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Christmas on the Coast Starlight

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CHamilton

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It's been a quiet journey so far. I got on in Seattle this morning, and we're in Portland as I write this, on time. As I mentioned in another thread, the train isn't crowded and the crew seems to be in a good mood. Someone hooked up the Sirius XM Frank Sinatra channel into the intercom, so we've been hearing holiday songs throughout the trip. There are colored lights in the my sleeping and in the diner. Our SCA Cindy has been very solicitous, even though she's been running around a lot; she got volunteered into taking lunch reservations.

Apparently lots more people are getting on in Portland, although the three sleepers plus transdorm don't seem to be full. My lunch companions were able to do an onboard upgrade to a bedroom.

Lunch was pretty good. I had a seafood stew special that tasted better than it looked. Tried a new dessert I hadn't seen before: key lime cake, which was quite nice.

The wifi isn't working. Otherwise, the train is in good shape. I'm in a refurbished Superliner I.
 
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CHamilton

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Sorry about the typos, I am trying to use the mobile version of the site, which apparently doesn't allow editing. I might drag out the laptop later, but am enjoying relaxing now, and the laptop is too much like work. Merry Christmas!
 

CHamilton

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The SCA tells me that the sleepers are in fact full, and many will turn over again tomorrow. She says that it's reasonably calm today, but they'll be slammed tomorrow.
 

Rail Freak

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If you're It's been a quiet journey so far. I got on in Seattle this morning, and we', re in Portland as I write this, on time. As I mentioned in another thread, the train isn't crowded and the crew seems to be in a good mood. Someone hooked up the Sirius XM Frank Sinatra channel into the intercom, so we've been hearing holiday songs throughout the trip. There are colored lights in the my sleeping and in the diner. Our SCA Cindy has been very solicitous, even though she's been running around a lot ; she got volunteered into taking lunch reservations.

Apparently lots more people are getting on in Portland, although the three sleepers plus transdorm don't seem to be full. My lunch companions were able to do an onboard upgrade to a bedroom.

Lunch was pretty good. I had a seafood stew special that tasted better than it looked. Tried a new dessert I hadn't seen before : key lime cake, which was quite nice.

The wifi isn't working. Otherwise, the train is in good shape. I'm in a refurbished Superliner I.
Last month, while on #11, the Wi-Fi worked in the Theatre Downstairs of the PPC! BTW, the intercom music is a nice touch in the PPC!!!

RF
 
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CHamilton

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Apparently the PPC we have was a last minute substitution, and wifi hasn't been installed in it yet. But otherwise we're doing fine. We arrived in Sacramento over an hour early, and we're waiting in the station now. Bet the people on the 5:40 Capitol Corridor train were surprised to see us!

I had the turkey for dinner last night and it was yummy. Ate with a grandma and her granddaughter on the way to Disneyland. The little one is having a great time on her first train trip. Also joining us at Eugene was a grandmother who had trained up from LA only a few hours previously, only to turn around and catch 11. She said she was escaping dysfunctional family holidays, but maybe she's just a foamer!
 

CHamilton

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I've posted a trip photo album that's a work in progress. Also some more photos of riding San Francisco's F-Market trolley today. Well, what did you expect me to be doing if I'm not on Amtrak??
 

CHamilton

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Back on the Starlight southbound this morning after a couple of very pleasant days in San Francisco, seeing friends and riding trolleys and ferries. Weather is bright and clear, if a bit cold.

This train is also decked out in Christmas lights, and the crew seems to be still enjoying the holidays. I decided to upgrade to a roomette for the PPC, the wine tasting, and the three meals, but I didn't wait to do an onboard upgrade, figuring that by the time the paperwork was done. I might miss breakfast. So I paid more than I would have liked for a transdorm roomette, but I don't plan to spend much time there.

We're on time leaving San Jose.
 

CHamilton

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Remainder of yesterday's CS trip was very pleasant. Glad I sprung for the roomette upgrade, as I got three meals and a wine and cheese tasting. Spent almost all of the time in the PPC. Beautiful sunset over the ocean, photos to come. Checked in at a nice little inn in Santa Barbara, but got up early today to take a day trip to San Diego on the Surfliner. Great sunrise this morning, and more spectacular beach views between SBA and Ventura.

