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Central Coast Railway Club

Current Offerings: High Sierra Adventure


October 19-22, 2018

The Central Coast Railway Club and Trains & Travel invites you to come join us for our 2nd annual mini-get-a-way vacation up to the high country of the Sierra and Nevada high desert during the Fall Colors. Our action packed trip will include visiting the Reno/Carson City/Virginia City areas plus the Feather River and Yuba Canyons and Nevada City. We will travel over Donner Pass on board Amtrak's California Zephyr. Additional train rides includes the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Western Pacific Railroad Museum and the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. You will have time to explore the colorful mining towns of Virginia City, Downieville, and Nevada City. Other points of interest includes Lake Tahoe, the Feather River Canyon, the famous Keddie Wye Bridge, and the Yuba River Canyon during the spectacular Fall Colors. While in the Portola area a stop will be made to visit Chris Skow's vast railroad collection of historical documents and artifacts including his G scale garden model railroad.



We begin our rail adventure at Emeryville by boarding Amtrak’s California Zephyr which departs at 9:10am and heads east towards Sacramento and the High Sierra. Perhaps you would like to go to the lounge car and enjoy the views of San Pablo Bay and if it is clear the Golden Gate Bridge before our stop at Martinez. You are also welcome to board at Richmond, Martinez, Davis or Sacramento. The train departs the capitol at 11:09am and shortly after leaving Roseville starts the long climb towards Donner Pass and the summit at Norden. We start the steep climb into the High Sierra Mountains with scenic views of towering mountains, deep canyons, lakes, rivers, and remote forests all in the fall colors. You will see several old gold mining towns from the train as we travel over the first Transcontinental Railroad which was completed in 1869. At the summit of Donner Pass our train reaches 6,891 feet and starts down the eastern slope of the High Sierra following the Truckee River all the way to Reno, Nevada arriving at 4:06pm. Shortly after we detrain we are on our way south to Carson City onboard our charter motorcoach. If everything is running on-time we should be checking into our hotel in Carson City at around 5:30pm. The rest of the evening is yours to relax and have dinner on your own schedule.


We depart our hotel in Carson City at 8:30am for the short 20 minute bus ride to the East Gate Station of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. We will board our charter steam train and back down into the rugged Carson River Canyon below East Gate and stage a number of spectacular photo run-bys of our train working hard up the canyon with the Carson River far below. We return back up to East Gate where the steam engine is serviced for the long trip up the mountain to Virginia City. Once the public is loaded all too soon it will be time to whistle off and begin the long and steep climb up to Virginia City. This public run departs at 10:00am Enjoy the sights and sounds of our hard working steam locomotive tackle the steep grades as our train climbs the hill for the next 12 miles to Virginia City. The views are spectacular in the morning sun and we should even be able to see a few wild mustang horses on the hillsides or even run in front of our train. As the train arrives in town a special stop will be made at the railroad workshops for our group. If you are interested in visiting the workshops and railroad yards you can get off here or you are welcome to stay onboard and ride to the end of the line at the V&T depot. At Noon our charter motorcoach will take those folks that want to explore the workshops up the hill to downtown Virginia City and get lunch. Around 1:30pm we will all meet at our bus in downtown Virginia City for the 30 minute ride down the hill to Carson City to visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum. This museum has a number of beautiful steam locomotives and former rolling stock that once ran in the state of Nevada. One of the classic pieces of equipment includes a fully restored and operating Virginia & Truckee McKeen rail car. You will have approximately two hours to explore this museum. At 4pm we head for Portola in the Feather River Canyon. Once in Portola we first check-in to our hotel and freshen up then travel the short distance to Blairsden for a visit to Chris Skow’s Garden Scale outside model railroad and his large collection of railroad artifacts that he has been collecting for the past 53 years. Also you can step into his large greenhouse which is like stepping into the Amazon Jungle. Thousands of miniature lites will be on in the many model towns and buildings that are nestled in and around the semi-jungle plants, waterfalls, creeks and ponds. This is a jungle wonderland that will leave you in awe and something that would not be expected to find up in the High Sierra Mountains of Northern California. An all you can eat Mexican buffet style dinner and endless Margaritas and open bar will be enjoyed by all on his deck deep in a pine tree forest over looking the Feather River Canyon as a almost full moon comes up over the High Sierra. After a fun evening of good food, drink , talk and model trains in the fresh High Sierra Mountain Air, we return to our nearby motel and settle in for the night.


During the morning hours we will visit the famous Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola. This museum has a large collection of diesels, rolling stock and even a Western Pacific steam locomotive. The main theme for this railroad museum is all about the Western Pacific Railroad and western railroads in general. The museum will be operating and caboose and cab rides will be available to all. This museum's collection is impressive with 22 diesels, 1 steam locomotive, 21 cabooses, 12 passenger cars, and 106 other rolling stock including freight cars.

At about 11am we will jump into our charter motorcoach and head west down the Feather River Canyon. If we happen to see a train we will follow it for some photos. At Keddie a stop will be made to view the famous Keddie Wye Bridge also known as the Spanish Creek Bridge.

We plan to have a picnic lunch near Keddie and then head back east up the Feather River Canyon to Greaeagle and on up over the mountains to the Gold Lake Basin where there are over 100 Apline Lakes and the massive Sierra Buttes reaching up to 8,591 feet into the sky. The scenery in the Gold Lake Basin will give you the feeling you are in the Swiss Alps. We then join up with California Highway 49 known as the Mother Lode Gold Country Highway. Our first stop will be the Gold Mining town of Sierra City deep in the North Fork Yuba River Canyon. After our visit to this museum we head down the canyon to the mining town of Downieville. This is a classic mining town that was founded in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. In 1853 Downieville became the state capital of California for a few months. You will have sometime to explore the narrow streets of this rustic town. We then continue on to Nevada City which is another classic “49er Gold Rush Town” settled in 1849. During 1850-51 Nevada City became the most important mining town in the state of California. Upon arrival we check into the Northern Queen Hotel. This hotel even has a narrow gauge passenger car mounted over a small canyon with a creek and waterfall under the car and is used to serve breakfast in the morning. Now that is very unique. After check-in we will take you to the downtown section to explore the many buildings and antique shops and get some dinner.


In the morning we visit the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad and Transportation Museum. This wonderful little museum exhibits steam locomotive No. 5, rolling stock and other examples of Nevada County's transportation history including a couple more steam locomotives. After our guided tour of the inside museum display hall and the outside yards and workshop area we will board restored railbus No. 97 for a ride down a steep grade and through the forest for several miles and return to the museum grounds. . After our museum visit we board our charter motorcoach and travel the short distance to the nearby town of Colfax in enough time to catch Amtrak's westbound California Zephyr train number 5 which is due at 11:48am for the return trip to Emeryville arriving at 4:10pm.


$949.00 Double Occupancy

$175 Single Supplement

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This page last updated on 2/1/2017

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