The Great (Looking) Escape: A SoCal Train Tour


My childhood home in North Carolina sat between two railroad tracks, a mile to the east and a mile to the west of our home. This gave a certain rhythm to life; the sound of a large freight on the tracks and long train whistles offer me as much comfort today as I imagine my mother’s beating heart did before I was born. It just sounds and feels right.

That long and low whistle also recalls for me the romantic thought of escaping to a bigger life. It takes me back to European travels, when I’d avert my eyes from gypsy panhandlers and lose myself in thought to the hum of foreign chatter. So there was more to it than a mode of transportation when my dude and I hit the rails for a SoCal train tour this Labor Day weekend. We took Metrolink from downtown to Anaheim for an evening concert, the Surfliner Amtrak to downtown San Diego and back for some brewery tours, and the Gold Line to Old Town Pasadena for a dinner date with some eastside friends.

The Pacific Surfliner in particular conjured some beautiful moments of reflection. What a fantastic opportunity to sit back, relax, and take in the rich scenery of the Southland while whizzing along the stalled freeway traffic—even if you’re not prone to waxing poetic like me.

The people watching was also great. We saw a handful of characters aboard, from the utilitarian traveler to beach-going babes, to gamblers beneath wild hats to shade the sun while betting on the ponies at Del Mar. Commuters, surfers, lovers, families, and loners filled the seats and swapped stories about their journeys. I sat back with my pen poised and journal open, some iced coffee and my camera at my side. Here, sartorially speaking, is what it looked like:  

All items sourced on Polyvore

Betsy Moyer is a North Carolinian living in Los Angeles. Part bohemian and part fish out of water, she’s interested in what makes Angelenos unique and shares her lifestyle and fashion musings here on the Clutch. She also sings in a band, dabbles in thrifting and home décor, and blogs about blogging. Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, or at her blog,