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Surfliner to the San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Game

Game Train

Surfliner from Fullerton to San Diego for a Padres vs. Dodgers Game

Surfliner heading under Hwy. 101 between Del Mar and Torrey Pines State Park, CA.

Photos and story by Carl Morrison,

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What could be better for a Rail Fan-Baseball Fan than a train trip to the ballpark?

As a railfan/tourist, I like to go places and do things without a car, like the old Greyhound commercial said, "Take the Bus and Leave the Driving to Us."  And, as an old Amtrak commercial said, "There's Something About a Train That's Magic." Plus the 7th Inning Stretch song, "Take me out to the Ball game..." We combined these thoughts for an enjoyable, relaxing trip along the Southern California Coast, taking the Train to the Game.

This journey began by getting tickets for the June 7, Thursday evening, San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game at Petco Park in San Diego, followed by reservations at the "500 West Hotel" on Broadway in San Diego.  Finally, we purchased tickets on the Surfliner, round-trip, Fullerton to San Diego. 

We perused the schedule and decided, of the 12 daily trains between Fullerton and San Diego, to take Train #572.  We left Fullerton at 11:42 a.m. and arrived in San Diego at 1:55 p.m. 

Where to Stay:

PICT2538.JPG500 West Hotel, 500 West Broadway, San Diego, 92101, (619) 124-5252 or (800) 500-SLEEP (7533) is one short block from the Santa Fe Station, so we walked there and checked into our $79 room, which was ready for our occupancy even at this early hour in the afternoon.  We found our two-single-bed room compact, but comfortable.  Sparsely furnished with two single beds, a small table with TV, and an armoire, it would be sufficient for two guys to crash after the night baseball game.  There are 14 private key-entry bathrooms on each floor which have a sink, commode, and shower.  Because their website had mentioned DSL, I brought my laptop and there was an Ethernet connection in the room, but the desk clerk said it was not available "yet."  There was free wireless Internet  in the three-room lobby area with some electrical outlets.  Each time I took my computer to the lobby, there were many other guests using their laptops for Internet and Internet-phone.  One gentleman with headset and microphone was talking with someone in Europe for 1.5 cents a minute and had talked with someone else in Europe, computer-to-computer, for free.

Where to Eat:

PICT2535.JPGPICT2530.JPGThe Grand Central Cafe, is located in the southwest corner of the first floor and is a popular restaurant, being the closest restaurant to the Train Station.  We had breakfast there (Corn Beef Hash and eggs for $6.95 and coffee for $1.65).  They are now open until 9 p.m.  Having eaten here on my Pacific Sands private car trip, I knew their breakfasts were a good value and delicious, but did not know they were now open for lunch and dinner as well.

After checking into the 500 West Hotel, we walked south and east to the Hyatt towers where the 40th Floor Cocktail Lounge opens at 3 p.m.  We were early enough to get a window table on the east (shade) side and each ordered a glass of wine and appetizers for about $20 each.  We enjoyed the food, wine and view on this sunny San Diego Day.  

Casually walking to the ballpark, we arrived a bit before the 5:30 opening so stopped in Trophies for some liquid refreshment.

We were on time for the 5:30 opening of the ballpark and found our seats for batting practice.  It was our hope to catch a fly ball, but only got close enough to touch one as it went by.  Our seats were directly above the Padres bullpen, so that provided alternative recreational viewing between innings.

Santa Ana Station from the Surfliner's second level.
Tustin WWII hangers will soon be sheltered from trackside by new homes.
Thursday is a light San Clemente Beach day even in early June.  Two bicyclists enjoy the empty parking lot.
North side of the San Clemente Pier with a few sun bathers.

Near north side of San Clemente Pier.

South side of the pier (right).  These pier pictures are much easier to take from the second level of the Surfliner.
Beach north of San Onofre power plant, south of San Clemente where fresh water meets salt water.

Closer to the same beach.

Carlsbad Village Drive, from Downtown to the ocean looking west as we flashed through Carlsbad.

Old Carlsbad Station.

Lagoon south of Carlsbad.  Mussels being grown in the lagoon.

"Running the Cliffs" at Del Mar.
View east from the 40th floor bar of the Hyatt Towers, downtown San Diego, which opens at 3 p.m. on game days.
The Marina and Coronado Bridge.

San Diego Padres' Petco Park between the towers, our destination for the evening's game. 

Southwest view (right) across naval base and Point Loma.
Carnival Cruise Ship backs out for departure behind the flattop carrier Midway.  The Midway is only about 3 blocks from the Santa Fe Station (right).

Carrier Reagan (above). 

Our table at the Hyatt's 40th floor bar (right).  Cheese or sausage appetizer, glass of wine, and wonderful view for about $20.

From this height, the San Diego Trolleys looked like N-scale.
40,000+ attended this Padres/Dodgers game.

Trevor Hoffman had been honored for his 500th save the previous night.

Sailors from the Carrier Reagan spelled out "500" for Trevor Hoffman.

PICT2479.JPGAfter overnighting at The 500 West Hotel, we had a great breakfast in the Grand Central Cafe on the first floor, then took return Surfliner 573 leaving San Diego at 10:50 and arriving Fullerton at 12:57.  We enjoyed the sunny ride back up the coast to say nothing of the surfers and sunbathers we saw along the miles of sunny coastline.  (This is the same route of the much photographed "Moon the Train" event in spring.)

When you are in Southern California during baseball season, try combining  a Surfliner trip with a baseball game.  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has an Amtrak Surfliner Station in their parking lot!  So that's another possibility of combining trains and games! 

Fullerton, CA, itself provides two opportunities to see good baseball, the California State University Fullerton Titans, former College World Series Champions, and the professional team, Fullerton Flyers, play at the CSUF field.

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