Tag Archives: coaster

Trains—San Diego Trolley extension work interrupts Amtrak & Coaster

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Yesterday was my day to go to the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego and see what was going on. Well, nothing. Literally, nothing. There is no Amtrak or Coaster train action between the Santa Fe Depot and Oceanside, a distance of about 39 miles.

Track-a-train was showing all Amtrak Pacific Surfliners arriving and leaving from the Oceanside Transit Center. I set out to find out why, and it didn’t take me long to find that the line currently is shut down, at least through March 14, to re-align tracks and do some at-grade work for the extension of the San Diego Trolley from Old Town to University City.

Finally.

However, the extension is being built with a lot of Federal Transit Administration funds.

Uh-oh.

California voted for Clinton. Twitler knows that, and Twitler is a very vengeful person. I will keep an eye on these federal transit funds because I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Twitler will do something to exact his revenge on California by withholding federal funds.

I got quite a few interesting pictures showing the work going on. I thought it was interesting that the Mid-Coast Transit Constructors simply pulled the southbound Amtrak tracks about ten feet to the west. Presuming, then, that the Trolley is going to go down the middle of the Amtrak tracks. Now that I know about this, I can go out weekly and document process. Just south of where I was the tracks will be aerial due to a river (known as a creek in other states) and the tracks through University City and the University of California-San Diego will be aerial tracks.

Picture 1 – Abrupt break in the southbound tracks.Break in the Amtrak tracks for re-alignment

Picture 2 – Amtrak’s not going to like the excessive bends in this curveExcessive bends in re-aligned Amtrak tracks

Picture 3 – Mounds of rock showing where the track used to be.Mounds of rock indicate where the tracks used to be

Picture 4 – Southbound track re-alignment not yet complete.Re-aligned track work not completed

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#10: Torrey Pines Area, part 2

San Diego Historical Landmarks

If you missed Torrey Pines Area, part 1, here it is.

Let us start at the far north of the Torrey Pines Area as defined by this map:

Torrey Pines Area

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That blue just below Carmel Valley Road is Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. It’s a great place to go train watching since Amtrak, Coaster, and BNSF freight use the single track through the marsh.

Amtrak under the Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach near San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those trees you see on the hill behind the bridge are torrey pines in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

The torrey pine (Pinus torreyana) is the rarest pine species in the United States. It grows only in a small area here in San Diego and on Santa Rosa Island, one of the islands in Channel Island National Park off the coast of Southern California.

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I went to the Reserve at 7:00 one morning and did everything within my power not to just sit out there and watch the trains go by. Long-time readers probably realize how difficult it was for me to ignore the trains. Nonetheless, here’s a walk through a couple of the trails in the Reserve:

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The first time I visited the Reserve was back in May 1993. As I remember it, there was very little sunshine to be found on the trails since it was a fairly dense forest of torrey pines. Sadly, the pines slowly are losing their fight for existence due to drought, insect attacks, and pollution from nearby developments and roadways.

There are two named beaches below the 400-foot cliffs of the Reserve: Torrey Pines State Beach and Blacks Beach. Blacks Beach is one of the world’s largest and best naturist beaches. It is difficult to get to because one has to navigate trails down the 400-foot sandstone cliffs, and each time you go, the trails are different due to erosion from human traffic and rainfall during the winter weeks.

My knees don’t like me going up and down cliffs anymore, so these pictures are from a trip a couple of years ago:

Blacks Beach

Stairs to Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

IMG_7122 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Torrey Pines Golf Course is San Diego’s best and most beautiful course, and it’s a municipal course! It is where Tiger Woods won his last major championship, the U.S. Open, back in 2008.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Overlooking the golf course is The Lodge at Torrey Pines, a AAA Five Diamond hotel:

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) is in the Torrey Pines Area. UCSD was established in November 1960, and in just 54 years has risen to prominence among universities worldwide, with U.S. News & World Report recently ranking it as the 18th Top World University.

The campus has many unique buildings and public art, and is worth spending a day just walking around gawking at everything. The library, shown in the first picture, is named after Theodore Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss.” Geisel was a La Jolla resident when he died, and many of his works are in the Geisel Collection in the library.

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

UCSD Sun God

University of California San DiegoUniversity of California San Diego

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Across the street from the campus is the historic Torrey Pines Glider Port. I have been known to sit there for hours at a time and just watch the hang gliders.

Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Torrey Pines Glider Port

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On the beach below the Glider Port is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, founded in 1903, and one of the world’s foremost oceanographic institutions. The Institution is now a part of the University of California San Diego, and also includes the Birch Aquarium. Take an afternoon to visit the Aquarium because the view of the beach and ocean is unparalleled, and the aquariums and fish are pretty nice, too!

Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego

Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the very south of the Torrey Pines Area is the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:

Salk Institute, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine. It often is ranked as the premier biological & biomedicine institute in the world.

Constant praise is heaped upon the architecture, but I find it to be absolutely atrocious. Bare concrete everywhere; just depressing and oogie.

Salk Institute in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There you have it. An absolutely gorgeous and historic area, so if ever you are in San Diego, take a day out of your schedule and go visit the Torrey Pines Area in La Jolla. You won’t regret it.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Not always indicative of reality

Railroads & Trains logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you take Amtrak or the Coaster from downtown San Diego to Oceanside, at about the halfway point you enter what looks very much like a heavily rural, undeveloped area because there is nothing in sight from the train windows except sandstone cliffs and vegetation.

Miramar from Amtrak

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In the upper left corner of that picture is a collection of abandoned boats, shown here:

Abandoned boats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That boat collection is the only urban stuff you’ll see during a 20-minute segment of your trip through Miramar (see squiggly gray line that red arrow points to on map below):

Train through Miramar Marine Corps Air Base in San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Recently, however, I realized that it might not be as undeveloped and rural as I thought since Miramar Road and the Marine Corps Air Base Miramar are highly developed and definitely not rural.

The first picture above is a rail triangle, so I went searching for it on Google maps, and found it! On the map above, look for “Miramar Rd” directly below the point of the red arrow. Then look directly below “Miramar Rd” and you’ll see a gray triangle. That’s it! That’s the place! So off I went.

I found the location and it definitely is not rural and undeveloped. In fact, that collection of abandoned boats is simply the storage yard for a huge marine repair facility which you’ll never see from the train.

There is nowhere to park on Miramar Road’s eight lanes of high-speed traffic. I found a parking spot on a side street but walking on Miramar Road to where I wanted to go was a little on the scary side.

I found a bridge that gave me a direct view of the rail triangle and the tracks that Amtrak and Coaster would be by on. I’m sure there were quite a few car occupants who wondered why I was standing on a bridge with traffic zooming by at 55 mph just feet from me. The things we bloggers do for our audiences……..

I spent three hours standing on that bridge taking videos of trains below me. In the video below, you can see the boat storage yard at the upper center, and the building at top left is the huge marine repair facility.

This is a northbound Coaster commuter train on Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at CP Miramar.

 Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

 What one sees from the train windows is not always indicative of reality.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner northbound from downtown San Diego to Camp Pendleton

Railroads & Trains logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When Jim and I went to Los Angeles on Sunday, May 11, for National Train Day, our purpose was to ride the trains everywhere we wanted to go. Down the hill from us we caught the San Diego Trolley:

Westbound at the 70th Street Station
5:50 a.m. on National Train Day

The Trolley took us to the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. There we caught Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to points north, ultimately to the even more historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

The three videos below show some of the more interesting areas the trains go through. In the first one, we’re heading into Miramar Marine Corps Air Base. There are some neat landscapes but usually the front of the train is not accessible (I had a cool engineer!), the side views are horrible because of the steep canyons, and walking the tracks on the Marine Corps base is not something one wants to do. So the first video is a real rarity.

Train through Miramar Marine Corps Air Base in San Diego County

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This second video is another one that I’ve always wanted to get as the train goes through the marsh that is the eastern side of Torrey Pines State Park. The video shows us cruising down the track at 92 mph, the top speed I caught us going. At the end of the video we have slowed down to 55 mph to go around the curve under the historic Del Mar bridge, currently undergoing much-needed renovation and seismic retrofitting.

Train tracks through Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego County

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This last video is the final place in San Diego County that I’ve tried so many times to get to. It’s the rail yard for Metrolink and Coaster, where the trains are stored during hours of non-operation. Unfortunately, it’s on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and inaccessible to mere mortals like me. We also meet a southbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

Metrolink rail yard north of Oceanside, California

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, at over 125,000 acres, is what separates San Diego from the Los Angeles metropolitan area. In other words, it’s probably the only thing that keeps L.A. from annexing San Diego — that we wouldn’t like!

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Following are three pictures of Camp Pendleton, all taken from a speeding (85 mph) train with a Canon 550D and a Tamron 28-300mm lens at 300mm.

Camp Pendleton in San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camp Pendleton in San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camp Pendleton in San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak engine #90208 heading the Pacific Surfliner in San Diego

National Train Day is this Saturday!

Railroads & Trains logo

This coming Saturday, May 11, is National Train Day.

