RTW: An Amtrak ride Northeasterners can only dream about

If you’ve ever been on an Amtrak train anywhere along the route from DC to Boston on a weekday, you know the drill. Crowded, rushed, commuters glued to their laptops and cell phones, working, working, working.  Or on the way home, barely loosening the ties, still in the office.

With all that multitasking going on, there’s no time to look out the window. Not that there’s anything to see. Everything you’d expect along a rail line. Junkyards, industry skeletons, modern-day factories spewing who-knows-what into the air. Remember the open from The Sopranos, with beautiful metro Newark as the backdrop? Like that.

Of course there are Amtrak trains all across the nation that are a different animal altogether. Never had a chance to try one, until this extended stay in the Golden State. When I found out there was a regular train between San Diego and L.A., I was all aboard. (It actually goes on to San Luis Obispo, north of Santa Barbara; but I didn’t have time.)

Interestingly, the ride between San Diego and LA takes the same amount of time is it does from Lancaster, PA,  where I live, and started the trip — to New York City; just under three hours. And it costs  about $10 less. And this one is so laid back, there are never reserved seats, and you don’t even need to pick a time. Any train is fine, at least on the weekday I chose.

But the duration is about the only thing they have in common.

Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego, linking Amtrak with a local coastal train and the city’s trolley lines.

All aboard.

Not exactly Lauren Bacall in Murder on the Orient Express. The only thing that was murder was the wind — on my hair. Whaddya want; I was in a rush. As usual.

Spanking-clean cars, with Margaritaville-style cafe car.

This pic, like so many of my other gems, didn’t begin to do the nice conductor justice. Way hipper than the cadaver-ish (but nice) guys on the Northeast Corridor line.

This sure doesn’t look like Trenton, NJ. Still San Diego.


Nothing like taking a dip …

… from the comfort of the train.

Prime beachfront houses …

… and the not-so-prime.

San Juan Capistrano, up the coast.

Angel Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (say what?) baseball team.

Wait a minute, is this Exit 14 on the Joisey Turnpike?

Nah, it’s near the city of Vernon, near L.A. Scenery may be different, but graffiti’s graffiti.

Approaching LAX (that’s how Amtrak refers to the L.A. train station.)

Union Station, Los Angeles

Dazzling architecture.

No, not Lancaster, PA

Welcome to the City of Angels.

This entry was posted in How to travel around the world with just a carry-on, Los Angeles, North America, San Diego, Trains, planes and ferries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to RTW: An Amtrak ride Northeasterners can only dream about

  1. I love the train. I buy the California pass, which you can only purchase live at the station. It is only $159 for 7 days of travel within a 21 day period and within California. I use that to go back-and-forth to and from the SF Bay Area. It comes out to about $32 a trip.

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