Thursday, August 10, 2017

OAK-BUR on the Redwood Empire 8-5-2-17

In my April 01, 2017 blog post I recounted my first trip on the Redwood Empire from Oakland to LA Union Station and beyond. Well I've done it again.

This time my friend Richard Spotswood asked me along with a few others to join him on another trip south along with some of the other owners. The Redwood Empire is due for it's every 4 year certification and some maintenance which will be performed by the Amtrak maintenance facility in Los Angeles. It has been in the Northwest, Washington, Idaho and Montana for the early summer.

There were 12 of us aboard but no chef and steward this time. We still had brunch, lunch and dinner mostly provided by Dick and ably helped by others.
Dick and I only went as far as Burbank and flew home the next day. 5 stayed on the train to LA Union Passenger Terminal.  I didn't register all the names in my long term memory so please forgive the lack of names of my fellow travelers.

This time Amtrak pushed the Redwood Empire about two miles from the private car siding in the Oakland Amtrak yard down to Oakland Jack London Square station. We waited about 20 minutes after the southbound Coast Starliner, Amtrak #11 arrived at Jack London Square for the Redwood Empire to arrive.

The Redwood Empire  approaching the Amtrak Station

After a lot of futzing about by the Amtrak Switching crew hooking up the head end power connection and brake line to the Coast Starlight we were about to get underway.  The weather was much nicer than in April but I did not take any usable pictures until after King City when lunch was set out.

Again I am not taking pictures like I did the first time. This next shot is coming down Cuesta grade north of San Luis Obispo. The railroad crests the grade at 1380 feet in a tunnel and in the next few miles curves in several horseshoe turns and tunnels to drop to 240 feet in elevation at San Luis Obisbo station.
This is from the inside of the lounge area which looks like the following pic seen going through one of the tunnels
We arrived about 1 hour behind schedule at San Luis Obispo.

South of San Luis Obispo we went through Pismo Beach, the beet country around Betteravia and Guadalupe, the station for Santa Maria. The line then goes where there are few roads out to the coast and skirts the Pacific on bluffs above the ocean with Vandenberg Air Force Base on the left. It was foggy in this section so we could not see much but I did spot a tall launch preparation building with a large SpaceX logo but to late to get a picture. 
Along the hidden coast south of Surf it is a wild country still bordering Vandenberg AFB. 
If you click on this and enlarge it you can see a large storage tank facility that has a SpaceX logo. Rocket Fuel? 
Finally the fog cleared.

After many miles we crossed Gaviota trestle where Highway 101 comes out to the coast finally. 

From here the route parallels 101 until Oxnard

In Ventura we were right by the Ventura County fair. Lots of people wave to you when you are on the back observation platform. It is cool to acknowledge them and wave back.

Finally it was dinner time as we sped through Oxnard
 After dinner we hastily prepared to get off the Redwood Empire at Burbank
This shows the train leaving Burbank with the folks who were riding on to LA Union Station. A couple of the owners will be staying with the car through the inspection and maintenance.

As Porky Pig used to end all Warner Bros. Cartoons:

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