The Pacific Surfliner (2)

The Pacific Surfliner (2) – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 26

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Arriving at the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego:

The Pacific Surfliner (2) opens as the train reaches San Diego downtown. The station is called the Santa Fe Depot. It was built in the Mission Style and the main entrance at the front looks like a Cathedral! (See Photograph 009).

The station has a wonderful tiling. The domes are particularly splendid (see photograph 010) and is a good example of the importance attached to railways when the station was opened in 1915.

The station is the southern terminus for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and the North County Transit District’s Coaster services. It is also on the Green Line of the San Diego Trolley light rail service. In 2019 the trolley was the 5th most used light rail system with over 38 million rides.

The amazing tile work continues inside in the main ticket hall / waiting area although some of the facilities provided at the station would benefit from modernisation.

We start the journey north:

The northbound Pacific Surfliner retraces the route I took a few hours before. We pass the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve which, although it is within the San Diego city limits, is one of the wildest stretches of land on the southern California coast.

As we pass along the coast the weather improves, the sun appears, and we pass along the stunning coastline. Solana Beach, Oceanside and San Clemente Pier soon pass and we take a final look at the ocean before heading inland.

The stations quickly roll by:

San Juan Capistrano, Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim and Fullerton quickly pass. We’re soon on the final approach into Los Angeles Union Station. I reach the end of my six thousand three hundred and twenty two mile journey across the United States.

All I have left is a night at the Doubletree hotel in Downtown LA before leaving for my flight home. The hotel has served as a base on this trip. This is the third time that I’ve passed through LA in two weeks. I’ve received immaculate service from the very helpful staff.

10th April – homeward bound:

I make my way back to Union Station one last time. The Airport bus runs from the plaza. As I pass through the station I decide to have one final treat. I ask Marco to shine my shoes. The Best Shoeshine and Repair really is the best! My shoe have never shined so bright. In September 2019 they featured in an article in the Los Angeles Daily News.

With shining shoes I go along the station under track walkway one last time to the FlyAway Airport bus service to Los Angeles airport. It is a bargain at $9.75!

Soon I’m London bound on the British Airways service from Los Angeles to London. My flight was changed so I’m on a 747. BA used to have the largest 747 fleet, I think they had 55 at one time. I’ve always felt very safe and comfortable in a 747. Little did I realise that this would be the last time I’d fly in a BA 747 as Covid 19 has led to withdrawal of the Queen of the Skies fleet.

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If so, please join me one day in the future when I’ve been able to make Series 3.

In series 3 I plan to travel from Miami to New York taking either the Silver Service or Palmetto. Then I plan to take the Crescent from New York to New Orleans followed by the Texas Eagle from Los Angeles to Chicago. The final part of the journey looks to be the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to Boston.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

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

Joseph McDade has licensed Midnight Cruise Remaster for use in this  podcast.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2021

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.