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Big Trains, Electric Trains and Small Trains to see "No Further West" at Los Angeles Station

Big Trains, Electric Trains and Small Trains
No Further West

Photos and Text by Robin Bowers

    The past few weeks have had an itch that needed some attention. It had been oh so long without a train ride. Also time was running out to see the "No Further West," The Story of Los Angeles Union Station, an exhibition at The Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library in the Getty Gallery. I wanted to go on a weekend to see model trains running in the Getty Gallery on select weekends. The weekend of August 2 & 3, the Pacific Coast Modular Club would be running their trains. The last weekend for model trains was to be August 9 & 10. The exhibition was in honor of Union Station 75 anniversary in May, 2014.

    With a Metrolink weekend pass this might be my answer. The Metrolink ticket or pass is also valid on the Metro system in LA. It can be used as a tap card. From Union Station I could ride the red line to Pershing Square Metro station and walk two blocks to the Central Library.
Checking schedules and fares from the Santa Ana to Union Station, the senior fare is cheaper than the weekend pass. And at the Irvine station, I can save a few cents with the weekend pass.    

    But the just right or same price station was Tustin. As I had never been to the Tustin station it was time for a new adventure. The main reason for not using this station before was it is not an Amtrak station.

Sunday August 3, 2014.

    Leaving home with extra time to find and scope out the location, I arrive and park in the new parking garage at 11:45 AM. This was about 30 minutes before Metrolink's 663 12:16 PM departure. Free parking is for 72 hours.


Take this 70 bus to Sunset Beach at PCH and Warner for a nice day at the beach.


Bike lockers.


Looking south to Oceanside.


Track 2 looking north towards LA.

    While waiting for the train, I chatted with a fellow traveler whose destination was San Bernardino. He was using the weekend pass for the first time. We both thought he would be better going to LA and getting a train there as the next train from here to San Bernardino was not until 3:43 PM.


My ride to LA. Metrolink 663 on time at 12:16 PM.

    Quickly boarding and finding a seat in the more comfortable older cars, I turned around and setting behind and across the aisle was buddy Chris "Million Mile" Guenzler. So I moved over and sat across the table from him. We talked about going to next summer's NRHS 2015 convention in Rutland, Vermont. He is planing several excursions to take before and after the convention. As I have never been to New England, I am looking forward to seeing as much as possible. About 8 minutes later we were at the next stop and his stop in Santa Ana.
 Then the train passes by the under construction Anaheim transportation center. A glass cathedral to train travel. Then it is our stop in Fullerton. A good crowd boards here and the census is close to 3/4 full. A group of four set several rows ahead of me at a table. It is two couples facing each other and seems to be the first ride for one or two of them.

    We arrive at L.A. Union Station and at 1:20 PM and I step off into a warm, humid afternoon. Then down the platform ramp and thru the tunnel to the West Portal. There is now new signage in the tunnel at each platform telling what and when for trains using this platform. This helps since the arrivals and departure sign in the lobby has be removed. On pass the busiest pretzel stand in the country, pass the most unfriendly roped off waiting area in any public building, I arrive at the old ticket room. 


Gone is that nasty old wooden barrier.


Each railroad had their own ticket counters. Three windows for three railroads.

The plan was to have lunch and then go to the Central Library. As I planed to take the 4:40 PM back to Tustin that gave me almost three hours to spend. And what better place for lunch near LAUS than Philippe The Original. I walk to the West Portal entrance and Alameda St.


At Alameda St.


     I cross Alameda St and walk by Olvera St. & Plaza toward 1001 N. Alameda. Standing at the corner waiting to cross Cesar Chavez Ave, I see across Alameda the two couples from Fullerton walking. Walking to the next block I turn and see the group behind me. At the next block they are still following.


Lunch at 1001 N. Alameda and Ord St.

     As I enter the foursome is getting closer.

    This place is always busy so I looked for a good line to queue up.  The foursome are now right behind me. The line slowly advances and one of the foursome ladies ask me for a recommendation. This is her first time here and for sure she will double dip she tells me but undecided as to meat type. I tell her it is all good. She watches as I order my beef stew, cole slaw and lemonade. The ordering procedure here is unique to Philippe. I told her I saw them get on the train in Fullerton. She wanted to know if I was from there and I said no, I was from Huntington Beach and she said they had just come from church there. After receiving my meal I told them to enjoy their lunch and sandwiches and went to find and table and seat.

    After a satisfied lunch I walked back to LAUS by going down Olvera St.


Post Office Terminal Annex building.


Olvera St shops.


Amtrak bus bays with ticket room windows.

    Arriving back at LAUS, then proceeded down stairs to the Metro station. The Metro gives art tours of their stations at different times of the month. Check out their web site for tours as these are very informative and best of all, free. I used my Metrolink ticket to tap and open the gate. This station is end or beginning of the red and purple subway lines. So I can take either line to the Pershing Square. A short wait and a short ride to my stop. 


Pershing Square Metro station entrance. Building with three wings is the Biltmore Hotel.

    After exiting the station, I look down 5th Street towards Broadway and Spring and it looks like a farmers market is closing down for the day. 5th St is closed between Broadway and Spring for the Sunday market. I then walk up 5th St to the central library.


Looking up Olive St at 5th St on corner of Pershing Square.


Corner of 5th and Grand Ave with tallest building in west for the next few years.


NW corner of 5th St and Grand Ave. I think this is the old Edison building.

    SW corner of 5th St looking down Grand Ave. Central Library Annex on right with Hilton Checkers Hotel behind. A good place to have a nice lunch. Next to Hilton is the old Crocker building at 6th St. and Grand. At one time the tallest in LA. The Milennium Biltmore Hotel is at my back at SE corner of 5th and Grand.

    Arriving at Central Library at 5th St entrance and then upstairs to the Getty Gallery and the exhibition and small trains.



In the future?


In the past.


Always liked the outdoor waiting room at LAUS.



Architectural drawings, sketches and blueprints of Union Station on walls.





High speed train is a blur.










First class observation lounge car on the Santa Fe.


Lodwrick M. Cook Rotunda.


Inside new annex at central library.



If you know Dewey, you'll be able to find your way around.

    Upon leaving the Central Library, look across 5th St. and see this.


Bunker Hill Steps.


AT & T microwave tower. Used for cross country television transmission. Building on right is Gas Co.


One last look at the tallest (for now) building.

    Walking back down 5th St. to the Metro station was short and quick. My Metrolink ticket opens the gate in the station. Just TAP it.


Inside and track level at the Pershing Square Metro station.


My red line train ride to LAUS.


Chinatown artifacts found while building LAUS and located under East Portal.


View of tracks from next to East Portal.


New signs on platforms. My train 666 on track 8B.


Train 666 on right, Track 8. My ride back to Tustin.


Entire consist of 666 to Oceanside.

    Now it time to show my ticket and board an older car. The passenger load is similar to this morning, about 3/4 full. We left on time.

    The ride was good and lots to see. Quick stops at all stations. Arrived back in Tustin around 5:40PM. Safe and sound at my car. Saw bright light coming on the northbound track so I waited to see. It wasn't long before a Surfliner, the single level consist, 785 blew thru very fast.

    It had been a good Sunday drive.


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