Sacramento railfaning

Pertaining to all railroad subjects, past and present, in the American West, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and The Dakotas. For specific railroad topics, please see the Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Komachi

Sacramento railfaning

Postby BAR » Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:04 am

A friend and I will be headed to Sacramento via Amtrak in April for a week of railfaning in the area. We will start at the California Railroad Museum and then will rent a car for touring. I would welcome any suggestions as to railfaning in the area. Is Keddie Wye accessible? Is the Western Pacific Museum worthwhile? Recommendations for hotel or motel in Sacramento convenient to Amtrak and the Museum? Thanks very much. I will provide a trip report upon return.

Bill O'Connell
Williamsburg, VA
BAR
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:43 pm
Location: Williamsburg, VA

Re: Sacramento railfaning

Postby riffian » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:08 pm

There is plentiful lodging near Old Town Sacramento where the museum is located. There is a Ramada across the river, and if you want something different, the Delta King riverboat tied up in Old Town is a hotel. I've never stayed there, but I heard it was nice, if somewhat noisy at night. Stop in at the California State Railroad Library adjacent to the museum. Well worth a visit.

Keddie wye is easily accessible with a nice overlook on State Route 70. SR70 ( Feather River Canyon hiway) follows the old WP main all the way from Oroville to Portola with many beautiful photo spots. The only problem is, there are very few trains on this line these days. The UP uses the Feather River route only for westbound manifests and loaded grain trains. This can be as few as 3 trains in 24 hours, but 4 or 5 is probably average. (two North Platte-Roseville manifests and a couple of westbound grainers.) There are at least 2 BNSF trains west of Keddie each day so you should have at least 8, or 9 trains up the canyon, but still not that many. The BNSF trains go up the Inside Gateway to Klamath Falls, so through Portola is very quiet at times. My last trip down the canyon a couple of years ago I did not see a single train, the first time that's happened in a couple of dozen trips up the canyon.

The Western Pacific Museum in Portola is well worth visiting. In my opinion the best individual railroad themed museum in North America. Spend the night at the Pullman House B&B with a room overlooking the east end of the Portola Yard. You can see trains being recrewed and know you will have something moving shortly.

Roseville yard and the newly built retro station is a good place to watch trains. This is at the east end of the yard where line over Donner summit and the Shasta lines diverge. Fairly active with yard jobs thrown in to the mix. Donner Summit and Lake is really beautiful with far more trains than the canyon. Perhaps one way up and the other back. Use SR89 between Truckee and Portola. It is a good fast road, although not particularly scene. Avoid SR49, which is very scenic, but also very windy and slow (with no trains). This part of California is so scenic that you can hardly go wrong on a visit, even if you don't see many trains.
riffian
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:29 am
Location: New Castle, Delaware

Re: Sacramento railfaning

Postby BAR » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:43 am

riffian,

Thanks very much for your advice and counsel which I will share with my travelling partner. We are looking forward to our departure for California in April.

All the best.

Bill
BAR
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:43 pm
Location: Williamsburg, VA

Re: Sacramento railfaning

Postby riffian » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:45 pm

Wish I was going with you. Native Californian stuck in Delaware. Thanks for you BAR caboose roster, which I still refer to.
riffian
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:29 am
Location: New Castle, Delaware

Re: Sacramento railfaning

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:38 pm

I don't know how much time you might want to spend on meals (I mean, you can eat on the run, right?), but if you have the time, you can have lunch on the outer deck of the Delta King, with a view of the "I" Street bridge, which carries UP freights and Capital Corridor Amtrak trains that you can see all through the meal (or dinner could work, if the sun sets late enough in April and the light is fading anyway).
ExCon90
 
Posts: 3436
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: Sacramento railfaning

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:49 pm

There's a "tourist train operation" tied to CSRM,called the"Sacramento Southern" an almost 6 mile round trip
along the river.
Reported power is a UP steam switcher.
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 4507
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Sacramento railfaning

Postby BAR » Sun May 08, 2016 8:21 am

Thanks for all the advice which contributed to a great California trip. I took Amtrak from Williamsburg (VA) to New York Penn and then on to Chicago with my railfan pal boarding the Lake Shore Limited at Schenectady. Southwest Chief to Los Angeles and then the Coast Starlight to Sacramento. We spent a day at the California State Railroad Museum and then five days driving on to Roseville, Oraville, numerous Feather River Canyon sites, Quincy, Portola and the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, Donner Pass, and back to Sacramento. Returned on the Zephyr, Lake Shore Limited, and Amtrak #95 to Williamsburg. Ten days on Amtrak and six in California.
BAR
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 4:43 pm
Location: Williamsburg, VA


Return to Western Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests