Announcing Southern California RailFest 2009
Announcing Southern California RailFest 2009
Mar 26 2009, 03:11 PM
Group: Sr. Admin
Joined: 26-June 03
From: Howell, NJ
Member No.: 2
I'm in a position now where I can make the announcement that we are going to have our annual summer Rail Fest in Southern California. The news regaring my employment has changed, at least now, for the better. (If you want full details on that and I haven't already explained, e-mail me and I'll let you know.)
Even when my ability to hold this fest was uncertain, for the past month I have still been planning it as I did so at this point in advance of our previous summer events. The homepage for this fest is here. There are links on that page that connect you to listings of rail lines in each city we will be visiting, expected transit costs, hotels and restaurants in the area, and the itinerary itself.
As always, the itinerary is subject to change, as I continue to explore the best way to get as much train riding in as possible while giving us ample time to have lunch and dinner during each day's activities. Already I've recently changed to order of Saturday activities because I found that we would not be near any decent places to eat at dinnertime.
A major change to the itinerary as you may have known it is that it has been shortened by one day. I realize we're in a recession, and I found through researching Amtrak fares and hotel rates that a stopover in Albuquerque on the way east would have added potentially $350 to our expenses. Unfortunately after consulting with some of our fest regulars, it was determined that Albuquerque was the most expendable aspect of the itinerary. So we now will pass through on the Southwest Chief, going directly from Los Angeles to Chicago. Yes it hurts, and it will hurt more if and when we see RailRunner trains at the Albuquerque station when we pass through. But with the economy being what it is, and with us already paying for a total of five hotel nights within California (and one in New Orleans), this was a sensible choice. We can always visit ABQ another time. Passing through without riding their trains will be as painful as passing through Atlanta and not riding MARTA, passing through Houston and not riding their light rail, and passing within 30 miles of Phoenix and not riding their new light rail line... all of which will happen for those who ride the entire itinerary on Amtrak. Those places all give us destinations to visit on future fests.
The result of the ABQ stopover being eliminated is that we arrive in Chicago one day earlier, and those heading for the east coast also get back a day sooner.
The dates for the entire fest are now Monday, July 13 through Saturday, July 25. As the itinerary indicates, we will board the Crescent in east coast cities and travel to New Orleans. We have to spend the night there, and then we leave headed westbound on the Sunset Limited late morning the next day (Wednesday 7/15). If things work out right for this train, we arrive in Los Angeles on Friday morning, 7/17. No activities are planned for midday, to allow for a late arrival and possibly stowing our luggage at our hotels. One evening Metrolink round trip will take place that day, provided we didn't arrive super late.
Saturday 7/18 will be spent taking two other Metrolink round trips. Sunday 7/19 we will start working on riding the Metro lines, and also ride the tourist streetcar in San Pedro (note: this does require a 26-minute bus ride each way between Long Beach and San Pedro). Monday 7/20 will be the remaining Metro lines, and a circle trip involving three Metrolink lines (including the Inland Empire-Orange County, or IEOC Line that does not serve Union Station).
Tuesday 7/21 we leave Los Angeles, and head south. First we will stop in Oceanside and ride the Sprinter to Escondido and back. Then we take Coaster to San Diego. We can check into our hotels, and enjoy an evening dinner after that. By consensus we could also do an evening trolley round trip to the Mexican border to see the warring drug cartels and get that out the way so we don't have to worry about it on Wednesday.
Wednesday 7/22 we will ride all San Diego Trolley routes. Then we head north on a Pacific Surfliner towards Los Angeles, followed by boarding the eastbound Southwest Chief.
Arrival in Chicago would be Friday afternoon, and then we depart from there that evening for east coast destinations, arriving on Saturday 7/25.
Note that if we get into New Orleans early on 7/14 there may be time to ride the streetcars together. Likewise, if time allows in Chicago on 7/24, we could do some CTA travel as a group. I don't make any official plans for these stopovers because they have tended to jinx us in the past.
Further updates will be posted in this subforum.
Remember, you need not travel with us wire to wire all 13 days, but I suspect some will. You are free to join us at any part of any day, or leave early too if you have other plans. You still get credit for being a part of the fest.
Please begin e-mailing me with your intentions to join all or part of this event. Once I have a few confirmations I will begin a participant list.
OTOL Board Leader
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