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NASCAR Express 2013 to Sonoma Speedway 6/23/2013

by Chris Guenzler

After seeing a post on about the planned running of the NASCAR Express to Sear's Point Sonoma Raceway I thought about doing it. I then decided it would give me some new rail mileage plus allow me to see my first NASCAR Race so I got on-line and bought my ticket for the event. I then got two nights at the Vagabond Inn in Sacramento followed by getting Amtrak tickets via the San Joaquin Valley to get there. My ticket arrived in the mail two weeks before the race and then I just had to live up to that early Saturday morning to drive down to the Santa Ana train station where I parked the car before walking over to where the Thruway Bus leaves from.

Thruway Bus 5801 6/22/2013

The driver opened the door at 2:59 AM and I took the second seat back for my scenic night ride to Bakersfield. We first went to Fullerton for no passengers, then onto Los Angeles. Next was no one at Glendale, two at the Flyaway Van Nuys stop and then one more passenger at the Newhall Metrolink station. From there it was a straight shot over Tejon Pass with an early arrival into Bakersfield. I walked down for the picture of my train to Sacramento.

San Joaquin 701 6/22/2013

The second train over is San Joaquin 701. Once the crew spotted the train for boarding I took a single seat in the Santa Ana River and we left Bakersfield passing through the BNSF yard there. Our train had a consist of Engine 13, Coaches 8024 Cosumnes River and 8009 Santa Ana River, Cafe 8303 San Gabriel River, and Coach 8029 Eel River with Cab Car 8306 Mount Soledad.

There was a Canadian visitor in Bakersfield CN 2463 this clear warm summer morning. I got On-line and enjoyed that along with a Coca-Cola and Prairie City Cinnamon Roll. The train stopped in Wasco, our first fresh air stop of the morning as I enjoyed another Coca-Cola. We made our way north stopping in Corcoran, Hanford to a near empty BNSF Calwa yard where we passed the first southbound BNSF freight of the day before we stopped at Fresno. I have been on the new Lets Talk Trains Chat Room with AC Adam and for the first time ever Winston Walker. We left Fresno on time and went by another BNSF freight at Figarden siding before we crossed the San Joaquin River then we run to Madera where we waited for Amtrak 702 before we did our station work there. North of there we ran by the first BNSF northbound train of the day then took the siding at Sharon to run around an eastbound BNSF train stopped on the mainline waiting for us. I called Lets Talk Trains as we sped along to Merced and I took a fresh air break. We ran into the siding at Atwater with us getting a fantastic view of the Castle Air Museum for Amtrak 712. The train crossed the Merced River and at Ballico we went into the siding to get around another BNSF freight holding the mainline. We ran to the Turlock-Denair station under reconstruction then made our way to Modesto where a group of Red Hat ladies boarded the first car held for them on the train. From there we ran through Riverbank and Escalon to our next stop at the ACE Station at Stockton under construction.

We went through Mormon Yard went around the connection track at Keddie Jct to reach the ACE Station in Stockton. A longer platform and soon a new switch will be put in so Amtrak can use the ACE Station platform instead of the street. ACE is building a new shop complex to north of the old El Pinal crossing for their train service. This will keep them from crossing the BNSF mainline to get to their old shop in the old Western Pacific yard in Stockton. The train made its way to Lodi before we made our final trek to Sacramento.

Views of the Siemen's plant in Sacramento. We made our way to Elvas then turned west into our final station stop of Sacramento a few minutes early today.

Sacramento 6/22/2013

I took the long walk into the Sacramento station then through it across to the new signal in front of the station at I Street on over to the Vagabond Inn where I checked in for two nights. My room was on the 3rd Floor for the first time. I walked over to Old Sacramento to see what might be outside today.

Klamath Northern 206.

Sacramento Southern 2008.

The new connection to the outside world came about due to the relocation of the Union Pacific mainline through Sacramento. From here I visited the Museum's Gift Shop before I walked back over to the station.

