The view looking out from the San Diego-bound Amtrak Surfliner on Saturday was Americana 2010. Morning garage sales, youth soccer games and grocery shopping trips flicked past at 80 mph.
But inside a 1940s-era first-class lounge car, it was pure 1941, right down to the Navy blue uniforms, Yank magazines and packages of Clove chewing gum.
Sixty-nine years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, veterans and their families, railroad buffs and World War II re-enactors in period dress took to the rails on Saturday to mark the upcoming anniversary of Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese fighter pilots carried out a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii, killing more than 2,400 service members and civilians.
For passengers on the Pearl Harbor Troop Train Ride — an event organized by a pair of railroad enthusiasts for the past eight years — it was also an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from World War II veterans, whose numbers continue to dwindle as the years pass.