Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Steam train to San Diego

The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner is a nice, modern train, and most of the time quite efficient at getting from San Diego to LA and beyond. As it passes the yard next to the LA River, you can see locomotives and train cars and one big, old, beautiful steam locomotive, the tender car of which is marked Santa Fe 3751. When it rains (like today) it's sheathed in huge tarps, but on a sunny day, when you can see it, the round barrel shape makes quite a contrast with the flat rake of the modern locomotives. And you can see her in action on Saturday, May 1.

According to the locomotive's website, the locomotive is a 4-8-4 configuration built in 1927 that initially served passenger rail in New Mexico, moving on to Arizona and a run from Los Angeles to Kansas City, finally retiring in 1953 after serving the San Diegan route.

On Saturday, Santa Fe 3751 will pull a special train to San Diego, her old route, returning to LA Sunday. Some old classic cars will be in the trainset, including another historical dome car related to the wonderful great dome I told you about a while back. Tickets start at $98 and go up for a seat in the dome. More info here. The locomotive also has a facebook page.

Now, I admit, riding a train pulled by a locomotive that you mostly can't see doesn't appeal to me. (I'm not a true railfan, just a casual afficionado). But I'm sure going down to the tracks to watch her go by and hear that wonderful whistle. This video gives you a look.

If anyone is riding the steam special on Saturday, could you tweet your whereabouts and timing along the way, so I know when to expect the meet? I'll be a little ways north of the Elvira Curve. (Oh, I don't know, howabout #sf3751?)