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    • October 5, 2021 12:12 AM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      Nevada trip 2021

      After two years, the V&T RR historical society is having its next conference this week. After losing last year's to Covid shutdowns, it's great to finally get rolling again in Carson City.

       

      This is my wife Linda's first time with me to the conference, and (after a week in Modesto CA visiting relatives) we've kicked it off by taking the California Zephyr from Sacramento to Reno. This is the first longish trip either of us have had on Amtrak, and it was a blast.

       

      The Sac station is big and beautiful inside. 

       

       

      This wasn't the train we took (its more of a local commuter), but I had to take the shot while waiting on the platform.

       

       

      The views over the Sierras were gorgeous.

       

       

      We went through a number of tunnels, one of which I'll guess was a couple miles long. Many concrete snowsheds as well. 

       

      Though I've taken the Acella between Baltimore and NYC a number of times, I'm a newbie to long Amtraking. So here's some notes, FWIW, though YMMV. 

       

      The train was only about 1/4 full, if that. Even the observation ("dome") car. 

       

      I love the train over a plane, since you can walk around, go to the cafe / lounge car whenever you want, plug in a charger anywhere, and have a seat that's big and reclining. 

       

      This trip cost us $47 apiece, pretty cool for 5 hours of entertainment and travel. On the higher end of the scale, we saw that a cross-country trip with a cabin and meals takes 3 days and starts at about $1500 per.

       

      However, one can get a ~$300 rail pass which will get you back and forth across the country, and you'd plan hotel stays along the way. We're thinking of doing something like that at some point.

       

      That's it for now, but I'll report some on the conference later in the week.  

       

      Cheers,

      888:>Cliffy

       

    • October 5, 2021 12:35 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Cliff,

      Thanks.  We are vaguely considering a night train for the experience of it.   Nice to know it might be worth the cost!

       

      Eric

      ____________________________________

      Well, that didn't work...

    • October 5, 2021 11:24 AM EDT
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Cliff,

      Thanks.  We are vaguely considering a night train for the experience of it.   Nice to know it might be worth the cost!

       

      Eric

       

      Yeah, I wish I could have done it when all the kids were young and at home, they would have had fun.

    • October 5, 2021 1:40 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Cliff Jennings said:
      Eric Mueller said:

      Cliff,

      Thanks.  We are vaguely considering a night train for the experience of it.   Nice to know it might be worth the cost!

      Eric

      Yeah, I wish I could have done it when all the kids were young and at home, they would have had fun.

      I think a shorter trip is really nice (under 12 hours?).   We took the "Crescent" from Washington, DC to New Orleans, LA.   I called it a "once in a lifetime experience" (BUT unfortunately I bought a round-trip ticket, so had to do it twice).   VERY expensive and rough and NOT on time at all.   The room was TINY.   The food was OK (and extra).  I DID enjoy not having to drive, but flying MIGHT have been better - even though I no longer prefer to fly ANYWHERE.

       

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • October 5, 2021 2:58 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Cliff,

      Thanks.  We are vaguely considering a night train for the experience of it.   Nice to know it might be worth the cost!

      We do a night train twice a year - Amtrak Autotrain to Florida and back. As we live 45 mins from the northern end, it's a no-brainer for us, even if it is 8 hours late. That still beats [time and convenience of] driving and staying in a hotel for a night. And it is late frequently - we had someone commit suicide in front of us near Jacksonville, and my friends were 12 hrs late back to Lorton last year.

       

      Lots of folk travel coach and bring blankets and pillows, which works if you can sleep and don't mind sharing the bathroom.  Sleeper Class is a bit better, with fold-down beds. When traveling on my own I take a "roomette", which is a small area with 2 seats that converts to a single bed. Cramped for 2, but fine for 1. Nowadays the wife usually comes along and we take the more expensive "bedroom" which includes a private bathroom, chair, sofa/converts to 4'6" bed, and a fold down upper berth.  We find it comfortable, and although the bathroom is tiny we are used to living on a boat in similar spaces.

       

      The train leaves at 4pm, includes a lounge car (sometimes one of the newer ones with tall windows, offers dinner, breakfast at 6am, and arrives 8-9am if on time. Dinner is usually fair (as good as any convenience food joint,) but breakfast is a bit unimaginative. We take on a small cooler with wine, food, etc.

