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Training to the Trainmaster Reception

by Chris Guenzler

Back in late September, Steve Grande of Trainweb asked me if I could cover the 15th Annual Trainmaster Reception at the California State Railroad Museum. He then told me what would be involved as all my expenses would be included. I thought about it for a few seconds thinking all I had to do was ride a bus to the train, stay in a hotel room, go to this banquet then ride a train to a bus to a train. I told Steve that I would be happy to go so he made all my arrangements. I picked up the tickets at Santa Ana and waited a month for this trip to start. Four nights after returning from the Sea-Tac Trip it was time to pack my bags once more for yet another Amtrak Adventure.

Thruway Bus Route 5811 11/15/2003

After having a devil of a time at midnight to find a parking place in the farthest parking spot from the Santa Ana Transportation Center because of some party going on with people still arriving, I walked over to the Thruway Bus Stop. The bus from San Diego pulled in early and I boarded the last of the two seater in the back of the bus with a girl going to Bakersfield. The bus was full so sleep would be almost impossible as I would have to be in a seated position. We went to Fullerton before reaching Los Angeles Union Station for a forty five minute layover. The other bus came in but did not pick up any of the waiting passengers until after we left. Since that bus did not leave before us, we had to make all of his stops. First we went to Glendale before crossing the San Fernando Valley to the Van Nuys Fly Away Terminal before heading to Newhall. Once we finished in Newhall, we made a straight shot to Bakersfield with me catching a little bit of sleep where the rains began to fall.

San Joaquin 711 11/15/2003

Our train set consisted of F-59PH 2014, Baggage Coach 8204 Drakes Bay, Cafe 8812 Sonoma Valley, Coach 8031 Matolle River and Cab Car 8313 Mount Lassen. We departed Bakersfield right on time at 4:55 AM and headed out of Bakersfield through the predawn darkness on what would be a rainy morning. I napped to north of Corcoran before going to the cafe car for a large Chocolate Chip Cookie and Mint Medley Tea. Light took hold just before Hanford on a fully cloudy rainy day in the areas along our route to a dry Fresno. I jumped off the rear car for a quick rear picture of 711 before returning to single seat 1 in the Matolle River.

The train left Fresno on time and I napped to north of Merced being fully awake by the Castle Air Museum as we are now between weather systems. I went to the cafe and sat down to enjoy a Hot Dog and Mug Root Beer. After our station stop at Turlock-Denair we passed San Joaquin 702 near East Empire before we crept to West Empire to meet the BNSF 1112 East. Once he cleared we went straight into Modesto. Just north of Escalon, a passenger started making comments about a very strange looking cloud that stretched across the whole sky and looked nasty. Shortly thereafter we entered the heavy rain making me glad I was on a train and not out in it. West of rainy Stockton we entered the California Delta Country where we met sister San Joaquin Train 712 on the fly at Trull. After our Delta Trek we arrived Antioch five minutes early so I jumped off 711 for a picture of the train at the station in the steady rain.

From Antioch we ran along the south shore industries and the Port Chicago Naval Weapons Station to my destination of Martinez where I detrained.

Martinez 11/15/2003

Running a few minutes late after I had arrived Capital Service Train 729 pulled into Martinez heading to San Jose.

Once he had cleared, the California Zephyr Train 6 arrived to do his station work.

I next called Lets Talk Trains, the excellent Internet Radio Show that is on World Talk Radio every Saturday morning 10-12 Pacific Time or 24/7 in the achieves any time after the show. As I was on the show San Joaquin 714 pulled into Martinez. After purchasing two cans of Coca-Cola, I went back outside to watch trains. Only Capitol Service Train 733 arrived with a Genesis Locomotive on the point.

Next my Capitol Service Train 728 arrived in Martinez to take me to Sacramento.

Capital Service Train 728 11/15/2003

The train departed Martinez nine minutes late and left on a slow order. As I walked through the cafe car someone called out my name and it was none other than Dave Jansson and Chuck Cottam, both AAPRCO Member of Sierra Pacific Rail owners of the Yosemite Valley and Muir Woods. The Yosemite Valley is the ex Golden Mission ex SP 9110, a 4-4-2 Sleeper and the Muir Woods is the ex Sonoma Valley ex Northern Pacific 498 Travellers Rest. The Yosemite Valley will enter charter service in 2004 and in 2005 the Muir Woods will be put in Charter Service. We had a nice conversation about the car's history.

