Railway Pages Index


California - Nevada Circle Tour

This section of the tour took us down the coast, with a few skips and jumps, to Sacramento, Napa, San Francisco, and Felton / Santa Rosa. The add-on trip from Stockton to Bakersfield and return in the 55 year old streamlined dome cars was an all-inclusive gourmet delight. Bakersfield is, of course, still Bakersfield.

Train Town, Sonoma, CA
Following a long bus ride along the winding coastal redwoods highway, we visited a fantastic 1/8 scale operating ride-on railway. Scale buildings and bridges, turntable and roundhouse, plus a tropical garden setting made a great afternoon stop.






Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa, CA
Not much to see, but the food and wine are really good. The 1959 Budd streamline dome cars have been nicely refurbished and the cloth napkins cling like cloth. Photos from the website.




California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, CA
Old Sacramento and the California State Railroad Museum fill a morning, and much more if you can spare the time. The Museum is spectacular and obviously well financed. The Museum's train ride along the river front is uninspired, pulled by a standard gauge 0-6-0 tank engine from an abandoned quarry operation. 

There is a mainline diesel version run by Sacramento River Trains and is probably a better bet, but we didn't get a chance to ride on it.




Photos from the website


Western Railroad Museum, Rio Vista, CA
This working museum covers electric interurban freight and passenger service in western USA. A ride, with lunch included, on a freight motor pulling two unpowered passenger cars brought us to Gum Grove and return, past numerous wind turbines.




San Francisco, CA
By way of Amtrak from Sansun/Fairfield to Freemont, BART under the Bay to downtown, and cable car to Fisherman's Wharf, we boarded a fishing trawler for a ride under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was rough and cold but quite enjoyable.  A crab dinner followed on stable land. Pogo once said "Terra Firma - the more firma, the less terra".

Next day, we tried out the PCC streetcars and  "N" and "L" subways. These are equipped with convertible steps that handle both street level and platform loading.




Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad, Felton, CA
We left San Francisco by CalTrain to Mountain View, then by tourbus to Felton to ride the narrow gauge Shay into the redwoods. The shop tour showed several engines under rebuild and a couple of baby diesels sat in the sun outside.








Domes Down the Valley, Stockton to Bakersfield, CA
Our final trip was an all-day journey on a Budd Vista-Dome car tacked on the end of the regular Amtrak passenger train from Stockton to Bakersfield. On the return trip, we were tacked next to the northbound diesel, about 30 feet from the airhorn - there are about 200 level crossings to whistle at, so it was not as peaceful as the southbound journey.

Three gourmet meals, three between meal snacks, and all the booze you want were included in the fare. A few over-indulged but most were still sober upon return.

The San Joaquin Valley is flat, boring, and green in June (brown later in the year) but it is the fruit and vegetable basket for much of the USA and a lot of the rest of the world. During the northbound run, the sun set on 10 days of trains and good food. as we returned to Stockton and Santa Clara.



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