Traveling on the Coast Starlight
with a roomette, is an excellent way to accomplish a day's work.
In my "Traveling Office" (room 2 on the Coast Starlight
) I was able to
completely redesign my photographic webpage: MoKnowsPhotos.com/NoteCards
on the way north from Orange County to Oakland, California for the
Conference. Conversely, on the way home, southbound, I was able
to download photos and write the web script to complete this
My 'Coast Starlight Office' provided a desk, comfortable work chair
with footstool and a large picture window at my elbow through which I
could look down
Pacific Ocean coastline! I had a restroom across the hall (even a
shower downstairs if I desired). I had ample plugs (because I
always take a power bar) to power one
computer for music, and one computer for photo editing and report
writing. My cell phone, also fully charged through the in-room
outlet, was within reach. My railroad scanner sat nearby allowing
me to follow our progress by hearing transmissions from the conductor,
engineer, dispatcher, and automated rail detectors. In the next
car (The Pacific Parlour Car) was complimentary coffee, juice, and
pastries in the morning, softdrinks during the day, and wine tasting
with cheese and crackers about 3 p.m. Now, that's an office suite
that's hard to beat even at home, especially the wine tasting poured by
an attendant! Oh, the next car was the diner where I went at my
agreed-upon time to have both lunch and dinner! Needless to say,
I was able to accomplish several days work compared to working at home
in my office there. In fact, I was able to work 12 hours with few
breaks since my refreshments and meals were prepared by someone
else. Heck, I even was able to doze off for a power nap!
It's not every day you want to take pictures of your 'office' or out
the window of your 'office' but the following are a few pictures from
my computer desk at 'work.'
always, click any photo for a double-sized version, click BACK in your
browser to return to this page.
I was VERY
pleased when I saw the Coast Starlight consist from my Surfliner
commute to LAUS, and I realized that the Pacific Parlour car would be
on this Coast Starlight!
Parlour car is about 50 years old, even it's refurbishment is
beginning to 'wear a little thin' in places and it is hard to find a
sign that completely spells: P-A-C-I-F-I-C
The interior is
not nearly as worn and weathered as the outside, and remains an
excellent and appreciated addition to the Coast Starlight for sleeper
car passengers. The Parlour Car Attendant, Kirk, mentioned that
there are still 3 Parlour Cars in service on the 5 Coast Starlight
Attendant, Hakto Hong (left), a 19 1/2 year veteran of the Amtrak Wars,
was an able attendant my car. As he explained the features of my
roomette, he had a sign with his first name on it making a visual
learner like me able to learn his name on the first try.
Car attendant Hakto proudly told me,
"This is the car the new President (of Amtrak) rode." Then he
pointed to the cardboard wastebasket atop which an styrofoam ice chest
usually sits and said, "He did not like the ice chest there, so it is
now in room 9. I put a vase of flowers where the ice chest used
to be." I appreciated Hakto's still positive attitude and
willingness to work with the staff cuts and other changes on Amtrak.
San Luis Obispo
is a crew-change and step-off-the-train stop.
locomotive, 117, in San Luis Obispo (SLO)
way of keeping people from straying too far from the train at these
Step-Off (Smoke-if-you-like) Stops like
SLO allow rail travelogue writers time to write down the consist:
Engines 117, 116, and 88; Baggage 1163; Sleepers 39007, 32090, 32082,
32055; Parlour Car 39972; Diner 38058; Sightseeing/Lounge 33018;
Coaches 34056, 34093, and 34088.
bags come out of the baggage car, and northbound bags are loaded in one
Coast Starlight awaits the "All Aboard" then we move up the Cuesta
Grade in late afternoon.
Since I was at
the end of the train after copying down the consist, I stepped back on
in a coach car so I could walk through the Sightseeing/Lounge
Car (above). The horizontal light was streaming in making a nice
from the Sightseeing/Lounge car is the Diner. Gus' crew had
prepared the Diner for dinner. The middle menu advertised wine
and drinks. The blue menus were of the often 'cussed and
discussed' Diner Lite.
It was at the SLO stop that I saw Kirk, the Parlour Car Attendant,
watching a Coach door. Then, at dinner, he was a waiter!
Later it was mentioned by Elizabeth Petersen, an Amtrak Manager
onboard, that there was only one Coach Car Attendant for all 3
coaches! Do the Math! The Amtrak crews have been cut by
about 50% yet ridership is up and the same number of cars remain on the
After the San Luis Obispo stop, we progressed up the Cuesta Grade
climbing 1,000 feet in 11 miles! This slows the train for the
sharp curves and tunnels, allowing ample time to shoot pictures of the
hills with cattle, California Oaks, and farm roads as we ascend:
I arrived in Oakland only 34 minutes
late, grabbed a cab to the Marriott at 1001 Broadway and checked into
my 19th floor room about 10 p.m.
The view, northwest, was great from my 19th floor room.
Photo Note Cards
For Sale by Carl Morrison