Jump to content
 

Trip to USA


Recommended Posts

Hi all

 

In 2013 im on a trip to the USA to the Los Angeles area.

 

I was just wondering if anybody has the details or location of any loco maintenence depots near to LA and what company operates the loco hauled (passenger or freight) trains from that depot.

The intention is getting some photos and video of the locos while out there............

 

Been looking on the internet but cant find any location details so any help would be appreciated.

 

Dazza.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dazza, you'll be unlikely to get too close to any maintenance facilities these days, especially in LA. However, there are some good slots for photting from a short distance. US railroads have gone a bit mad for security these days, and you may find yourself chatting to various flavours of law enforcement.

 

Check out my thread on my trip to LA in September and if you like what you see I can give more info tomorrow. I'm off to bed now :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Partly it depends on how long you'll be here and whether you've been before. Depending on the length of time, it'll take you the best part of a day to get to Cajon Pass and back from the LAX area or downtown LA. I would be aiming at Cajon Pass and Pepper Avenue for starters, and then you start splitting hairs as to how you might want to spend time otherwise. This book http://www.amazon.com/Southern-California-Locals-Railroad-Enthusiasts/dp/1475166788/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348669899&sr=8-1&keywords=freericks+southern+california+locals is very helpful, although it assumes you have a lot of time to investigate all these places. One of the closest places you can see locos is the Metrolink Mechanical Facility north of downtown/Union Station, with good views from passing trains on the Antelope Valley or Ventura County lines. But Dr G-F is correct, there are few easy places to spot motive power at depots.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can agree with JWB - I was based in Culver City in September and one afternoon it took me the best part of four hours to drive to Pepper Avenue. Took an hour and six minutes on the way back at 10pm :D

 

If I was to do a purely railfanning trip (I go for work, so don't really get a say in where I'm located) I would base myself close to Cajon rather than in LA. Cajon itself is big enough that it can take you a day to cover it properly, and most locations are best at one time of day so you have to jump about. Pepper Avenue is a great spot, the road is pretty quiet and it's handy for snacks and gas and so on. Stay away from the old Colton Crossing though, as it's now a major construction site (they're building a flyover to replace the at-grade crossing)

 

If you have time, head up to Barstow which is a huge yard, and certainly the east end is an easy photting location from Riverside Drive. If you can get on top of the hill to the south, a telephoto will give you good views of the motive power.

 

Generally though, yards = people and people = security.

Link to post
Share on other sites

JWB's book suggestion is a good one - the book gives details of what you are likely to see, and where - it also gives advice on places to avoid. I'd say that it is a darn good investment for what you would like to do. If you do get it, send me an email chacmool at lineone dot net and I'llsend you a link to the on-line updates that you can print out

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was based in Culver City in September

Good heavens! That is where I was based too but in September 1995! My one and only trip to the USA so far!

I went up to Tehachapi loop and that really did take all day but it was worth it, despite the heat although a US railfan I got talking to did say that I would have been better going to Cajon.

Sorry my information is rather out of date(!) but Cajon does seem to be the place to go!

Cheers,

John E.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

I was In LA April/May this year here is my observations

 

LA Union station, I spent a couple of hours in the am & pm rush on the platforms photoing trains, its very busy with trains in and out every few mins, I did have valid tickets to travel, but no one stopped me or ask me what i was doing.

 

Took a ride on the Antelope Valley/Ventura Line, you pass the Metro Link depot a on the left a few minutes after you leave LA Union station, Amtraks Coast Starlight and North bound Surfliners use this route too.

 

Also took a ride on the 91/ Orange County Line this passes the Amtrak depot on the right a few mins after leaving LA Union Station, This has a main line steam loco based there and a working turn table.

 

Fullerton is a good place to spend some time, very nice cafe/dinner on the station, 3 lines, lots of feight all day, at least 2 Amtrak Surflines (one each direction) each hour and peak hour metro link train.

 

I took a trip to San deiago went down on a Surfliner and had I ride on the trams and came back on the Coaster Communter train to Oceanside and there you can change to metrolink to ride into LA Union.

 

Just outside LA Union station is a mexican street, bit of a tourist trap, out the front doors, cross the road and up the hill and on the right. there is some good eating places there, or keep walking after turning right outside the station for about 2 blocks and you come to Philliee's french dipped sandwiches (from man v food fame) also good to visit.

 

hope this gives some Ideas

message me if you wnt any more info

 

Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

If you want ot see the Amtrak depot then as Doodaa says catch a train South of LA - trains now go up over a flyover above Redondo Junction so you can get a good view of the turntable with various locos including the Santa fe steamer if its there, to the West side of the train, or if you want to see the Metrolink Depot take either Amtrak or Metrolink North., again on the West side of the train.

 

Fullerton station is a good place to watch both freight and passenger traffic.

 

If you are thinking of doing Tehachapi then you might want to consider staying in the town of Tehachapi at the summit some mile up form the loop. Trains over the Tehachapis can be in blocks of trains then quiet for a good part of the day so best to get some current local knowledge before planning that bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As stated above Tehachapi is well worth visiting, we stayed a couple of days at the La Quinta motel alongside the track just out of town, ask for a room "with a railroad view" !!!. Right outside the hotel is the line summit where mid train helpers are cut off. Can be a touch noisy - especially during the night !!, decent motel though. The loop is a few miles out of town, also well worth visiting. Mc Donalds has a nice view of passing trains here. Trains not cutting out helpers are accelerating at speed here in both directions, and are impressive, especially heading towards Monolith & Mojave.

