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Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit SMART 9/11/2020

by Chris Guenzler

We woke up on the Delta King after a good night's sleep and I decided to go and take some pictures on the deck so I did.

The combined railroad and highway bridge across the Sacramento River to the north.

The I Street lift bridge to the south.

The pyramid across the Sacramento River.

The tallest building in West Sacramento.

A Capitol Corridor train crosses the Sacramento River. First we had a free breakfast and I had smokewood bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast plus orange juice which hit the spot this morning. Due to COVID-19 health restrictions in Sacramento, we had to sit outside in the cool air which did not bother either of us.

The paddlewheeler Delta King berthed at Old Sacramento.

Santa Fe 2-10-4 5021 built by Baldwin in 1944 on display on the waterfront at Old Sacramento.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 2925 built by Baldwin in 1944 also on display on the waterfront here.

Southern Pacific 4-6-2 2467 and Union Pacific 0-6-0 4466 in the display shed of the California State Railroad Museum.

Union Pacific caboose 25256 in Old Sacramento. From here we walked over to the Light Rail station where we would ride the Gold Line to Historic Folsom.

Our trolley came into the station.

The east end of the trolley.

Elizabeth is ready to make her first trip ever on the Sacramento Light Rail. We boarded the unwrapped car for the trip to Historic Folsom.

The train crossed over the former Western Pacific Railroad.

Crossing the former Southern Pacific main line. At Sunrise, our train was taken out of service and we had to walk around the front of it to the train on the right for the rest of the trip to Historic Folsom.

The two trains at Sunrise.

Equipment of the Placerville and Sacramento Northern train.

The trolley at the end of the line at Historic Folsom.

The end of the line at Historic Folsom.

The Southern Pacific main line on the return trip.

The former Western Pacific main line on the return trip.

The DPU on the eastbound Union Pacific train that came through Sacramento which was full of gondolas.

Two Capital Corridor trains at Sacramento. From here we walked over to the turntable beside the California State Railroad Museum for a unique engine.

Sacramento Southern SW8 2008, formerly U.S. Army. We checked out of the hotel and got the car out of the parking structure for $24.00 so we saved a dollar for valet parking. We drove Interstate 80 to CA 12 which took us to Schellevile, our first stop.

Union Pacific RP20GE 2611.

Mare Island V01000M 007.

Schellville scene.

The former Southern Pacific station in Schellville. I saw tracks going across the road and thought if I was going to hide railway equipment in Schellville, I might hide it down these tracks. So Elizabeth and I went to have a look and were we surprised at what we found.

Equipment from the Golden Gate Railroad Museum was moved from Niles Canyon to here earlier this year. From here we drove to Petaluma for a railroad station I knew about and we were surprised again.

The Northwestern Pacific station in Petaluma. Next we walked over to some railroad equipment we discovered which belongs to the Petaluma Living History Railroad Museum, which celebrates the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad history. Their efforts include restoration of PNSR equipment and the iconic Water Street Trestle.

P&SR GE 25-tonner 5. It reminded me of an Athearn Hustler locomotive that I had as a child.

Wooden passenger cars under restoration.

W.L. Holman Car Company Express Motor 8 built in 1916.

Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad wooden caboose 1 built 1953.

Other wooden railroad cars under restoration.

Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad track speeder 6. From here we drove 24 miles to the north to the SMART Sonoma County Airport station.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Trip

Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is a passenger rail service and bicycle-pedestrian pathway project in Sonoma and Marin counties of California. When completed, the entire system will serve a 70-mile corridor between Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County and Larkspur Landing in Marin County. The first phase of the system, a 43-mile segment between Northern Santa Rosa and Downtown San Rafael, opened to public preview and excursion services (as far south as Marin Civic Center) on June 29, 2017. Regular service began on August 25, 2017, after Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) gave the final approval for the Positive Train Control (PTC) system. The southern two miles the line was completed to Larkspur with service commencing on December 14, 2019.

