Home Open Account Help 211 users online

Western Railroad Discussion > freight trains over Cuesta Grade


Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


Date: 07/26/03 22:49
freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: DBRegio

Hi,

I´m a railroad employee and also railfan living in Germany. In late August this year I will visit California.

I would be very happy if somebody could tell me how many trains during daylight I can expect over Cuesta Grade near San Luis Obispo. Are they running at certain times? As I travel together with my wife (and she is not interested in trains like most wifes in this world...) I don´t want to spend the hole day at the line. Where are good spots along the line?

I´m happy about every information.

Christoph from DBRegio (Germman national passenger carrier)



Date: 07/27/03 01:06
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: christo26

Greetings... Cuesta is almost impossible to Fan. You can either Head for the top of the hill in a small town called Santa Margarita and watch the action either starting down the hill or catch the stuff coming up the hill. All trains change crews in San Luis including Amtrak so the depot is a great place to hang out and watch the action. You can also get some decent photos although the lighting may not be that great. As for watching the action at the bottom of the hill you can head over to the College Cal Poly and watch the trains start up the hill. The Soccer field is a great place to get close to the tracks and I doubt anyone will bother you there. The Stiner Creek bridge is awsome to see but you need a local to show you how to get in there as it's very hard to find the road to turn on. As for Freight, they run at all hours. The oil shows up at all hours and sometimes the QRVML shows up around 4pm but has been running very late. The MWCPD usually following Amtrak #14 into town but lately has been running at night because of a work window in the LA area. The Passenger trains show up around 3:30 pm and there is another Amtrak that leaves SLO at 6:45 am and returns at 8:30. If you have a scanner I suggest you listen to it as you can get a lot of helpful info. Anymore questions just ask me. Where on the DB do you work? I was there last August and visited Munich and Fossen(?) Hope this helps!

UP MOLE



Date: 07/27/03 03:32
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: pdt

The best place in San Luis to watch and take photos is, by far, at the horseshoe curve north of the city. You can see the impressive steiner creek trestle and "the loop" all from one spot, and it's in the middle of the steeper part of the grade.
From the Amtrak station, drive north on Santa Rosa street. (Santa Rosa begins right at the north end of the station). After crossing Highland Drive (north end of town), the road becomes more open and you will see the Steiner creek trestle on your right, about 1/2 mile to the east. You will be going uphill here as you proceed north. Immediately after the road crests the hill, there will be a small unmarked street on your right. Drive slowly and look carefully, as it is easy to miss. A large sign for the mens correctional facility (prison) is either just before or just after the road (Can't remember). This is not the road to the prison. If you get to the entrance to the prison, you've gone too far. Anyway, this small road is barely paved, full of potholes, and largely just gravel. As you proceed, you will see the prison off to your left. Continue until you get to the tracks. Park and watch. The loop is off to your left; Steiner creek trestle is off to your right. There is also a CTC controlled passing siding ("Chorro")in the middle of the grade, just to the north of the loop. They occasionally use this siding for meets.

Total distance from the station to the loop is 3 to 4 miles.

Important notes:

Don't wander off too far from this open gravel area. You'll have to go a little to the right to see the trestle. There are 2 abandoned large electrical boxes to your left near the tracks (about 10 feet high, with attached ladder to get to top). I have often taken pictures from top of these. Good for pictures of the loop, but you can't see the trestle from there.

Immediately to your right is the Local cable company's repair truck parking area. They don't care what you do if you stay out of their way. You'll see pickup trucks coming and going all day.

To the right of the cable company is a local rancher. Stay off their fenced in grazing lands, and generally away from their house. They've never said anything to me, but seem suspicious of everyone, and not particularly friendly.

If you stay off the tracks, the UP will not bother you.

You probably won't want to hike off to the northern end of the loop, but if you do, the prison officials appreciate it if you let them know what you are doing. (This area overlooks the prison courtyard). They don't care if you take pictures of trains, but want to know what you are doing, if you're in a position that overlooks the prison.

This may all seem like a bit much, but the location is well worth it. You'll see.