 

As others say, keep off the tracks (they are not fenced), and have ID (passport) and a copy of a railway mag handy, shows you are an enthusiast !! We had no problems. There is (was) a nice little model train shop in the centre of Tehachapi, did 3 rail O gauge mostly, friendly couple ran it.

 

They have ruined Reno, trains now run in a concrete cutting thru town, but Jack London square in Oakland is good for street running.

 

 

Have a nice day !!

 

Brit15

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right outside the hotel is the line summit where mid train helpers are cut off.

 

No mid train or any other kind of manned helpers cut off anymore - all DPU these days, and they run right through from start to finish. The wye at Summit went in the 90s and the helper spur at Bena before 2000 or so I think.

 

Tehachapi is as famous for its traffic lulls as anything else... on several occasions I've driven from Mojave to Bakersfield and back again without seeing a single train, only for one to pass every ten minutes for hours on end once darkness falls.... it's all part of the Tehachapi mystique.

 

I've done Tehacahpi and Cajon a lot, and they're very different. Cajon is multi-track and pretty busy all day, Tehachapi is largely still single track and much quieter.

 

I like 'em both, a lot - although it took several trips before I 'got' Cajon, whereas Tehachapi was love at first sight.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tehachapi is as famous for its traffic lulls as anything else... on several occasions I've driven from Mojave to Bakersfield and back again without seeing a single train,

 

Sounds like my one (and so far only) visit to the Horseshoe Curve (Pennsylvania) - 2+ hours with no trains. It was late on a Sunday morning, though...

 

Adrian

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

 

 

No mid train or any other kind of manned helpers cut off anymore - all DPU these days, and they run right through from start to finish. The wye at Summit went in the 90s and the helper spur at Bena before 2000 or so I think.

 

Tehachapi is as famous for its traffic lulls as anything else... on several occasions I've driven from Mojave to Bakersfield and back again without seeing a single train, only for one to pass every ten minutes for hours on end once darkness falls.... it's all part of the Tehachapi mystique.

 

I've done Tehacahpi and Cajon a lot, and they're very different. Cajon is multi-track and pretty busy all day, Tehachapi is largely still single track and much quieter.

 

I like 'em both, a lot - although it took several trips before I 'got' Cajon, whereas Tehachapi was love at first sight.

 

I very much agree. Tehachapi is a great location and we have been there with many trains in view down the Valley in snow and hot summers but as many times with next o nothing anywhere I sight.

 

Canon is a place that grows on you till the next time they do a major upgrade and spoil the old locations. I have been there when its quiet there too, except for the Interstate road noise!

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Premium

I would concur with the advice about Pepper Avenue as it crosses the centre of Colton Yard with the servicing depot on the west side and the maintenenace shed on the west. However it is nearly 70 miles from central LA. It is possible to get a metrolink train out to San Bernadino from LA Union, then one down to, I think Riverside, then back to LA Union on the UP line which passes many loco locations on the way.

 

If you get further North Stockton has a big shed but it's not easy to see most of the stuff. Roseville is the place to go and you can drive all round the outside of the yard and loco facilities (A jouney of about 10 miles) and you have to be careful about parking restrictions. As of September this year there were about 30 locos stored at Warm Springs south of Oakland but it wasn't easy to see all of them. It is possible to drive through Oakland harbour on 'Middle Harbour Road' but you can't get near the UP maintenance facility. You can get round the back of the Amtral shed on public roads. You do see the UP shed area from the BART line as it heads west towards the trans bay tunnel. I was there in September and drove right across to Chicago following UP tracks and was never hassled, however be careful not to trespass like one stupid UK fan did while I was there. If you do go to Reno the depot is at Sparks just east of Reno and you can see some power there. Have fun.

 

Jamie

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stayed at Jack London Square also at the Waterfront Hotel which seams to be the best one on or around the square, lots of good food places there. lots of trains up and down the street. Can also catch a ferry over to San Fran pier 31 and the cable car, street cars etc. from San Fran you can also ride Cal Train to San Jose

 

Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Yes it's a nice hotel

 

Last year we had a room that had a balcony that you could see the Amtrak trains from.

 

There isn't much freight these days and a lot of paces have shuttered in Jack London Square so it's a lot less busy than it used to be.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's worth stressing that distances in the Western US take getting used to. From Los Angeles to Tehachapi it's a 2-plus hour drive in the best conditions one way. Los Angeles to Stockton or Oakland is about 400 miles or maybe 8 hours. I would certainly agree with the fellows posting here who would say that if you have only one day to spend railfanning, Cajon Pass plus Pepper Avenue, with a possible stopoff at the Amtrak/Metrolink San Bernardino depot, will provide a very, very full day. If more time is available, I'd be looking at rides on Metrolink or the Surfliner to San Diego.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

My experience is that some of those journeys are easily doable in a return day trip ,but dont under estimate freeway 405 which can be a complete nightmare, worse than the M25 where you can spend hours even on a weekend stuck in stationary traffic (as we have been there), the last time we had to give up on doing a number of hobby shops and head straight to the LAX for a Saturday evening flight despite being on 405 in the early morning!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's one of my favorite trainwatching spots in SoCal - the San Clemente Pier. The trains run right along the beach here though there's not much variety - it's the Surfliner route to San Diego. You can hang out on the pier and have a drink, look at the water and watch trains, without all the hassle of the 'bigger' piers like Santa Monica.

 

Nothing says Southern California to me as much as San Clemente. It's a bit of a drive from LAX down I405 and I5. Parking can be difficult and at this time of year it might be rainy but if the weather is nice and you want a place to put your feet up ...

 

The town of San Clemente was famous as the home of Richard M. Nixon's 'western White House'.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...