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AAPRCO Convention 2008, San Pedro, California

"Rails to Sails"

AAPRCO 2008 Convention

 San Pedro, California,  September 20 - 24, 2008.

Story and Photos by Carl Morrison,


AAPRCO Steam Train Excursion, No. 3751 and the San Diegan

--Photo Credit:  Holly Kane at Oceanside, California

Sunday, September 21, 2008, the Day's activity was the AAPRCO 2008 San Diegan, under steam.

6:00 a.m.         Bus departs Crowne Plaza, San Pedro for 8th Street Yard            Crowne Plaza Hotel

(Text in this color is from the Cincinnati Railways website.)

7:00 a.m. Special train pulled by steam locomotive will depart Los Angeles from the 8th Street Coach Yard. There will be a dedicated bus available for day riders from the Los Angeles Union Station to the boarding location at Amtrak's 8th Street Coach Yard in Los Angeles.

11:45 a.m. Special train will arrive in San Diego's Old Town Station.

Old Town has a cross platform transfer to the Trolley system to go downtown or to Mexico. The train will not be accessible while parked in San Diego during the four hour engine servicing. Those not wishing to get off in Old Town will not be permitted to leave the train during the layover.

3:30 p.m. The special train will depart San Diego's Old Town Station and head back towards L.A. to take the Alameda Corridor to San Pedro.

10:30 p.m. Arrival in San Pedro. Upon arrival, a dedicated bus will be available to take those wishing to return that night to the Los Angeles Union Station.

*Please be aware that steam engines are notorious for running behind schedule and actual arrival times may differ.

Since I was overnighting in the Birch Grove, the 6 a.m. part was not an issue, but it was for my friends who lived locally and were taking the steam engine #3751 San Diegan.  In fact, I simply walked to the vestibule when we pulled out of Los Angeles at 7 a.m.  I think there were 3 day riders in our car.  One boarded in L.A. for this trip only,  another boarded earlier in Oakland (a smart move considering the early departure and late return on this day), and the third was a day rider for this day and one night.

AAPRCO 2008 San Diegan, Los Angeles - San Diego - San Pedro.

Before we departed LA, I walked through the train to the Overland Trail, to greet friends I knew were booked there for this excursion.

Aboard the Overland Trail

(Double click any photo to see a double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

Kelly and Tom Marshall (left) who rode the Overland Trail.
Steve and Barbara camped out near the waffle maker.


Onboard the Silver Lariat

3751 Crew enjoyed the cars as well.
3751 Crew enjoyed the cars as well.

In an open vestibule, I found rail friend
Chris "Vestibule Dweller" Parker
An Amtrak Conductor rides
in the vestibule with Chris.
7:38 we pulled out on the main line on this overcast morning.
We passed the Inspection bldg. where we'd spent the previous evening.

# 3751 pulling the 25-Private-Car San Diegan

across the Flyover  at 7:45 a.m. 9/21/08


The Observatory
, being the 5th of 25 Private Rail Cars in the consist, provided a clear view of 3751 pulling us across the best curve on the route for photos.





Unique, 360-degree Dome views on The Observatory

in L.A., Orange, and San Diego Counties.

From LA County into Orange County

Roger Schmoor catches a BNSF train meet (right).
We passed my home station, Fullerton, CA

About this same time,  Barry A. Baker, Fullerton, CA, was shooting the photo at the right in Fullerton.  Thanks, Barry for the contribution.  I was in the 2nd dome.
--Photo Credit:  Barry A. Barker, Fullerton, CA

Santa Ana, California, Station

It was hard for Richard, Donna, and Brian (left) to have breakfast and watch the sights go by the dome.

Connie had a moment to welcome the California Sunshine by the time we reached the beach.

Welcome to Sunny San Diego County, California.

Oceanside, CA, Harbor, with its red and white faux lighthouse.


Oceanside Pier is two blocks from the Oceanside Amtrak, Metrolink, Coaster, Sprinter Station.  A 50s themed  Ruby's Restaurant is at the end of the pier.
"Pouring the Steam" to 3751.

The new Sprinter, DMUs, rest at Oceanside Station before a run through 5 cities on its way to Escandido, CA.

Holly Kane (right above) was stationed in Oceanside to see us steam by, showing good form shooting photos with one hand and waving with the other!

Two photos at right were taken by Holly.  Thanks for the great contribution to the story, Holly.
Three minutes after Oceanside, we passed the classic Carlsbad, CA, Station, now the Visitors Center.

