The 2014 California Passenger Rail
Summit was conveniently located in the Metro Building, a few steps from
the platforms at the Los Angeles Union Station. Since I live only
20 minutes from the Fullerton, California Amtrak Station, I drove to
the station, parked my car for free, and took the Amtrak Surfliner to
the Los Angeles Union Station. It was a 35 minute train ride
costing $10.20 one-way including a 15% Senior or Student
Discount. I returned home and took the round trip train to the
Summit the second day as well.
At the Summit, I asked by show of hands, how many attendees had
used rail in any part of their journey to or from the Summit. My
guess is that 75% of the attendees had used some sort of rail as their
transportation to or from the Summit.
Here are a few of my photos from my travels to the Summit:
Fullerton California Amtrak Station the morning after a light rain.
The current station opened in July,
1930. Modeled after the Spanish Colonial style, the depot was a
masterwork whose aim was to articulate the progress of Fullerton
through its first thirty years of the new century. Although the
interior of the new depot is patterned with remarkable arches, it is
the exterior that is truly eye-catching. The gable and shed roof of the
depot is lined in a Mission tile, while quatrefoil windows, with their
wooden shutters and concrete grillwork, serve to outline a Monterey
style balcony. Fullerton is served by an average of 28 daily passenger trains.
Trackside are some nice informational posters.
The Santa Fe Express Cafe, inside
the former freight section of the depot, is open for all Amtrak trains that
pass from the 6 a.m. westbound Southwest Chief to the 7 p.m. eastbound
and all Surfliner trains during the day. Nice place to have a
meal, or coffee. They also have a beer and wine license.
The exterior trackside tables are an excellent place to watch the 50 or
so trains that pass each day.
Adjacent to the west end of the platform is the former UP Fullerton Station, now a Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant.
My arriving Pacific
Surfliner. They run in push mode from San Diego to Los Angeles,
then reverse out of the stub in station at Los Angeles and are in pull
mode if they head north of LA or back south to San Diego. Cab
cars are not a pretty sight on the Pacific Surfliner. The new
Metrolink cab cars look more like locomotives.
One of the more interesting sights on the route to LA is the BNSF stack train yard.
The Pacific Surfliners go over a
flyover south of LA, then up the LA River to the Station. A good
view of the downtown LA skyline is available on the flyover.
The LA River had more water than usual in this view northward from the flyover.
There are three street bridges over the LA River, along the
railroad tracks. All three have different architectural elements.
The railroad bridge above crosses
the LA River immediately east of the Station. Below, the Mission
Tower and tracks heading on up the river as we turn left into the
There are 14 or 15 tracks in the
station, so as you enter this stub in station, you are likely to see
Metrolink and other Amtrak trains leaving.
In addition to the 14 tracks in the station, "The Garden" consists of
additional tracks for the storage of about 10 private cars.
On National Train Day, some of these cars are pulled out for show and to advertise their public trips and charters.
This remaining single-level Amtrak Surfliner, with a former Cascades cabbage car No. 90230, had arrived before us.
All arriving passengers take a ramp
to a tunnel below the platforms. Tracks 13 and 14 have been added
recently, with access up the ramp to the platforms. There is a
15th track, but it has no access from the passenger tunnel.
Up an escalator and a few steps out the east portal to the station is the Metro building. It is about 45 stories tall.
The Summit Planning Committee made it clear where we were to go for registration.
Tom Anderson and Joyce Manning had our name tags ready.
Steve Grande, Trainweb.com, works the registration table and was on the Local Host Planning Committee
The first day of the summit began with a "Grab and Go" lunch which
I carried to the cafeteria overlooking the tracks at the station.
View from the Metro cafeteria patio
with a Metro Gold Line heading for Chinatown. Dodger Stadium
lights are on the hill at Chavez Ravine.
Steam from a foundry makes the Metro look like it is steam powered.
View from the Metro Building,
across the station platform roofs, to the station clock tower on the
right and the "Dragnet" building on the left and newer buildings beyond.
A post card display at the entrance to the Metro Boardroom includes some classic train postcards.
Attendees at the Summit.
The east entrance to Los Angeles Union Station from the Metro Building.