Tagged: rail

National Train Day

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After struggling to print t-shirts yesterday afternoon, Sarah and I headed to National Train Day at Grand Central Terminal. This celebration takes place in only four cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City. Since we live only one subway stop from Grand Central, it seemed like we had to go.


While there were a lot of events for the occasion, we skipped most of them in favor of touring the train cars. There was an Acela train consist, a 40th Anniversary train (complete with gift shop), and a current Viewliner. But the highlight was the Twentieth Century Limited. This train consisted of vintage private cars, including the Hickory Creek, Tavern Lounge 43, the Cannon Ball, the Epicurus, the Birkin, and the Kitchi Gammi Club. We took our time touring these cars and were incredibly excited to learn about the Wine ‘n Dine Train that travels through the Hudson River Valley to Albany for a five-course meal and cocktails.

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Weekend jaunt, anyone?

Kids and Trains


Tomorrow is National Train Day. Why tomorrow? Because that’s the 143rd anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad. I had forgotten about this year’s train day except that last week, while in Los Angeles, Sarah and I took a tour of Union Station since Sarah and her dad were staying nearby. Also, I had to pickup a bunch of t-shirts to print at the American Apparel factory near downtown LA.


One of the best parts of the visit actually had nothing to do with the tour. We took my two-year-old nephew Alex to the station to see the trains. It’s simply amazing to see how kids are drawn to trains. We took him to the passenger platform, and he was absolutely hypnotized by the locomotives. I took him inside of a Metrolink train scheduled to depart in five minutes, and he was just absorbing all the activity. As other trains arrived and departed, a few of the engineers waved at him as their trains passed by. He loved it!


At the end of evening, my mom and I took him aboard the Metro Gold Line to ride to the next station in Little Tokyo, where I was meeting Sarah, her dad, and my dad. He was a trooper. He waved the TAP card my mom gave him and waited patiently as two northbound trains passed by our station. (In due time, I’ll teach him to read a route map. We rode the train for one station, and he loved it.) I had feared that he didn’t want to get off, but he was very well-behaved as we disembarked.

I doubt I’ll make it to Train Day events tomorrow because I’ll be doing something else that makes me feel like a kid: playing softball.

Do You Know the Way to Morro Bay?

As part of our Christmas–New Year’s vacation, Sarah and I spent about a week traveling to a few spots in California. One of our stops was in Baywood Park, which is technically in Los Osos and adjacent to the Morro Bay. We stayed at the Back Bay Inn, on a friend’s recommendation, and found a comfortable inn, and our room had a great view of the bay.

View from the Back Bay Inn window

One of the novel things about this trip was that we took the train instead of driving. We surprised everyone when we told people we met at the inn that we got there by just taking two buses. You can do it, too.

We took the 7:45 AM Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo. The train arrived just before 1:00 PM. We walked to the transit center, which is about five blocks away. If you take Santa Rosa Road, you can see a Frank Lloyd Wright house along the way. We had about an hour layover between our arrival in San Luis Obispo and ate lunch at Luna Red in town.

Kundert Medical Clinic, Frank Lloyd Wright

At the Transit Center, you can take the 12 bus to Morro Bay’s transit center, which takes about 20 minutes. From there, connect to the 13 bus that goes to Los Osos. The stop on Santa Maria Ave and 2nd St stops about two blocks from the inn.

The Way to Morro Bay

Getting back is just as easy. You have to catch the 11 bus from Los Osos, which becomes the 12 bus and continues to San Luis Obispo. From there, we caught the northbound Coast Starlight. We had about an hour layover and ate lunch in town. Also, if your train is late, you can go to Meze, a wine and cheese shop, that is about a five-minute walk if you follow the rail tracks in the southbound direction.

This was my first time taking this trip with the train, and you can count me as a convert. Yes, the schedules are limited and it takes a lot more time to ride than it does to drive, but I’m on vacation. I’m not in a hurry.