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TRANSPORTATION : Morning Train Whistles Into Pasadena History

January 20, 1994

The dependable whistle heralding the arrival of early morning trains in Pasadena popped 68-year-old Moses Moreno's eyes open for the last time Friday. And it was 40 minutes late.

Moreno joined nearly 400 people who watched Amtrak No. 3 from Chicago squeal to a halt in front of the Santa Fe station on North Raymond Avenue for the final time, marking the end of 108 years of transcontinental passenger rail service in Pasadena.

"I live five blocks from here, and every morning when I was in bed, before I would get up, I would hear that whistle," said Moreno, who retired from his job as a foreman at Kern Foods nine years ago.

Moreno said he will miss his Amtrak alarm clock, but he is looking forward to riding the Blue Line, the $841-million light rail system designed to link the city with Los Angeles by 1998.

The Santa Fe station will become a transit center incorporating a Blue Line stop and shuttle service to airports and local hotels, Pasadena Mayor Rick Cole told the crowd.

The new transit center will be one of six Blue Line stations along the 13.6-mile route between Pasadena and Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.

The last Amtrak train rolled into Pasadena just before 8 a.m., about 40 minutes behind schedule because of a storm in the Midwest. City dignitaries and about 70 railroad buffs who had bought $6 tickets boarded the train for the historic last leg of its trip to Los Angeles.

The remaining crowd yelled a final "All Aboard!" as the train edged forward. Then, about 20 people swarmed over the rails to pick up souvenirs--the now-flattened coins they had placed on the tracks in the moments before the train arrived.

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