstourist.com. Unless they
have changed their main web page since the time of this writing, they
were using a photo provided by TrainWeb on their main page.
An announcement was just made that passengers connecting to the Texas
Eagle will be taken off the train at Oxnard, probably about 9 P.M. and
bused, probably to Ontario, where they will catch up to the Texas Eagle.
This ride isn't too bad and it is after all of the oceanview parts of
the Coast Starlight journey. However, it might already be a bit late at
night to see much of the shore at that time. Once again why I recommend
that you take the Amtrak Coast Starlight north out of Los Angeles in the
morning if your rail journey only includes riding on the Coast Starlight
in one direction.
FACTOID: I'm going to start including these FACTOIDS in my
travelogues in a way that it will be easy for me to summarize them in a
separate section one day when I get a chance.
FACTOID: Do you ever have trouble deciding if a restroom is occupied?
Sometimes it is hard to read the "IN USE" sign in the doorhandle as that
has often worn off. You also don't want to "try the lock" as that may
startle the person occupying the restroom and maybe give them a heart
attack! Instead, look at the ceiling in the aisle above the restroom. This
works in Superliner IIs. I haven't checked to see if it is also true for
Superliner Is. You will see a small amber light in the ceiling above the
door. If it is lit, then the restroom is occupied and the door is locked.
No need to try the handle! If the light is out, then the door is not locked.
We still can never be sure if there is someone in the restroom who just
hasn't locked the door (or the door has become unlocked by the motion of
the train). Just open the door very slowly and give anyone that might be
inside enought time to grab the door and pull it shut, saving both the
person in the restroom and yourself from embarassment!
FACTOID: Did your traveling companion(s) lock you out of your
room? Do you want to get their attention without banging on the door
and disturbing everyone around you? Directly above the door you will find
a doorbell for the room. Just push the button and it will make a buzzing
noise inside the room. This is usually just used by the Car Attendant to
get your attention when your door is locked, but it is OK for you to use
it to signal someone in the room too!
We passed the northbound Amtrak Coast Starlight Train #14 at
Santa Margarita. They announced over the P.A. system that there was a
station (no longer a passenger station) and a siding here where we would
wait a short while for our sister train. I saw the siding, but I didn't
see any station.
05:36 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 San Luis Obispo CA
05:46 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 San Luis Obispo CA
03:30 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:16 hours late at time of actual departure.
08:15 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Santa Barbara CA
08:25 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Santa Barbara CA
06:17 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:08 hours late at time of actual departure.
09:12 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Oxnard CA
09:26 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Oxnard CA
07:10 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:16 hours late at time of actual departure.
10:02 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Simi Valley CA
10:05 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Simi Valley CA
07:48 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:17 hours late at time of actual departure.
10:47 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Glendale CA (approximately)
10:47 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Glendale CA (approximately)
08:30 PM is the scheduled departure time.
02:17 hours late at time of actual departure. (approximately)
11:10 PM IN- FRI AUG 21 1998 Los Angeles CA (approximately)
11:30 PM OUT FRI AUG 21 1998 Los Angeles CA (approximately)
09:05 PM is the scheduled arrival time.
02:05 hours late at time of actual arrival. (approximately)
Because of our late arrival, they did not hold the Amtrak San Diegan
train for us. Instead, they sent everyone by bus down the San Diegan line.
This wasn't too bad for me as I get off at Fullerton, the very first stop
down the line.
Whenever they substitute a bus for the train, they collect the tickets
either before you board the bus or once the bus is all loaded. This is
the second time that I've had tickets with the Pacific Class (Custom Class)
upgrade when a bus has been substituted. Last time when I explained to the
bus driver that I wanted a refund on my upgrade (about $11 per rider!), he
had me talk to the Amtrak Agent that was coordinating the loading of the
buses. The agent told the bus driver to not collect my ticket. I went to
the Amtrak Ticket Office the next day (downstairs from the TrainWeb
office) and got a full refund on my Los Angeles to Fullerton tickets.
This time, the Amtrak Agent coordinating the loading of the buses told me
that I could go into the station now to get a refund on the upgrade part
of my ticket. At this time of night, I just wanted to get on board without
without going through the hassles at the ticket window. I was just going
to let them collect my ticket and forgo the $11 refund, but the Agent said
that I could just hang onto my ticket. Thus, I'll get to stop by the
station and get a full refund on my Los Angeles to Fullerton ticket again!
If you do have a Pacific Class (Custom Class) upgrade, be sure to mention
it to the bus driver before he tears apart your ticket. Once it is torn
apart, it can be a bit difficult trying to obtain a credit.
12:30 AM IN- SAT AUG 21 1998 Fullerton CA (approximately)
10:17 PM is the scheduled arrival time.
02:13 hours late at time of actual arrival. (approximately)
An exchange student from Russia sat next to me on the bus from Los Angeles
to Fullerton. She was on a whirlwind tour of the United States. She was
heading to Anaheim and didn't even have a hotel reservation yet! She was
planing to visit Disneyland Saturday morning, head up to Los Angeles in
the afternoon and tour that area Saturday evening and during the day on
Sunday. Then she was going to take the Sunset Limited to Orlando and spend
one day in Disneyworld, then up to New York City to spend one day there,
then onto Niagara Falls for a day there. My head was spinning at that point
and I lost track of the rest of her travel plans!
I mentioned to her that each of her destinations required a few days to
appreciate even a small amount of what each had to offer and that she
wasn't going to see much of any of those locations by spending just a part
of one day at each. She realized that, but I guess just wanted to tell her
friends back in Russia that she had visited all of these locations.
Also, she mentioned that she doesn't have a lot of money to spend for her
travel. Her Amtrak ticket gives her a place to stay during the day and a
place to sleep at night. But, when she is not on the train, then she does
have the expense of a place to stay ... which is another reason she has to
limit her stay at each location.
01:16 AM SUN AUG 22 1998 Anaheim Hills CA - Side Note:
I was scanning all of the radio railroad channels in my office at home
as I was putting some finishing touches on this travelogue. All of a
sudden, I hear someone on Channel 63 (160.055) say that they are
heading down to the Parlour Car! The only train that I know that has a
car called the Parlour Car in this area is the Coast Starlight. So, I
immediately set the scanner to Channel 63 to see if I can pick up any
further transmissions. In just a few minutes I heard that same voice
say that everything checks out and that he was now going to meet
Train #14. This confirmed that he was talking about the Coast Starlight
as Train #14 is the number of the northbound Coast Starlight.
All I can figure is that these transmissions are coming out of the Amtrak
yard. The southbound Amtrak Coast Starlight should have arrived into
Los Angeles about four hours ago and the northbound Coast Starlight,
Train #14, isn't scheduled to depart until 9:35 AM. Thus, both trains
should be in the yard or the station right now.
I've never received Amtrak transmissions from that far away before.
On a clear day, I can see the skyline of Los Angeles from my house, but
that is about 25 to 30 miles from here. My house is on a hill at an
elevation of 700 feet. Thus, I have a clear view over all the communities
between my house and downtown Los Angeles which are close to sea level.
From my house, I can even see the Amtrak Southwest Chief and freight trains
on those same tracks as they go through Anaheim, though binoculars do help!
Even so, I don't often hear railroad broadcasts from Amtrak in Los Angeles.
But, then again, I seldom ever listen to Channel 63 (161.055) and don't
know exactly what group at Amtrak uses this Channel nor for what purpose.
More from Train #11 on Channel 63 at 1:56 AM: "I'll be checking boxcars."
- Car Attendant (1430): Mary Coleman
- Car Attendant (1431): Donald Gilliard (?)
- Dining Car Attendant: Darvin Watkins
- Pacific Parlour Car: Michael
- Entertainer: Dave Scale
- Conductor (Los Angeles to Santa Barbara): Ray Redenbar (sp?)
- Conductor (Santa Barbara to Oakland): Walt Moore (sp?)
- Engineer (Santa Barbara to Oakland): (Brad?) De La Rusa (sp?)
- --115 Genesis Locomotive
- --118 Genesis Locomotive
- -1707 Baggage Car
- 39029 Superliner 2 (1410) Transition Sleeper (Crew Dorm)
- 32117 Superliner 2 (1432-WI) Sleeping Car
- 32097 Superliner 2 (1431-NH) Sleeping Car
- 32072 Superliner 2 (1430-AK) Sleeping Car (My Car)
- 39971 Pacific Parlour Car (not refurbished yet)
- 38057 Superliner Dining Car
- 33049 Superliner Sightseer Lounge Car
- 34114 Superliner 2 (1411) Coach Car
- 34515 Superliner 2 (1412) Coach Car
- 34135 Superliner 2 (1413) Coach Car
- 34116 Superliner 2 (1414) Coach Car
- 31021 Superliner 1 (1415) Coach Car
- 800233 Private Car: North Pacific Coast - Tamalpais (33)
- Chief of Onboard Services: Jay Fountain (sp?)
- Car Attendant (1130): Roger Keilbach
- Pacific Parlour Car Attendant: Garrett
- Dining Car Attendant: Camille
- --120 Genesis Locomotive
- --377 F40 Locomotive
- -1708 Baggage Car / US Mail
- 39035 Superliner 2 (1110) Transition Sleeper (Crew Dorm)
- 32084 Superliner 2 (1132-KS) Sleeping Car
- 32082 Superliner 2 (1131-IN) Sleeping Car
- 32085 Superliner 2 (1130-KT) Sleeping Car (My Car: Room 5)
- 32085 Pacific Parlour Car (refurbished)
- 38044 Superliner Dining Car
- 33037 Superliner Sightseer Lounge Car
- 34096 Superliner 1 (1111) Coach Car
- 34508 Superliner 2 (1112) Coach Car
- 34136 Superliner 2 (1113) Coach Car
- 34109 Superliner 2 (1114) Coach Car
- 31005 Superliner 1 (1115) Coach Car
- 70013 AMTK Express Freight Car (Green)
- 800233 Private Car: North Pacific Coast - Tamalpais (33)
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