Audio in CA, Railway Museums in IL and WI
May 31-June 13, 2013

Don Winter


This trip was to attend the 2013 R&LHS Convention in Madison, WI. We also spent three days attending The Home Entertainment Show in Newport Beach, CA, and a day documenting a former SP line in Orange County. As usual, we traveled out and back (Los Angeles to Madison and return) on Amtrak.

In Orange County (5/31 to 6/3)

Friday, May 31st, 2013

On Friday, the opening day of the show, we get up very early (for us), and are on the way south not long after 8 am, taking state routes 58 and 15, Interstate 210, state route 57, I-5 and state route 55 to the vicinity of the John Wayne Orange County airport, where we lose some time finding the way to our hotel for the next three nights, where we're going to park the car. The airport is in Costa Mesa, the hotel in Irvine, and the show in Newport Beach, although less than a mile separates them all. After checking in at the hotel, we take a taxi (the promised shuttle service isn't running on Friday), over to the Atrium Hotel in Newport Beach, one of the two adjacent hotels hosting the show, where we check in at the registration desk and receive our badges and show guides. Since it is now noon, we proceed out to the driveway, where food trucks are parked, and eat lunch.

After a quick gander around the rooms on the ground floor, we proceed to the second floor, where we start visiting the various rooms in which exhibitors have equipment set up and playing music for attendees to audition. We listen to some expensive Magico speakers, a number of forgettable systems, an excellent and reasonably priced Magnepan system, and Jerry Axelrod's System Design Group setup, where we are particularly taken by the small subwoofer. Jerry tells us that he now only opens the store by appointment. The other end of the second floor has an excellent home theater setup, one of the few exhibits with video at this show.

On the third floor of the Atrium, we first stop in the Red Wine Audio room, where the performance of 'Pictures at an Exhibition' seems rather dry. It turns out to be an original LP of the Chicago Symphony with Fritz Reiner, from 1958. A different recording shows that the system being used does, indeed, have both bass and mid-range warmth  In another room, a visitor has the hosts play his CD of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', where the low organ pedal is completely absent. After that visitor leaves, a recording of string bass shows that it wasn't the system that lacked the low bass notes! One of the rooms on this floor was located directly above the hotel laundry, and the constant vibration of the floor that resulted was a distinct distraction from music listening. In another room, the Gallo loudspeakers sound good, but we can't get them to play anything symphonic for us, making us wonder if the speakers don't handle our kind of music!

We now head next door to the Hilton, where we visit the rooms off the main lobby, and then start on the second floor, starting with the Sunny's Audio room with the Wilson Alexandria speakers. In this room, the music and recordings (1960s LPs) being played are inadequate to demonstrate the quality of the speakers and electronics. The demonstrator (Sunil himself) says that "Wilson's Peter McGrath set up the system", and I respond that I bet he didn't choose the sources being played. As we turn to leave, Mark, one of the hosts, asks me what I think, and I say just that to him, He commiserates, and after some discussion asks us to come back later. I say we will do so on Sunday afternoon. We then visit the rooms on the short end of that floor, and call it a day.

We get the Hilton's shuttle to take us back to the Marriott, where we're staying, and later, we walk to the nearby Prego for dinner.

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

This morning, we have breakfast in the hotel, and then head back to the Hilton for the start of the show at 10 am. We start on the tenth floor, intending to work our way downwards. I'm impressed by the Vandersteen speakers in the Optimal Enchantment room, where we get to hear some symphonic music. The bsg Technologies room is demonstrating its "signal completion" technology, with symphonic music. After listening to the in/out comparisons for awhile, I engage the demonstrator in conversation, telling him that while I clearly hear the differences, and prefer the "in" condition, I'm not convinced that this technology is doing anything conceptually different from the Bose systems that 'pre-distort' the signals to compensate for room deficiencies. He and a visitor (who owns the component) try to convince me otherwise, but I really don't hear that the system is doing what is claimed.

