Monday, June 8, 2009

Western Railway Museum

One of the places that I for sure wanted to visit on my trip north was the Western Railway Museum which is located between Rio Vista and Fairfield, CA. They specialize in electric railway equipment. They have over 100 well preserved streetcars, interurbans, and electric locomotives.

One of the more popular streetcars that they occasionally bring out is the "Boat Car" that was built in England 1934 and ran for a number of years in Blackpool.

I, however, was fortunate enough to take a ride in a 106 year-old interurban (the red car below). We traveled some 4.5 miles to the end of the overhead wire and back. It was such a beautiful day for a rail ride in the country. Upon arrival back at the museum, I took a shorter ride in a Birney Safety Car (the green car below).

Upon taking the tour of of the well preserved railroad cars that are stored in their fairly new $2.5 million car barn, the guide told us the story about this particular tank car. A few decades ago, railroad workers did not move rail cars unless they had work orders to do so. Somehow the paper work for this tank car got lost so the workers set it out on a siding until the paper work caught up with it. Well, the paper work never did show up so it sat on that siding for over 20 years. By that time the car was obsolete. The railroad cleaned up the car and gave it to the museum as an example of its type of construction and features (notice the rivets that our guide is pointing to). They don't make tank cars with side boards anymore. It is in almost perfect condition and looks like it just came out of the factory. You can tell it was from a long time ago, because there is no graffiti on it.

I spent most of the day there and had a great time. I took about 135 pictures while there and have put them into a slide show with music and sound effects to go along with my other treasured slide shows.

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