Being based in Southern California
has many benefits aside from our legendary weather, fires, earthquakes
and traffic gridlock. With the slow rebuilding of local mass
transportation systems comes progress. North San Diego County
gots its newest system, the Sprinter, dedicated on December 28, 2007 in
Escondido, California. My invitation arrived in the mail and I
called to rsvp with one major concern about attending, which was, would
I be able to take Amtrak or Metrolink to Oceanside and use the Sprinter to get to the
Grand Opening Celebration? One Christmas gift I got was a call
from NCTD on Christmas Day
with the news that they
would be running a special Sprinter train from Oceanside to
Escondido. I was instructed to be on board before 11:45 AM.
After viewiing the Amtrak schedule, I selected train 566 from Anaheim
with arrival in Oceanside at 10:24 AM.. While on board Amtrak, I
walked through the train looking for any familiar people heading to the
Sprinter. Downstairs in the cafe car, I found Art Brown, past
board Chairman of both Metrolink (Southern California Regional Rail
Authority) and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).
We seem to have a running joke that whenever I find Mr. Brown , I say,
"if I didn't know any better, I'd say that you are Art Brown" to which
he always replies "I am Art Brown!" I invited him to join me in
back in my coach where we caught up on rail issues. With some time to
spend at the Oceanside, we checked out the station and met some of the
other celebrants. We arrived just before the NCTD people with
their check-in lists. I then met Paul Dyson, President of Rail
Passenger Association of California (RAILpac). It was obvious
that local dignitaries were arriving and boarding the train. I
took the photos and figured out who the people were later.
Below left, these guys looked
important enough, so I took their photograph. Left to right, Art
Brown, Metrolink and OCTA, Leslie Rogers, Federal Transportation
Administration, Region IX, and Joe Kellejian, Mayor, City of Solana
Beach, businessman and dedicated public servant One member of the
party kept calling Mayor Kellejian "the father of the Sprinter."
I would find out why, later. Below right, the same officials
on board, waiting to leave the station.
They allowed us to check out the
Sprinter control cab. It has
They also let us take turns operating
the train. Just kidding!
Below right, retired U.S. Congressman
Ron Packard chats with Operation
Lifesaver presenter Jay Sarno. If Mayor Kellejian is the "father
of the Sprinter" then Ron Packard is the "grandfather of the
Sprinter." This became apparent during the speeches in Escondido.
The interior of the Sprinter cars are
very open with a low center floor
area for ADA compliance. Each car end has a raised seating