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An Unexpected Trip to Oakland

by Chris Guenzler

My brother Bruce called the house on Thursday Night 2/14/2008 while I was on a trip down to San Diego saying that I could not visit them in Sacramento as their water bed had leaked and the house was in shambles. I called him after getting a call from home and tried to convince him to let me come up but had no luck. I called Marty, my excellent night time Amtrak agent, and had her try to book me on the Stub Coast Starlight. Friday the agent at Santa Ana could find no reservation and I learned the Coast Starlight was sold out. With that I decided on a San Joaquin roundtrip to Oakland and got a room at the Jack London Inn.

Surfliner 564 2/16/2008

Getting up early on Saturday morning and after doing some household chores I finished early enough to head down to Irvine on Surfliner 564. I drove down to the Santa Ana Train Station and parked the car. A few minutes later here came Surfliner 564 into the station and I boarded on the lower level for the 9.8 mile trip to Irvine. On the trip I noticed that the road shoofly at Jeffrey Road still was not open yet. The train arrived into Irvine early and I crossed over the Pedestrian Bridge to Track One.

Surfliner 565 2/16/2008

The train rolled into Irvine on time and I boarded the Surfliner Cab Car. The train departed on time with me watching my Million Mile DVD on the way to Los Angeles. The train stopped in Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim and Fullerton before it made its final sprint to LAUPT. I detrained and walked down the platform for a picture.

The Coast Starlight stub train waiting its departure time for the trip only as far as Sacramento. I walked down into the tunnel and then out to the North Bus Plaza to wait for the boarding of the Thruway Bus to Bakersfield. At 10:20 AM they started loading the buses. I called Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Show, and gave my current rail mileage and the miles needed for a Million Mile Amtrak Trip. Our bus left first and went via Glendale. I read Passenger Train Journal which took me half way up the Grapevine. Next I listened to my Elton John "Caribou" CD that took me the rest of the way to Bakersfield. We pulled in early and I got the consist and picture of the train before they opened the doors to the train.

San Joaquin 715 2/16/2008

This train had the Engine 2002, California Coach/Baggage 8206, Coach 8028 Mad River, Cafe 8803 San Gabriel Valley, and Cab Car 8302 Mount Shasta. I took a seat in the Mad River and put on my Disc 2 of my Led Zeppelin DVD. We left Bakersfield on time and just west of the Kern River we met San Joaquin 712. The train made a quick run to Wasco.

You could see the distant Sierra Nevada Mountains on the way to Corcoran, our first fresh air stop of this trip.

I was watching my Led Zeppelin DVD on the Axion DVD Player I am using on this trip. I tried Chef Mario's Southern Fried Chicken which was the worst Amtrak meal that I had ever eaten. The portions were small and any Southern Cook would have been ashamed of the quality of this meal! The train stopped in Hanford and Fresno where I took a second fresh air break. The train left Fresno on time.

The train crossed the San Joaquin River on the way to Madera. The train then raced to Merced where we went into the siding at East Merced to let San Joaquin 716 pass. After that we backed onto the mainline and went to the Merced Station.

The train ran by the Castle Air Museum as we continued north. ]

The Merced River on the way to Turlock/Denair.

The Tuolumne River on the way to Modesto as I watched a Jethro Tull DVD.

The Stanislaus River as we headed to Stockton.

At Keddie Jct in Stockton, the San Joaquin 704 from Sacramento waited for us to clear before we ran to the Stockton Station.

Views of the fresh air stop at Stockton before the train left on time from Stockton and headed across the California Delta.

Mount Diablo was seen in the last rays of daylight. I was watching a Queen DVD as the train headed west into the night. We stopped at Antioch, Martinez and Richmond before we reached Emeryville. Most of our passengers detrained there before we made the final 8 minute run by the West Oakland Amtrak Yards then down the middle of the street through Jack London Square to the Oakland Jack London Station arriving there early.