Capitol 728 ran in the push mode with Cab Car 8314 Mount Pinos, Coach 8003 American River, Cafe 8802 Sacramento Valley, Coach 8008 Stanislaus River and Surfliner Coach 6462 Moss Beach with California Dash 8-32-W 2051. We crossed the Martinez Bridge and made our way to Suisan-Fairfield with more slow orders. I returned to my seat before Davis in the 6462 for the ride across the Yolo Causeway. We sat in Davis waiting for Capital 737 to clear the causeway as we were already to be in Sacramento had we been on schedule. 737 came into Davis then departed before we finally pulled out at 1:04 PM {12:32 PM}. They are putting back in the second track on the Yolo Causeway for better train operations as it is the major bottleneck on this route. The concrete bridge decks are all in except for the bridge railing on the east end. The grade is prepared for track laying so this project is moving right along. A westbound Union Pacific coal train was waiting at East Causeway for us to clear before we moved slowly through West Sacramento across the Sacramento River into the Amtrak station at 1:25 PM, twenty five minutes late.

Sacramento 11/15/2003

I walked over to the Vagabond Inn to check in before I went off to ride the newest light rail line in Sacramento.

The Sacramento Light Rail South Line 11/15/2003

I walked over to K Street and paid for a ticket just as a train to Meadowview was pulling into the station at 8th and K Street. I had ridden the original Sacramento Light rail and was looking forward to riding the new Meadowview line. We turned south stopping at 7th and Capitol before arriving at 8th and O Street. We turned left to reach Archives Plaza then turned south onto 13th Street before turning east to reach the station on 16th Street. From 16th Street your train will take you on the original line to just short of the flyover of the former Western Pacific {UP} where we switched off onto the new route to the right along the former Western Pacific tracks. We ran alongside of the WP for the rest of our trip out to Meadowview. The train gained speed as it passed under the Business 80 Freeway to our next stop at Broadway. We took off again this time to the 4th Avenue/Wayne Hultgren Stop located at the north end of what used to the WP's South Sacramento Yard where the old WP Shops were located. Today it is a few yard tracks and weeds as well as a few trees. There is really nothing left of this once neat Western Pacific property. We stopped at the City College Station before continuing south to first the Fruitridge Station followed by the 47th Avenue Station which is right at the west end of the South Sacramento siding. Staying along the old WP to Florin the cars really turned up the speed until we reached our station at Florin Road. We climbed a grade up and over Florin Road and by the east end of the ex WP siding at Pollock before we reached the present end of the line at Meadowview. One day this line will be built to continue on south and east to Calvine Road near my brother Bruce's home. Would he ever take it to work then?

Everyone detrained and after a few pictures I relaxed as the train took me back to Downtown Sacramento where the train then went out of service as I took a few more pictures.

On the way back to the hotel I walked over to Old Sacramento getting pictures of both of the two switchers the California State Railroad Museum had outside.

Sacramento Southern SW-8 2000 and newly repainted Sacramento Northern SW-1 402. I returned to the Vagabond, washed my hair, relaxed and watched a two part episode of Star Trek the Next Generation involving Lar, Data's brother and the Borg. A little USC Football was next before I walked over to the State Railroad Museum for tonight's event.

15th Annual Trainmaster Reception 11/15/2003

The Magic of Toy Train and the Joys of Collecting

by Chris Guenzler

The events started promptly at 5:30 after I check in.

People got to meet each other in the California State Railroad Museum Lobby. The Black Tuesday Jazz Band entertained us while we waited.

I looked at just a small portion of the Thomas Sefton Toy Train Collection on display.

Next I walked past what the Museum Ongoing Project Board

We went into the Museum's first area where you normally enter after seeing their video program for a Hosted Wine and Beer Bar with Hors d'oeuvre passed around on trays by servers. Here I enjoyed a 7 up. I took this opportunity to look around the Museum.

Later the over 100 people attending tonight's program went into the Museum's Theater for this Evening Presentations. Catherine Taylor, the Museum's Director, gave us the low down on not only how the Museum received the donation of the Thomas Sefton Collection but she also named all the other donations of Toy Train Collections that the museum has received since the Sefton Collection was donated to the California State Railroad Museum. She then introduced Steven Drew who maintains the Museum's Toy Train Collection. Catherine next introduced Roger Carp Editor of Toy Train Magazine who has authored several books such as "The World's Greatest Toy Train Makers: Insiders Remember Lionel" plus his latest "The Art of Lionel Trains: Toy Trains and American Dreams." Catherine then introduced our other speaker of tonight, Bruce Stiny a Curator who is in charge of Toy Trains and Scale Models.