A Capitol Train laying over at Sacramento.

Caltrains 2008 with its repower 710epo engine.

A Union Pacific freight heads to the Port of Oakland.

Buildings of the old Southern Pacific Sacramento Shops.

A Capitol Train waiting to depart for the Bay Area. I waited for the train bringing in the cars for the NASCAR Special Train tomorrow to get the consist of it. I went back to my hotel room, put the pictures from today and wrote the story so far. I went to Perko's next story to the hotel for dinner. I relaxed the rest of the evening away.


I got early to be at Perko's when they opened. I then collected my gear for the trip and walked back over to the station.

NASCAR Special 2013 Amtrak 987 West 6/23/2013

I made the walk and then got into the line to have my bag searched.

Our bags get searched here.

I got my wrist band then after I had my bag searched I walked out to the train and took the west end table in the Pebble Beach. We were loaded 74 passengers to each car so we could have plenty of room.

Our train had a consist of engine P42 202, Coaches 6461 Pebble Beach and 8015 Salinas Valley, 8812 Cafe Sonoma Valley, Coach 8017 Tuolumne River, Cab Cars 8311 Mount Palomar and 8307 Mount Baldy, Coach Sacramento River, Cafe 8810 Owens Valley, Coach 8013 Klamath River, Coach Baggage 8203 Bodega Bay and P42 133.


The Coast Starlight Train 11 with private cars Southern Pacific Birch Grove and Northern Pacific The Observatory on the rear markers leaves Sacramento for Los Angeles.

A few of my rare mileage friends were aboard the NASCAR Express this morning.

We left Sacramento right on time and the NASCAR Express was off and running.

After we crossed the Sacramento River then at Mikon we crossed the Yolo Shortline. We would next cross the Yolo Bypass on the way to Davis for first passenger stop of the morning.

The NASCAR Express crossed the Yolo Bypass then went into Davis.

After Davis the train crossed Putah Creek before we ran through Dixon. They passed out our trip T-shirts as we headed south.

Views along the way to Suisun-Fairfield.

At Canon the connection to the Western Railroad Museum in Rio Vista.

The train made the last passenger stop of the trip at Suisun-Fairfield where we picked up about twenty five passengers.

Our group inside the Pebble Beach.

The view to the west as we pulled down to the California Northern switch.

This gentleman threw the switch and soon my new rail mileage will start.

There is an old wooden box car at Suisun-Fairfield.

We are leaving the Union Pacific mainline behind.

The train curving onto the California Northern Railroad.

The southern leg of the Suisun-Fairfield wye.

The train is now on the California Northern Railroad.

View to the southwest.

Our train crossed Ledgewood Creek.

One of the local industries that ships by rail.

The solar mirrors along our route this morning.

Looking to the southwest.

A changing view to the southwest.

View over the engine.

View to the north.

View to the west.

View to the south.

Our train crossed Suisun Creek.

There is an old barn.

The train went by a small pond before it entered the only tunnel on the California Northern Railroad.

View to the south.

View to the north.

The train went under Interstate 680.

The train went over Interstate 80. Now the train will climb up and over the hills via American Canyon.

Views from the climb into American Canyon. Now we will descend the west slope of American Canyon.

Views as the train dropped into the very southern end of the Napa Valley.

Our train came to the junction with the California Northern Line to Vallejo at Napa Jct.

Our train next came to the junction with the California Northern Line to Napa at Napa Jct.

Views looking into the Napa Valley.

Our train is closing in on our crossing of the Napa River at the Brazos Drawbridge.

The Napa River.

The train crossed the Napa River at the Brazos Drawbridge.

Our train created a major stir into these locals as we went across the Brazos Drawbridge.

There is plenty of water here.

Just a few photographers out photographing the first ever NASCAR Express.

Water, water everywhere as we started our trip towards Schellville.

Click here for Part 2 of this story!