Napa/Sonoma

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Napa/Sonoma

Postby diesel boy » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:36 pm

Howdy All!
Looking for some advice. I have a trip to Napa in July and trying to decide on where to stay? I was thinking about the Hyatt in Sonoma, however with the 101 and ROW very close is there a noise issue from either? Lastly, does the Napa wine train still run and is it worth it?

Thanks!
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Re: Napa/Sonoma

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:56 pm

Believe the Napa/Sonoma area had an earthquake event last fall,you might check if there's been some damage at the hotel
you plan to stay at.
The Napa Valley is still running,the ex-Via FPA's have been converted to run on Natural Gas,so no Alco smoke! :(
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Re: Napa/Sonoma

Postby ExCon90 » Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:33 pm

I haven't been there for several years, but I've ridden the Wine Train twice, and it was absolutely worth it; even the waiting room indicated a first-class operation. You have a choice of a variety of accommodation, but I recommend what amounts to a parlor-car seat in one of the ex-D&RGW ski train, ex-NP coaches which have been transformed into a real luxury operation--they never looked like that in "real life." There was also a full-length dome, but it had the air-conditioning problems common to such cars, and there are other full-length domes around. On the lunch trip you have the option of lunch in the diner going up and parlor car coming back, or the reverse (there are parlor cars in the portion south of the diner for those having lunch on the trip back, and north of the diner for those having lunch first). I recommend having lunch on the trip back; there is an open-platform obs on each end, so you get a view out the rear either way; if you have lunch on the return trip you can try out the wine-tasting car on the way up--you may not be up for it after dessert-- viewing the grapes growing in the vineyards where the wine for two years from now is going to come from, while drinking wine made from the grapes that were there two years ago. (You can also do that in France and Germany, but not many places in this country.) One curiosity is that the FPAs were equipped with interurban-style air horns for the numerous grade crossings, presumably to avoid using a conventional locomotive horn or whistle. In talking with some people at the shop (pre 9/11, you could just walk in then; I don't know how it is now) I was told that they found drawings for the air horns in the SP shops at Roseville, which may indicate that they are actual replicas of air horns used on Pacific Electric and Interurban Electric--they certainly sound like it; it's kind of weird hearing that sound coming out of a MLW FPA, but they seem to fit in for crossing a rather narrow two-lane highway numerous times.
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Re: Napa/Sonoma

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:26 pm

On second thought, my memory let me down about the grade crossings. The railroad stays on the east side of the highway (CA 29?); the crossings are narrow country roads that intersect the highway every couple of miles. They look like a dozen cars a day would be a lot, but every one of them has to be whistled for, and the hills would be alive with the sound of whistles if it weren't for those interurban air horns.
(If anyone has visited the Wine Train more recently--I think my second trip was in 1999--I'd be interested in knowing what it's been like since then. I hope they haven't changed the service at all.)
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