I was delighted by the excellent piece you recently published about Amtrak written by Paul Bendix. As a frequent traveler from Berkeley to Santa Barbara I have carried on a love affair with the train for almost 80 years.

First, it was the streamlined red and orange Daylight run by Southern Pacific until Southern Pacific wanted to shed their unprofitable passenger service and the government saved the day with Amtrak.

I then rode the then-elegant long-distance Starlight, which traveled daily from Seattle to Los Angeles with convenient stops in Emeryville in the East Bay and in Santa Barbara. I loved the traveling down the length of the Salinas Valley, my observations informed by reading John Steinbeck. While the highway was forced to stay inland, I was fascinated by the glimpses of Vandenberg Air Force Base with its silos and gantries for launching missiles. I reveled in experiencing Point Conception where the coast turned left and beaches were now south facing. All this while travelling through the hills and valleys that in the early 1800s made up the vast ranchos where Mexicans and Spaniards ran their long-horned cattle.

Passing the state beach at El Capitan and then seeing the Santa Ynez Mountains, I’d start gathering up my things for the pleasure of arriving in Santa Barbara where someone I loved was waiting for me.


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