Elsewhere on the tenth floor, I enjoy the YG room and several others. We then go down to the lobby to get something to drink, and visit the rooms in the Crystal Foyer (where we see a very high resolution Samsung TV) before proceeding to the fifth floor. On this and other floors, I finally get to hear some of the small BBC monitor-derived stand-mounted speakers that I've read about but don't recall hearing before. I'm impressed with the sound they make on vocals and small combos, but none of their demonstrators seems able to find any symphonic music to demonstrate to us. This strikes me as indicative that they won't really handle our kind of music. We also visit a number of rooms that only have turntables for their sound source, and even though they're almost all willing to put on a symphonic LP for us, and the music sounds good, I don't agree with their arguments about the continuing superiority or "analog" except in exceedingly expensive systems.

Somewhere today, we visit a room whose only source is an open-reel tape recorder with very large reels. It's playing at 15 inches/second, using direct copies of original master tapes. The sound is very, very good, but the (lack of) availability of this quality of source material precludes this from being the center of a practical music system. On the fourth floor, the Linn Loudspeakers room has a system with horn speakers which the demonstrator claims is the best sound at the show. When we get him to put on something symphonic, it sounds distorted and overly boomy (and the best he can do is Erich Kunzel). On this floor, the Martin-Logan and Emotiva speakers sound good to us.  When we're finished wth the fourth floor, we take the shuttle back over to the Marriott, and later have dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

After breakfast this morning, we take the shuttle back to the Hilton and start on the third floor. After a couple of good but not spectacular rooms, we stop in the Spatial Computer room, in which a laptop (one of several we saw and heard at this show providing the only source for the system it was used in), a combination DAC and integrated amp, and a pair of excellent speakers, are all the equipment producing the music. Doubtless, the analog brigade would have disparaged the result, but we loved it. The Upscale Audio room was also good. In another room, not only was the only source a turntable, but the LPs were being supplied by a classical music LP dealer from somewhere in Greater LA, who treated us to some recordings we have known and loved for decades, in excellent sound. A few of the recordings had clicks and pops, but the analog lovers waved them off!

The best recording we heard at the how was a new Channel Island recording of Mahler's First Symphony, We couldn't find out the performers, because the recording was still downloading from a USB stick left by someone no longer in the room. The Janszen loudspeaker room was also good. Back on the second floor, the first room we entered was playing Elvis' 'Are you Lonesome Tonight', from an original LP. The only source was the expensive turntable. After sitting down, I glanced to my left, and sitting there holding his stack of LPs was Mikey Fremer, the analog guru par excellence. The host then played one of his LPs, and perceiving that we had not chance of getting anything symphonic, we moved on.

A couple of good, but not spectacular, rooms later, we walked in on another LP-only room, where Mikey was already playing an LP. When it was over, I asked if the singer had been Buddy Holly, to Mikey's great pleasure, as he gave a short speech on the wherewithal of the recording session. Down the hall, at Sunny's Audio's second room, we heard an excellent Audio Research system. I asked for and got some symphonic music, but another visitor disparaged the conductor (Eugen Jochum). That visitor, who would have preferred Mahler to the Brahms being played, turned out to be Clark Johnson!

Finally, we returned to the first Sunny's Audio room, where the Wilson Alexandria's (we had heard Sophia's somewhere in the show) were playing something much more attuned to the quality of the system. After I had sat down in the centger seat, Mark put on the Mirella Freni/Thomas Schippers LP of 'La Boheme', end of Act 1 (duet), and after I has wallowed in the sound, told me that was his personal recording that he had brought in just for me! I thanked him, and told him I had owned that recording, in one form or another for fifty years. He then invited us to make an appointment at Sunny's Audio (in Covina) sometime when we're going to be in LA.) This completed our traversal of the show, so we took the shuttle back to our hotel.

In the evening, we had dinner with the family (postponed from Saturday), when Roger and Kris brought down Henry and Sam for the evening. After some discussion, we eat at the nearby El Torito.

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

On Monday, our train east isn't until early evening, so we're in no hurry earlier in the day. We get up later than the last few days, have breakfast, and then pack slowly before checking out of the hotel. With many hours to spare, we have chosen to document the route of the former SP Santa Ana line, now the UP Santa Ana industrial lead, which reaches from just east of the east end of I-105 down to Costa Mesa, according to our ETT and street map.

