It was a blooming hot sunny day in San Diego (well it most always is) and we (family) decided that we’d try to get go on the train in the USA. Armed with our ‘BR Green Ticket’, I approached the ticket office at Santa Fe Depot.
The ticket hall is very cavernous and ostentatious with a rather modern ticket counter area. With my son besides me I asked I was greeted with a “Hello Sir, can I help you?”
“Yes, I am from the UK and have my British Rail discount pass, what time is the next Amrak train to Old Town, San Diego please?” Smiling like a bit of a nerd we must have looked a bit daft.
“Ah right,” Looks at his screen. “Thursday.”
“Erm, it’s Monday.” I replied a little bemused.
“Yes, that’s right sir, they only stop at Old Town once a week, the next stop is Oceanside or Los Angeles on the Amtrak.” He looked serious too.
“OK, so are there any Amtrack or coasters that stop at Old Town?” The reason for old town was that we had parked there earlier in the day and taken the SD Trolley into Santa Fe area to do some shopping.
“Well the Coaster stops there but we can’t sell tickets for that one.” Was he serious? I know buying other TOC tickets in the UK can be difficult sometimes.
“We have tickets for the trolley and bus, would those be valid?” I’m hoping at this point he will say yes and we can jump one for the whole trip, all 3 miles of it.
“I don’t know sir.”
“Okay.” I’m not getting anywhere here.
We decided to resume our walk down to Seaport Village.
When we got back an hour os so later there was a coaster, and it was stopping at Old Town .. on we jumped … and off we went.
Initially it’s a city line that takes you through some light idustrial areas but it down crwal along and fits the stereotype of the long slow trains the USA has. The route does give some views other than industry but it’s only 3 miles to old town. The coaches are double deckers and rather nice and clean inside.
Now for the thought will I go back on it and will I go further afield?
Who knows. This was 2006, so it’s 12 years later and unless I win a fair few quid on the lottery, I can’t see a repeat performance.