Southern California, a train lover’s paradise

Railroads & Trains logo

Southern California is a train lover’s paradise, especially if one loves riding trains and not just watching them pass by.

For riding pleasure, we have the San Diego Trolley with its ubiquitous red cars. The Trolley system has 53 stations, 54 miles of tracks, and three routes (Orange Line, Red Line, Blue Line). It will take one down to the Mexican border, out east to Santee, to downtown San Diego, and all around downtown. Its average of 122,400 riders on week days makes it the nation’s fourth most-ridden light rail system.

San Diego Trolley at the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego

Santa Fe Depot in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There also is a historic streetcar that runs circular routes downtown on the Silver Line. Looks like this:

San Diego Trolley vintage streetcar

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is the Coaster, which travels between downtown San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Depot and Oceanside, 38 miles north.

Coaster at the San Diego County Fair

Once you get to Oceanside, you can hitch a ride on Metrolink all the way to the historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

Metrolink

Union Station in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Or you can choose to ride Amtrak from downtown San Diego all the way to downtown Los Angeles, one of the most beautiful routes on the entire Amtrak system.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Once in Oceanside, you can take the Sprinter east to Escondido, about twenty miles and just a few miles from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Sprinter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If your preference is for freight trains, BNSF serves the San Diego area.

BNSF locomotive in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

BNSF doesn’t make it easy to watch their trains, though. Their tracks are in heavy industrial areas and usually behind high walls and fences.

To watch freight trains, I highly suggest taking a day trip to Los Angeles or Palm Springs and watching the Union Pacific trains build America.

Union Pacific Railroad, Building America

Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific 6190, a former Southern Pacific engine

Lonely boxcar in the desert faa framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

You can often catch the historic ATSF 3751 steam engine making its way around California since it’s based in Los Angeles.

ATSF 3751 at Los Angeles at National Train Day in May 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Every few years, the Union Pacific’s own historic steam engine, #844, cruises through Southern California pulling historic passenger cars.

Union Pacific 844 steam engine in Southern California, November 2011

Union Pacific 844 steam engine in Southern California, November 2011

Union Pacific 844 steam engine in Southern California, November 2011

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you’re in Los Angeles, where traffic is a horrible mess at all hours of the day, park the car somewhere and take Metrolink or Metro Rail. The trains are fast and clean, and the stations, especially those of the newer Metro Rail, are public works of art in and of themselves.

Metro Rail of Los Angeles

Red Line on the Metro subway in Los Angeles

Red Line on the Metro subway in Los Angeles

Red Line on the Metro subway in Los Angeles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Do you have Bare Wall Syndrome? Need a unique gift?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “Southern California, a train lover’s paradise

  1. Anny

    I love trains! Thank you for the video. My great-grandfather was an engineer so when he died my great-grandmother received a rail pass to go anywhere in the country, and believe me, she used it!

    Like

    Reply
  2. viewpacific

    Outstanding photos, some of your best. Your love of trains shines through.
    I didn’t realize San Diego had that honor, as I imagined the busiest transport of all kinds would be on the East Coast.
    That Pacific Surfliner is indeed beautiful as it rolls right next to surfers. I’d love to see more of your photography from inside trains, if you have that.

    Like

    Reply
        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          Yep. Turns out that I knew the engineer from my volunteer work many years earlier at the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum. He still was not supposed to let me stand up there, though, but I wasn’t complaining………LOL

          Like

          Reply
  3. Patricia Salamone

    Interesting photo’s and very enjoyable to see all of your offerings. The Santa Fe Depot in San Diego looks like the train station that was in the movie ” Rainman ” with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. :o)

    Like

    Reply
  4. Lexa

    Cool post! I see why Southern California is the paradise for train lovers. My 11 year old son would enjoy a trip there. Perhaps a family trip is in order. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    Reply

Let your words flow

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s