Monday, November 27, 2023

On the road again - Suisun City, CA

We recently visited The Western Railway Museum which is about 95 miles north of home.

This museum owns 22 miles of the old Sacramento Northern line that ran between Sacramento and the Bay Area.  They have several pieces of equipment and are restored and operational that are used for excursions up and down the 5.5 miles of the line that they have operational.  The day we were there #4001 was in service. 

The route passes through countryside with low hills dotted with wind turbines.  The hills are brown and yellow this time of year but for part of the spring I bet they are green.  Winter is a good time to do this ride as it gets hot in the summer in this area and I don't think these older trolleys have any air conditioning.  The day we went was a beautiful clear day with almost no wind.

We made a couple of stops along the way and I found them all to be interesting.

After going around a return loop, the first stop we made was for the crew to pick up a token that was in a mailbox alongside the track to give them clearance to operate on the main line.  I've always heard of this type of operation, but this is the first time I've seen it firsthand.

Then, after maybe about 3 miles down the track, we stopped at a substation so someone from the crew could get off and turn the substation on.  The trolleys on this line use 600 volts DC power which requires a separate power district and substation every few miles.  They don't leave their remote substation on overnight so as we were the first excursion of the day it needed to be turned on before we could proceed into the next district.

The last stop was at a place called Pantano.  Here the passengers got off for a few minutes while the crew switched the trolley poles and reversed the seats for the return trip. 

The inside of the 4001 was fully restored and included some vintage advertisements like what used to be on the streetcars and buses I rode as a small kid.  Here are just a couple of examples.

The museum has several car houses.  I was able to go through car house # 1 which had 4 tracks full of vintage equipment in various stages of restoration.  Some were going to need a lot of work but at least they are indoors and hopefully will be restored some day.  One of the most nicely restored ones was the Petaluma and Santa Rosa # 63 which I recognized from a Northwestern Pacific RR book I have.  

I was surprised to also see some more modern equipment at the museum.  Parked in front of car house # 3 which was not opened for some reason was this set from the San Diego Trolley System and there was also a set from the Los Angeles Meto.  To me it seems strange to see these at a museum as they were something new that came long after my time living in both of these cities.

This museum has been here for a long time and I'm surprised that we had not gotten to it before glad we finally did as it was a fun way to spend a winter day.  

No comments:

Post a Comment