July 13, 2013 – Santa Barbara Train Trip
Los Angeles Westerners do history in high style!
by Larry L. Boerio, Deputy Sheriff
Click here to view photos from the event.
On Saturday, July 13, 2013, fifty-two Corral members and guests departed historic Los Angeles Union Station aboard two spectacularly-restored vintage passenger rail cars bound for Santa Barbara. This all-day trip was an exclusive Corral Special Outing focused on experiencing history in “3-D.” More Special Outings are planned on a regular basis.
The two cars, Overland Trail (a former Southern Pacific 1949 Pullman-built Club-Lounge car used on the San Francisco Overland) and Silver Splendor (a former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 1956 Budd-built Vista Dome-Lounge-Dining car used on the Denver Zephyr) are privately owned and have been meticulously restored, first-hand, by their respective owners Bill and Debbie Hatrick and John and Heidi Caestecker. The cars were coupled as a private section to Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, which departed at 7:50 a.m. and arrived at Santa Barbara at 10:19 a.m. A full breakfast, served by the truly first class wait staff of both cars, was really done up right! The same can be said of the delectable dinner served on the return trip which departed at 4:35 p.m.
En-route, the history of the cars and the railroads was illuminated as we traveled along the ex-SP Coast Line (LA to Bay Area line, now owned by Union Pacific). Originally, the Coast Line carried SP’s historic Coast Daylight train, which many consider to be the “most beautiful passenger train in the world” with its red, orange, and black color scheme. Westerners chatted, drank, ate, viewed the passing mountains and coastline, and explored these two pieces of rolling history from the “glory days” of passenger railroading. Upon arrival in Santa Barbara, with six hours available, many Corral members took advantage of the escorted tour of the many wine-tasting rooms. Later, on their own, they formed their own small groups to explore this beautiful and historic city by the sea. Others made their own small groups right away to explore the city directly, going to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Presidio, the many high-quality retail shops and art galleries, and the beautiful beaches and coastal views. Everyone seemed to have a great time. The chance to enjoy all of this with fellow Corral members was a real treat! Perhaps Sheriff Joe Cavallo summarized it best:
“My wife and I rode to SB in the 1949 car and rode back in the 1956 bubble top dome car. The loving attention to detail to these two train cars to make them so beautifully and historically restored was such a delight to see. It was like travelling back in time experiencing the beauty of California and our Western heritage, while journeying along in historically restored train cars. How much fun it was to talk, laugh, and enjoy the camaradarie of fellow Westerners in such wonderful surroundings. The time in Santa Barbara was great. Wine tasting, art museum, a great lunch with some of our Members made every moment a lot of fun. What an absolutely fabulous experience. Thanks to the owners of the cars and Larry Boerio who tirelessly gave attention to every detail and did a superb job. Westerners is committed to our magnificent historical heritage and all of our activities are designed to that end. I cannot wait until the next such event.”