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Pacific Railroad Society Excursions
Excursion Trip Report:


On Saturday, March 29, 2014, 51 PRS members and their guests took a step back in time to see where and how the Southern Pacific placed depot buildings along  
their coast line between Los Angeles and Ellwood. A feature of the trip was visiting the combination standard number 22 depot which was built in 1901 to serve  
Goleta and which has been moved to the South Coast Railroad Museum to be lovingly maintained by their volunteers. At one time, the SP had over 100 depots built  
to this design, several of which were on the Coast Line. On this trip, we personally witnessed three which still survive.
The first leg of the trip was on Amtrak Surfliner 763. The crew had roped off a section of the cab car, which was in the rear, for our group to use. This provided us the  
opportunity to use the car's PA system to point out depot sites and historic routings along the way. We had truly chosen a perfect day as we skirted the Pacific in  
clear view of the Channel Islands. Amtrak treated our group to apple juice and coffee to wash down our breakfast Danish rolls, There was an interruption when out  
train went into emergency. Happily, our engineer, Jim Standifer, had been able to avoid the train coming in contact with a trespasser by quickly making that  
emergency application. (Sadly, the next day, the same crew encountered a different trespasser who was intent on taking his own life, and that trip ended abruptly)  
Our train terminated at the Amtrak Goleta station, where Amtrak has its Goleta Maintenance Facility. This location, which was then called "La Patera," is over a  
mile north of the place where the 1901 depot was constructed. The trains that terminate there go through an automated train wash. Several of our members were  
able to photograph the crew in the process of washing the train.
We were met by driver, Barry, with our chartered bus from Santa Barbara Airbus. We went straight to the 1901 Goleta station building which is now north and east  
of the Amtrak facility in a county park at 300 N. Los Cameros Road. The staff was just arriving when we got there, and we were free to stroll around the grounds  
while they opened the depot and the store, and got their 71/2 inch gauge train ready to receive passengers.  

The depot interior has been completely refurbished to look as it might have during its early days as an active SP office. We were shown the agent's office, the  
operators bay and telegraph key, and the freight rooni and scales. Those who chose a train ride ran on loops through the poppies and got a fresh spring vista of the  
building. In addition to the miniature train, the depot grounds included a section of full-sized track with a bay window caboose sitting on it. Most of us took a self-
guided tour through the caboose, which has the distinction that it has not been modernized, vandalized, or turned into birthday party car.  

After seeing a real SP standard depot up close and personal, we re-boarded our bus and went to lunch in Santa Barbara at a mall on North State Street. After lunch,  
we went to view the former SP station in Santa Barbara, built in 1905 and now serving 12 Amtrak trains a day. As a special treat for our group, the City of Santa  
Barbara opened up the former SP business car 142, the Santa Barbara, for us to explore. The car sits beside the to be only the second rail history group given a  
chance to see inside the car since it was placed at Santa Barbara for display.  

Train 1790 was right on time and bore a special treat; private cars Overland Trail, Silver Splendor and Acorna on the head end, right behind the south locomotive.  
Although several of our members got off at Oxnard, Simi Valley, and Chatsworth, the majority of members stayed on to Los Angeles to complete out -Escape on the  

I work on this line two days every week and have studied books and maps to try and figure out where the SP had buildings back in the days when the SP was the  
"biggest thing- in most of the communities through which it passed. However, although I am in Goleta while my train gets washed, it is too far to go to the  
depot during my layover. I was thrilled to be able to go there with a full allotment of my PRS friends. Thanks to all of you for coming along! Thanks also to our  
Amtrak crews on both trains, who extended their hospitality to us; Train Attendant George, who arranged to get us drinks ; to Bruce and Phyllis at the South  
Coast Railway Museum, who gave their time to show us their wonderful depot; to Carol of Amtrak and Victor and Rebecca of Santa Barbara for arranging for our visit  
in the business car, and to James for letting us in; to Will Walters, for helping us marshall the troops and get them fed; but most of all, to Andy Novak, who helped  
to plan the trip, did all the arrangements for the bays, spent long hours preparing the informative 14-page photo/timetable/map brochure, and then acted as a leader  
throughout. Don't let Andy have all this fun by himself! Remember, we are always hoping to hear from any of you who want to join in the "behind the scenes"  
logistics of putting on an excursion.

Escape on the Espee!

Pacific Railroad Society presents
Excursion # 553, Saturday November 4, 2017
1956 Pullman & Dome to San Diego
Ride two historic railroad cars from Los Angeles to San Diego round trip in the daylight.
Watch the ocean go by from an open dutch door,
or view the scenery from the top of the train in a Dome car at 90-mph
Just $139 round trip including breakfast.
Join your friends and make new ones as we travel in Pullman style in two historic railroad cars that are now 61-years new.  These classic railroad cars have been upgraded to modern Amtrak standards, so they can be connected to Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.  The National Forum, a 1956 Pullman sleeping car owned by Pacific Railroad Society, and the 1955 Silver Splendor, ex-Burlington Dome Car that ran on the California Zephyrwill transport you in a style long left behind.  Our two authentic vintage railroad cars will depart on Amtrak train # 564 leaving Los Angeles at 7:25 am and returns to Los Angeles on train # 591, arriving at 9:35 pm (updated).  If everything stays on schedule, you will have eight hours (updated) in the beautiful bayside City of San Diego to explore the city and harbor areas.  Of course, the best part of any trip is how you get there, and this excursion includes access to the Dome car (no reserved seating in the Dome, but seating time will be timed so everyone gets a chance to enjoy).  Your fare includes transportation, access to both historic cars, breakfast buffet cocked onboard, beverages, and snacks on the return trip, and the attention of our experienced service staff.  PRS members can claim a discount of $10 per member's ticket.  Reserve a private room for an extra $125, suitable for up to three passengers or $50 for a private Roomette, suitable for one passenger or two very friendly passengers.  Ask about fares for 2-12 year olds and one-way fares.  All proceeds over coast are used to support the educational and charitable purposes of Pacific Railroad Society, Inc., a California non-profit public benefit corporation.  Space is very limited, and will probably sell out, so don't delay get your tickets today.
Download Exc 553 Flyer (updated)Download Exc 553 Flyer (updated)
Check out this video of our excursion to San Luis Obispo using the same 1956 railroad cars!
Exc # 553 "San Diegan Memories" Nov 4, 2017 is completely sold out.

If you would like to be placed on a waiting list for a possible cancellation, please send an email to:
Pacific Railroad Society, Inc., 210 W. Bonita Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773