The Electric Railroaders’ Association celebrates the post-pandemic era with our 2022 Convention in San Diego and Southern California. Our ERA members and their significant others will enjoy the opportunity to enjoy both the San Diego’s extensive modern light rail and commuter rail network as well as its spectacularly diverse tourism opportunities. Our convention program offers several exciting events:
4041 Harney Street
San Diego, Calif. 92110
Located in the middle of historic Old Town, where San Diego first developed in the mid-19th century, the Hacienda Hotel is a low-rise garden facility featuring 197 rooms furnished in the Santa Fe style. It is a brief 10-minute walk to the MTS Old Town Transit Center (with light rail, bus, commuter, and Amtrak train service) through historic Old Town State Park, featuring dozens of restaurants and shops. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes as two of our four excursions involve walking to and from Old Town Station. The hotel will also host our Annual Banquet.
Nearby tourist activities:
Most major San Diego attractions are accessible by light rail and are within five miles (a half hour) of the Old Town Transit Center or, if you’re in a hurry, as little as 10 minutes away by taxi, Uber, Lyft, or similar services. San Diego International Airport is less than five miles from the Old Town Transit Center (accessible by express bus). The Santa Fe Depot Amtrak station is four miles away (accessible by light rail).
The ERA has secured a block of rooms in this very expensive vacation paradise at the discounted rate of $155 plus 10.5% San Diego Transit Occupancy tax, 2% San Diego Tourism Marketing District Assessment fee and a .002% California Marketing Assessment fee per room per night (either one or two queen beds or one king bed for up to two guests) available for the nights of July 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (plus three days before July 6 and three days after July 11, at the hotel’s discretion based on availability).
Hotel amenities in our ERA package include:
Book your room online using our special ERA link: www.erausa.org/conv22resv
Set your check-in date and check-out date and click “Update”. This will make the screen scroll down and then you choose from rooms with one queen bed, two queen beds, or one king bed at $155 per night, plus taxes and fees. Book early to get the ERA discounted rate!
You can also book your reservation by calling the hotel directly at 619-298-4707 (ask for “reservations”). Mention the “group reservation under the Electric Railroaders’ Association” room block when calling to secure the $155 per night room rate. If you encounter any difficulties in securing this rate, email Bob Newhouser at [email protected], or call or text 917-482-4235. Email is preferred.
Check-in time is 4:00 p.m. Check-out time is at 11:00 am.
Cut-off date for discounted reservations is Friday, June 10, 2022 OR when our room block has been fully booked, whichever comes first. Reservations booked after June 10, 2022 will be accepted by Best Western Plus at the hotel’s discretion based on availability and rate.
Cancellation policy: Room cancellations must be received no later than 24 hours prior to check-in (4 p.m.) for refund. Your cancellation number MUST be obtained to ensure refund. All succeeding reservations will be automatically cancelled by the system if guests fail to check-in on the first arrival date and the first night will be charged on the credit card provided with no refund. If you can’t make the first night of your visit due to travel delays, but can make the other nights, call the hotel ASAP to preserve the rest of your reservation.
The Hacienda Hotel has generously included a free drink ticket for each of our guests. Meet us at 7:30 p.m. to enjoy that free drink upstairs on the rooftop of the nearby Old Town Tequila Factory Restaurant & Cantina. Party with your fellow ERA friends like it’s 2019 all over again!
We will depart the lobby of the Hacienda Hotel at 8:45 a.m. and walk over to the Old Town Transit Center. Our light rail car departs the station at 9:15 a.m. for a trip along the new 11-mile UC San Diego Blue Line light rail extension to the UTC Transit Center in La Jolla. From there we will return to Downtown San Diego for a tour of MTS light rail maintenance shops followed by two roundtrips on the Silver Line loop trolley from MTS headquarters at 12th and Imperial. We will ride on one of the restored San Diego PCCs outfitted in traditional San Diego Electric Railway livery, and possibly a recently restored Siemens-Duewag U2 car. With the launch of the U2 fleet in 1981, San Diego became the first U.S. city to enter the modern light rail era. The initial Downtown San Diego to San Ysidro line is now the southern portion of the Blue Line.
We will have a break for lunch near the historic 1915 Santa Fe Depot which serves as Amtrak’s Downtown San Diego station. After lunch, our light rail car will take us on a tour of the system’s scenic Green and Orange lines. Once complete, each ERA guest will be supplied with a local day pass to ride the light rail and bus system at will. We will have covered the entire light rail system except for the less scenic and busy south portion of the Blue Line between Downtown and the Mexican border at San Ysidro, which you can ride on your own with the ERA-provided pass. Photo stops will be made at terminals and at other locations when deemed safe and not disruptive to revenue trolley service.
ERA members are on their own for dinner. There are many available dining options, ranging from exquisite Mexican restaurants in Old Town near our hotel, authentic Italian cuisine in Little Italy three light rail stops south, or the many nightlife and dining options of Gaslamp Quarter, six stations south on the Green Line.
Our chartered motor coach will depart the hotel at 8 a.m. for the 120-mile drive to Los Angeles. Enroute, we plan to drive by the construction of the OC Streetcar, running 4.15-miles through the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove in Orange County. From there we will travel up to Downtown L.A., arriving near the spectacular 1939 Los Angeles Union Station, the hub for Los Angeles Metro bus, Metro Rail and Metrolink commuter rail services. The station is a combination of Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco styles.
Across the street from Union Station will be our lunch stop, the 44-acre El Pueblo Historic Park centered on Olvera Street. Olvera Street is the center of the restored oldest part of Los Angeles dating back to the early 19th century and features numerous Mexican markets and restaurants.
After lunch, we will visit L.A. Metro headquarters at Union Station for a short executive briefing on their urban rail expansion program, the most ambitious in the U.S. Planned and under construction are extensions in three corridors — The Crenshaw Northern Extension Rail Project (light rail), The Regional Connector Transit Project (light rail), and the Metro Purple (D Line) Extension Transit Project (heavy rail).
After the briefing, ERA guests will receive a day pass for an escorted ride on LA Metro rail services. What we ride depends on what is open by July 2022. If either the Crenshaw or Regional Connector lines are open, we will ride both. Otherwise, we will travel just on the scenic Exposition line to the Downtown Santa Monica terminal (this line connects both new extensions).
Our chartered motor coach will pick us up at our last stop and drive us back to the hotel by 7 p.m. Dinner is on your own in San Diego. If you wish to stay longer in Los Angeles, you can take Amtrak’s scenic Pacific Surfliner from Union Station back to San Diego at your own expense.
Our chartered motor coach will depart from the Hacienda Hotel at 9 a.m. for the drive to the Southern California Railway Museum (formerly known as the Orange Empire Railway Museum). This is one of the nation’s largest trolley museums and is the only one featuring restored Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway famous “Yellow” cars and meter-gauge PCCs. Midday in our visit, our chartered coach will take us for lunch at “The Bombshelter” Bar & Restaurant, located nearby at Skydive Perris. This restaurant has reasonably priced pub food including sandwiches, salads, and a wide variety of beers. Please inform us ASAP if you prefer vegetarian food as we will have to make special arrangements with the restaurant. After lunch, you will have some additional time to ride, photograph and enjoy the museum rides or make purchases from the gift shop. We will reboard our charter coach around 3:30 p.m. for the return trip to our hotel. Arrival is planned for 5:30 p.m. to provide time before our Annual Banquet.
The ERA Annual Banquet will be held in the hotel’s Pueblo Room. The cash bar opens at 6:30 p.m., and dinner is served at 7 p.m. Guests have a choice of steak, chicken, fish, and vegetarian entrée options. All dinners include salad, roll, coffee or tea, and dessert. San Diego MTS Chief Operating Officer Wayne Terry is our featured speaker. Mr. Terry’s presentation will focus on the agency’s past, present and future plans for this enterprising system, which launched the U.S. light rail revolution. Mr. Terry rose through the ranks of San Diego Trolley since its first line opened in 1981 and through its growth to almost 65 route miles (after the Mid-County line opening), making it the nation’s third largest system, and fifth in ridership as of 2019.
Last day. We will leave the Hacienda Hotel at 9:00 a.m. and walk to the Old Town Amtrak/Coaster Station to catch North County Transit District (NCTD)’s Coaster commuter train. We will ride most of the 41-mile line from San Diego to Oceanside. We will then transfer to NCTD’s Sprinter diesel light rail train for a roundtrip ride between Oceanside and Escondido (22 miles from end to end). This line, opened for service in 2008, was the nation’s second diesel light rail line after the New Jersey River Line, which opened in 2004. Customer restrooms are available on the Coaster and at Oceanside Station.
The Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town is located on Harney Street just north of Calhoun. It is a nine-minute walk (0.4 miles) from the Old Town Transit Center which is served by the MTS Green Line, MTS buses, commuter and Amtrak trains. There is no bus service between the hotel and Old Town Transit Center.
Walking from Old Town Transit Center to hotel. From the Old Town Transit Center, walk on Telegraph Way east to San Diego Avenue, right on San Diego Avenue, south to Harney Street, then left on Harney Street east one block on Calhoun Street to the hotel.
Airport access: As the San Diego International Airport is only 4.5 miles away from the hotel, we recommend that ERA members take advantage of reasonably priced taxi, Uber, or Lyft services if you have luggage. Starting late November 2021, MTS will offer a nonstop bus service between the airport and Old Town Transit Center. See https://www.sdmts.com/schedules-real-time/airport for more information on for this new route.
Amtrak access: Each Amtrak train stops at the Old Town station. If you choose to walk, follow directions from Old Town Transit Center above to hotel. If you have luggage, we suggest you take the train one stop south to the historic Santa Fe Depot and take a taxi less than less 4 miles back to the hotel.
Scheduled event times shown in this flyer are subject to change in the final itinerary or during the trip without prior notice. Daily trip itineraries may be changed without prior notice to ensure on-time return at the end of each day. Announcements will be made each day to update guests on essential information during all ERA events.
You are responsible for bringing your own face masks. All public transit services and virtually all venues we visit will require them. ERA will not supply face masks.
Providing your phone number (and email address) on your registration form is critical. If you have questions regarding the itinerary or accommodations, please e-mail Bob Newhouser at [email protected] or call/text him at 917-482-4235. E-mail is preferred.
Please send your order in by June 10, 2022. Any orders received after that will be filled on a space available basis. Please make sure to bring your CDC or Non-U.S. COVID-19 vaccination card to confirm your vaccination status as well as a government-issued photo ID such as a drivers’ license or passport as these IDs may be requested by any of the venues we visit, or trips we ride. You are encouraged to book online at erausa.org. The same form as below appears there.