Saturday, August 30, 2014

San Clemente Pier-Pacific Surfer and Orange County Metrolink

As the train heads north into Orange County, the tracks go right along the coast, with beautiful ocean views.  The first station in Orange County is at San Clemente Pier.  This station serves Amtrak and Metrolink's Orange County line and the Inland Empire-Orange County Line.  There are very few trains that stop at the pier.  The San Clemente Pier was the 60th busiest in 2010, boarding or detraining an average of approximately 25 passengers daily.  There is a ticket kiosk, but no ticket office.  Dining, lodging and restroom facilities are around the pier, which is within close proximity to the station.  Paid parking is on the street or in an adjacent municipal lot.

The link for Amtrak-Pacific Surfliner is

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oceanside-Pacific Surfliner, southern stop for Metrolink and northern stop for COASTER

This is the last station in San Diego County and the first station of the COASTER.  The Oceanside station is part of a project called "Great American Stations" and is one of California's busiest Amtrak stations.

The Oceanside is an intermodal hub that was built in 1984 and allows easy transfers to commuter rail and intercity and local bus lines.  The station is located three blocks from the beach and south of downtown.  The complex sits perpendicular to the tracks and are small one-story buildings constructed of beige, textured concrete masonry units with floor-to-ceiling windows.  The structures are connected by a wide wooden pergola with bowed roof slats.  The entire structure is covered in plastic roofing that allows diffused sunlight to enter the walkway, as well as protecting travelers from the rain.  The pergola continues down and along the platform, which visually guides passengers to the trains.

During the early 2000's, Oceanside's downtown core experienced a period of growth with emphasis on mixed-use development to enliven the streets.  Timeshares and new hotels were constructed to broaden the city's tourism infrastructure.  In 2006, a 450-space parking garage opened next to the Transit Center to accommodate local commuters as well as visitors.  The Transit Center is envisioned to encourage residents to use commuter rail and other public transportation to get to work or to run routine errands.  The complex will include residential, retail, and office space within walking distance of the station.

Los Angeles and San Francisco dominated California shipping and railroading by the 1870's.  The foremost railroad during this time in California was the Southern Pacific(SP), which ignored San Diego's request for a rail line.  Civic boosters reached out to other railroads and eventually made a deal with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad(ATSF), which was laying track westward through New Mexico and Arizona.  To reach San Diego, the ATSF started building a line under the subsidiary California Southern Railroad(CS) that was intended to reach Barstow and to link with the SP line that went to the Arizona border.

From 1880-1882, the CS line went northward through coastal seams and bogs and inland gullies and canyons that required numerous trestles and other infrastructure built by Chinese laborers.  The CS line finally reached Barstow in 1885.  That same year, the first transcontinental train reached San Diego.  The original route of the CS was treacherous, as the portion through Temecula Canyon washed out in 1882.  This line was rebuilt, but was replaced by the ATSF's "Surf Line" which was laid through Orange County to meet the CS at Oceanside in 1888.  This allowed a safer coastal link between San Diego and Los Angeles and avoided Temecula Canyon, which washed out again in 1891 and was abandoned.

The railroad mainly served inland farmers by providing them with access to new markets.  In the early 1880's, Andrew Jackson Myers, who was a shopkeeper, who lived in the small village that had grown up around the mission, applied for a homestead grant and received 160 acres south of Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores.  Myers subdivided and platted the land and the town of Oceanside was incorporated in 1888.  The origin of the name "Oceanside" is uncertain.  At the time, those living inland went "ocean side" to relax and cool down, but it has also been suggested that early land developers enticed Easterners to California by calling the community "Ocean Side."

The town grew quickly since it sat at the junction of the Surf Line and the old inland route  through Temecula Canyon.  Oceanside claimed three hotels and a pier that attracted vacationers from distant cities within a decade of incorporation.  Many of the visitors arrived by train, and as early as 1884, the ATSF stopped at a simple wooden platform that was soon replaced with an actual depot.  The depot was a one-story wood structure with a prominent hip-gambreal roof supported by curved brackets.  The layout was typical of the period.  Gingerbread millwork added whimsy and the picturesque valued by Victorian designers.

Growth was slow until the 1920's, which witnessed another land boom in California and much of the nation.  Historic 101 connected Oceanside to Los Angeles and San Diego and the downtown business district gained many new buildings, including a movie theater.  Sewers and street lights improved the quality of life for residents.  The six miles of sandy beaches attracted visitors such as early movie stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, who might have discovered the town while working in the area since northern San Diego's county's diverse landscapes were used as the backdrop to numbers films.

