Westwood an overnight stop on vintage train tour
|A vintage passenger train pulls into Westwood Tuesday, June 4. It was the first stop on a tour by Trains & Travel booked as “Byways of California and Oregon.”|
|The lounge in the Colonial Crafts car is a step back in time. Photos by Susan Cort Johnson|
June 10, 2013 — While trains are not foreign to Westwood, one parked on the tracks near the Visitor Center overnight caught the eye of local residents. It was not the usual freight train that rumbles through on schedule throughout the day and night but a vintage passenger train.
It pulled into Westwood around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, with 35 passengers on a tour booked as “Byways of California and Oregon” by Trains & Travel headquartered in Portola.
The train had traveled up the Feather River Canyon on the first day of a six-day tour. Passengers spent the night onboard in Westwood and took a bus tour to Lassen Volcanic National Park before departing Wednesday, June 5 for Klamath Falls, Ore. The tour itinerary included an overnight stop in Bend, Ore.; travel through the Deschutes River Canyon; an overnight stop in Portland Ore.; and a return to Klamath Falls for a farewell dinner at Crater Lake Lodge before traveling back to Emeryville, Calif. on the final day.
Three of the vintage railroad cars were originally part of the California Zephyr. The Silver Rapids is a sleeper car built in 1948 and owned by California Zephyr Railcar Charters. A Vista-Dome diner lounge built in 1948 called the Silver Lariat is owned by Al Bishop and Burt Hermey. The Silver Solarium, built in 1948, also privately owned, was one of six dome sleeper observation cars built for the California Zephyr.
A Colonial Crafts Pennsylvania Railroad car owned by Rod and Ellen Fishburn was also part of the vintage passenger train. The car has an art deco lounge and several bedrooms.
Dinner service was announced shortly after the train stopped in Westwood with chefs in a tiny kitchen preparing a gourmet meal for guests that included a classic Caesar salad, roast loin of pork, orange glazed carrots, roasted baby red potatoes and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
Chris Skow, a retired conductor for Western Pacific, operates Trains & Travel. He said he was very familiar with the route traveled June 4 because the tracks, now owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, were formerly part of the Western Pacific route.
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