San Diegan 60th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, May 17, 1998, 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Los Angeles Union Station
The San Diegan 60th Anniversay was held in Los Angeles Union Station
on Sunday, May 17, 1998.
Below is the event announcement that was the main subject of this
web page prior to the event:
Amtrak invites you to attend a celebration commemorating sixty years of
San Diegan service and ten years of service to Santa Barbara.
The celebration will be held on Sunday, May 17, from 10:30 a.m. until
5:30 p.m. at the historic Los Angeles Union Station. The theme of
the celebration is honoring the past; celebrating the present; and looking
forward to the futuer of passenger rail in Southern California. Amtrak,
commuter and freight equipment will be on display, and representatives from
many Amtrak services will provide information and give-a-ways.
Other participants will include the California Department of Transportation,
with an extensive display featuring new accessible motorcoaches, and two
rail safety organizations, Operation Lifesaver and Operation Redblock. In
addition, we except participation from the city of Santa Barbara, the San
Diego Film Commission, and the San Diego area high school jazz band
San Diegans: The First Sixty Years
For Santa Fe Railway, 1938 was a banner year highlighted by the introduction of modern streamline
equipment on it's major routes. On March 27, 1938 Santa Fe ushered in a new level of passenger travel-
and a new name-on the Southern California coast route. Gleaming new diesel-powered streamline trains
made two round trips between Los Angeles and San Diego each day. And they were called the San
The new equipment was very popular with the traveling public. Another streamline train set was add in
1941; now four of the five daily San Diegans round trips featured modern equipment. Steam locomotives
would continue to provide power for some San Diegan trains into the 1940's. The outbreak of World War
II saw troop trains added to the usual mix of freight and passenger movements along the surf line route.
All this activity recessitated the installation of Centralized Train Control for more efficient use of the rail
The postwar era ushered in a period of unparalleled urban growth in Southern California, and with it
came a pent-up demand for leisure travel. The San Diegans met the challenge with new equipment-the
Budd Cars-and more round trips, as well as longer trains. During these years steam saw its last hurrah on
the route, and passed into meory in 1953. Mighty diesel locomotives continued to power the roster into the
1960's offering Southern Californias ready access to many popular beach destinations. As the postwar
population grew, station stops were added to serve new communities.
In 1971 Amtrak assumed operation of the San Diegans as part of the national passenger train network.
In the following years, Amtrak deployed new equipment and added frequencies. In partnership with
Caltrans, amtrak has "grown the service" from three daily trains to ten daily round trips. Service was
extended to Santa Barbara in 1988 and to San Louis Obisbo in 1995. Amtrak California locomotives and
passenger equipment joined the San Diegan fleet the same year.
Today the San Diegans are a major success story, due in large part to a philosophy of "putting the
customer first". By providing amenities such as Pacific Class Service and modern equipment, and
aggressively marketing special discounts and unique features of the service, San Diegans ridership has
grown to 1.6 million passengers annually.
And the years ahead? Amtrak passengers can look forward to comfortable new equipment, handsome
station facilities, unsurpassed onboard service, and the best scenery California has to offer. So come along
and join us for the start of the next sixty years.
Amtrak Celebrates 60 Years of San Diegan Service
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 14, 1998--Amtrak and the California
Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will celebrate 60 years of San
service to the Central and Southern California coast, and 10 years of rail
service to Santa Barbara during a public event and equipment display on
Sunday, May 17.
The free event at Los Angeles Union Station, 800 North Alameda Street,
will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It will include entertainment by
live bands, singers, caricature artists and face painters, refreshments and
souvenirs. Visitors can walk through a number of rail cars, including an
Amtrak California Passenger Coach and Dining Car, San Diegan Pacific Class
Car, Dome Car, which will enter San Diegan service, Amtrak long-distance
Coach, and commuter cars from Metrolink and Coaster. A new Amtrak
Locomotive also will be on display.
A special Excursion Train will take visitors on rides, departing every
hour between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reservations are not required for the
Excursion Train, however rides are provided on a space-available basis.
There is a nominal charge of $2 for adults, $1 for children 2-15, and
children under 2 ride free.
Young and old will be greeted by Disneyland's Buzz Lightyear from 2
p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a chance to win a free trip for four on an
Amtrak train to Disneyland to see the new attraction Tomorrowland, and
other trips on the San Diegan.
Visitors will enjoy complimentary beverages courtesy of Pepsi cola and
stop by the KCBS-FM "Arrow Cruiser". They will see informational booths by
a number of exhibitors, including the San Diego Chargers, California
Division of Tourism and city visitors' agencies, Caltrans Rail Program,
and Fillmore and
Western Railroad. The Operation Lifesaver booth will include a special
Railroad Simulator, enabling kids to drive a big locomotive and learn
safety tips around railroad tracks and equipment.
While the celebration will commemorate the historic importance of
passenger rail travel in the region, San Diegan passengers can anticipate
exciting changes to the service. The acquisition of new custom-built
equipment, upgrades in on-board amenities and a renewed focus on customer
service will continue to increase San Diegan ridership, currently second
largest in the Amtrak national rail system.
Amtrak offers nearly hourly service during peak periods between San
Diego and Los Angeles with 10 daily roundtrips, four of which extend to
Santa Barbara and one continues to San Luis Obispo.
California Department of Transportation
Charles Seifert, 415/461-9249
Eileen McNally, 510/238-4360
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