World War II brought the biggest change to the region since the founding of Oceanside and that was the creation of Camp Pendleton.  In 1942, the U.S. Marine Corps purchased Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores and established a training camp.  Camp Pendleton was named for Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton, who was a long-time Marine who had long advocated for a major West Coast facility.  Camp Pendleton was dedicated in September, 1942 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

n 1946, Oceanside received a new depot that replaced the Victorian version which was torn down.  At a cost of $100,000 the ATSF built a one-story Art Moderne structure that sprawled along the tracks in the area north of the present Transit Center.  The entrance was marked by a segmented arch set within a projecting pavilion with an angular, stepped parapet that featured a panel displaying the town's name.  A marquee protected passengers from the elements.  The simplified lines of the white stucco walls were accented at the roofline by tiles in blue and white, which were standard colors of ATSF cross-in-a circle logo. The station was demolished in 1988 to make way for a new development in the are around the Transit Center.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Two stations in Carlsbad-Pacific Surfliner and COASTER

There are two stations in Carlsbad.  One is Carlsbad Village and the other one is Carlsbad Poinsettia.  These are both stations where the COASTER stops, more than the Pacific Surfliner.  Carlsbad Poinsettia is the last station before the COASTER reaches the northern terminus at Oceanside.  There are three northbound and 3 southbound Pacific Surfliner trains that serve both the Carlsbad Village and Carlsbad Poinsettia stations.

This is the Old Carlsbad train station

Carlsbad Poinsettia Station

Carlsbad Village Station

Carlsbad Village Station

Looking down the tracks at Carlsbad Poinsettia Station

Looking down the tracks at Carlsbad Poinsettia Station

Looking down the tracks at Carlsbad Village Station

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Encinitas-Pacific Surfliner and COASTER

Encinitas is similar to Sorrento Valley, except it is within close proximity to the town of Encinitas and the beach.  The COASTER stops more at Encinitas than the Pacific Surfliner.  The Pacific Surfliner stops 6 times a day-three times going north and three times going south.

Encinitas is approximately 25 miles north of San Diego in what is referred to as North County and about 95 miles south of Los Angeles.  The largest single industry in the city is the growing of ornamental flowers, particularly poinsettias.  The city was incorporated in 1986 from the communities of historic Encinitas, new Encinitas, Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the Sea and Olivenhain. Old Encinitas is the closest to the train station.  Old Encinitas is a small beachside area with a mix of businesses and housing styles.  The Encinitas welcome arch and famous surf break Swamis and the early 20th century La Paloma Theater are located in Old Encinitas.

Old Encinitas train station, now called Pannikins Coffee and Tea.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Solana Beach train station-Pacific Surfliner and COASTER

Solana Beach station is a large railway station that serves the Pacific Surfliner and the COASTER.  The station is located in a "valley" of sorts with a walkway to connect the two platforms, each serving one track.  The tracks were lowered to their current position in the late 90's to alleviate congestion on Lomas Santa Fe Road and Downtown Solana Beach.  The station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994 to replace the depot in Del Mar.  Funding for the station included $2.8 million from Proposition 116, $33 million was obtained through Transnet, which was a half cent county sales tax and used for land acquisition and design.  The architect drew inspiration for the design from a group of Quonset huts that used to line North Cedros  Avenue in the 1940's.  The train station is location on North Cedros. The architect added a tower similar to those found on many train depots dating to the second half of the 19th  century to the basic semi-circular form of the hut.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sorrento Valley-Pacific Surfliner/COASTER

The station at Sorrento Valley is a typical modern passenger rail station serving the Sorrento Valley neighborhood of the city of San Diego, CA on the COASTER commuter rain route.  40% of COASTER riders detrain at Sorrento Valley due to the University of California at San Diego, businesses and the proximity to the Westfield University Towne Center.  Westfield University Towne Center is an open air shopping center near the university.  Recently, three northbound and three southbound Pacific Surfliner trains started serving this station.

The COASTER is a commuter train that runs north and south through San Diego County, serving eight stations between Oceanside and downtown San Diego.  It takes about an hour to travel the entire COASTER route.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Old Town San Diego-Pacific Surfliner

The next station going north after San Diego is San Diego Old Town and is within walking distance of  Old Town San Diego which is a state historic park that explores the development of the early city from 1821-1872.  San Diego Old Town is a stopping point for the San Diego Trolley, local buses and the Coaster commuter rail that links the ocean side communities of Northern San Diego County.  The transit center was built in the 1990's, as a traditionally styled station.  The single story building has a hip gambel roof and a cross gable.  One end of the depot has a covered open-air waiting area, which was typical of small stations built in California and the southwest.