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18th Annual Trainmaster Dinner Reception at the California State Railroad Museum

plus the trip there and new mileage on the Sacramento Light Rail System

by Chris Guenzler

Steve Grande of asked me if I would like to cover this annual event put on for the last 14 years by the California State Railroad Museum. I said yes but it would have to be for only for Saturday and Sunday. To maximum my time, I choose to take the Midnight Thruway Bus out of Santa Ana to Bakersfield then the San Joaquin 711 to Hanford. After a couple hour layover, I would take the direct San Joaquin 701 to Sacramento. Stay at the Vagabond Inn, do the Trainmaster Dinner and head home Sunday on San Joaquin 702, Thruway Bus then whatever Surfliner home to Santa Ana.

Thruway Bus 11/4/2006

This bus is not one of my favorite things to do in life and when I boarded all that was left was aisle seats. That kept me up all the way to Los Angeles where I finally got two seats to stretch out across. I slept most of the way to Bakersfield. The bus dropped us off in front of the Bakersfield Station at the door not in the usual bus bays. I walked out to the train, recorded the consist and then waited twenty-five minutes for the doors to open to board my first train of the day.

San Joaquin 711 11/4/2006

This train had engine 2015, Coaches 8030 Napa River and 8025 Mokelume River, Cafe 8813 San Fernando Valley and Cab Car 8302 Mt Shasta. After a series of long announcements, the train departed Bakersfield on time and headed to Wasco and Corcoran. All too soon we arrived at Hanford where I detrained. I walked over to McDonalds for Hot Cakes and Sausage then back at the station to wait for some BNSF freight train action. We had a green going south on this very cold overcast morning.

BNSF 7078 East was the first and only freight train that I saw during my brief stay in Hanford.

San Joaquin 701 11/4/06

This train pulled into Hanford right on time with engine 2013 leading Coaches 6465 Moonstone Beach {Surfliner seats} and 8014 Colorado River, Cafe 8808 Cochella Valley and Cab Car 6963 Point Reyes. I settled into my seat in the 6465 for my trip to my state capitol, Sacramento. We arrived into Fresno early so I took a walk to loosen up my legs. Later at Gregg we took the siding for our morning counterpart San Joaquin 702 for Bakersfield. We stopped in Madera and I got an early lunch of a Hot Dog and pretzel before reading the Fresno Bee. My train stopped in Merced then at Atwater held the mainline for San Joaquin 712. We paused at Turlock/Denair then did the Modesto stop before we arrived at the ACE Station in Stockton but unloaded our passengers in the street on the old SP Line. We went to Lodi then onto Acampo where we slowed waiting on a green signal after a southbound UP freight.

Later we passed the Siemens Plant with one of their newly built trolleys sitting outside. We pulled into Sacramento at 12:18 PM a few minutes early. I walked over to the Vagabond Inn around the new light rail construction at the station.

Sacramento 11/4/2006

I checked in at the Vagabond Inn and called Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Show live Saturday 10-1 now or 24/7 in the archives, on their new three hour show starting today up from the old two hour format. I checked my e-mail before walking through the K Street Mall to the light rail stop at 7th and R Street to wait for trolley to Folsom.

Sacramento Light Rail - First ride to Folsom 11/4/2006

I had to wait for three trains until one going to Folsom arrived. Here is the second one that was heading to Meadowview.

A few minutes later, a Folsom trolley arrived to pick me up. We went through downtown to the junction of the Meadowview Line and then over the former Western Pacific {UP}. The trolley traveled along US 50 to near 65th Street and onto the University Station. We went under US 50 then over the former SP line {UP} that I just come into town on this afternoon and started along the old SP Placerville Branch. Power Inn was our next stop. This was where my new mileage would start on this trip. We next went to College Greens then onto Watt/Manlove and Starfire. Under US 50 again to Tiber and onto Butterfield. Mather Field/Mills station was next then we stopped at Zinfandel, Cordova Town Center and onto Sunrise where that first train was going to. I saw some box cars of lumber so there is some freight left along the line before Hazel. After MP 17 we became single tracked and the Placerville Branch ended. Our train went under US 50 for the last time then onto Iron Point, Silverbrook and Sutter {Folsom} the end of the line 21.8 miles out of Sacramento.

Two views of my trolley in Folsom. I hurried back aboard for the return trip into town. I walked through the K Street Mall to Old Sacramento to see if anything was moving there this afternoon railroad wise.

