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Amtrak San Diegans and McComb, Ms

by Ed Lane

Subject: San Diegan and McComb, Miss.
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 09:39:22 -0800
From: Edward Lane Organization: ESD/TD

Hello Steve, Ed Lane here from Bellevue Wash. My wife and I had the chance to ride round trip on a San Diegan on March 15 from San Diego to LA and a quick turn around back to San Diego. We bought Custom Class Service. The trip was great and the scenery was beautiful. Many surfers were out and since it was a nice day there were a lot of folks on the beaches just walking.

We boarded the 8:05 Sunday AM after arriving at the Sante Fe Station. What a beautiful station well preserved. The Custom Class car was clean and there was coffee and juice, rolls and a newspaper all available. We were first on so we grabbed a seat by the Ocean side. The attendant did not come around and ask us if we wanted any thing until about 20 minutes into the trip so I got up and got our coffee and rolls. Since I bought a newspaper in the station we did not need a paper. The car was very clean, the bathrooms all worked. The car was a double deck super liner car. Only one time did someone try to take our seat when we got off in Ocean City to stretch our legs for a few minutes. When we got on someone just sat in our seat. We had our backpack, paper and our ticket stub overhead, so we asked them to move. They did after they gave us a few dirty looks. We arrived in LA about 5 minutes late. After walking around the LA station we waited for the southbound train that started in Santa Barbara. It arrived right on time, I think about 1:00PM. We had started to walk out to the track and did not hear an announcement so we stopped a baggage handler and asked them what track the train was on and they pointed us in the right direction. What a difference in this train. The cars were single level, and run down. The air conditioning did not work and the car was dirty. The bathroom stunk so bad you could not breathe. The next car tolet did not work at all so it was a three car trip to the bathroom. Of course, half of the seats were facing the wrong way and we had to ride backwards half of the trip. I don't know why Amtrak does that since the seats do turn around. Wine was served but they had run out of wine glasses so they used plastic cups.

All in all, except for the bathrooms, the trip was better than we expected. We always enjoy riding the trains and have now been on all of the WestCoast Amtrak trains from Vancouver, BC to San Diego except the Zephyr.

I found out from a friend in McComb, Mississippi, a stop for the City of New Orleans, that the old McComb train depot is being refurbished and will house the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, a historical museum and the current Amtrak ticket office. A train engine and railcar will also be relocated to the station. They are spending $554,000 and the project began on Monday. Talks are underway with Amtrak to put a full time ticket agent at the station.

Talk to you later,

Ed Lane

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