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The Railroad Revival Tour, San Pedro, CA, April 22, 2011

The Railroad Revival Tour 2011

By Carl Morrison,

Above Graphic from:  The Railroad Revival Tour's Website:

Above Graphic from:  The Railroad Revival Tour's Website:

Above Graphic from:  The Railroad Revival Tour's Website:

Above Graphic from:  The Railroad Revival Tour's Website:

Train Consist for the Tour

April 22, 2011

Who do you call ...

when you need a 14-car, 2-locomotive, 1,328 foot train, to carry 3 bands and staff to 6 outdoor concerts in 7 days on more than 2,000 miles of tracks that stretch across five states from Oakland, California, to New Orleans, Louisiana? 

About a year and a half ago, the organizers of The Railroad Revival Tour called Burt Hermey of California Zephyr Railcar Charters ( and he set the whole thing up.  It is receiving rave reviews from the organizers and passengers themselves.  Onboard reporters are posting photos and comments at their website:

There are 125 band members and support; 35 on-board service staff, mechanics and owners, riding and using the train as a hotel from Oakland to New Orleans.  There are 9 sleeping cars, 3 diners, and 2 baggage cars.  The Pony Express serves as the "Jam Car."  Food Service provides onboard guests with full hot and cold breakfast, hot lunch, sandwich/snack items, and hot midnight food, all prepared fresh on board, each day.  (Dinner is served backstage at the venue by a caterer from the area.)  The Silver Lariat serves as a kitchen and table car.  The Keystone Grill is a great cafeteria/dining car.  The Silver Splendor is a Table/Lounge car.  Most of the private cars that make up the train are from California, with a few from the Midwest.  Since the tour is a one-way trip from Oakland to New Orleans, the cars will only have to spend travel time to either get to the tour's beginning or get home from the last stop on the tour, so it doesn't matter which end of the country the private cars are stabled.

As you will notice in the photos below, all the power is provided by two Amtrak Locomotives and Amtrak Crews.  All Class 1 railroads on which the tour will travel do not allow cars without Amtrak locomotives and crews.  I asked why steam excursions, such as the Santa Fe 3751 in the Southern California, also have an Amtrak locomotive tucked in behind the leading steam locomotive, and Burt says there are three reasons:  Safety, to pull the consist out of harm's way in case of a steam failure; Electrical Power for the rail cars; and Dynamic Braking which the steam locomotives do not have.

Burt was most congenial and informative in answering my questions, even though he is the "Trainmaster" of this "Town Without a ZIP Code," and was very busy while the passengers were off his train.  His contact information if you need this kind of train, or if you want to enjoy a ride in a vintage car from his "Silver Fleet," give him a call at:  714 751-2032 or e-mail him at

For the Tour Timetable click here.

The Railroad Revival Tour Train arrived in San Pedro about 5 pm.

The train arrived adjacent to the venue, in fact, when the train was stable during the concert, the engineer could actually see and hear the bands on stage from his seat in the locomotive.  The gates had just opened, and the bands jumped off the train and were shuttled about 2 blocks to the Backstage Entrance.

The train waited for the concert to end about 10 pm, then was scheduled to leave at 12:01 a.m. for Arizona.

Waiting for The Railroad Revival Tour Train

Before 4 pm, the announced time for the train to arrive in San Pedro from Oakland, California, I went to the west side of the track, where the passengers would detrain and board 3 busses for a short ride to the venue.  While we waited about an hour for the train's arrival, I chatted with Rick, CNN Entertainment Cameraman, based in Los Angeles, and with a concert photographer who would be boarding the train for the rest of the trip to New Orleans.

(Double-Click any photo below for a double-sized image;  Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

About 3 pm, crews were finishing putting up signs and lights while early arriving fans waited in a line along the fishing boat pier at Ports-O'-Call Village.

The restored Pacific Electric trolley still made its runs to the Cruise Terminal until the tour train arrived.

Rick from CNN Entertainment checked out his equipment.

Sure glad I shoot 35mm stills and not HD Video for television!

As the train arrived, this documentary crew decided that the best angle for their shots would be low!

Finally, about 5 pm, The Railroad Revival Tour train arrived.  Unfortunately, it was switched to the Derail track No. 4, and thus was too long to clear the intersection.  The performers quickly detrained so they could get to the concert by starting time, and the bus drivers had to take a creative route around the end of the train to get to the venue.  The Pacific Harbor Line Police were very helpful in handling traffic so that everyone made their deadlines, however.

The Railroad Revival Tour Train consist as it arrived in San Pedro, California

Rail Journeys West Inc. posted this as the consist:  Going from memory and in no particular order...Gordon Zimmerman, Pony Express, Birch Grove, Pacific Union, Pacific Sands, Colorado Pine, Silver Quail, ..., Silver Splendor, Silver Lariat, Colonial Crafts, Palm Leaf, Silver Rapids, Silver Solarium.

Plus the Keystone Grill.

The photos are shown in order within the consist.  Following Amtrak Locomotives 134 and No. 1 were:

Gordon M. Zimmerman

Colorado Pine

Birch Grove

Pacific Sands

Pacific Union

Silver Quail

Don Bowling, Mechanic for
Silver Quail and Pacific Union

Colonial Crafts

Pony Express

Silver Splendor

John Caestecker, Silver Splendor owner

Keystone Grill

Silver Lariat

Palm Leaf

Silver Rapids

Silver Solarium

Tour photographer and the Silver Solarium, which was left in the middle of the intersection on the first spot.

Finally, after the performers detrained, they moved the train to a track long enough to accommodate all the cars.

After the repositioning, the Pacific Electric resumed its operations, prompting this Old School/New School image.

I moved to the concert's backstage area where I found more green power - Bio Diesel electric generators.

Backstage at the Railroad Revival Tour in San Pedro, California.

Supper for the Performers and Crew.

What would Police dogs be sniffing for?  In any event, they didn't find it backstage.

Tools of the trade.

Important information going somewhere.

Mother taking good care of her child's hearing.

How time is passed back stage.

I went back to the train to talk with Burt, and he invited me to walk the train and take a few photos.  Above, Silver Solarium.

Inside the Silver Solarium (above)

Inside the Silver Lariat

Inside Other Cars on The Railroad Revival Tour Train

Keystone Grill

Silver Splendor

Silver Splendor

Silver Splendor

Inside Other Cars

At sunset, I returned for a few more photos at the concert.

Some say it was a bigger audience than in Oakland.

Alex Ebert

Before leaving, I took a few High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos of the silver cars.

Silver Lariat

Silver Lariat

Silver Solarium

Silver Solarium

Slide Show of All Photos in this Report in large format, Click Here.

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