We take I-405 west to Harbor Boulevard, and then south to the supposed south end of the line, along Village Way. There is no sign of a line here, or anywhere heading north until we get on the north side of MacArthur Boulevard, where the spur heading north over Segerstrom is still active. From here, the line heads east, through industrial areas, past Fairview and Bristol Streets, turning east-northeast across Dyer Road and Main Street in Santa Ana, then east and north, through residential areas, across Warner, Edinger, and McFadden Avenues until the line connects into the Metrolink (former Santa Fe) at Chestnut Avenue. The former line through Santa Ana and along the west side of I-5 is out of service (and long removed) untl north of the state route 57 interchange, where there is a connector from the former Santa Fe between Katella and Cerritos Avenues, in Anaheim.

After some circling around to find a freeway entrance, we take I-5 north to Katella, and then follow the Industrial Lead north to Santa Ana Street, and then west across I-5, past the wye with the Stanton Industrial Lead at West Anaheim, turning west-northwest, to follow as best we can as the line runs along the south side of I-5, mostly engulfed in the results of the freeway widening of ten years or so ago, into Los Angeles County at Knott Avenue and Artesia Boulevard, where the freeway is just now being widened, with many street closures, and on, separated from the freeway, to the wye at Studebaker in Norwalk, where the industrial lead ends. From here, we take I-610 and I-5 into Los Angeles, parking (with some difficulty, due to parking structure construction) in the MTA garage.

The Journey East (6/3-6/5)

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 (cont.)

We take the largest suitcase to the Amtrak counter, only to find that we can't check the bag due to the connection in Chicago being less than three hours (claimed to be a longtime restriction that is just now being enforced). So, when it's time to head for the train, I wait with the big bag at Track 11, while Chris fecthes the rest of the bags from the car. We then go up the ramp to the train, which leaves on time.


P42                         12
P42                        172
Baggage                1247
Dorm                   39033
Sleeper                32109    South Dakota
Sleeper                32066
Diner                    38031
Lounge                 33049
Coach-Baggage    31007
Coach                   34054
Coach                   34018           

Train 4, 6-3-2013



Los Angeles

 6:15 pm

6:14 pm


6:50 7:01-10


7:33 7:53-59

San Bernardino

7:59 8:17-25



Flagstaff, AZ                     PT

4:41 am 5:09 am

Gallup, NM                         MT

8:21 8:48-53


12:10 pm
12:13 pm


1:17 1:18-23

Las Vegas, NM

3:03 3:10-13


4:50 5:12-18

Trinidad, CO

5:49 6:14-16

La Junta 

Lamar                          MT 8:40 8:43-45



Kansas City, MO               CT

7:24 am
7:30 am

La Plata

9:55 10:05-09

Ft. Madison, IA

11:09 11:19-26

Galesburg, IL

12:08 pm 12:27-32


12:58 1:30-33


1:19 2:02-04


2:42 2:59-3:01


3:15 3:13

Southwest Chief route description

On the way out to Fullerton, we're delayed for twelve minutes at Buena Park for Train 707 to clear.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I awake at Flagtaff, in time to note the departure time, and then sleep some more, arising before Gallup. At Albuquerque, the Kansas City Southern Business Train, with Amtrak power, is parked in an adjacent platform. We meet Train 3 at Chapelle, having to pass through a 10 mph siding to do so. There are signal problems at East Colmar.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

I awake during the fuel stop at Argentine, and we dress during the stop at Kansas City. We get later due to track work at various places, but the schedule padding gets us into Chicago on time. Despite the 'rule' regarding three hours in Chicago, the train announcement approaching Chicago says that checked bags will be available twenty minutes after arrival. We go to the Metropolitan Lounge, and at 4:30 pm, the Red Cap takes us up to the bus stop on the east sdie of Cana Street, just outside the main entrance to this side of the station.