As far as train times, because of maintenance crews, most freight in daylight has been through SLO before 10am, or after 4pm, or so. If you go to the San Luis station at 7am or so, you can see if there are frieghts in the yard getting ready to go. The power almost always stays with the train, so you can tell if train is heading north. You will also see the pushers at north end of station. If the pushers are not there, they are probably out on the grade working.

Amtrak northbound (train 14, scheduled at SLO at 3:43 PM) is usually close to schedule. The southbound (train 11 scheduled at 3:20 PM) is late half the time, and frequently gets to SLO between 4 and 5 PM.

If you want to take pictures, Sunlight is best in afternoon and early evening. Get there by 3pm, and you probably get both amtraks, and 1 or 2 freights by 7:30 pm.

A scanner is very helpful for locating trains, as there is not that much density. A copy of the Altamont Press California Regional Timetable (an employee style timetable for railfaning in all of California) will give you names of all the stations, sidings, freq's, etc. (www.altamontpress.com)

Gook Luck

pdt



Date: 07/27/03 07:29
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: trails2rails

Say, the Californians undoubtedly have much better ideas on this, I am just an outlander from New Jersey, but would it make sense for him to spend a day in an area more like Santa Monica - Point Conception, where he and his wife could spend the day on/near the beach and watch trains as well. I always thought that the rail/ocean section of the line was the most interesting...



Date: 07/27/03 08:18
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: espeesgeeps

My mom lives in Paso Robles ca, and when i visit next time will have to take a afternoon visit to the Loop ..



Date: 07/27/03 09:41
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: ExEspee


At last!! Someone is finally calling STEINER by its right name. I can't count the number of posts using the name Stenner. Also, many pictures in magazines and books are not using the proper name.



Date: 07/27/03 09:44
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: clem

The roads are bad. There is no road through the pass which follows the tracks, or even intersects them. That said, there are a few positive notes.

1. "TV Tower Road" runs west from the summit of Highway 101 over Cuesta. It leads to a spot where you can get a good overall view. You can see the road on the map at thise post
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?f=1&i=260380&t=260301. It is not labeled, but appears above the "700m" legend on the map. In the morning the light should be pretty good to follow northbound trains. Use a long lens (at least 300mm). Allow plenty of time to get there; the road is winding and unpaved.

There is another road on the map which leads to Thyle. It does go to the tracks around tunnel 7, but leads through private land and is often locked. Even if it is unlocked on your way in it may be locked when you try to leave.

2. A couple of hiking trails http://polyland.lib.calpoly.edu/topics/recreation/x330/hiking.htm lead by the railroad. The 7.5 mile trail goes up Brizziolari Creek almost to the Serrano siding. The "Cheda hike" will take you to Stenner Creek Trestle. You can drive there, but the hike description has a nice topo map of the area and a photo of the trestle.

3. You can easily catch a train at San Luis Obispo, take Highway 101 to the other side and catch the same train at Santa Margarita. Long trip for the train, short trip for you.



Date: 07/27/03 10:43
links to freight trains over Cuesta
Author: espeeboy




Date: 07/27/03 10:47
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: DBRegio

Hi,

thank you for your informative reply. I have bought a Delorme Atlas and hope to find the bridge and the way to it in there.

You visited just my area in Germany and rode the trains I´m takting care of!! I´m the director of marketing and of the timetable department of Southern Bavaria. We run in our small area about 1500 passenger regional (not urban!) passenger trains daily and cover 1200 miles of track. A little different from California!

Are you aslo familiar with the Santa Cruz area? I´d like to photograph the local train there too.

Take care.

Christoph



Date: 07/27/03 10:51
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: DBRegio

We will stop at Cuesta grade just on our way to Morro Bay. But you´re absolutely right: ocean and railroads are perfect for both.
trails2rails wrote:

> Say, the Californians undoubtedly have much better ideas on
> this, I am just an outlander from New Jersey, but would it make
> sense for him to spend a day in an area more like Santa Monica
> - Point Conception, where he and his wife could spend the day
> on/near the beach and watch trains as well. I always thought
> that the rail/ocean section of the line was the most
> interesting...
>
> [%sig%]



