AAPRCO Napa Valley Limited 36th Annual Convention

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This huge train of luxury private railcars will be travelling down the West Coast in the next few days. If you're anywhere close by, it's worth a try to view or photograph it.

With 32 private cars scheduled to participate, and 4 locomotives, this thing will be a monster! (EDIT - Current info seems to indicate that 28 cars are in Seattle for the trip, not sure why the disparity.)

Napa Valley Limited
36th Annual Convention
Napa, California
October 1-3, 2013

In cooperation with Amtrak, BNSF, UP and the Napa Valley Railroad, AAPRCO is pleased to announce that our thirty-sixth annual convention will be held at Napa, California, on Tuesday, October 1, through Thursday, October 3, 2013.

Our convention special train, the Napa Valley Limited, will offer travel over some of the most scenic routes on the west coast that are not accessible by any regularly scheduled Amtrak train. The following itinerary represents the current plan, which is subject to approval by the host railroads.

The 32 cars will gather on Tuesday, September 24, in Seattle, WA. On Wednesday, September 25, your passengers can enjoy the delights of this magnificent city while our train is assembled. The Napa Valley Limited will depart early on Thursday, September 26, and travel over the spectacularly scenic Stampede Pass line. This is the former Northern Pacific route of the North Coast Limited to Yakima and Kennewick, WA.

At the suggestion of our most senior Associate Member, Watson C. Warriner Sr., we have explored the possibility of a detour to visit the facility where he worked to help end WW II. We sought approval to operate our train 31 miles into the Hanford Nuclear site to the historic B Reactor where an exclusive tour has been arranged for our passengers. This line is the former Hanford Railroad that was built in 1942 by the U.S. Government for the Manhattan Project. A passenger train has never operated on this line. As of August 24, we have not obtained approval to operate on this line, due to track conditions and the cost of inspection/repair to comply with FRA standards. However, we will offer an optional tour where passengers will detrain at Prosser WA in mid-afternoon and a bus will take them on tour of the B reactor site; they will rejoin the train at Richland, WA, where the train will spend the night.

On Friday, September 27, we will depart Kennewick WA and follow the Columbia River for 125 miles to Wishram, WA, cross the Columbia River, and roll south through the beautiful Deschutes River Canyon Gorge via the Oregon Trunk line to Bend, OR, where we will spend the second night.

On Saturday, September 28th, the Napa Valley Limited will depart Bend, OR, and make a short run to Chemult, OR, where passengers can detrain for an optional bus trip to Crater Lake National Park. A tour with lunch (on your own) at the Crater Lake Lodge is planned. When we pass through Chiloquin, OR, the train will pause briefly to detrain those passengers interested in visiting Train Mountain Railroad. The Napa Valley Limited will continue to Klamath Falls, OR, for full servicing and the third night layover. Passengers participating in the Crater Lake and Train Mountain Railroad tours will rejoin the train at Klamath Falls.

On Sunday, September 29, the train will depart Klamath Falls OR continue on the Inside Gateway route on BNSF Railway. We will pass through the Modoc National Forest, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Plumas National Forest and through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After passing Lake Almanor, we will connect with the Union Pacific Railroad at the famous Keddie Wye and proceed through the spectacularly scenic Feather River Canyon to Oroville, CA, on the UP Canyon Subdivision, where we will spend the night.

On Monday, the 30th, we depart Oroville and continue south on the old Western Pacific (original California Zephyr) route to Sacramento, and then turn west on the Union Pacific Cal-P Line of the Martinez Subdivision to the Napa cutoff at Suisun-Fairfield. At Suisun-Fairfield, we will leave the UP main line and be escorted by the California Northern Railroad around the wye at Napa Junction and on into Napa, CA. We will tie down in the former Kaiser Steel Facility just south of Napa, where riders may transfer to our convention hotel, the Embassy Suites Napa Valley, or remain on the train during the three days of the convention.