Rolling stock

The SMART fleet consists of nine two-car Nippon Sharyo DMU trainsets. Each DMU car is powered by a Cummins QSK19-R diesel engine. The vehicles, designed specifically for SMART and another transit service, the Union Pearson Express in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, are slope-nosed and self-propelled by diesel engines that meet stringent "Tier 4" EPA requirements. For regular service, SMART runs DMUs in pairs or triplicate. Trains may be as long as station platforms provided there are cabs facing the outer ends. The diesel multiple unit trainsets were ordered from Sumitomo Corporation of America / Nippon Sharyo at a cost of $46.7 million, or $6.67 million for each two car set. They were delivered to Rochelle, Illinois, for assembling, and then sent to the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. in Pueblo, Colorado, for testing. Under the contract, additional railcars may be ordered at a cost of $2.9 million per individual car. The first trainset arrived in Cotati, California, on April 7, 2015. The original order was for fourteen cars in seven two car trainsets, but on July 30, 2015, the state of California announced an $11 million grant to SMART to finance the purchase of three additional cars to be added to the fleet, allowing for three trainsets to be run with three cars, with an increase in capacity of 130 passengers over a two car trainset. In April 2016, SMART's general manager negotiated with CalSTA and Nippon Sharyo to adjust the order so SMART will receive two more full trainsets in place of the extra cars, bringing their fleet size to the required nine trainsets needed for service to Cloverdale. They will be painted in a McGlashan green livery. A July 2016 fire aboard one of Toronto's Nippon Sharyo units revealed a design flaw in the engine's crankshaft that would result in premature wear; SMART decided to delay operations until the engines could be serviced to correct the problem. All trains were refurbished at SMART's rail center by April 2017.

Our Trip

Since I had watched the video of how get Clipper cards from a SMART machine, I bought us two tickets and loaded $20 each on them while Elizabeth dealt with the parking problem. There were no machines in the unpaved parking area but you still had to pay for parking. Since she does not use apps, she called the toll-free number. The agent required her to register for Park Mobile and told her that he needed a zone number to complete the transaction. 42 was the number for St. Cloud, Minnesota which did not do her any good since we are in California. On the sign giving the limited parking information is a five-digit zone number which she found by walking back down the platform. With that number and the license plate number, the transaction was able to be processed. All that because SMART is not as smart as they should be and need to have parking meters or a centralized drop box for funds at each station. If BART can have them at their stations, SMART can have it at theirs. The fee for parking is very reasonble at $2 for a day but it was an unnecessarily frustrating and time-consuming process. What would we have done if we had been running late or had no cell phone, never mind no smart phone? I calmed Elizabeth down and it was now time to enjoy the trip, handed her her Clipper card and off we went down the tracks after a few pictures.

The map shows where SMART goes.

Our SMART train before we left for Larkspur.

Pictures at the SMART shops from the train before we departed. We made our way to the second stop where it was time for a picture.

The Northwestern Pacific Santa Rosa station.

The inside of the SMART cars with overhead luggage racks.

The Petaluma River before we crossed the drawbridge.

Scenes along the SMART train's route.

Black Point and future tracks for me to ride.

The Northwestern Pacific train at Black Point.

Elizabeth with a smart look on her face on the SMART train.

Myself with a smarter look on the SMART train. We went through two tunnels on the way to San Rafael and Elizabeth and I always make out any time there is a tunnel on our trips.

The Northwestern Pacific station in San Rafael. A few minutes later, we came to the end of our southbound trip at Larkspur Landing.

The end of the track at Larkspur.

Our train at Larkspur ready to take us back to Sonoma County Airport. We relaxed on the trip with very few pictures to take.

The San Rafael bus parking.

The Northwestern Pacific Novato station under restoration.

The Northwestern Pacific Santa Rosa station.

Our SMART train has returned to the Sonoma Airport station, ending our trip. We enjoyed our trip aboard SMART today and can't wait to return when they extend the line further north. I still had some pictures to take of the other trains here at their shop complex.

View of more of SMART's equipment.

Sign announcing that SMART is coming to Windsor.

Future route for me to come back and ride with my lovely wife. From here we drove back over to Cordelia and before we exited Interstate 80, I noticed some railroad equipment which would require further investigtion. On the property of the Cordelia Antique Mall, there were these pieces of railroad equipment. If someone knows the origin of them, please share the details with me.

Santa Fe business car 9 built by Pullman in 1928.

A former Santa Fe baggage car.

Other pieces of railroad equipment at this location.

The sign of the antique mall was fascinating to me. We went to Arby's who messed up my order giving me a large Coca-Cola when I ordered a root beer float and I had to walk back over to the drive-up and they fixed it to my satisfaction. We checked into the Best Western Inn, had our dinner then wrote the story. It had been a good day in our lives and a great experience in all the riding we did today.