To Shiny Rails


Portland Business Excursion

by on Jul.12, 2015, under Amtrak, SMVRR

Lynn and I joined Santa Maria Valley Railroad officers and investors on a business excursion to Portland, Oregon aboard the Tioga Pass and the Pacific Sands (behind Amtrak’s Coast Starlight). The trip included at stop at George Lavacot’s place to see the SMV #205 nearing completion. They steamed it up this past January for the first time since 1950. Photos and links:


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Huntington Excursion

by on Aug.31, 2014, under Amtrak, SMVRR, UPRR

Lynn and I thoroughly enjoyed a fabulous Labor Day weekend excursion aboard the private railcar Silver Lariat and exploring the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena. It was a business excursion for the Santa Maria Valley Railroad, which also explains why the Huntington was the destination – as in Henry Huntington, railroad baron. It’s the sort of place where you could spend a week and still not do it justice. Below are a smattering of pics from the trip. We stayed at the the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena; this place is a story on its own. If you’re interested in seeing the entire gallery of photos, just let me know.









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Along the Mainline in Santa Margarita

by on May.17, 2014, under Amtrak, UPRR

I tagged along with Matt to a Safe Food in SLO event in Santa Margarita today to promote food safety awareness and raise money for Jack’s Helping Hand. And lo’ and behold if the park venue wasn’t adjacent to the coast mainline! I got some shots of a passing auto rack train and a Coast Starlight with three PVs on the rear. All the photos: 140517-5962 140517-6281

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Photos from the Railroad Festival

by on Oct.14, 2013, under Amtrak, CCRRF, SMVRR

The 2013 Central Coast Railroad Festival is “in the bag”. It was a jammed pack weekend of activities, and I think I got to fewer venues than ever myself this year as there was so much happening. Anyway, photos are indexed here.


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A Festival, Matteo, and a Family Magazine

by on Sep.29, 2013, under Amtrak, CCRRF

CCF-coverIt all comes together as Matteo ends up on the cover of Central Coast Family magazine. Their October issue includes much information about the Central Coast Railroad Festival coming up October 10-13, 2013.

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Southwest Chief

by on Aug.11, 2013, under Amtrak


After Dad’s and Vickie’s recent visit to California, including the SMVRR business excursion to Seattle, I took Dad home to Kansas City via Amtrak’s Southwest Chief. Predictably, the book I always pack was never cracked. We did nothing but gaze out the window and eat in the dining car (which also involved looking out the window!). Well, there was the occasional bio break, railroad talk, platform wanderings, but by and large it was something of a treasure hunt – what’s around the next bend?! If you want to see the country, the exceptional beauty, the bad, and the ugly, travel by train. You get a perspective like no other. On our second and last night, we were in the southeast corner of Colorado, heading for Kansas, watching a long storm line do its thing a fair distance away. It put on quite a lightning show for hours. And as if that weren’t enough, we saw a meteor (Perseid Meteor Shower) as the skies were perfectly clear near the train. The evening ended with a hilarious comedy routine performed by our car steward over the intercom describing the problem we were having with the toilets: “I’ve got some good news and some bad news…”. Nothing like a good belly laugh to end the day.

That’s not my photo above, but it’s remarkably similar to what we were seeing. I did not have my camera with me. Shocking, I know. The photo came from a royalty-free photo website I often use:

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