A double-deck bus run by Van Galder, a Stagecoach company, pulls up at about 4:45 pm, and the driver loads luggae into a storage compartment before starting to take tickets from the line of passengers. The "5 pm" bus finally leaves about 5:20 pm, heading west on I-90, in heavy traffic, as rain starts to fall, and then through 35 miles of 45 mph construction zone, before making two stops at Rockford, and then stops at Beloit and Janesville. Following the latter, we call  Mike & Sigi Walker at the Madison hotel, and they send Ken and Ann Miller to the park and ride where the bus will stop. We get there about 8:40 pm, and after transferring the luggage to their car, are at the hotel by 9 pm. We have dinner in the hotel bar, chatting with the Millers and the Pfeiffers.

At the Convention (6/6-6/9)

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Today has no meeting events until later afternoon, so we sleep in and patronize a nearby IHOP for lunch (and I then patronize a Starbucks in the opposite direction, ad rain starts to fall lightly. Chris spends the afternoon helping Sigi Walker at the registration table, while I get on with my current book in our room. By 4:30 pm, the hotel staff are setting up for the meeting reception, and several vendors have set up their sales tables in the same room. On being alerted of this, I peruse the wares, and purchase two books that have been on my list to order.

The food for the reception is local Wisconsin-German style, and is quite good. Over time, we see most of the R&LHS offices and board members, as they gather for tonight's board meeting, and chat with acquaintances and friends who have arrived, including Greg Molloy and Bob Brewster. The room thins out as the Board Meeting starts across the hall, and when the registration period is over, Chris and I repair to our room for the night.

Friday, June 7th, 2013

We arise early and partake of the "grab and go" breakfast before boarding the bus ("motor coach") which takes us back along I-90 into Illinois, past Rockford, on a drier day that the last two (although with some showers near Beloit), stopping in bright sunshine at the Belvidere Oasis (off the Illinois Toll Road) for a biology break, before continuing east on US 20 and local roads to Union, IL where we pull into the parking lot of the Illinois Railway Museum. Fred Ash, museum treasurer and one of our two guides for the day, boards the bus to greet us and give an introductory talk, followed later by Nick Kallas, the museum president, who has our museum tickets and lunch tickets. The busload is divided into two groups, one for each guide, and Chris and I find ourselves in Fred Ash's group.

The groups separate, with the other group heading for the interlocking tower while we go to the nearby depot. The depot was built in 1851 in Marengo, while the Baggage Room dates from 1880. After touring the depot, we walk over to the tower, exchanging places with the other group. In the tower are various sets of tower and CTC equipment, some of which is used to control museum trackage. The tower is ex-Milwaukee Spaulding Tower, which controlled the intersection of the Milwaukee and the EJ&E. On weekdays, Dispatching takes place from the depot, but on weekends it takes place from the Tower.

Our group then heads for Barn 3, which stores passenger cars. We take a look at:
-    Milwaukee "Lake City", a 1910 heavyweight platform 6-1 sleeper, which we tour the inside of; this car was restored by its previous owner, and has been at IRM for two and a half weeks
-    Nevada Northern "Ely", which we also tour the inside of, then walk through the next three cars
-    Santa Fe 1534, a dorm-lounge
-    L&N 2726 "Galt House"
-    Santa Fe combine 2544
and look in through the windows of
-    Boston & Maine diner 1094.

Outside, we take a look at the partially restored/painted snowplow before completing the walk around Barn 3, looking at the exterior, only, of its remaining inhabitants. At this point, the group seems to disintegrate, heading for the Diner where we are to have lunch.

After lunch, we regroup, and head for the Electric Car Restoration Shop, where we see
-  an 1898-buit Chicago Rapid Transit car that is under complete restoration; the restorer is present and tells us about his activities, and we can see the structure of the matchboard sides that are in the process of restoration
-    a 1914-built steel interurban coach from the Michigan Electric
-    a Charles City & Western steeplecab locomotive
-    a Cleveland PCC
-    Chicago & West Towns #141, undergoing a 16-year restoration
-    a Lake Shore Electric interurban box car.

