Amtrak after the mudslides

kevsmith Jan 20, 2018

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

    Had to fly to California in a hurry after the new year when both my parents had ended up in hospital. It was interesting to say the least. Caught the tail end of the 'Thomas' fire which at one stage had got very close to their house, experienced an earth tremor centered on Berkeley and the experienced the devastating rain storm that caused the mudslides in Montecito which you will have seen on the news. The following morning as the casualty figure kept rising, Highway 101 was completely submerged in mud between Santa Barbara and Ventura and the Pacific Coast line was covered in boulders in places.

    The first thing I spotted was the procession of Hy-rails heading to the area to begin recovery operations


    seen trundling though Goleta

    As it became apparent, once the line was open again, that it would be one of the few ways to get past the incident zone Amtrak had to raise their game quickly to cope.

    The normal consist of an F59phi and 5 coaches on the Surfliner services was going to be inadequate as the platforms filled up with desperate people trying to get to and from L.A.


    Over the next few days more cars were brought into the area and the trains were topped and tailed with locos in an attempt to ensure everybody got a seat. There were some desperate people on the platforms and at one stage the deputies were called to quieten them down and one conductor said ' it is like a Japanese subway train on there'


    More soon

    Kurt Moose and BoxcabE50 like this.
  2. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

    These were the first dash8-32s I had seen in Amtrak use


    The last time I was in Goleta the F40PHs still ruled the roost and the F59s and P42s were the new kids on the block

    Never got to see any freight running, just kept hearing the going past but did catch Train 11, the Coast Starlight' one day with a P42 and Dash 8 on the point


    With ATSF 33 Redwood Empire bringing up the rear


    Thats the way to do it!

    Video here


    Kurt Moose, BoxcabE50 and jwb3 like this.
  3. jwb3

    jwb3 TrainBoard Member

    The P32s are common on the Starlight, but now CDOT and AMTK P32s are on the Surfliners as well. These have extra Cal Cars from up north as well as extra Superliner coaches.
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Ah. You caught an earthquake. Believe it, or not California is not the shakiest State in the USA. That 'honor' falls to Montana. However, in magnitude, California usually is at or very close to top of the list.
  5. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Dang, you got to see just about everything Amtrak owns!!(y)(y)(y)
  6. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

    Kev, thanks for the report. I trust your parents are OK. I have a grandson working in Santa Barbara who fortunately escaped any damage from the multiple problems that took place there.
  7. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

    Thanks Jim
    Dad sadly passed away peacefully three days after my brother and I arrived, with his family by his side at the age of 87

    At some stage I'll post a bit of a tribute to him. He was a member of the Railway photographic society in the U.K back in the fifties alongside the greats like Eric Treacy and H C Casserley and was the reason I grew up as a railfan.

    Mom is doing O.K at 85 but we now need to keep an eye on her, not easy from 5,600 miles away but she s a strong woman and has no intention of coming back to England.

    Fingers crossed


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