Saw a Cascades engine go by at Chatsworth, zoomed past too quickly to see which one.
 

Rail Freak

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Remainder of yesterday's CS trip was very pleasant. Glad I sprung for the roomette upgrade, as I got three meals and a wine and cheese tasting. Spent almost all of the time in the PPC. Beautiful sunset over the ocean, photos to come. Checked in at a nice little inn in Santa Barbara, but got up early today to take a day trip to San Diego on the Surfliner. Great sunrise this morning, and more spectacular beach views between SBA and Ventura.

Saw a Cascades engine go by at Chatsworth, zoomed past too quickly to see which one.
How much $$$ was that Inn? I'm thinking of stopping in SBA, Thanx!

RF
 

CHamilton

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I think it was $149 on weekdays and like $200 this weekend. I wanted something within walking distance of SBA, but nothing is cheap in Santa Barbara that I could find.
 

Rail Freak

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I think it was $149 on weekdays and like $200 this weekend. I wanted something within walking distance of SBA, but nothing is cheap in Santa Barbara that I could find.
Thanx! I believe it was you that suggested the Warwick in SEA, correct? I'll follow your suggestions from here on out!

Have Fun
 

CHamilton

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Yes, I suggested the Warwick. If you decide to stop in Santa Barbara and the prices don't scare you, I am at the Eagle Inn.
 

CHamilton

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Well, it is possible to take a return trip in a day from SBA to SAN, but it's a long day. Nevertheless, I had fun. Saw some spectacular ocean views from the train, but boy, SoCal uses every inch of the beach -- I've never seen beach houses so closely packed. And there seemed to be miles of RVs parked in every conceivable location. The weather was very nice -- sunny and 70 -- which was a pleasant change from winter Seattle weather.

The morning southbound train was pretty much on time. In the afternoon, it was announced that our train, which normally would be a through train, would terminate in LAUS, and we'd have to make a cross-platform transfer to continue north. We did, although we kept getting stuck behind Metrolink trains, and ran 20-25 minutes late for most of the run.

Business class on the Surfliner was nice. In the morning, we got coffee, juice, muffins and pastries; in the afternoon, it was wine, sodas, water and a snack pack with what I can only describe as "new age" snacks -- gluten-free potato chips, a nut/dried fruit mix, and so on. Because of being a holiday week, the passengers didn't seem to be the usual business types, but it was a jovial bunch nonetheless -- especially a couple of ladies who had a bit too much wine (and I think beer from the cafe car as well).

Of course, I had to spend my time in SD riding the San Diego Trolley to the border and back, which was a fun excursion. Lots of people of all ages -- kids, families, teens, retired people. Many folks seemed to be using the trolley for shopping; the stops with malls were very popular.

The trolley parallels I-5 for some of its route (one exit: "Miles of Cars Way" -- no joke!) and I'm just puzzled why an area with pretty decent transit is still up to its eyeballs in cars. But as the saying goes, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
 

CHamilton

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I spent a couple of chilly and somewhat foggy days in Santa Barbara -- visiting with family, taking a city tour [even though I dislike rubber-tired "trolleys" on principle], and checking out the mission, and the Maritime and Natural History museums (all great). Then on New Year's Day, I boarded CS 14 in bright sun and 84 degrees. Oh well.

The Starlight was on time, and the coastal views were spectacular, as always. The operating and on-board services crews were both excellent and jovial, perhaps because the train wasn't very crowded. The food in the dining car and the PPC was good, and the wine tastings were fun, as usual.

I'm already thinking about the next trip....
 

GG-1

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I'm already thinking about the next trip....
Aloha

Hope you are including a trip to the east for Gathering VI, Actual date and city to be decided relativity soon. :rolleyes:
Awaiting the decision with bated breath! I have many relatives and friends on the east coast, so I hope it will work out.
I will Tease everyone, All of the cities under consideration are South of Boston, or North of Miami.

Aloha
 

CHamilton

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Darn! I was working on connections from Essex Junction to the Downeaster!
 

Bob Dylan

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I'm already thinking about the next trip....
Aloha

Hope you are including a trip to the east for Gathering VI, Actual date and city to be decided relativity soon. :rolleyes:
Awaiting the decision with bated breath! I have many relatives and friends on the east coast, so I hope it will work out.
I will Tease everyone, All of the cities under consideration are South of Boston, or North of Miami.