Date: 07/27/03 11:27
Re: freight trains over Cuesta Grade
Author: SteveD

Diversions for nonrailfan wives in SLO could include the Modanna Inn at the south end of town and the mission block downtown where the town was founded or an "outlet" shopping mall at Atascadero. As for rail viewpoints, the notes and suggestions provided by others here are undoubtedly helpful for the interior locations, but one can get a good view of trains ducking in and out of the tunnels from safety pullouts along the west side of hwy 101 itself south of the summit--of course these are not intended as scenic viewpoints for tourists, but when used discretely we have never been accosted by law enforcement (stop briefly, grab a quick photo, roll on with windows lowered for maximum audio effect. The route is truly best appreciated from a train, which allows classic views of the horsehoe, etc. from above and below, if you can scedule a time when layover at Paso Robles between opposing Amtraks is minimal(even an Ambus return wouldn't be bad for the scenery described above. Just my two cents



Date: 07/27/03 11:27
Stenner, Steiner
Author: clem

ExEspee wrote:

> I can't count the number of posts using the name Stenner.

Stenner is certainly an odder name, but is Steiner correct? The USCGS topo map has it as Stenner Creek. A Google search does show a Steiner Creek, but it's near Cambria, not Cuesta.



Date: 07/27/03 12:15
Re: Stenner, Steiner
Author: DBRegio

I guess Steiner was the original name as it sounds very German (it is indeed a still popular family name in Germany) whereas Stenner seems to be the americanised version as it is just the way English speaking people would pronounce the German name.

clem wrote:

> ExEspee wrote:
>
> > I can't count the number of posts using the name Stenner.
>
> Stenner is certainly an odder name, but is Steiner correct?
> The USCGS topo map has it as Stenner Creek. A Google search
> does show a Steiner Creek, but it's near Cambria, not Cuesta.
>
> [%sig%]



Date: 07/27/03 12:34
Re: Stenner, Steiner
Author: CarolVoss

One of the dorms at nearby Cal Poly is Stenner Glen. Our son went to Poly, lived in the dorm, is a railfan, and the name for the creek and the trestle have always been Stenner. It may be an Americanized version of Steiner, but Stenner it is.
C.



Date: 07/27/03 12:44
Re: Stenner, Steiner
Author: ExEspee

Carol Voss wrote:

One of the dorms at nearby Cal Poly is Stenner Glen. Our son went to Poly, lived in the dorm, is a railfan, and the name for the creek and the trestle have always been Stenner. It may be an Americanized version of Steiner, but Stenner it is.
C.


However, SP track charts and valuation charts call it Steiner.



Date: 07/27/03 13:38
Re: Stenner, Steiner
Author: WAF

The story is in one of Signor's Coast books, I think. The SP spelled it 'Steiner' until realizing from the locals it was 'Stenner' Creek.



Date: 07/27/03 13:54
Re: Stenner, Steiner whatever get a high vantage pt.
Author: spinner

Try fanning from Bishops Peak. Shots taken from the top showing part of the bridge and the horseshoe curve. When I was up there there was no freights but only NB amtk # 14. I have fanned that little PG&E Road just before the Mens Colony, but was quickly told I must leave, as the guards were getting suspicious (all before 9-11 so good luck now). Anyway, sounds like all of the good spots to fan have been said, Cal Poly had a nice grass area facing the tracks where you could have a nice lunch and try to catch something. But by far the SLO station is the best. My personal choice. Crews say hi and give you a smile. If you are planning on going onto RR property, watch out for the RR cop stationed in SLO. Nice guy but very cut and dry, no "sorry, it will not happen again."

Enjoy

Spinner in SLO





Date: 07/27/03 14:22
Re: Stenner, Steiner whatever get a high vantage pt.
Author: stash

Stenner, Steiner, or whatever...nice shot.



Date: 07/27/03 15:15
Bishop's Peak
Author: WAF

How ya get there? What size lens? Great Shot!!!



Date: 07/27/03 16:12
Re: Bishop's Peak
Author: clem

I'm guessing 9000 feet away, 1500 feet across the trame. That woud require 35mm*6 = 210 mm lens. (35mm film is a 36x24mm frame, but you get about 35mm horizontal if it's in a slide mount.) Try to pick a day with not too much smog.



Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


[ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.6375 seconds