From Los Angeles Union Station More photos added 5/21
National Train Day Saturday, May 10 2008
Train Day banner above the waiting room
Report and Photos by Robert Manning, RailPAC Director
National Train Day started for my wife (Joyce) and me when we boarded Metrolink Train #353 at San Bernardino which departed promptly at 8:45 am. The train was totally filled by the second stop (Rialto CA) and arrived into Los Angeles Union Station ten minutes early. This was the start of a very enjoyable day.
Entering the train station waiting room, with part of the huge crowd!
As we entered the crowed station, I noticed the north portal where the original ticket counters were located was open. This area is normally closed to the public and used for special events. In this area there were two sections: One for children where there was face painting, games and toys. The second area had a disc jockey playing music and it was packed.
We then went to the RailPAC booth which was located on the south side of the station adjacent to other train related tables and a model train layout. The RailPAC booth was being cared for by our new member and Coast Starlight supporter Justin Walker and Associate Director Ken Ruben.
RailPAC President Paul Dyson, shown above (right) with this writer, and Vice President South James Smith also helped out at the booth and later checked out other venues at the station.
We were later paid a visit by Emmett Fremaux, Amtrak Vice President, who was very pleased with the turnout for this event. (l-r) Fremaux, Smith, Manning, Ruben. Several other RailPAC members including Tony Escarcega and Anton Lazzaro stopped by the booth for a visit.
RailPAC Treasurer Emeritus Jim Clifton (with the Train Day fan) joined with Ken Ruben at the RailPAC table. (This photo by Dave Snowden)
Later we went trackside to see three refurbished Amtrak cars: A Surfliner Business class cafÃ© car, which was beautifully appointed and very comfortable looking. Next was a refurbished Coast Starlight Pacific Parlor car which features a flat screen Television with surround sound, located on the bottom level of the car. The upper level was totally redecorated with refurbished seating and wall panels. This car will also serve gourmet meals in addition to an extended bar service and will also include regional wine tasting. The last car was a refurbished sleeping car and it was very nicely appointed. I must commend Amtrak for these three cars, they got it right!
When we left the station it was packed with people. This was a very successful event and I think everyone had a very good time.
Robert Manning, RailPAC Director