Tour #15A: Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to San Diego and Shuttle to Balboa Park and Model Train Museum

Sunday, August 22, 8:30 AM – 7:40 PM Tour Price: $115

A train ride on Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner down the magnificent California Coast to San Diego. You will depart the train at the Santa Fe Depot and board a shuttle bus to/from The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park. There are other destination options that include the SD Balboa Park Museums: San Diego Model Railroad Museum, Spanish Village Art Center, S.D. Natural History Museum, SD Museum of Man, SD Museum of Art, Botanical Building, SD Zoo, Balboa Park Miniature RR, Alcazar Garden, SD Automotive Museum, SD Air & Space Museum, SD American Indian Cultural Center, Fleet Science Center, Japanese Friendship Garden or the Comic-Con Museum. Tour attendees may alternatively choose to visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and memorial. The Pacific Surfliner is a 350-mile (560 km) passenger train service serving the communities on the coast of Southern California between San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Many portions of this route actually hug the Pacific Ocean and afford riders fantastic views from the cliffs and beaches that the line traverses. The beauty of the panorama presented is realized the most at sunset. The Pacific Surfliner operates thirteen daily round trips between Los Angeles and San Diego.

The route is the successor of the San Diegan, a Los Angeles-San Diego service that began operations in 1938 by the Santa Fe Railway. It had been one of the Santa Fe’s premier routes until Amtrak took over operations in 1971. To better reflect the route’s extent, it was renamed the Pacific Surfliner in 2000. The route is named after the Surf Line, which now comprises the route’s busiest section from Los Angeles to San Diego. The Pacific Surfliner uses push-pull trainsets with a diesel locomotive at one end and a cab car at the other. A typical six-car set has a business class car, three coach cars, a coach/café car with food sales on the lower level, and a coach/baggage/cab car equipped with coach seating, a checked baggage space on the lower level, and engineer’s operating cab.

Tour attendees will board the Pacific Surfliner at the Hollywood Burbank Airport Train Station located directly across the street from the Marriott Hotel. They will disembark the train at San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot. Travel time on the Pacific Surfliner is anticipated to take four hours and 15 minutes each way.

Shuttles will be available for tour attendees to take the 3 mile ride to Balboa Park, where they will have 3 hours to visit their choice of museum venues.

Balboa Park is home to 17 different museums and cultural institutions that provide an enriching and encompassing look at the human experience from multiple points of views. Tour attendees will need to decide which venues they wish to visit in the limited time they will be in the park. There simply is not enough time to visit them all! TCA members interested in taking this tour may wish to consider purchasing a one way train ticket, and plan to find accommodations to stay longer in the area, and even perhaps to fly home from the San Diego Airport, instead of travelling back to Burbank to fly home.

The Museum in Balboa Park that may be of most interest to TCA members is the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (SDMRM), which spans over 27,000 square feet with displays, operating trains, trestles, and tracks. This is the world’s largest operating model railroad museum. Dedicated to preserving the heritage of railroading, the unique museum has a series of miniature representations of California railroads, in O, HO, and N scales, including four enormous scale and model layouts of Southwest railroads. In addition, the SDMRM features a Toy Train Gallery with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting. The SDMRM features both indoor and outdoor exhibits and programming for all ages.

Burbank Airport TrainStation

Santa Fe Depot

Amtrak arriving in Santa Fe

Balboa Park Model Railroad Museum

Visit the S.D Model Railroad Museum

One-way Driving time: 15 minutes

Tour includes: Round-trip motorcoach transportation, professional tour guide, water and snacks.

Special Wear: None

ADA Compliant: