Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Day 4 - Drive to Auburn

This was going to be the day to figure out if all the planned driving times and places to go to were going to work out. We departed late and got in right on time - I was very pleased.

This part of the trip covered the journey from South San Francisco to Auburn, via many places. The Hertz Neverlost GPS had us guessing as to what it wanted us to do, but once we clicked, I didn't make any more wrong turns and it proved to be a very useful driving aid.

We were split up between two vehicles and as it turned out, ended up going to different places. I stuck strictly to my plan and only made one detour when the old fellas expressed their concern that we wouldn't get to Sacramento in time. Not a problem.

First stop was Emeryville which is just around the corner from Oakland. This Amtrak stop sees Amtrak, Amtrak California and Union Pacific freight trains. Today was a bonus for my team. As soon as we turned up we realised the California Zephyr was in and was getting ready to depart. But before that happened a BNSF freight turned up and stopped. The Zephyr then departed, followed by the arrival and departure of an Amtrak Cal. commuter. Mr. BNSF departed and then another commuter passed through - all this within about 40 minutes. Not a bad effort.

After this my team then went to Pinole where we caught up with the other team who had to replace their vehicle owing to the GPS not working. Three commuters passed through and the light was not good. Next stop was the Cal-State Railroad museum, with each team once again going their own way. We went via Suisan City and Dixon where we saw about 3 trains - one stationery and two moving. Traffic volumes through this area is not high and to see two freights was a real bonus.

Onwards to the museum where two hours was spent marvelling at the old stuff. I stuck with my plan and we ventured past Roseville Yard on both sides - plenty of photo opportunities - plenty of "No Stopping" signs. We stopped on Atlantic Street in Enwood, part of greater Roseville where we witnessed the departure of a UP freight with 3 locos on the head end and another 3 locos about 3/4 of the way back, all hauling 95 freight cars - a mixture of box cars, tanks and covered hoppers. This was followed by a short switching job.

"Lets see if we can chase the freight". This tied in with my plans to go to Newcastle before going to Auburn and just as we got there, we realised that the freight was waiting at a crossover. The GPS took us directly to the tunnel mouth and we were rewarded with an Amtrak commuter followed by the freight.

Hotel - food - shower - bed. It was a big day.

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