A Visit to the San Francisco Bay Area Garden Railway Society

Story and photos by Alan Sinclair

Linda and I traveled to Alameda, CA, to visit my sister, Virginia, from July 8 thru 15. Since my sister enjoys garden tours, it was natural to suggest that we register and participate in the San Francisco Bay Area Garden Railway Society’s (BAGRS) Regional Meet (July 10-14) which was sandwiched by design between the NMRA National Convention (July 3-9) and a National Steamup (July 15/16 –?) both of which were in Sacramento. About 50 garden railways were open to the registrants divided into 5 separate Bay area groupings – each group open only the day specified for that group. Since this was a drive it yourself tour – no buses provided - this worked out really well as I was able to plot out each day 3 – 5 railways in a given area and not miss a railway in another area. With unusually light traffic for the bay area, we were able to see 1 or 2 more railways each day than I originally planned for. The hosts were gracious and we enjoyed all the different gardens / railways that we visited. As an extra fee attraction, BAGRS chartered a special evening train ride with box dinner (sandwiches) on the Niles Canyon Scenic Railroad. The trip was great, although for those who opted to ride in the open car a jacket was definitely needed as it was windy and cool with temperatures in the low 60s by train time. The train made a stop at the Niles Canyon’s shop area where restoration work was being done on a caboose, Pullman sleeper, and a Krauss-Maffei diesel-hydraulic locomotive. It was pointed out that the Niles Canyon Scenic Railway was an all volunteer organization. The temperatures during the week were below average for the whole area with temperatures in the 60s and low 70s. The trip was very enjoyable and we got to see new areas of the bay that we hadn’t seen before and meet some wonderful garden railroaders. BAGRS hosted a great regional meet.

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