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Santa Barbara Daylight Vino Lover's Train  

Santa Barbara Daylight Vino Lover's Train

Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, Round Trip, January 23, 2010

By Carl Morrison, comments welcomed.

If your photo is included in this story, and you would like a photo sent free as a medium resolution download for you to print, just e-mail me the Image Number from the double-clicked/larger copy to

It had been three months since I had reported on Bill Hatrick's Overland Trail private railcar Wine Lover's trip to Santa Barbara.  

My report is at:

And, I wanted to take more photographs on the railcar as well as in Santa Barbara, so this is an Addendum to that report.

To start, I ordered my ticket online from to get from home, Fullerton (FUL), to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT) and the Overland Trail.  Since I would be leaving in a week on the eastbound Southwest Chief from the Fullerton Station, I planned to pick up my tickets for the trip to the Overland Trail when the Southwest Chief would be at the station.  I wanted to do some experimental train photography and this would be a chance to accomplish both picking up the tickets and photographing.  It had rained during the day, so I knew this would enhance my night photographs:

Double-Click any photo for a Double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.

The photographic challenge was to photograph the train, which has reflective tape and messes with the flash. I had to lighten the shadows considerably to get anything but the reflective tape.
I started bracing my camera against light poles and NOT use the flash, that method worked.



Because of the long exposure, I tried a couple of shots as the train started moving eastward on its journey to Chicago.

The last car w/red tail lights.

The next morning, Saturday, January 23, I used the ticket I had purchased at the Fullerton Amtrak Station the night before, to board an Amtrak Bus at 5:50 a.m.  (There are no Amtrak Trains that run to LAUPT that early in the morning, but if you purchase a return ticket from LAUPT to FUL, you can also purchase a bus ticket to Los Angeles.)  This is the only way to get to the Vino Lover's Train by Amtrak.  Otherwise, you can drive to LAUPT.  If you drive, park in the underground Metro lot, off Vignes, for $6 a day.  From the garage go to the tunnel to the track and find the Overland Trail.  You do not have to walk to the Lobby of LAUPT.

The Vino Lover's Train is scheduled to leave at 7:30 a.m.  The AmBus drops you off north of the Great Hall of LAUPT.  It was only about 6:15 a.m., so I walked into the waiting area of the station and found a warm cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin at the coffee shop near the front of the station, near the Information Booth.  All the doors on the station were open allowing the cold breeze from outside to come in, but I found a cozy corner to sit and have my impromptu breakfast.  The Overland Trail has an excellent buffet breakfast, but I calculated that I would be the last to partake of that and I would be ready for a light portion of their excellent egg dish and some fruit at that time.

Because of recent rains, the snow was down to about the 2,000 ft. level, making a nice backdrop from the LAUPT platform looking north.

  I walked out to the Paltform No. 10 and the first Amtrak out of LAUPT northbound was there, with the Overland Trail as the first car after Locomotive No. 510.

Adjacent to our Amtrak train was a Surfliner with Locomotive No. 458, ready to head south.
  Inside the Overland Trail the staff was preparing for out departure, and one member was on the platform, with ticket packages, greeting arrivals.

The Overland Trail. Note the exterior color scheme, which is different on the opposite site.
The Overland Trail, private car, carrying wine lovers to Santa Barbara.
Ernie receives his ticket package at boarding.
Bill is a good marketer.  If people see his car along the way, they can go to his website, painted on the side of the car, and find out about his many trips.

Bill Hatrick, Conductor (and owner) welcomes guests aboard.
On all Overland Trail trips, a breakfast buffet is served with the unique menu item of fresh-cooked waffles, the aroma of which announces that the buffet is ready.

As we leave the station and travel north along the Los Angeles River, we see more views of the snow covered mountains past industrial Los Angeles.

(Right)  Bill welcomes guests and asks, if they enjoy the trip, to tell their friends -- the best marketing technique.  This table was a repeat cusomer and a new customer couple.

Larry Boerio, a guest and Train Travel Meetup member.


Four wine lovers from O.C.


We could see the snow for some time heading north. Here beyond strawberry fields near Oxnard.
Guests enjoyed conversations, reading, photographing, and watching the So. Cal scenery pass by their large window while 40s big band music played throughout the Overland Trail.


Camera ready for the surf shots available from the train between Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Tom Anderson, the Wine Guide for the trip, also a Train Travel Meetup member, catches up on some history with a book from the library in the car.
Full rivers from the recent week's rain emptied into the Pacific at Ventura.
Unusually high surf from the storms was just outside our window.






(Right) Conductor (owner) Bill Hatrick of the Overland Trail, enjoying conversation with the guests.


Santa Barbara Channel oil drilling platforms.

Bill making announcements about our arrival in Santa Barbara at the beautiful bar in the Overland Trail.


A restored Southern Pacific passenger car at the Santa Barbara Station.
Note the color of the Overland Trail on this side, just past Bill heading to San Luis Obispo with a new group of guests on a ride from Santa Barbara round trip to SLO. The Overland Trail has no vestibule, so plan to board in the car next to the Overland when you join them for a trip.  There will be an Overland Trail staff member to welcome you at the right place.

Be sure to ask Tom for one of these maps, either before you arrive, or before you begin your walk:


Or, double-click the Map above for a full-sized copy you can print now.

Next:  Santa Barbara Tasting Rooms and Stearns Wharf