Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner along the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar, California

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Jim’s chamber music group, in which he plays piano, had a practice in La Jolla yesterday. That meant that I was going to go to La Jolla and points north to explore while they were practicing. “Explore” in the Russel Ray Dictionary means “train watching.”

I went a few miles north, to Del Mar, and parked my car at 200 4th Street.

Del Mar map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

From there it was a quick walk to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and, more importantly, the railroad tracks used by BNSF (at night only, to go to Los Angeles), the Coaster commuter train, and Amtrak. In 2½ hours I got 76 train pictures.

Following are five pictures of Amtrak’s “Pacific Surfliner” which travels between San Luis Obispo and San Diego. It is one of the most beautiful Amtrak routes I’ve been on, and I’ve been on them all! It also is Amtrak’s second busiest route, behind the Northeast Corridor from Boston to New York City to Washington D.C.

San Diego to San Luis Obispo map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Once the southbound train gets through the oceanside cliffs in Del Mar, it heads inland, passing through Torrey Preserve and over a beautiful bridge:

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unfortunately for people like me, Torrey Preserve is a protected and fenced area, and trespassing has significant financial penalties associated with it if one is caught. Best just to buy a telephoto lens and take pictures from the boundary fence.

During weekdays there is a train — Amtrak and Coaster — passing by about every 45 minutes. They will be northbound and southbound, so keep your eyes open in both directions. There are lots of great trails for walking and jogging, and overlook points for great views of the trains as they pass by.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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29 thoughts on “Amtrak Pacific Surfliner along the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar, California

  1. Pit

    Hi Russel,
    That’s something that is still on my bucket list: travelling by train in the US, on one of the beautiful routes. Maybe some time from here to California. As far as I know that’s a great route. Will see.
    Take care, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
    Pit

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      1. Pit

        Hi Russel,
        That’s exactly the train I was thinking of. As far as I know it runs through SA; so it would be really convenient for us to go to California on it. Maybe one day.
        Take care, and have a good one,
        Pit

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  2. readingwithrhythm

    I love these train pictures. We have family in California who like to go train watching too! And family here in Texas who ride on trains all the time. I’ve been on a steam engine once before. It was pretty cool.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      One of the great things about living in San Diego is the abundance of trains to ride from here to there to everywhere. There’s the San Diego Trolley, Amtrak, the Coaster, the Sprinter, and Metrolink. Makes for a great trainwatching and riding experience.

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  3. travelingmarla

    I’m a train chick myself. Love it for my main mode of transportation (I don’t believe in “HAVING the time, you MAKE the time” :-) ).
    I’ve ridden that route. Beautiful from inside the train and out. I’ll be on it again in February.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Angeline M

    Oy! I’m homesick for Orange County and points south!! Used to live in OC and took the train from Irvine down to San Diego…that has got to be one of the most scenic and beautiful trips ever! Now we’re thinking about the snow train from Sacramento to Reno this winter, but a bit costly.
    Beautiful photos here.

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  5. cadesertvoice

    Reblogged this on cadesertvoice and commented:
    Ah, the memories of La Jolla. I once lived there when I could afford it. Now that I am retired, I plan to take train rides like this one and explore, explore, explore. Many thanks to Russel Ray for these images. Feel free to join his wonderful blog. :)

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  6. Darla McDavid

    My son takes the Surfliner regularly to visit his girlfriend and her family — from Santa Barbara to Fullerton and back. I didn’t realize what a beautiful train ride he was enjoying until I saw these photos.

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