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San Luis Obispo To Los Angeles, CA On Amtrak California's Pacific Surfliner
Sunday, October 21st, 2012
  To start the day, I backed up the 232 photos I took yesterday and eventually had breakfast in the hotel lobby then came back to the room to continue writing this travelogue. I would have to check out by noon and my final train for this trip leaves at 1:55pm. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see my Buffalo Bills out here on the west coast but oh well! I checked out of the hotel at noon as scheduled and waited for my taxi back to the Amtrak station in San Luis Obispo to take my final train for this trip. I called the taxi earlier in the morning and had it scheduled for noon. Well, the cab didn't show up until almost 12:40pm and I had to check baggage for this trip as Pacific Surfliner trains have smaller luggage racks and I would need to check my suitcases as a result. I finally arrived at the SLO Station shortly after 12:45pm and checked both of my suitcases. On the days this train operates (Saturdays and Sundays, the rest of the week, it operates as Train #790 at a slightly earlier schedule), Pacific Surfliner Train #1790 first makes its run to SLO as Train #1791 and sits at the station then makes the trip back to San Diego as Train #1790. That train arrived shortly before 1:00pm. I waited on the platform for its arrival and listened to the Buffalo Bills game on the Tune In Radio app on my iPhone when the train arrived. I got permission to walk around to the other side of the train to get better photos due to lighting conditions (SLO's platform has many crosswalks built into it for such access).
  Well, the Bills lost to the Tennessee Titans 35-34, bummer! Eventually, people started boarding the train so I did the same but ended up hanging out outside the train until just before we departed. I left a water bottle at my seat only to reboard the train and find someone sitting in my seat, and this was after the conductor lifted my ticket and placed a seat check overhead! I must be one of the only passengers who actually looks to see if there is a seat check over that seat before sitting there! I was seated in "Pacific Business Class" Car #6803 in Seat #37-Window. The train departed San Luis Obispo on time at 1:55pm. The consist for today's train is shown below:
  I'm listing the consist with the power at the end because this train "pushed" back towards Los Angeles and for whatever reason had two locomotives on it. Shortly after boarding, our attendant came around to all passengers and asked us what kind of drink we would like. I of course opted for a Diet Pepsi which was an 8 ounce can and I was also given a snack pack which included a bag of kettle chips, some snack mix, cookies, etc. This is one of the "perks" for riding in Business Class! The first stop was Grover Beach which we arrived at 2:13pm and departed at 2:16pm running 1 minute late. One of the things I noticed with the seats in this car is that they don't all face the same way as there are tables in the center of the car with seats facing each other on each side and thus seats in the car leading to the center, face each other. We arrived at our next stop of Guadalupe, CA at 2:29pm and departed on time at 2:31pm. 2 passengers boarded in Business Class in Guadalupe and presented their boarding passes to the conductor for scanning and our attendant even gave them snack packs and pop, only to find out they both were ticketed for coach. Famous last words though from one of those passengers involved, he said the machine said "Business Class", insert rimshot here! They quickly moved back to coach after that! We eventually stopped at the same location as yesterday when I was on the Coast Starlight waiting for this train to pass us! Of course, the switch needs to be hand-thrown at this location so we waited for the Starlight to pass and eventually were on our way. We were now entering Vandenberg Air Force Base and would soon lose cell phone service in the area since there are no towers around there.