We then visit the attached metal shop and wood shops, where we see some hundred year old machinery. In the wood shop is a gorgeously upholstered lounge car seat for the "Lake City". After visiting the book shop and gift shop, we ride an interurban car out on the main line. Then, it's time to return to the bus and head for our next venue. We pass through Union, IL, again, including the building containing the Pullman Archives, then turn north, through Harvard, IL, and into Wisconsin, to East Troy, where we stop at the East Troy Electric railroad. We're to have dinner on their two electric dining cars, 24 Beverly Shores, and 25 Ravenswood. Both were once 1927 South Shore commuter cars, and have been converted for dining.  We depart northwards at 5:47 pm, make a couple of short stops on the way north, and turn around from 6:58 to 7:22 at Indian Head Park, returning to East Troy at 8:12 pm, after an excellent dinner. Unfortunately, we don't get more than a glimpse of the carbarn with the rest of the railroad's historic electric rolling stock. We then take the bus back to Madison, via Whitewater and Cambridge, getting back about an hour later than originally projected..

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

The starting routine this morning is the same as on Friday, but today the bus heads north on I-90, rather than south. Our first stop is at the six year-old Lake States Railroad Historical Archives in Baraboo, WI (across the street from the Circus World Museum).  Our tour includes their facilities, showing progress in storage, scanning, and cataloging drawings and documents. The catalog is on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with  no provision for additional indexing terms.

Next, we head northwest to the Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in North Freedom, where we are provided with a box lunch catered by a local restaurant. At 12:14 pm, we take a ride on their excursion train, comprising Alco S-1 #7, Combine C&NW 7409, Coach Lackawanna 563, and Caboose DM&IR C-74, reversing at Quartzite Lake from 12:36 to 12:55, and arriving back at the museum at 1:16 pm.

We then take tours of the Car Barn, including:
-    Wisconsin Fish Commission Fish Car 2 "Badger'
-    Wisconsin Central baggage car 306, with exhibits inside
-    DSS&A Coach 213
-    DSS&A Flat Car
-    M,LS&W Coach 63
-    DM&IR Reefer 722
-    Soo Line business car
-    Great Northern coach
-    Copper Range 60
-    Montana Western 31
-    Soo Line box car 15604
-    Snow Plow
-    GN caboose x-52.

Outside, we see steam locomotive 2 and LS&I 22. We then tour the wood shop, where wooden cars are being protected if not restored, and are shown the details of restoration of Copper Range wooden coach 25. The locomotive shop is still suffering from the 2008 flood, which was about 4 ft. deep in this location. In the shop are the partially restored piece of C&NW 4-6-0 steam locomotive 1385. While we're at this museum, Chris buys Jim Porterfield's book on dining car recipes, and later gets him to autograph it for her. (She had spent the excursion listening to Jim talk about dining cars, rather than paying attention to the trip.)

The bus takes us back through Sauk City,  the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where the bus drive has to reverse a couple of blocks due to poorly signposted construction, and then past the former Milwaukee Road depot, with passengers cars outside, the Wisconsin Capitol, and the former C&NW depot, before heading the four miles east to the hotel.

After the evening's banquet, these is a panel discussion on issues facing archives and museums as we move into a ubiquitous digital age. Afterwards, Chirs expresses (to me) concern for the future of all the unrestored railroad cars as the current leaders of the museums fade from the scene, leaving only those who scarcely remember railroads before Amtrak.

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

The ostensible actual reason for this gathering, the R&LHS Annual Meeting, is always a somewhat lackluster affair. In fact, if it weren't conducted over breakfast, and included in the price of the weekend's events, it might not gather even the audience it does. (The real business of the meeting was conducted earlier, at the Board Meeting.) A few motions are introduced, and voted on by show of hands, without any possibility for discussion. There are new Board members, a discussion on digitizing society publications (done) and how to make the available in digital form (which completely ignores the issue of many early publications being out of copyright).

The Journey West (6/9-6/13)

Sunday, June 9th, 2013 (cont.)

