, , , , , ,

By Noel T. Braymer

For a change of pace, let’s look back how things were in California around 1979- 1983 when it came to rail passenger service. With that compare how things in many cases are looking much better now.


This is the SP Peninsula Commute service at the San Francisco terminal at 4th and Townsend around 1979. During this time the SP wanted to get rid of the trains and there were questions about its future.


This is 4th and Townsend as of 2013 and many more people are riding the train on the Peninsula today.


This is the outside of the 4th and Townsend SP station around 1979. Not the most vibrant part of San Francisco.


Same place and same building. But things are looking up with new development and new Light Rail service at the station.


In 1979 some PCC streetcars were still in regular use in San Francisco. There were some new Boeing built Light Rail cars used in the recently opened Muni Metro tunnel connected to the Twin Peaks tunnel. But in 1979 Some Muni Streetcar lines still ran on the surface and terminated at the old Transbay Terminal downtown.


This is San Francisco in 2013 and this is the recently built T line on the Embarcaro not far from the Caltrain Station at 4th and Townsend or AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.


This is the Coast Starlight in 1979 in San Luis Obispo. This is pre-Superliners with steam heat. The once a day Starlight was the only train in San Luis Obispo in 1979


This is San Luis Obispo around 2007. Besides the Starlight, San Luis Obispo has 2 additional Pacific Surfliner trains , the 774 leaves San Luis Obispo in the mornings and arrives in San Diego in mid-afternoon while the 777 leaves San Diego at Noon and arrives in San Luis Obispo by evening. The train above was the 761 which leaves in the early morning from Los Angeles. The train seen here soon will be boarding passenger in the afternoon for Los Angeles as the 790. In the last few years trains 761/790 have been using Surfliner equipment which the 774/777 already had been using. The 761 still leaves from Los Angeles but the 790 service was extended to San Diego. LOSSAN is planning to run the 761 from San Diego in the near future as an early morning arrival and  12th round trip to Los Angeles with service up to San Luis Obispo. The equipment for the 761 will be run as the 12th round trip departure in the evening from Los Angeles to San Diego.


Santa Barbara in 1979 with low level Coast Starlight equipment back when it was the only train to Santa Barbara.


This is the Coast Starlight southbound at Santa Barbara around 2006. The train was very early into Santa Barbara that day and was giving smokers an extended smoke break while it waited to leave on time.


This trailer was the Bakersfield Amtrak Station back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.


This is a picture of the new Amtrak Bakersfield Station in 2003.


This is at the San Diego Santa Fe Depot in the late 70’s to early 80’s. This part of downtown San Diego was a bit run down and largely a light industrial area.


This is also by the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego around 1982 shortly after the San Diego Trolley began service. This was the original terminal for the Trolley across the street from the Depot. Several people planning the Trolley opposed extending the Trolley to the Depot in the belief that not many people would transfer to and from the trains and it would be a waste of money.


This is San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot in 2016. On the right are passengers transferring from the Green Line Train from Mission Valley to the Orange Line Train which will soon be leaving for El Cajon.  Before the south bound Green Line Train seen in this picture arrived, a north bound Green Line Train stopped on the other Trolley track to allow passengers to transfer to the El Cajon Orange Line Train. Shortly after this picture was taken, the Orange Line Train departed after a layover at the Depot between runs.  The southbound Green Line train followed shortly thereafter.