Oakland 2/17/2008

I got off the train and headed straight to the Jack London Inn and checked in. I checked my e-mail in the lobby before heading up the elevator to Room 306. I watched a little of Night at the Museum, took a bath and made a few phone calls. I called it an early night and slept very well during the night.

2/18/2008 After a continental breakfast and checking out of the Jack London Inn. I headed to the Oakland Jack London Station. On the way there, Capitol Train 520 came by the front of the hotel. At the station I got the interesting consist of this train. California Cab Car 8304 Mount Wilson, Cafe/Coach 6361 Angel Island {Surfliner style}, Coach 8008 Stanislaus River, State Owned Superliner Coach 34653 Pacific Grove and Engine 2007.

California State owned Superliner Coach 34653. I waited for my San Joaquin Train to arrive from the yard in Oakland into the station. At 7:05 AM the train pulled into the Oakland Station.

San Joaquin 712 2/18/2008

This train had the same consist as yesterday with California Cab Car 8302 Mount Shasta, Cafe 8803 San Gabriel Valley, Coach 8028 Mad River, Coach/Baggage 8206 and Engine 2002. I watched the Chinese Steam DVD that Joe Harper had sent me back a few months ago. We left Oakland on time and soon stopped at Emeryville then Richmond before we reached San Pablo Bay.

A picture as we rounded the curve at Pinole. A few minutes later we passed through the tunnel that leads us to Crockett at the Carquinez Strait.

The train ran by the old railroad dock ferry pilings at Port Costa.

I saw the Martinez Drawbridge before the train stopped at Martinez. The train then ran to Antioch before we ran into the California Delta. The train ran by the Middle River Area of the San Joaquin Delta.

We met San Joaquin 711 at Holt before our train rolled into Stockton with me watching my DVD of Kangaroo Jack. I took fresh air at Modesto before we ran to Turlock/Denair. At Atwater we passed San Joaquin 701 on its way to Sacramento. The train ran to Madera as I put on my Monty Python DVD of Episode 7-9. I got some lunch then returned to my movie. The train ran to Fresno, more fresh air, before we headed to Hanford.

After we crossed a dry Kings River we ran into Hanford then onto Corcoran followed by Wasco.

I saw the Savage Coal engine as we left Wasco for an on time arrival into Bakersfield meeting San Joaquin 715 on the way there. I boarded the Thruway Bus and we left Bakersfield on time. I learned about a major mess of the Surfline on my cell phone thanks to Chris Parker. I listened to Elton John "Caribou" and then the Partridge Family "Greatest Hits". This bus driver took the 210 Freeway to the Glendale Freeway so we arrived into LAUPT at 3:42 PM, the earliest that I had ever arrived there on a Thruway Bus. I knew Surfliner 577 would be late but did not know just how late to turn into Surfliner 582. The station board had it arriving at 4:45 PM and 775 arriving at 4:15 PM. With my Amtrak Monthly Pass though I did not have to wait for the Amtrak 582 as Metrolink 658 leaves LAUPT at 4:30 PM so I would take it home.

Metrolink 658 2/18/2008

The train from Oceanside came in at 4:08 PM and I boarded the cab car. The train left LAUPT on time and headed south to Norwalk where just before we passed Surfliner 577 heading to LAUPT to turn to become Surfliner 582. The train paused at Buena Park before stopping at Fullerton. I called home and decided to stay on to Irvine, the advantage of having my Amtrak Monthly Pass. The train stopped at Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana and Tustin. At Jeffrey Road the new Road Shoofly was opened. The train soon arrived into Irvine. I went up and over the bridge again and saw Surfliner 785 approaching. I took the stairs fast to get a picture of it pulling into Irvine.

Surfliner 785 2/18/2008

I boarded this train just to get 9.8 miles towards my one million Amtrak rail miles. Very quickly the train returned me to Santa Ana where I ended this Amtrak Adventure.