Re: Rio vista question
Date: 10-08-2018 - 11:01
Please keep in mind that the Rio Vista museum is owned by the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association. BAERA was a rail fan group that held regular dinner meetings in the San Francisco East Bay with slide shows. BAERA ran regular fan trips for its members. It bought its first cars to prevent them from being scrapped so they would still be available for fan trips. They kept their cars in abandoned railroad roundhouses near the Bay Area.
As the railroads tore down the unused roundhouses, BAERA had problems with finding locations to keep their cars. So the association members decided to start a museum to keep their cars. After several false starts, the association bought the former Sacramento Northern facilities at Rio Vista Junction. They leased track from SN and put up trolley wire. Later they bought the track for scrap value and SN donated the land to BAERA. In order to keep legal protection for grade crossings and other things, BAERA never formally abandoned the track. The track is embargoed but not abandoned.
BAERA was a trolley museum. Then a group that owned a steam locomotive had no place to keep it. So BAERA allowed them to keep their locomotive and display it at Rio Vista Junction for no charge. The locomotive never operated and was a static display. Eventually the group that owned the locomotive dissolved and donated the locomotive to BAERA.
Several BAERA members owned steam railroad cars. They kept their cars at Rio Vista Junction. So a small train of steam railroad cars was kept at Rio Vista Junction. Members decided to operate an excursion train in the spring for people to view the vernal ponds and wildflowers
railroad north of Rio Vista Junction. BAERA did not have enough money to make more than emergency repairs to the track. Train operation ended when the track superintendent told the BAERA Board of Directors that he could not guarantee that a wildflower viewing train would not derail on the bad track.
The California State Railroad Museum is one of the best railroad museums in the United States. It is located about one hour driving time from Rio Vista Junction. BAERA members finally decided that they could not compete with the state museum so they went back to being a trolley museum.