Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Day 3 - Santa Clara

Our last day in South City was a free day where you could do as you pleased. I was going to take anyone that wanted over to the USS Hornet Museum at Alameda but no-one was, and I wasn't keen on driving without a navigator so I opted for a ride on the Caltrain all the way down to Santa Clara.

The weather there was very warm and sunny, unlike the overcast conditions at South City.

The Caltrain line meets up with the line to Oakland from here, with Amtrak and UP locals passing through, albeit very infrequently. I managed to video about 6 Caltrain commuters, two Amtrak long distance trains and two short UP locals.

The depot here has been converted into a museum of sorts with a model railway club, and I turned up just as a private tour was ending so I managed to get a good look around before they packed up.

Each night and morning, the locos parked by our hotel spring into action spotting and picking up freight cars at the various industries along the tracks towards SF. They are then shut down and left sitting on a siding all day while the commuter traffic races back and forth.  This morning we (assuming everyone else noticed as well) were treated to a new arrival, ex SSW 9669 was with the other local switches. It's looking a bit worse for wear but it's clearly got the Southern Pacific paint job with the SSW (Saint Louis & South Western) Cotton Belt markings on it.

Each day has been pretty similar, it starts out clear and calm, and by mid day the cloud builds up and by 5pm the wind does as well, and it cuts right through you - just like a Manawatu southerly. Tomorrow we relocate to Auburn via Emeryville, Pinole, Davis, Dixon, Suisan City etc. This puts us on the doorstep of Donner Pass.

I hear some of the guys are keen for a bit of night photography tonight since the platform is so well lit - we'll see if the cold wind that picks up at around 5 each night will weed out the men from the boys. Scratch that - it's now raining but not too cold, so the night shots may be on. If it's a success I'll post the results tomorrow.

Italian for dinner - a good sized meal with drinks cost $15 - Greg forgot to tip so we ran away, half expecting the mafia to be hot on our heels.

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