The Coast Starlight (2)

The Coast Starlight (2) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 22

South to San Jose:

The Coast Starlight (2) starts with the conductor announcing that we’ll shortly arrive in San Jose. We’ve just gone through Santa Clara.

As we approach San Jose we pass a Caltrain depot. Caltrain runs commuter services between San Francisco and San Jose. There is a $1.9 billion project to electrify 51 miles of track.

As we progress I see the concrete stubs in the ground which will have the cable masts bolted to them. A little further on they’re pouring concrete.

Visitor from the Netherlands:

I get the opportunity to speak to a visitor from the Netherlands. After a period in Portland, Oregon, he is now working his way south through California.

He tells me that he’ll be returning home after a few more weeks. We talk about the differences in the railways in the Netherlands and the US.

Into the countryside:

We pass through an area of fruit trees. Then past ploughed fields, the Santa Cruz mountain range and Mount Hamilton before we reach Gilroy. Gilroy is the garlic capital of the world!

We then travel through the Pajaro Gap and as we start to descend we pass a large quarry. There are many rail cars being filled with aggregate in the sidings at the quarry.


As we carry on southward we see people working in the fields, large irrigation systems an early crops growing. We reach Salinas which is known as the artichoke capital of the world – two world capitals in a very short distance.

Our route takes us on to Paso Robles. On the journey we pass an area of Nodding Donkeys pumping oil.

The Cuesta Grade

This episode ends as we reach the crest of the Cuesta Grade and start the steep downhill journey to San Luis Obispo. Find out more here.

View the photographs that accompany this podcast:

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Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If so, please join me in two weeks time when we travel down the Cuesta Grade, through the horseshoe bends and south towards Los Angeles on the stunning Coast Starlight route.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on Amazon Music, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.


AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Storyblocks has licensed Easy Ride by William L Newman for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.