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San Bernardino Railroad Days 2013 and Santa Fe 3751 Chase and Ride 4/27/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Bill Compton picked me up at 7:10 AM and we headed north on Interstate 5 to Bandini Boulevard, taking that road west to Downing Road, which we took to Exchange Road to the Los Angeles Junction Railroad but there was no way for any pictures to be taken there. We then left that location and drove west on Leonis Boulevard, turned left on Pacific Boulevard then right on 49th Street to our first photo location.

Here is the old eight-track BNSF yard on the former Santa Fe Harbor Line.

There is a wig wag crossing signal here. From there we took Santa Fe Avenue north and as we passed 8th Street, saw Santa Fe 3751 smoking so we knew it had not yet left for the station. We continued north on Santa Fe to Center Street, to Vignes Street then turned right on Cesar Chavez Avenue before turning right onto Lyon, where Bill did the best parking I have ever seen. We then walked out onto the Cesar Chavez bridge over the Los Angeles River and did not have a very long wait for some action.

Union Pacific 8625 West came by our location first. Then we saw Santa Fe 3751 reversing its train towards us and I started my picture-taking.

Santa Fe 3751 reversed the train which had a consist of Santa Fe 3751, Metrolink 873, "Pony Express", Amtrak Horizon coach 54500, "Acoma", "Overland Trail" and "Tioga Pass".

Metrolink 600, the only F40PH on their roster, was at Keller Yard this morning. We started back to Bill's Blazer.

On the way there we saw Santa Fe 3751 reversing the train into LAUPT. We then drove out to the San Bernardino Freeway to Atlantic Boulevard South then turned right on Hellman Avenue and another right on Marguerita Avenue before paking and walking out onto the pedestrian bridge to our photo location for the steam train coming down the middle of the San Bernardino Freeway. This morning we would have two Metrolink trains to practice with before the big event.

First, Metrolink 354 for San Bernardino, came beneath us.

Later, Metrolink 353 to Los Angeles went beneath us. Chris Parker arrived and after I called Let's Talk Trains, I showed him the maps of where we might be going on Bart Jennings' rare mileage trips next month. A good crowd was now up on the pedestrian bridge with us then I spotted Santa Fe 3751 coming towards us. Everyone got ready, including the California Highway Patrol officer's car which was parked along the shoulder of Interstate 10 waiting for those crazy chasers.

Santa Fe 3751 running down the middle of the San Bernardino Freeway this great morning. We returned to the car and headed east down the San Bernardino Freeway to the 57 Freeway which we took north to Covina Boulevard east, and parked in a lot after we crossed the tracks then set up for our next pictures, after which Chris Parker arrived.

First Metrolink 357 showed up and would meet Santa Fe 3751 at Covina. Soon after, we started hearing the whistle of Santa Fe 3751 and then the chugging of the engine climbing the grade towards us. We then saw a headlight as the train crested the rise to the west of us and everyone was ready for their pictures of the steam train.

Santa Fe 3751 put on the best ground experience I ever have had with the engine as it went by. After that Bill drove me home and I put up the pictures on before driving down to the Santa Ana station. I boarded Metrolink 665 to Los Angeles to meet my good and dear friend Bob Alkire who had ordered me lunch at Philippe's in Los Angeles where I met him.

After lunch, we went back to LAUPT where Bob bought his first Metrolink Weekend Pass and we took Metrolink 666 to Oceanside. After I bought my dinner at Burger King, we waited for Metrolink 667, a train that I had never ridden before. As Surfliner 580 arrived, three youths were at the crossing at the north end of the Oceanside Transit Center. The one wearing a dark blue shirt then laid down in the tracks as Surfliner 580 approached but climbed out at the last second. As our Metrolink 667 was approaching the station, the youths returned and Bob called the Oceanside police, and soon a police car arrived and the one youth was taken away. We enjoyed our trip back north, where I left Bob at Santa Ana as he returned to Los Angeles where I would meet him to ride out to San Bernardino in the morning.

Click here for Part 2 of this story