      If you are taking a car (or 2) we recommend paying for priority offloading, so your car comes off in the first 30 unloaded. We've waited an hour and a half before we started doing that.

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • October 5, 2021 6:55 PM EDT
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      All good data points on the Amtrak, thanks Bruce and Pete.

       

      Since Linda needed a "business day" at the hotel, today was a solo day for me in Virginia City. 

       

      I spent most of the morning examining the V&T's acquisitions from Old Tucson Studio. If you've not heard, that hush-hush transaction happened in July-ish, and the Reno finally made it back to her home stomping grounds. So I started out with shooting her.

       

       

      Robert Gray, recently passed, was responsible for recreating and preserving the V&T here in VC and down to Gold Hill. Robert rode the last revenue train to Virginia City back in the 30's, a train pulled by the Reno. His son, Tom, holds the reins now, and handled the re-acquiring of the Reno, and it's a big deal for the Gray family, and V&T fans in general, that the Reno is back home.

       

      But more than the Reno came home. After getting permission, I went down to where the remains of the V&T #50 derrick were. These, along with parts of other V&T cars, were acquired with the Reno from OTS. Some of you might remember that I did a lot of research on, and made a 1:24 model of, this derrick a couple years back. I had to work with meager photos then, so it was a big hoot to see the bits up close and personal.

       

       

       

      While I was taking pics, Tom drove up and I was so please to personally meet him. We talked about the many pieces and various cars represented in this huge haul -- 9 flatbed trailers' worth. Included are pieces originally made by the CP, 1875 era, for the V&T. Really cool stuff!!

       

      That was my day's highlight for sure. Then I went on the train ride between the F street depot to Gold Hill and back.

       

       

      Lots of smoke here, coming over the Sierras from (I believe) the same Sequoia fires south of Mariposa. But the views were still awesome. Here's a shot of the East Yellow Jacket mine foundations from the train.

       

       

      After the train ride I went up to C street and took pics of building candidates for my next strip of VC "flats". This strip of models is limited to ~76", so I have to pick and choose. But I needed decent street views that were better than those from Google.

       

       

      Last stop was my favorite antique shop in the area. Located in Mound House. No, I didn't stop at any of the "ranches." Got a good deal for a pack of stereograph photos for my sister Joy, who has an antique viewer but no cards.  A couple of gold scales caught my eye though.... might have to swing by again...

       

       

      I figure, this trip will blow my savings one way or the other, might as well come away with something to show for it, haha!

       

      That's all I got for today, except for 300 more photos of the OTS acquisitions.

       

      888:>Cliffy

       

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at October 11, 2021 2:10 AM EDT
    • October 5, 2021 7:24 PM EDT
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      Great report, Cliff!  Keep on enjoying this fascinating area.

      Jerry

    • October 5, 2021 8:43 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Nice. Sounds like a fun trip.

      ____________________________________

      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

    • October 5, 2021 10:07 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Cliff,

       

      Thanks for the report!  Sorry to have sort of derailed the thread!

       

      - Eric

      ____________________________________

      Well, that didn't work...

    • October 6, 2021 3:55 AM EDT
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      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • October 6, 2021 2:57 PM EDT
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      Great report, Cliff.   But you failed to inform us of your NEXT project!  (Sure looks like lots of options available, too!)

       

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • October 7, 2021 6:30 PM EDT
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      Cliff Jennings said:

      All good data points on the Amtrak, thanks Bruce and Pete.

       

      Since Linda needed a "business day" at the hotel, today was a solo day for me in Virginia City. 

      Wait,

        Linda needed a "Business Day " at the hotel and you ventured to "C" street ???    Hell ...you should be doing "D" street !!!

    • October 8, 2021 1:01 AM EDT
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      Nice preview of your trip Cliff. The preceding said hoping to see more.

      Also couldn't help but note the stand-off signage in the following picture and thinking it will be great seeing you recreate that sign.

    • October 8, 2021 9:56 AM EDT
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      David Marconi,CHHN said:

      Nice preview of your trip Cliff. The preceding said hoping to see more.

      Also couldn't help but note the stand-off signage in the following picture and thinking it will be great seeing you recreate that sign.

      And dont forget Ken Brunt's hat hanging on the center post of the building awning!!

