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The Trip Home from Seattle

by Chris Guenzler


The morning began with a hot shower and excellent breakfast with Bob and Elizabeth. After I repacked my bags, we drove into Seattle, first stopping at the Cafe where I bought my S.L.U.T. T-shirt. We then saw what was left of the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar after the Seattle Art Museum destroyed their car barn for a ridiculous art exhibit that they built. From there we drove to King Street station where they waited with me until I boarded the train, walking out to the train before we said our goodbyes and I boarded the Coast Starlight for home.

Coast Starlight 11 2/09/2010

The train had a consist of engines P42DC 116 and 25, baggage 1248, transition 39019, sleepers 32093 "Missouri" and 32057, Pacific Parlor Car 39970 "Columbia River", diner 38046, lounge 33016 with coaches 34065, 34515 {Video Games Lower Level} and 34032. It was almost the same train on which I came north, but the "George M. Pullman" sleeper was removed and the "Missouri" added. Daisy was my Sleeping Car Attendant for this trip.

The Coast Starlight departed Seattle and headed to Tacoma as I worked on stories.

Later views of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. I had lunch in the dining car at noon and enjoyed an Angus Steak burger and key lime pie for dessert while being seated with an older couple from Vancouver and we had a nice chat during our meal.

Later views along the Columbia River. We headed into Portland where I took care of a problem with a credit card, bought more Coca-Cola then went on-line and uploaded several items and checked my e-mail while we had an extended station stop due to the fuel truck being unable to reach the engines. This extra time allowed me to get everything done. We departed Portland ten minutes late and I worked on my computer, finishing just before Eugene, the next fresh air stop. I then rode in the Pacific Parlor Car until my dinner reservation time of 5:45 PM and was seated with Chris from San Luis Obispo and a couple from Torrance. I enjoyed the steak and vanilla ice cream but was stunned to find there was no china in the dining car. After dinner, I watched my Led Zeppelin DVD that took me across the Cascades, after which I was worn out and called it an early night.


I slept really well but was still tired. At Sacramento, I found my brother Bruce, the Amtrak agent, helping someone with their luggage. I was in the dining car when we departed on time and was seated with a couple going to Martinez and a lady going to San Jose. I returned to my room then back to bed and slept to just past Oakland. I then worked on this story and watched the rest of the Led Zeppelin DVD that I had started last night. South of Newark, we took the siding for a Capitol Corridor train before continuing towards San Jose.

Views of the ponds along the south part of San Francisco Bay.

Views of the ghost town of Alviso, also known as Drawbridge.

Views of the San Francisco 49er's Training Facility.

Santa Clara tower in Santa Clara.

Santa Clara station.

College Park.

The Caltrain facility in San Jose.

Caltrain F40PH-2 904.

Caltrain Baby Bullet being serviced.

Caltrain switchers.

Caltrain MP36PH-3C 927. We left San Jose on time and started the trip to Salinas.

View between San Jose and Gilroy.

Cows fleeing for their lives as we entered the Pajora Gap.

The Pajaro Gap of the Coast Mountain Range.

The Pajaro Gap.

Out of the Pajaro Gap and running fast towards Watsonville.

Union Pacific power at Watsonville.

The Watsonville station.

Views of the Elkhorn Slough.

The southern end of the Elkhorn Slough before we ran to Salinas, arriving in plenty of time to take some pictures here.

The Salinas Southern Pacific station built in 1905, used by Amtrak.

Fruit Growers Express refrigerator car built in 1923.

Southern Pacific 0-6-0 1237 built by Baldwin in 1918.

Southern Pacific caboose 726 built by the railroad year unknown.

The Railway Express Agency building built in 1907 and upon the construction of the third depot, this became the Railway Express building. It currently houses the Monterey and Salinas Valley Model Railroad Club.

Southern Pacific signals.

My sleeping car "Missouri" still has its name on the outside. The Coast Starlight then left Salinas on time for Paso Robles.

Two private cars just outside of Salinas. I had lunch at noon with a lady escaping Vancouver because of the Winter Olympics and couple from Torrance, enjoying an Angus steak burger and key lime pie. After lunch, I used the Internet in the Pacific Parlor Car and accessed my e-mail, corrected the Royal Hudson Trip story and worked on putting it up. I had one last thing to do and then we lost the signal. It came back in and I was successful, even posting it on just before we entered the Cuesta Summit Tunnel. I returned online right before San Luis Obispo which was a new record for me to arrive at 2:45 PM. I enjoyed the fresh air and connected to some people by phone then put back on the Led Zeppelin DVD and watched it as we departed on time at 3:20 PM. It finished just south of town and I worked with the pictures for this story until south of Guadalupe, after which I finished watching the second disc of "Fawlty Towers" extras.

Views of Casmalia.

Another view.

View down to the Pacific Ocean.

First view of the Pacific Ocean.

Two views looking south to Surf and beyond.

An inland lake behind the covered sand dunes.

Views at Surf.

Rocky points along our route.

Looking towards Point Conception. I had a 5:00 PM dinner reservation which they called early and was seated with a gentleman from Florida. I had the steak, along with vanilla ice cream for dessert then went back online and added some more corrections to one of my stories. I went online again at Santa Barbara and uploaded the pictures for this story then had time to surf the world wide web until we lost the signal as we neared Ventura. I watched part of the third disc of "Fawlty Towers" until after Van Nuys, when they announced we would have to take Pacific Surfliner 796 home at 10:10 PM.

I just relaxed the rest of the way into Los Angeles, where we arrived at 8:38 PM, ending a fantastic trip aboard the Coast Starlight. I went down into the station to wait for the crew of 796, which should be CJ tonight.

Pacific Surfliner 796 2/10/2010

CJ and I walked up to the train and I sa in Pacific Business Class for the trip home to Santa Ana. We departed LAUPT on time and made quick work of the line tonight, stopping in Fullerton and Anaheim before we arrived into Santa Ana where I detrained. My mother picked me up and took me home, ending another excellent rail adventure and my first ride behind the Royal Hudson.