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Folsom Valley Railway 11/12/2016

by Chris Guenzler

After Chris Parker and I finished at the El Dorado & Western, we made our way to Folsom Park and parked across the driveway from the station then walked over and waited for the train to return.

Train Information

Folsom Valley Railway has been in continuous operation since 1970. It is the only 12 inch gauge railroad remaining in the United States, and only one of seven miniature scale replica steam-powered railroads in public operation.

The Railway operates one of two scale authentic miniature steam engines on a four-fifths of a mile of track. The open car round trip ride lasts approximately 10 minutes.

Train History

Folsom Valley Railway attraction was built in 1970 by the Sherman brothers with the blessing by Mayor Jack Kipp.

June 1978 It was purchased and operated by Mylon Thorley from 1978 to 1990 in January 1, 1991 when it was acquired by Terry Gold who operates the the Folsom Valley Railway today.

It takes two hours to steam up and half an hour to power down the steam engines. As a system where steam (water) intermixes with machined metal parts, a steam engine requires elaborate daily servicing.

Our Trip

The steam train pulled into the station. Chris Parker bought my ticket and I sat on the last car of the train. After tickets were punched, the train was ready to depart and would run south to the loop that returns it by the station to a loop track at the north end of the park. The engineer whistled off and we were on our way.

Views of the park to the southern loop track. The train will now take that loop.

The train has taken the southern loop track of this railroad after which it returns by the station area.

The train ran by the storage building before heading onto the north loop track.

The train rounded the northern loop track.

It went by the outside equipment and returned to the station. I thanked our engineer and gave him my business card.

The Cricket waits for her next trip. I set up to catch it run by me.

The steam train ran by me on its southbound run.

The steam train ran by me on its northbound run.

More views of its northbound run. We then drove to Merced and stopped at Stockton for an early dinner to go. We returned to the BNSF mainline at Escalon and missed a BNSF freight at El Capitan Road by less than a minute. We filled the car with petrol in Denair then made it to Winton where we waited on San Joaquin 717.

San Joaquin 717 came through Winton minutes after the sun had set. We drove back to CA Highway 99 to Motel Drive in Merced where we checked into the Rodeway Inn for the night. I watched my Pittsburgh Penguins beat Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 then watched "The A-Team" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" before the 10:00 PM news after which we called it a night.

The Trip Home

We left the Rodeway Inn and first went to McDonald's for breakfast then headed over to the BNSF mainline to follow south. The Tule fog was happening and I stopped in Planada for some pictures.

Mel's Old West Bar-B-Que steam engine, history unknown. I had gone by this for years but never photographed it until now. We then took Santa Fe Road south.

BNSF 5146 West at La Grand. I saw a Fred flashing to our south so went and found a train in the siding.

BNSF 169 East at Le Grand. We continued south down Santa Fe Road before we had to pull over.

San Joaquin 711 heading towards Oakland. From here we went back to CA Highway 99 and after Madera, returned to the Tule fog which lasted to near Fresno. We got through Fresno but on the south side of town, hit more dense fog. We exited the freeway and took North Avenue to the tracks.

San Joaquin 701 at North Avenue in dense Tule fog. We returned to CA Highway 99 and we came out of the Tule fog, then then took to CA 43 back down to the BNSF mainline just north of Corcoran, making it south to Stoll before we had to pull off the road.

San Joaquin 713 at Stoll was the last train we photographed. We went south on CA 43, filling up before reaching Interstate 5 which we took to Interstate 405 and CA 110 to San Pedro where I dropped off Chris Parker at a phone store where we said our goodbyes. I returned home over the Vincent Thomas Bridge then was able to see the new bridge they are building and was it impressive. I got on the Long Beach Freeway and was stuck in a two mile traffic jam due to a major accident but made it to the San Diego Freeway then the Garden Grove Freeway back home to Santa Ana. It had been an excellent weekend of train trips.