  Our next stop was Lompoc-Surf Station where we arrived at 3:08pm and departed on time at 3:11pm. We would eventually pass by Jalama Beach County Park and Gaviota State Beach, both located north of Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara County. I make note of these two beaches because well, you'll see a little later in the travelogue! Our next station stop was Goleta where Amtrak has a small maintenance facility here and there's also a Surfliner train that terminates here. A car washing facility for the train is located next to the station there. We arrived at Goleta at 4:14pm and departed on time at 4:17pm. Our next station stop would be Santa Barbara, CA which is a designated smoking break so for me, more pictures! Running 5 minutes early, we arrived at Santa Barbara. Passengers were allowed to get off and smoke. I took the time to get in some pictures and at 4:35pm, we departed Santa Barbara on time. As soon as I walked back to my seat, I found another passenger sitting there again! Now I know, I must really be the only person who makes sure the seat is not taken before I sit there! In both cases, the passengers moved to other seats with no issues. We made our next stop at Carpinteria, CA at 4:49pm and departed on time at 4:50pm. We eventually stopped by Rincon Beach to let Surfliner Train #777 pass us going north. Our next stop was Ventura, CA where we arrived at 5:18pm and departed at 5:19pm running 3 minutes late. Next up was Oxnard, CA (which will later on be my "home base" for this trip) where we arrived at 5:31 and departed at 5:33pm running 3 minutes late. The reason why I simply didn't get off at this station is because I'm flying home out of LAX airport and with it being a Sunday, the only Enterprise Rent-A-Car location that would be open would be at the airport so for convenience sake, I decided to rent the car there so I can drop it off on the way home. At this time, I decided to have a hot dog and a Diet Pepsi from the cafe car. It was a Hebrew National hot dog and for being microwaved, tasted pretty good. Our next stop would be Moorpark, CA where we arrived at 5:52pm. An announcement was made that we got here way too early so passengers could get off and smoke! I thought "Great, more pictures!". At 5:59pm, we departed Moorpark on time. The next station stop would be Simi Valley where we arrived at 6:11pm and departed on time at 6:15pm. Things were pretty uneventful going forward with our next stop at Van Nuys, CA where we arrived at 6:39pm and departed at 6:41pm now 1 minute late. There really were no on-time performance problems at all with this train which is always a good thing. Our next stop would be Burbank-Bob Hope Airport station at 6:47pm and we were out on time at 6:48pm. Our last stop before Los Angeles would be Glendale where we arrived at 6:56pm and departed on time at 6:59pm. At 7:09pm arriving on Track #10, Train #1790 arrived at Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal running 6 minutes early and this would be my endpoint on my last of 6 trains on this trip. The train was scheduled to stay there to be serviced and was scheduled to depart at 7:30pm for points towards San Diego.
  I began walking towards the station to Baggage Claim to pick up my luggage. Once I arrived there, I waited for it to be sent down a chute similar to what you see in an airport when you go to pick up your luggage. An Amtrak baggage handler was there to make sure claim checks matched up with luggage. After getting my luggage, I walked down to the other end of the platforms to an area where I would catch the "FlyAway Bus" to LAX Airport so I could go pick up my rental car. The cost of the bus fare was $7.00 and the bus was scheduled to arrive at the station at 8:00pm. It ended up getting far behind schedule and after repeated apologies for the bus' lateness by FlyAway's staff, the bus finally arrived, fully loaded from the airport. They first unloaded all passengers and luggage, then the good-sized group of passengers, myself included, boarded. The ride to the Airport was uneventful as traffic on the freeways wasn't that bad due to it being Sunday night. I got off the bus at Terminal 1, then went downstairs to board the Enterprise shuttle bus to their facility which is off airport property. Once I arrived there, I used a kiosk to check in and was given a printout of my reservation. I would get a 2012 Ford Fusion SEL for a rental car. This is the outgoing model of this car as Ford has redesigned it for 2013. After signing the paperwork, I set up my Garmin Nuvi 50LM GPS in the car and would head for Oxnard which will be my "home base" for the next 4 nights! The drive there was decent, having no major issues with traffic. I arrived at the Courtyard By Marriott hotel there which is by far, my favorite hotel chain. They really cater mostly to business travelers but regardless offer nice, clean, modern rooms and the service is excellent. Once I got to the hotel, I realized how tired I really was so I grabbed a sandwich and a bag of chips from "The Market" at the front desk of the hotel and eventually called it a day! Although my Amtrak riding for this trip is now complete, this trip is by no means over yet! I came to Southern California to railfan along the route Amtrak uses mostly north of Los Angeles and trust me, you won't want to miss that! Before we get to that though, check out some great photos taken along the route of the Pacific Surfliner from San Luis Obispo towards Los Angeles by clicking the link below...