Many people then rush off for airplaes, from a number of different airports. Chris and I have lunch at a nearby Chinese Restaurant. Mike and Sigi take those heading east by train (#8 is some two hours late) up to Columbus, WI, and then come back to take us to the same place for #7, using US 151 to get us there. Our train is on time, so we only have a couple of hours to wait at the staffed depot, where we check the big bag through to Los Angeles. By train time, quite a number of people have gathered for the train, some traveling on the Seattle sleepers, and some on the coaches, but we're the only ones for the Portland sleeper at the rear of the train. We have to wait for the second spot before heading for our car. Because we're at the rear, I manage to collect the whole consist before boarding.


P42                    71        to Seattle
P42                    96
Baggage          1162
Dorm             39037
Sleeper           32055
Sleeper           32021
Diner               38061
Coach             34041
Coach             34138___________________
[P42                    81    on at Spokane] 
Lounge            33005    to Portland
Coach            34146
Coach-Bagg.   31010
Sleeper            32097______________
Coach             31019    to Twin Cities          

Train 7/27, 6-9-2013



Columbus, WI

5:05 pm

4:57-5:06 pm

Portage 5:34 5:32-34
Wisconsin Dells 5:52 5:52-54
Tomah 6:35 6:32-33
La Crosse 7:14 7:11-15
Winona 7:50 7:49-51
Red Wing 8:52 8:56-9:01
Grand Forks 4:52 am 6:02-15 am
Devil's Lake 6:13 7:52-54
Rugby 7:07 8:53-56
Minot 8:34
Stanley 9:57 11:20-23
Williston                    CT 11:07 12:30-37 pm
Wolf Point                 MT 11:44 1:31-33
Glasgow 12:25 pm 2:13-16
Malta 1:25 3:38-41
Havre 2:39
Shelby 5:22 6:44-50
Cut Bank 5:51 7:18
Eat Glacier Park 6:45 8:03-11
Essex                        MT 7:41 9:12-20
Train 27, 6-11-2013    
Pasco                       PT 5:35 am 6:05
Wishram 7:30 8:03
Bingen 8:04 8:32-34
Vancouver, WA 9:18 9:48-51
Portland 10:10 10:10

Empire Builder route description

Because there's a tour group traveling on the Portland sleeper, the only room we could get is the Family Bedroom, downstairs. This is the first time we've traveled in one of these rooms. There are two large transverse beds, which we will use for sleeping, and two small longitudinal beds, on the north side of the train, the upper one of which we use for storing all of the bags we have with us, and the forward-facing seat of which (all others face backwards) I use for sitting, even though its doesn't adjust. This early evening, I collect route description notes on a section of the line between Tunnel City and West Salem, WI, which had been covered at lunchtime (heading east, late) on our previous trip over this section of line.

The attendant has secured us a 5:30 pm dinner reservation, which we don't want, so we arrange for her to bring us dinner, which she does between Tomah and La Crosse. It will transpire that the state of our mobility, after the strenuous (for us) activity of Friday and Saturday, plus the poor state of the BNSF track on Monday, will mean that we only make one visit to the diner, six cars forward.

We're in bed by the time the train crosses back over the Mississippi River at Hastings, MN. But not until we've seen the sun drop below the clouds and cast a beautiful sunset on the river, lasting for many miles, as we travel northwest up the west bank.

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I awake, somewhere after 5:30 am, between Fargo and Grand Forks, and finally sit up in time to see massive grain elevator complexes on the east side of the line at two successive towns. When the train curves towards the west at the Grand Forks station, I finally know where I am. I take route notes for the first hour or so, until we get to where I have done this on a previous trip.

The train is over ninety minutes late, apparently as a result of the meeting with Train 8 during the night, and will get later until the crews manage to shorten the stop at Havre to pick up some of the time, even though we fueled the locomotives before pulling into the station, and a contractor pumped the holding tanks on one of the coaches while there. From Minot west, we see much evidence of the new economic activity due to the Bakken Shale boom hereabouts.

It's only because this is mid June that we see any of the scenery over Marias Pass, and even then, it's dark by the time we leave Essex. I'm asleep before the West Glacier stop.

