To Portola Railroad Days
Emeryville CA to Sparks NV via Donner Pass
photographs by Richard
My fourth trip of 2008 found me on
the Trains Unlimited, Tours trip "Domes to Portola Railroad
Days." If you view my web site, you may know that I was on a
similar trip in late May 2008 which featured some of the craziest
weather of the year. Whereas the May trip was cold and rainy,
this one featured some of the hottest weather of the summer. I
arrived at Oakland International Airport late Thursday afternoon and
had the company of Ryan Martin, aka espeeboy on TrainOrders.com.
Before dinner, we found one of the blue and silver Superliners and a UP
Oakland local train on ex-Western Pacific trackage. Friday in
Emeryville started out very comfortable. After
taking Alameda Transit from Berkeley, I switched to the free
shuttle at MacArthur BART Station which dropped me off across the
street from the Emeryville Amtrak Station. I got there quite
early since I was unaware that the California Zephyr left at 9
AM. I had planned for an 8 AM departure, so, no harm, no
I found Trains Unlimited, Tours guide Bill Parks and got to watch a few
Amtrak Capitol trains arrive and depart. I also spotted some
railfans on the middle level landing of the pedestrain overcrossing and
found out who they were. One person was actually part of the TUT
Domes to Portola, while one other guy, Paul Lanyi, is known as Yarddogh
on TO. Once the train came, I got a photo of the
Silver Solarium car with an approaching UP freight train.
The passengers and baggage were quickly and efficiently loaded by the
PV crew and we left a few minutes late. For the first hour, I
concentrated on socializing with other passengers and having breakfast.
On the approach to the Suison Bay Bridge, we stopped because the bridge
was open. Once we started moving again, I got some great bridge
shots from the window at the round end of Silver Solarium.
Above and below, the sunflowers as well as the corn field look
Coming into Sacramento, it was apparent the day would be HOT.
TUT guide Bill Parks and Head Steward George Lewis wave from the end of