Re: Rio vista question
Author: RVJ refugee
Date: 10-08-2018 - 18:19
> 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
> 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.
fkrock, what are you referring to regarding the steam engine "that never ran," owned by a group that"dissolved and donated the locomotive to BAERA?" If you're talking about the copper smelter tank engine (aka "the Trashburner"), that belonged to PLA (which certainly hasn't "dissolved") and was later moved to their own site once they had one. You can't be talking about Pickering Shay #11, which ran A LOT at Rio Vista Junction before its owner sold it to Mt. Rainier Scenic. The two Robert Dollar engines were acquired (from the San Francisco Maritime Museum, which also donated WP #94)with every intention of the Board of Directors that at least 2-6-2T #3 be made operable, so that we would have a steam engine that could run around the trolley loop's sharp curves. Acqusition of the SN changed the focus away from that, however, but the 3 would still have been an ideal piece of motive power for the museum (and would have been quite a draw for vistors and their dollars). Instead, the project to restore #3 was stabbed in the back (after a huge amount of work had already been done), the engine was given away, and the Steam department members left in disgust. As for the state of the track north of the museum, stating it was deteriorated and prone to failure just added to the Train Haters' justification for shutting it down. After all, there were people whose main interest and expertise was track construction and maintenance that left in disgust as well. Nobody ever said that that we couldn't compete with CSRM, just that we needed to be different (yes, Fred, I was there for the Blum Report and his reference to "mental masturbation"). We already had many unique attributes, but some people had to have it all their own way.