He then showed a slide presentation of the history and the contents of the Thomas Sefton Collection as well as insights into the world of collecting. The presentation was excellent, fascinating and educational. Once this collection is put on display next year it will be a must see for any lover of trains. I learned so much about Toy Train Collecting from his presentation that now I have a far better understanding of this subject.

Bruce Stiny was the other presenter of the evening who also used a slide presentation to tell the story of the Museum's receiving the Thomas Sefton Collection. He showed us the collection in the attic of Sefton's home. He showed the Collection being packed up to be moved and then what it took to move all of it. It all had to be categorized, then boxed and moved to a storage unit which had to be modified to house the collection. He then showed us much more of the Sefton Collection. His presentation told the rest of the story how the California Railroad Museum received the excellent gift.

After all that great information, it was now meal time so we went into the Museum's Roundhouse for a Chicken and Beef selection which was excellent.

Following this excellent meal with great conversations at our table, Catherine Taylor introduced the California State Railroad Museum's Board.

She told us that the Museum's budget had remained untouched by the California state budget crisis. New lighting was installed in the roundhouse to save money. The Museum spends the given money extremely wisely. The Transfer Table at the former Southern Pacific Shops was completed for the Museum's of Railroad Science and Technology. The Museum's biggest challenge is to get all the mainline railroad equipment undercover. The MK Coach 642 was refurbished and is now out in service. Funding for Labor and Social Exhibits is secured and the exhibits will be out in the Museum at the end of 2004. The Day with Thomas was a huge success for the Museum. The 2003 Sacramento Museum Day Reception was held at the Museum this year. Over 100,000 children were reached this year in our educational programs. Funding Project for Sierra Railroad 3, "the Movie Engine" is underway. Our Sacramento Southern Railroad operates 4 miles of track with us. They are in negotiation for the rest of the 17 mile route. Also the Museum is making an offer for 14 miles of Sierra Railroad track in Tuolumne County. It has been a very exciting year for the California State Railroad Museum

Pamela Huron the CSRM Foundation Executive Director spoke next. She said that the Museum's membership was 9,600 this year and it is hoped to have 10,000 members next year.

Paul Hammond Director of Marketing and Development was our last speaker. He wanted to thank the membership committee for all of the Trainmaster Dinners over the last 15 years plus all the other projects they do like the Behind the Scenes and the Transfer Table Dedication. He finished the evening off by thanking everyone for coming to the 15th Annual Trainmaster Dinner.

I returned to the Vagabond and a good traveler's rest.

San Joaquin 702 11/16/2003

Following my morning preparations, I first went to Denny's for breakfast before walking over to the station to see 702 rolling through the fog to the platform. The train had the same consist that I rode last Tuesday from Martinez on the Sea-Tac Trip. This morning the train is in the push mode with Cab Car 8312 Mount Inyo, Coach 8022 Pitt River, Cafe 8809 Santa Maria Valley, Coaches 8013 Klamath River and 8027 Smith River with California F-59PH 2010 on the rear. We left Sacramento on time and headed east to Elvas where we just curved off to the south. Sunrise came as we rolled by the Sharp Depot on this beautiful clear morning. I napped to before Madera. While I was sleeping we had a bad meet with 711. Later just before Madera someone put some debris on the track. We left Madera at 9:38 AM {9:17 AM}. We made our way to Fresno where I stepped off for a picture of our train 702.

We departed Fresno 10:02 AM {9:50 AM} and proceeded to Hanford with no further delays. After Corcoran BNSF 5422 West was tucked away at Angiola and Amtrak 708 at Allensworth. As we moved south the San Joaquin Valley cloudy up. What a difference five days have made as we ran delay free to Wasco which we departed at 11:27 AM {11:15 AM}. After a slow order through Shafter we returned to track speed for the rest of the trip and we arrived Bakersfield three minutes early where it was off the train and onto the bus.

Thruway Bus Route 5802 11/16/2003

The bus was loaded much quicker this day and we departed Bakersfield at 12:08 PM. We passed the Grapevine Exit at 12:39 PM, Tejon Summit 12:51 PM. Castaic 1:14 PM and arrived at Los Angeles Union Station at 1:55 PM. A brisk walk got me to the 2:00 PM Surfliner departure.

Surfliner 578 11/16/2003

I was glad to be aboard this train instead of having to wait until 780 at 3:00 PM since today is Sunday. We departed right on time and I enjoyed Coca-Cola as we headed south. After Los Nietos we came to a stop due to a speed restriction and later a second one at Basta right before Fullerton which we left a couple of minutes late. By Anaheim we were back on time and I was off at Santa Ana right on the mark. I walked to my car, drove first to Savon to drop off the film then headed home ending another interesting Amtrak adventure.