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East LA Gold Line Tour 11/07/2009

by Chris Guenzler

Steve sent me an E-mail about a trip by the San Diego Electric Railway Association was doing a pre opening trip on the new East Los Angeles Gold Line Extension and asked me if I could cover this. The group would meet in San Diego and take Surfliner 769 to LAUPT, have lunch and at 2:30 PM take a trip on the new line. After two straight nights of concerts of Ian Anderson plays acoustic Jethro Tull at the Grove Theater and Dennis De Young formerly of Styx with the Orange County Performing Arts Pop Orchestra, I woke up tired the morning of the trip. I managed to get down to Santa Ana Train Station in time for the first train south.

Surfliner 564 came into Santa Ana. I rode south and at Irvine we took a twenty minute hit waiting for both Metrolink 856 and Surfliner 565. Having ridden Surfliner 562 all the time and tired I didn't get off at Solana Beach in order to get on Surfliner 769 there. Staying on at Sorrento Valley we went into the siding and when my mind clicked that we were passing Surfliner 769 I knew I blew it. I checked a schedule and learned that Surfliner 571 would get me to Los Angeles in plenty of time to meet the group for the trip. I called Let's Talk Trains as I got off of Surfliner 564 and waited for Surfliner 571 to board. Riding the Cab Car north we ran on time the whole way north to Los Angeles Union Station. Onboard I meet Bob McMillian who was also going on the trip. At LAUPT we got off and walked to the south end of the platform and waited for a Gold Line Train to cross the flyover across Highway 101.

A Gold Line Train crossed the Highway 101 Flyover.

East LA Gold Line Tour

Back in the 1980's Los Angeles RTD was going to build the subway to East Los Angeles. Due to construction and tunneling problems that idea was abandoned. When the Gold Line to Pasadena was built, the MTA promised that one day the line would be extended into East Los Angeles. They broke ground in July 2004 for this extension. In September 2005 two tunnel drilling machines Vickie and Lola arrived to make the 1.7 mile tunnel under Boyle Heights. The Tunnels were completed in the Winter of 2007. The 5.8 mile line will open on Sunday November 15, 2009. The old LA Railway P Line once ran down First Street where our new line runs today.

The Trip

We waited for the rest of the group to return from Lunch. Chris Parker and Cliff Prather joined Bob and myself as we waited for the rest of them to arrive at the Union Station. Our train left the Union Station Gold Line Station heading south on the new line.

Los Angeles Union Station.

The new access crossing at Los Angeles Union Station.

Crossing the Hollywood Freeway US Highway 101.

Our train crossed the flyover across the Hollywood Freeway US Highway 101.

Los Angeles City Hall hides behind other buildings.

The Little Tokyo Station at First and Alameda Street.

Our route turned east on First Street.

Los Angeles City Hall.

A building in Little Tokyo.

Our train started up the First Street Bridge across the Los Angeles River.

The old arches on the old bridge are being reused on the new part of the First Street Bridge.

The Metrolink River Sub and Los Angeles River.

The Union Pacific line which the Riverside Metrolink Trains use.

Another of the old arches at the east end of the First Street Bridge.

The brand new East Los Angeles High School.

The Pico/Aliso Station at First and Anderson Streets.

Our train nearing the Boyle Heights Tunnel.

Our train entered the 1.7 mile tunnel that takes our route under Boyle Heights.

The Mariachi Plaza Station at First and Boyle Ave. {Underground}

The Soto Street Station at First and 3rd Streets. {Underground}

Our train exited the 1.7 mile tunnel and returns to the middle of First Street.

Welcome to East Los Angeles.

Our route turned onto Indiana Street.

Traffic stopped on First Street as we turned onto Indiana Street.

The Indiana Street Station between First and 3rd Streets.

Our train turned onto 3rd Street.

A small curb keeps the traffic off of the tracks.

Our train went under California Highway 60.

A church.

Another view of those small curbs.

The Calvary Cemetery.

The train crossed over the Long Beach Freeway.

Maravilla Station at 3rd Street and Ford Blvd.

We start down the Downey Dip on what is known as the roller coaster segment of this new line.

Business signs in East Los Angeles.

The East Los Angeles Civic Center Station at 3rd St and Mednik Ave.

The East Los Angeles Civic Center.

The East Los Angeles Sheriff Substation.

Crossing Beverley Blvd.

The Atlantic Station as we pulled in.

Our Gold Line Train has brought us to the end of the line at the Atlantic Station at Pomona and Atlantic Blvds.

A spare train lays over at the Atlantic Station.

Our train laying over at the Atlantic Station.

Our Trolley that brought us leaves for Sierra Madre and we boarded the next car that would start the trip back. I relaxed on the trip back and at Indiana Street all but 5 of us got off for a photo run-by. I stayed on to make Surfliner 582 at 5:10 PM. At LAUPT the five of us got off and the train filled up with many Los Angeles Kings fans that saw their team lose to Nashville 3-1 today. Surfliner 582 took me down to Irvine and waited for a northbound Metrolink Train due to the single track work window. I waited an extra twenty minutes for Surfliner 785 which returned me to Santa Ana ending a fantastic day of train riding and the new East LA Gold Line Extension.