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Start Your Giant Engines!

Having been a fireman & machinist for Southern Pacific, our neighbor Severn is incredibly well connected to folks dedicated to railroad preservation, and his skills remain in high demand.

On Saturday we were delighted to accept his invitation to drive up to Napa, where a team of volunteers devote many hours per week to restoring old engines & cars. It was an especially interesting day as the group was firing up their 100-year-old steam engine for the first time in many years.

Severn & the whole team were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge, taking us through their numerous old cars. Highlights include a mail car that had been trapped in an avalanche in the 50’s (causing the passengers to have to rip up & burn its flooring to stay warm) and a beautifully restored Art Deco lounge car featuring an amazing round bar.

The real highlight, though, was Henry getting to fire up a pair of the old diesel locomotives on site! Here’s video of the whole process:

Check out our rather epic gallery for many more shots.

Finally, after some restorative beer & potato chips (the former for me, the latter for Hen 🙃), we cruised back over the foggy Golden Gate Bridge, then south to San Jose: