California - nevada circle tour
This circle tour was run by Trains Unlimited in June
2006. There were a few long days on the bus but the railways
visited were well worth the trip. Our bus driver owned the whole
bus company -- he was alos a great train fan on a genuine busman's
holiday. Ever raced a fast freight in a bus? We did!!
There was no shortage of
standard and narrow gauge venues, both ancient and modern.
In particular, the integration of mainline Amtrak, suburban
rapid transit, streetcars, and cable cars in San Francisco
is a lesson for many younger cities which haven't figured out
that autos are not the solution.
The tour started and ended in
Santa Clara, California. I broke this travelog into four phases,
roughly eastbound to Nevada, northbound in Nevada, westbound back to
the coast in California, and finally southbound along the coast back
to Santa Clara. A back and forth from Stockton to Bakersfield
finished the tour.
Well worth the time and effort.
Canyon Railway, Niles Canyon (east of Freemont)
Standard gauge train ride, diesels at both ends of excursion
cars, 70 minute round trip from Niles to Sunol, CA on ex-Western
Pacific / Southern Pacific mainline.
Railroad, Jamestown, CA
gauge, originally a logging and mining railway built in 1897,
Short steam train ride, shop tour, turntable operations.
Railroad Dinner Train, Oakdale, CA
gauge, originally a logging and mining railway built in 1897.
Sunset dinner train to Warnerville and return. Unfortunately it
was June and the sun set on the tail of the train, no great
photos from the train windows. Photo from website.
Yosemite National Park,
standard gauge Yosemite Valley Railroad ran to the park from
Merced to Los Banos and Yosemite Valley (1905 to 1946). Good
website but no place to visit.
We visited the
route to Carson City, NV. Waterfalls, big trees, and elk using
crosswalk skills are common sights.
to Nevada Northbound