Our traditional convention activities will be conducted between Tuesday, October 1, and Thursday, October 3, at Napa. These include two car parties, technical seminars, the car owners’ meeting, the associate members’ meeting, the annual meeting, vendor activities, the board of directors meeting and the annual banquet. Potential optional off-site activities include a lunch ride on the famed Napa Valley Wine Train, a hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley, a bay cruise to San Francisco for the day (A shuttle will run to the Vallejo Ferry Terminal in the morning and meet the last boat back in the evening.), Napa Valley winery tours with wine tasting, a side trip to Sacramento to visit the California State Railroad Museum or the Crocker Art Museum, and a side trip to the Western Railway Museum in Rio Vista.

On Friday, October 4, following the conclusion of the convention, the Napa Valley Limited will retrace its’ steps to the Suisun-Fairfield interchange and then proceed west to Emeryville and San Jose, CA, and onward to San Luis Obispo, CA where it will spend the night.

On Saturday, October 5, the Napa Valley Limited will depart from San Luis Obispo at noon and follow the route of Amtrak's Coast Starlight, terminating at Los Angeles late on Saturday afternoon.

Please make your plans to join us on this rare and spectacular scenic special train and attend the convention in beautiful Napa, CA.

Private cars participating:

Tioga Pass
Scottish Thistle
Pacific Sands
Pacific Union
Northern Dreams
Northern Sky
Silver Lariat
Silver Rapids
Silver Solarium
Oliver Hazard Perry
Birch Grove
Promontory Point
Pony Express
Pacific Sunset
Overland Trail
Bela Vista
Vista Canyon
Royal Street
Warrior Ridge
Swift Stream
Greenwich Harbor
NYC 3 Portland
Chapel Hill
Virginia City
Port St Charles

Bob McLean
Bob Klein
2013 Convention Co-Chairman
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Any idea when it'll pass through Yakima?

No, not really. It's due in Auburn at 6:30 AM, presumably to get an early start on the trip over the Pass and also get out of the way of the commuter trains. Based on that, it could be early afternoon, but I don't know how fast they'll travel.


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I was awake early, so I decided to head over to Auburn and watch it go by. It was still dark and foggy, but I thought I might be able to shoot video. Besides, if he happened to run late, I'd have enough light to get a decent shot. (Boy, did I call that one right... If he'd been any later, I'd have started to worry about mid day sun, LOL!)

I arrived about 6:15 and waited.... and waited... and waited... Checked on Facebook with a few friends, including a couple with inside info. Still in Seattle... Still in Seattle... Did I mention it was 46 degrees out? I wasn't dressed properly for that. Next update, the car knocks were still working on it.... Maybe waiting on a Sounder.... Still working on it.... OK, so now it's 7:30... Made a phone call. "I'm going to be a bit late today..." More waiting... Finally, somebody posted he'd pulled out of Seattle at 8:03.

A few minutes later a couple more railfans show up. We stand around and chat, waiting and waiting. They had a scanner, so we could keep track on him. Finally, a bit after 8:30, we hear him. He makes a brief stop in at the Auburn Depot to pick up the pilot and then heads up the Stampede line. Fortunately, the fog was parting a bit and we even had sun. Waiting 2-1/2 hours in the cold fog was a bear, but the train sure was impressive!


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When the Press Release was issued, 32 cars were anticipated. The actual consist has 28 cars, and there were several that weren't on the list that showed up and vice-versa.

1 Silver Solarium
2 City of Spokane
3 Chapel Hill
4 Birch Grove
5 Observatory
6 Oliver Hazard Perry
7 Wisconsin
8 Hollywood Beach
9 NYC 3 Portland
10 Montana
11 Northern Dreams
12 Northern Sky
13 Virginia City
14 Pacific Sunset
15 Tioga Pass
16 Pacific Sands
17 Scottish Thistle
18 Vista Canyon
19 Federal
20 Promontory Point
21 Suits Me
22 Berlin
23 Dearing
24 Puget Sound
25 Sierra Hotel
26 Caritas
27 Two Rivers
28 Burrard


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Here's a link to my Youtube video of the train entering the Stampede Sub. Since it was heading around the curved leg of the wye, it was travelling pretty slowly and so you get a nice look at all of the cars.


I'd suggest watching it in HD.

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