       

      ____________________________________

       

       

       

       

       

       

      The Babs River Railway

      We can do that, but its gonna cost you... a lot more

       

    • October 8, 2021 10:20 AM EDT
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      to expand on the Amtrak comments from earlier, right now Amtrak is slowly rolling out Refurbished superliner cars, and also starting to allow coach passengers back to the dining car. ( it has been sleeper car passengers since 2020). Roomettes and bedroom prices on the west LD trains include all meals. Roomettes are not real big but my wife5'3" and I 6'4" were comfortable , she took the upper bunk, and all of us on our trip slept comfortably, especially after you point yourself with the top of your head in the direction of travel Easier feeling to not feel motion sickness. I have heard the east coast trains are rougher rides, but a lot of the west routes are faster and smoother.

      During 2020 the in train cooking was stopped and dining was microwave meals, but now fresh food is back and from pictures I have seen it looks great. The wife and I a few years ago rode Chicago to Flagstaff in coach 32 hrs and the fare was within a few dollars of a plane ticket. They give you a blanket and a pillow at night, the seats recline and are pretty comfortable. you get to sign up for dinners and breakfast, it isnt cheap but most trains have a snack car. There are several long "smoke break" stops ( crew change and fuel ) where you can get out and walk around. If you do the research  and time it you can call a local resturaunt and have food waiting on the platform when you get to that station.

      entertaining story, our train made an unscheduled stop middle of nowhere Kansas and a sherrif was waiting at the crossing to remove a guy that had brought his own booze and had too much and got belligerent with the crew. The warn about their ability to do this and they are serious about it. They also warn the train leaves on time if you are back on or not.

      ____________________________________

       

       

       

       

       

       

      The Babs River Railway

      We can do that, but its gonna cost you... a lot more

       

    • October 8, 2021 7:08 PM EDT
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      Ken Brunt said:

       

       

       

       

       

      Just to mess with the Algorithm

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      This post has been edited by: David Russell  (never heard of the guy myself)

    • October 8, 2021 9:41 PM EDT
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      Sorry for not replying for so long, but this week's been like trying to drink from multiple fire hydrants at the same time.

       

      Monday was the Amtrak ride from Sac to Reno.

       

      Tuesday was a nice leisurely drive back to Donner Summit, where we enjoyed the state park there. Unfortunately, the road to the actual summit was closed for roadwork, so we couldn't see China Wall, CP tunnels, Rainbow Bridge, petroglyphs, and the CP snowsheds there. But we had a blast anyway, when we went around Tahoe and drove south to Genoa. What a hoot of a town!

        

      I had a great time Wednesday morning, looking over the remains of V&T derrick car #50, recently arrived at Virginia City, and obtained from Old Tucson Studios by Tom Gray. Tom is the son of Bob Gray, who re-created the V&T. Bob passed recently, and Tom has been running things for a while. Since I went to a lot of trouble photo-analyzing every bit of this car two years ago (to make a model of it), I had a wonderful time discussing all these part in person with Tom. That was Wednesday.

       

      Thursday was awesome: a special excursion train for the V&TRRHS from Virginia City to Mound House and back, narrated along the way by the foremost V&T historians. In the evening, my mini lecture on the V&T snow plow seemed to go well. 

       

      The V&T sessions have been great today. Midway, Linda and I went to Virginia City. She explored the town, while I met with Tom Gray. Using an enormous forklift, he picked up one of the derrick 50's trucks. It's a complicated and really heavy swing truck, and I was able to take good pics of it. We had a great talk, discussing other of his items from OTS. Then back to Carson for a couple more conference sessions.

       

      Need to get some food, then to bed I think....! 

    • October 9, 2021 1:45 AM EDT

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      Great stuff, Cliff! Thanks for posting it. 

       

      That Sacramento depot almost looks like something out of an old movie. 

    • October 10, 2021 6:24 PM EDT
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      David Marconi,CHHN said:

      Nice preview of your trip Cliff. The preceding said hoping to see more.

      Also couldn't help but note the stand-off signage in the following picture and thinking it will be great seeing you recreate that sign.

       

      Thanks David, I'm finally getting some time today, and we'll be flying home tomorrow. 

      That sign is cool, isn't it? The shadows are painted on, but it sure would look good with stood-off letters. 

    • October 10, 2021 6:31 PM EDT
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Cliff,

       

      Thanks for the report!  Sorry to have sort of derailed the thread!

       

      - Eric

       

      No derail there* Eric, thanks for chiming in! 

      *I knew that once I brought up Amtrak I was sort of leaving the barn door open, haha! 

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