Western Rail Road Museum Operations News

Operators are very important at our museum. They give rides to visitors while providing information about our electric cars, our railroad, and the mission of our museum. Special thanks are due those operators who operated weekdays during the summer: Bill Strahle, Jim Mason, Fred Codoni, Ray Muther, Enid Albedi, and Steve Graves. Each volunteered to operate the same day of the week all summer. This made scheduling a breeze!

Operations Archive

May, June, July 2011:

We have had a number of railfan group tours at Rio Vista Junction lately. The Train Collectors Association convention brought five busloads on three days near the end of June. The National Model Railroad Association convention supplied 38 visitors on July 6. The Archives Department made sure their surplus book sale shelves in the bookstore were well stocked; we did a brisk business.

The Train Collectors appreciated that our Shell tank car was the prototype for Lionel toy train tank cars sold in the 1930’s.

Leading tours for these groups is a real challenge. Some visitors know as much or more about our equipment on display than we do, while others know very little. Trying to make our presentation interesting at the same time for both types of visitors is difficult.

Many of our new summer staff members are local high school students. Chances are that the smiling young face behind the ticket counter is from Vanden High School in Fairfield. These students are all frighteningly smart. In addition they have staffed a table at the Jelly Belly factory giving our folders to visitors. We have noticed a significant increase in weekday patrons as a result.

We have been installing interior signs in SN #1005. They add a human touch to the display. Many of the original signs are preserved in our archive collection. We were not able to find any of the NO SMOKING signs. We could not locate anyone who had saved one even though photographs show these signs were still used when Key System operated 5 former SN cars. So we designed replica signs based on existing interior photographs. An interior photo of SN#1004 taken after its final wreck showed faded wood stain outlining where signs had been located. We found screw holes in the metal bulkhead in former SN #1019 where signs were mounted. From this information we were able to create what we believe are very accurate replicas now in #1005.

The road crossing into the old parking lot has been repaired. We had a track gauge problem there. According to Track Superintendent Joel Cox several things contribute to making rail roll outward at a dirt road crossing on a track curve. The track has been repaired. Joel also adjusted the super-elevation of the track at this location to make it more uniform through the entire curve. The crossing was replaced and paved on April 19 with asphalt like the crossing at Chabot Road station and on the other side of Laflin Park station. That will help keep the track in gauge at this location in the future.

Operations Archive