Coast Starlight at SLO; Before and After PHOTOS

Before the re-launch
After the re-launch
But, what’s NOT there?

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Photos and Comments by Russ Jackson

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Coast Starlight train 14, the northbound, arrived on the station track usually used by the southbound #11 at San Luis Obispo, close to on time, on May 18, 2008.

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This crowd of passengers for the Starlight were riding the old consist after the service was restored following the Oregon mudslide and before the “re-launch.” The trains have been full “before” and “after.”

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More northbound passengers prepare to board a Coach car.

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A month later, June 24, 2008, two weeks AFTER the “re-launch” and train 14 has arrived at SLO station on its usual northbound track. Notice the Dining car, with only the sleeping cars in front of it. No Transition sleeper on this consist, a regular sleeping car was substituted. On a recent trip the AC in a sleeping car failed, and its passengers were transferred by the staff to the substitute transition/sleeping car.

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Passengers wait to reboard the train. When the “last call” announcement was made, three passengers inside the station ran to make sure they were not left behind.

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OH OH, what’s missing here? No Pacific Parlour Car! and, no substitute Lounge car for it! These passengers were expecting the new service, but because all the required equipment for each consist had not yet arrived, the “re-launched” service was “not available.” That’s not good for customer satisfaction, is it?

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On the head end, a P-40 and a P-32 are ready for departure. They have a green signal up for their trip up Cuesta Grade and on to Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

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MORE OH OH. The June 10 re-launch consist had a fancy drumhead on the back end of the last car. Not today. Too bad. The UP locomotive is from the set stationed there that helps freight trains climb Cuesta Grade.

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