The only thing moving was a maintenance vehicle. I visited the Milepost 1 gift shop picking up two copies of Extra 2200 South. I returned to the Vagabond Inn wrote an E-mail then returned to my room to rest before the evening's event.

California State Railroad Museum 14th Annual Trainmaster Dinner 11/04/2006

Some of us had entered the lobby of the California State Railroad Museum before it had closed for the day. Once it had, name badges for tonight's dinner were passed out to all in attendance for this evening. We all proceeded up stairs to the museum's theater two for tonight's presentation "The Fine Art of Railroads" - Betsy Fahlman, Professor of Art History, Arizona State University. First Paul Hammond welcomed us to tonight's event followed by Mr. Carson who talked about the Ted Rose Exhibit that we would be seeing tonight. He thanked the Ted Rose family and their museum for allowing the California State Railroad Museum to host this fantastic exhibit and then Betsy was introduced and started her program.

Betsy showed us using twin projectors the history of art in railroads over the years.

She used Phoebe Snow of Lackawanna Railroad Fame and Indians of the Santa Fe as part of her program. It was a very educational program and one I learned a lot from it. Once it was over we exited the theater and went upstairs to the Ted Rose Exhibit. I will detour to show you part of the collection that the California State Railroad Museum has on display.

The Central Pacific Governor Stanford.

The 10 Miles of track laid in one day on April 28th, 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad sign.

Virginia & Truckee 12, the Genoa.

Virginia & Truckee 13, the Empire, in a mirrored area of the museum.

A passenger car at the station inside the museum.

North Pacific Coast 2-2-0 12.

View of the largest and smallest engines in the museum.

Southern Pacific Cab Forward 4294.

The CP Huntington stands by a large window.

SP Pacific 2467 rests in the roundhouse.

The narrow gauge freight train lurking on a trestle on the 2nd Floor of the museum led by Nevada Short Line 2-6-0 1. Back upstairs I caught up and followed the group towards the Ted Rose Exhibit but had to first pass through one of my previous stories to do so.

The Magic of Toy Train and the Joys of Collecting from the Thomas Sefton Toy Train Collection.

Part of the Toy Train Collection that was donated to the museum the last time I was here at the Trainmaster Dinner a few years ago.

Some of the exhibits of this great collection of toy trains.

This display shows the different gauges used in model railroading.

The view looking down into the roundhouse area of the California State Railroad Museum where the dinner would be held tonight.

The way into the Railroad and the American Industrial Landscape: Ted Rose Paintings and Photographs Exhibition.

Guests enjoying the Ted Rose Exhibit.

This is what the Ted Rose Exhibit looked like.

A display of twelve pictures.

A look down on Western Pacific F7A 913.

A behind the scene look at where the final touches to our dinner tonight was prepared.

Views of the guests enjoying dinner which was beef and chicken selection. After dinner Catherine Taylor, District Superintendent of the California State Railroad Museum, spoke about the museum and its future. So he opened up for questions so I asked if we would ever have another Railfair? She said most likely when the Museum of Railroad Science and Industry opens someday in the future. With that done it was time for dessert and one tired Chris returned to the Vagabond Inn for the night.

San Joaquin 702 11/05/2006

Following a fantastic French Toast Platter at Dennys and one last check of my e-mail in the lobby, I checked out of the Vagabond Inn. A quick walk over to Amtrak and my waiting train south. This train had Cab Car 8314 Mount Pinos, Cafe 8807 Imperial Valley, Coach 8028 Mad River and Coach/Baggage 8202 Drakes Bay with engine 2010. As we pulled out on time, the Coast Starlight pulled into Sacramento on this very damp foggy morning. I slept until after Merced then at Madera a late 711 was in the station so we had to back out of the siding after he was done to do our station work. Add to the fact that we had motive power problems we were twenty minutes down at Fresno. This problem would continue to a total of seven times our engine's computer had to be rebooted. At Hanford more time was lost to passenger loading. We arrived into Bakersfield at 12:15 PM and loaded the Thruway Bus for Los Angeles at 12:29 PM. I read all the way to Los Angeles which we arrived at 2:24 PM. I walked up to where Surfliner 580 would load and watched the Sunset Limited leave LAUPT on time for New Orleans. The trip to Santa Ana was quick and I was glad to be back home in Santa Ana ending yet another Amtrak adventure.