The Fish House Vera Cruz Restaurang in Carlsbad, a favorite mesquite-broiled fish restaurant of ours.
Solana Beach Station

Del Mar, CA, Racetrack where Bing Crosby and Jimmy Durantee spent some time.  Race season here is one of the busiest times for the Surfliner.

Old Del Mar Station, now closed, is where race fans used to detrain.  Fans now detrain at Solana Beach Station and a bus takes them to the track.
Sue and I will be sleeping behind that picture window on the left come Spring Break 2009.
Wave Crest Resort, Del Mar, CA, a great place to watch trains!

We pulled out on the Del Mar Cliffs right after Wave Crest Resort.  Watch the Video as 3751 heads south along the cliffs and Pacific Ocean...a favorite place to take morning walks while on vacation at Wave Crest Resort.

Passing under Historic Hwy. 101 off the Del Mar beach cliffs, to pull inland of Torrey Pines.

Marine layer off shore, Torrey Pines St. Park and Golf Course behind the bluffs on the left above the wetlands and estuary.
We curve up and inland at Mirmar, then down into San Diego.  Time to head back to the Overland Trail to see how my friends are doing.

The Overland Trail - Barber/Lounge, Bill Hatrick owner.

    Pullman-Standard built the car in 1949 for Southern Pacific, as its SP # 2981 for service between Chicago and Oakland/San Francisco.  Provided first class lounge space, bar service, barbershop/valet service and stewardess/nurse quarters aboard the famous San Francisco Overland.  It finished its railroad career as a bar/dance car on the Reno Fun Train (late 60s - late 70s).  Restored to its former "as built" glory by the present owners.  The car is owned by Bill and Debbie Hatrick and it is based in Los Angeles.

--From the 31st Annual Convention Booklet.


Wow, Bill had quite a layout for his guests, including two waffle makers!
Bill talks with day riders Barbara Cepinko and Steve Grande of and Silver Rails Resort, in La Plata, Missouri.
Amtrak Conductor Munoz enjoying the Overland Trail.

Arrival and Detraining in Old Town San Diego

AAPRCO President, Bart Barton, watches the spotting of the cars in Old Town.
Andy Smith ready to board the Red Trolley for a trip Downtown San Diego for lunch.




Pony Express




<>Louis Sockalexis


Carole Walker, Andy Smith, and I had decided to continue on the Red Trolley to downtown San Diego for lunch, so we just purchased our ticket from a machine and waited on the same platform for the trolley to arrive.


We passed 3751, which was still in the Old Town Station, on our way downtown.  The 3751 took the San Diegan's 25 private cars north of Old Town then the 3751 was turned, serviced and we headed north with the train consist running in reverse order.

We arrived downtown at the historic Santa Fe Station (above).  Our plan was to walk toward the pier, where cruise ships often can be seen tied up, then past the Midway flat top carrier to the Fish Market for lunch.  The bigger than life sized statue of a sailor kissing a girl in Times Square, modeled after the famous Life Magazine cover of the Victory celebration in WWII, was on the park lawn beside the Midway.  Also between the Midway and the Fish Market Restaurant is a memorial to Bob Hope's USO troop entertainment over the past decades (below).







After a long lunch at the Fish Market, overlooking the bay and US Navy Carrier repair yard, we walked back to the Santa Fe Depot.  Surfliners from the north stop here, and we spotted the newest Red Trolley design which also stops at this Intermodal Facility.

We were back at the Old Town Station by 3:30 as required, but we had a 3.5 hr. wait for the 3751 to push the San Diegan back for loading.   We did finally board and were headed north behind the 3751.

Another chance for an exterior photo of The Birch Grove as the San Diegan back into Old Town Station for boarding.
The Observatory


Chris Guenzler, Million Mile Man, was on the Pony Express.

Read his story about the 3751 ride at:


The Observatory owners, Tom and Nancy McOwen
Bruce Holberg and I did some photographic experimentation.

As soon as we were at water's edge in Del Mar,  the sun had already set behind the marine layer (above).  However, we enjoyed our candelight dinner and conversation in The Observatory's Dome while watching the light fade over the Pacific.

Those who were day-riding on this Steam Excursion, had a very late night, getting into San Pedro at the end of the run at about 1:30 a.m.  This was another good reason for using an AAPRCO Convention rail car as your hotel while at the Convention.  As the evening drew late, I simply went to bed.  My friends in the Palm Leaf,  Overland Trail, and Pony Express said later that they wanted to call and wake me as their ride went past midnight.

[ Next:  Catalina Island Excursion ]

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