Aloha
Sounds like Philadelphia fits the bill with Baltimore and Washington,DC close runners-up!

(PHL has cheaoper hotels and you can get there from the North, South and West!!!
 

johnny.menhennet

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Well, it is possible to take a return trip in a day from SBA to SAN, but it's a long day. Nevertheless, I had fun. Saw some spectacular ocean views from the train, but boy, SoCal uses every inch of the beach -- I've never seen beach houses so closely packed. And there seemed to be miles of RVs parked in every conceivable location. The weather was very nice -- sunny and 70 -- which was a pleasant change from winter Seattle weather.

The morning southbound train was pretty much on time. In the afternoon, it was announced that our train, which normally would be a through train, would terminate in LAUS, and we'd have to make a cross-platform transfer to continue north. We did, although we kept getting stuck behind Metrolink trains, and ran 20-25 minutes late for most of the run.

Business class on the Surfliner was nice. In the morning, we got coffee, juice, muffins and pastries; in the afternoon, it was wine, sodas, water and a snack pack with what I can only describe as "new age" snacks -- gluten-free potato chips, a nut/dried fruit mix, and so on. Because of being a holiday week, the passengers didn't seem to be the usual business types, but it was a jovial bunch nonetheless -- especially a couple of ladies who had a bit too much wine (and I think beer from the cafe car as well).

Of course, I had to spend my time in SD riding the San Diego Trolley to the border and back, which was a fun excursion. Lots of people of all ages -- kids, families, teens, retired people. Many folks seemed to be using the trolley for shopping; the stops with malls were very popular.

The trolley parallels I-5 for some of its route (one exit: "Miles of Cars Way" -- no joke!) and I'm just puzzled why an area with pretty decent transit is still up to its eyeballs in cars. But as the saying goes, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
I know what you mean about San Diego and cars. Although the Trolley is wildly popular, with only 3 lines and 100,000 daily riders (that swells much higher on Chargers and Padres games), the Coaster, after 15 years, still hasn't really caught on, with only about 5,000 per weekday. The Trolley will soon be extended all of the way up to UC San Diego in the La Jolla area though. Construction starts in 2012, I think. What we need most is a line that extends just a mile west from Little Italy to the Airport... Hey, one can dream


Glad you had such a great time.
 
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CHamilton

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I know what you mean about San Diego and cars. Although the Trolley is wildly popular, with only 3 lines and 100,000 daily riders (that swells much higher on Chargers and Padres games), the Coaster, after 15 years, still hasn't really caught on, with only about 5,000 per weekday. The Trolley will soon be extended all of the way up to UC San Diego in the La Jolla area though. Construction starts in 2012, I think. What we need most is a line that extends just a mile west from Little Italy to the Airport... Hey, one can dream


Glad you had such a great time.
Thanks for the info, johnny. I did have a great time, and I look forward to spending more time there one of these days.
 

CHamilton

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Charlie, thanks for your posts and photos.

Looks like you had a wonderful trip.
I did have a great time, thanks. It had been too long since I'd been on the Starlight, and I'd almost forgotten what a great train it is. Now for planning the next trip...
 

aktrainfan

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I've posted a trip photo album that's a work in progress. Also some more photos of riding San Francisco's F-Market trolley today. Well, what did you expect me to be doing if I'm not on Amtrak??
I loved your train report and pictures, thanks! Last summer my family and I took the Pacific Surfliner train from Anaheim to Union Station in LA and then up to San Luis Obispo with the Coast Starlight, and even if it was so short, we reserved a couple of roommettes (our kids are teens) so we could get the meal and wine tasting and have access to the parlour car, which was fabulous!! We stayed for a couple of nights at the Quality Inn & Suites in SLO (great hotel, good value with free huge breakfast and evening offerings for dirt cheap) and we rented a car for a day and drove up the coast to Hearst Castle, and then back to SLO, where we caught the Pacific Surfliner back to Anaheim...

Thanks again, I would love to do the Starlight all the way from SEA to SAN someday! We live in Alaska, so it's a 3 hour flight from ANC...Happy Travels!

Kelly :rolleyes:
 
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