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

I do awake, briefly, during the stop in Spokane, and then again in time to catch the Pasco departure time, napping again until shortly before Wishram. The diner has gone with the Seattle section, so we get packed breakfasts this morning. Clouds are covering the top of Mount Hood, although its lower slopes are in sunshine. Due to the magic of schedule padding, we arrive in Portland on time.

After stashing the bags in the First-Clss Lounge, and conferring with the attendant there, Chris and I walk out to the west end of a bridge over the Willamette River, and board an eastbound streetcar to rise the new section of the Portland Streetcar. We ride east, across the river, and then south to the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. It's the wrong day of the week to go into the new "roundhouse" museum of the owning groups for 4449 and SP&S 700, so we don't even get off the streetcar after seeing the grounds of that museum from the passing car. Thus, we're back at Portland Union Station in just over an hour from leaving.

We've done this because the lounge attendant says we will get lunch on the train, since it appears to be on time. In fact, on boarding the train (almost an hour before its scheduled departure) and heading for the diner, that car is empty, but soon fills up with boarding Portland passengers!


P42                    167
P32                    505
Baggage            1164
"Dorm"            32040
Sleeper            32032
Sleeper            32086    Louisiana
Sleeper            32027
Pacific Parlor    39972
Diner                38059
Lounge            33086
Coach              34049
Coach              34068
Coach              34504
Coach              34512
Private       Northern Dream    (off at Oakland)
Private        Northern Sky         (off at Oakland)         

Train 11, 6-11-2013



Portland, OR

1:52 pm

1:35 pm

Salem 3:37 3:33-36
Albany 4:10 4:08-13
Eugene 5:10 5:00-11
Chemult 8:08 8:08-18
6:35 am
5:38 am
Davis 6:50 6:51-55
Martinez 7:34 7:39-47
Emeryville 8:10
Oakland 8:35
San Jose 9:55
SAlinas 11:48 11:44-52
Paso Robles 1:38 pm 1:35-39 pm
Sal Luis Obispo 3:20 2:44-3:20
Santa Barbara 6:02 5:54-6:04
Oxnard 7:05 6:58-7:03
Simi Valley 7:48 7:33-35
Van Nuys 8:22 8:05-07
Burbank Aiport 8:31 8:14-16
Los Angeles 9:00 8:39

Coast Starlight route description

As we make the turn off the Steel Bridge, I notice (since I'm facing backwards in the Diner) the train has two private cars on the rear. From their color scheme, I have a pretty good idea which ones they are! At 2:57 pm, we meet Train 14 at Calca. Chris and I eat dinner in the Pacific Parlor car, on the climb over the Cascades. At Chemult, the scanner chatters about the need to give a service dog a potty stop!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

I awake as the train stops at Sacramento. This is the first time I've been in the new platforms here. I fall back asleep until the train leaves, an hour later. It takes a few extra minutes to drop off the two private cars at Jack London Square. While we're doing so, but Trains 527 and 526 pass us (in opposite directions) at the outside platform. Although we take the Mulford line, Train 527 is still ahead of us from Newark into San Jose. This is the first time I've seen the new Caltrain maintenance facilities in Santa Clara, the additional platforms in San Jose, and the new ACE storage location south of Tamien.

We meet Train 14 at South San Luis Obispo at 3:40 pm, after a 14-minute delay there. This delay merely means we don't have to wait at Ellwood before heading into Santa Barbara. We're delayed seven minutes by Metrolink Train 119 at Montalvo, and four minutes by Amtrak Train 785 at CP Berntsen (Canoga Park). A brief stop is made at Burbank Downtown to drop off one or more crew members. We're delayed three more minutes at Mission for Metrolink Train 334. All of which means we're only 21 minutes early into Los Angeles.

We take the carry-on bags to the car, then walk to the baggage claim area for the checked bag and bring it back to the car, before driving the short distance to the Metro Plaza Hotel for the night.

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

After the included breakfast, such as it is, we stop at Bristol Farms in South Pasadena before driving home, which we reach a little after noon. All seems well.