National Train Day

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In preparation for spending all day Saturday riding trains in San Diego County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County, I went out this morning and took lots of pictures and a few flash videos, all related to trains. Here is a 9-second flash video of the beautiful water fountain at the entrance to the historic Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On the street corner in front of the Depot, one can loiter and catch lots of train action, including interaction with cars and people. Those videos are not Flash Videos, though, so they need more processing time. Meanwhile, following are a few pictures from my railroading adventure this morning.

Amtrak at San Diego's historic Santa Fe Depot

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak engine #457 at Santa Fe Depot in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak engine #94 on the Pacific Surfliner in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak engine #90208 heading the Pacific Surfliner in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Coaster and Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner at the historic Santa Fe Depot in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Amtrak Police

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The police vehicle was not occupied and I wandered all over the place hoping to see the fine, furry, four-legged K-9 unit, but no luck.

For those who want to watch a longer video, here’s a 2-minute video of San Diego Trolley action at the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out of the darkness

Out of the darkness

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

While I was out trainwatching recently I got such an underexposed picture that I couldn’t do anything with it:

Coaster at Solana Beach

Coaster at Solana Beach


 

Before I hit the delete key, though, I always try to look at a worthless picture and imagine it after a session in Photoshop CS6 Beta or PaintShop Pro X4. When I finished a PSP X4 session with my underexposed train, I had this:

Out of the darkness

Out of the darkness


 

Not only do I like the picture as a whole — I really like the reflection on the rail — but I like it so much that I think I’m going to have it printed (without the black frame), matted and framed, and hung on my wall.

Location:

Solana Beach train station

Solana Beach train station

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Out & About San Diego #8 — San Diego: A train rider’s paradise

Out & About San Diego

#8
San Diego: A train rider’s paradise

San Diego is not a hotbed of rail activity, making train watching a hit or miss adventure. However, if you are looking to ride the rails, there’s no better place than San Diego.

Amtrak will get you from downtown San Diego to Los Angeles with a few stops along the way.

The Coaster will get you from downtown San Diego to Oceanside. From there you can take Metrolink to Los Angeles or the Sprinter east to Escondido.

Then there is the San Diego Trolley, or light rail system that has been going strong for 31 years. In August 2011, the Trolley, run by the Metropolitan Transit System, added a vintage PCC streetcar that was built in 1949:

San Diego Trolley vintage streetcar

During World War II, streetcar service increased dramatically in cities throughout North America. As soon as the war ended, though, streetcar service began to decline in favor of rubber-wheeled busses which were more maneuverable and required less maintenance. San Diego was the first major city to switch over completely from streetcars to busses, with the last streetcar running in April 1949.

PCC #529 originally operated in San Francisco. It was bought by San Diego Vintage Trolley (a non-profit subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transit System) from a collector in South Lake Tahoe, California. Although it was in poor condition, dozens of volunteers spent more than 10,000 hours over six years restoring it to operating condition, and it made its first run on the downtown loop on August 18, 2011.

San Diego Trolley vintage streetcar

San Diego Vintage Trolley has five more streetcars purchased at the same time and which will be renovated for use in San Diego. Two were also used in San Francisco, while the other three were used in New Jersey and southeast Pennsylvania.

Take a ride on PCC #529 on the downtown Silver Line loop with stops at the Gaslamp Quarter, Petco Park, Seaport Village, the harbor, East Village, San Diego Convention Center, America Plaza, the Civic Center, and San Diego City College.

San Diego Trolley Vintage Streetcar Silver Line service

San Diego Trolley vintage streetcar

The Silver Line Vintage Trolley takes about 25 minutes to travel the full loop, and travel is in a clockwise direction only, just in case you need to make it somewhere. The fare is just $2, $1 for seniors and disabled. Children five and under ride free. You must have exact change. Although the PCC #529 can accomodate wheelchairs, only one wheelchair can be handled at a time.

The Silver Line operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. First departure on Tuesdays and Thursdays is from the 12th & Imperial Transit Center at 9:52 a.m. Last run departs at 1:52 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, first run departs from the 12th & Imperial Transit Center at 10:52 am with the last run departing at 3:22 p.m.

San Diego Trolley vintage streetcar

If you are interested in helping preserve the history of the San Diego streetcar system or helping with restoration, join the San Diego Electric Railway Association (SDERA). SDERA operates the National City Depot at 922 W. 23rd Street in National City. The historic Santa Fe railroad station has a museum, railroad cars, a large model railroad, and a gift shop. The National City Depot is open Thursday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monthly meetings of SDERA are held at the National City Depot on the second Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

San Diego Electric Railway Association

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