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Feather River Express EMY to Portola CA Page 3

Feather River Express Private Varnish Train, Emeryville to Portola CA

August 20, 2010
Photos By Richard Elgenson

The Plaza Santa Fe car was inviting with beautiful original style furniture and woodwork.  Aside from the dome, which are becoming increasingly common on the FRX, there is an inviting bar, and towards the front of the car is the Turquoise Room for intimate dining.  The two couples shown below right, had taken a bus from Portola and caught the train in Sacramento.  They fit in perfectly in the center corner of the rear lounge.  Plaza Santa Fe owner Wayne Yetter runs California Rail Tours, based in Salinas, CA and has been in the PV charter and shop business for a long time .  If you need a deal, go see Cal, if you want your PV project done right the first time, go see Wayne.



Some new characters from the FRX to introduce.  Left to right, Patrick Egan, carman for the FRX.  Marty Banks, car attendent, and Mike Mulder, part owner of Palm Leaf sleeper car.   The LARail car Pacific Sands sleeper car, owned and run by Doug Spinn, was run between the Plaza Santa Fe and Palm Leaf.  Sleeper cars are great on overnight trips with a comparment with folding beds for night time which convert into opposing charis for daytime running.

The Colonial Crafts sleeper/lounge, Silver Rapids sleeper, Silver Lariat dome/lounge and Silver Solarium dome/lounge/observation made up the premium section of the FRX.  Below, several views aboard Colonial Crafts, a fabulous ex-Pennsylvania car, available for charter out of the Southern CA area for over 10 years and operated by owner Rod Fishburn.  Note the large print on the far bulkhead featuring a GG1.   Things seemed to be well orchestrated aboard the Colonial Crafts.  The chief orchestraters are shown taking care of their paperwork.  Bert Hermey, one of the owners of the Silver Lariat and Silver Rapids, and Chris Skow, partner in Trains and Travel, promoters of the FRX..  Did I say this trip is scheduled again for August 19-21, 2011?


John, one of the servers on the Colonial Crafts is another regular on the premium staff.


The Silver Lariat is another of the premium cars.  Server Cliff Daniels is often seen working the Lariat charters.


Chef Jeffrey and assistant Hulon are shown in their respective halves of the Silver Lariat galley.  Stainless, stainless and more stainless steel make up this productive galley with everything a chef could need.  The food on the premium cars is the best.  Passengers have sit down service from drinks to dessert.


The Silver Solarium, is the premium car bringing up the rear of the train.  Her rounded end (seen on page 1 of this report)  is streamline beautiful.  She is owned by Roy Wullich III, and based in the Bay Area.  Mr. Wullich is very involved in private car affairs associations in addition to his railcar consulting business.  Below, Berne is doing prep work in the Silver Solarium for lunch.


Chris Skow continued "The first part of my dream came true on October 30-November 1, 2009 when I became involved with Burt Hermey and the three California Zephyr cars that he operates.  We ran a three car 100 Year Centennial Celebration Train from Oakland to Portola and return over as much of the original Western Pacific Route as possible including Niles Canyon, Altamont Pass and the Feather River Canyon."

"Now the next piece of my dream is taking shape. The operation of a 15 car passenger train made up of private rail cars and running from Emeryville to Portola and return for the 28th Annual Portola Railroad Days August 20-22, 2010.  Ticket sales for this train opened up to the public in early February (2010) and within six weeks, half of the train was full.  This is a very good sign that it will sell out before August."  It did sell out.

"Our train in August, will consist of 15 railroad cars all privately owned  except  for the Amtrak dome car.   Several ticket options are available including Coach, Lounge, Dome and Pullman Sleeper.  Pullman Sleeper passengers will get to stay onboard with the sleepers parked right on the Western Pacific Railroad Museum grounds and next to all of the weekend action."

Unfortunately, one private car scheduled to be part of the train was left in Los Angeles without any hope of joining the trip.

There would be lots to do in Portola on Saturday August 21, 2010.

Feather River Express continued