On my way to catch the GCL, I had time to drive by the Amtrak yard
which is visible from the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10) just
south of downtown Los Angeles. I rolled the window down to snap
photographs and heard the 3751 steam whistle. The Los
Angeles County Metropolitan Tansportation Authority building is seen in
the distance and it in turn is at Los Angeles Union Station. The
GCL is just leaving to pick up her passengers at Union Station. I
am one of those passengers looking foward to a magical journey to the
Grand Canyon in Arizona. I had never been on a trip sponsored by
the Central Coast Railroad Club. They formed in 1952 and have
been doing excursions and railway preservation ever since. I have
been on a number of Trains and Travel charters and know to expect great
equipment on cool railroad routes.
As I collected 500 photos on this
day, I 'll show pictoral
highlights of the first
day. My apologies as I discovered that my camera CCD had dust on
it which appears in most photos.
The Grand Canyon Ltd, May 14, 2012, at the Amtrak Yard just before
shoving train to Union Station. Notice the yard guys/gals watching in a
group. Second photo, crew member climbing into or down from AMTK 66.
Since I was a passenger in the car, I was able to get these and could
hear the 3751 whistle. They left within a minute or two towards Union
Station about 2 miles north of here. Union Station is at the location
of the MTA building seen right center in the photo.
Trips like this are nice as one can meet many new people as well as
catch up with old friends. Each car had a Central Coast Chapter
host. I was familiar with many of the private car owners, so it
was nice to be able to enjoy the comforts of various different styles
of their passenger cars.
The excitment was building as departure time approached. A friend
caught this video
Silver Splendor, Sky View and Palm Leaf tagging along behind us.
Caritas, Gordon Zimmerman and Overland Trail ahead. A Metrolink
train is just visible on the LA River bridge on the Sunset Route.
After a few minutes, we reached the Los Angeles River flyover bridge
which separates passenger and freight traffic. Rails used to be
at grade as evidenced by the old cantilever signal bridge. Few of
these are left in southern California.
Several miles away, Downtown Los Angeles is visible over the train.
Once on the BNSF mainline, the Grand Canyon Limited hustled though
eastern Los Angeles County and into Orange County, past Fullerton and
into the Santa Ana Canyon.
Once past the Riverside County line, we crossed under the Panorama Road
bridge just before the junction with Union Pacific line from Ontario
People were at various locations viewing and photographing the
train. Below right we see Downtown Riverside and the Barton Road
Another old cantilever stands before the overcrossing of the Santa Ana
River. It too is out of service.
One of the fun aspects of a trip like
this is to meet a lot of people. The train was not so crowded and
people were socializing in most of the cars I visited. I was
familiar with most of the car owners and could tell who the NRHS guys
were by their vests. The 3751 crew mostly had hats or overalls or
Hawaiian shirts and were easy to spot. They mostly
held court in the steam locomotive, the Caritas car and the Zimmerman
baggage car. Most people were kept out of the 3751 crew area in
the baggage car by a car host and yellow chain. In the baggage
car, the 3751 group was selling souvenirs in the gift shop. After
midday, Robin from the 3751 group walked the train in a 1940's style
dress to pass out literature to entice passengers to visit the gift
shop. Robin could sell ice to Eskimos, so I made several
purchases over the duration of the trip. Meanwhile, the Central
Coast Chapter folks set up their shop in the Royal Gorge lounge
car. Two women were selling shirts, coffee mugs and hats out of
the Royal Gorge bar. For relief from all my other duties, I would
do business with them and hang out. You can never buy too many
souvenirs on a trip like this. Including my visits to the Grand
Canyon Railway stores in Williams, I ended up with 10 shirts, 2 coffee
mugs, and 2 pins. Out of that quantity, most has been or will be
given out to friends for general purposes, birthdays, or holidays.
Grand Canyon Limited Page 2