Monday, August 1, 2011

Roaring Camp Railroad

Following my trip to Alaska where I rode the the White Pass Railroad through the Yukon territory (it was incredible- I can't wait to post pics!!), I am now very into riding trains. Fortunately, William, the trooper that he is, accompanies me on these adventures.

My co-worker Caroline told me about her steam train ride through the redwoods near Santa Cruz called Roaring Camp Railroad and I so wanted to do it. I did make the mistake of having us take the 1st train at 11 am because the fog and not yet burned off, but fortunately, we were able to see some blue sky for part of our ride.

I loved that you had to walk through a covered bridge, which seemed to transport you back in time . . .

We were able to see them fill up the train with water from the tower partially seen in the upper right hand corner. It is amazing how much they filled it with because we saw lots of steam sent off.

We sat in the open air cars at the very front right next to the engine. A word of warning though- this is the "splash zone" because you get pelted with water drops (not very bad but I was glad that I didn't do my hair that day :-)

I LOVED having the open air car because it provided you with the experience of feeling right in the heart of the forest.

Just look at how adorable our conductor is! He totally looks like something out of a movie. He was a wealth of knowledge who told us that steam trains in the west run on oil while steam trains in the East and Europe run on coal. There was a lady in our car who was a huge train enthusiast- she was wearing a t-shirt for the Skunk Train, another steam train, and she was filming most of the journey so that she could get some good sounds for her cell phone ring tone. She asked our conductor if this train recycles the oil and he told her that it was too expensive and that in fact, it was way too expensive to buy oil here in California given all the regulations and so they go to Nevada to get the oil. We loved just how completely honest he was about everything (I did feel bad for the lady because she did seem somewhat disappointed by his comment)

I was pretty ignorant about this as I literally thought that steam trains only ran on steam, but as I quickly learned, when they have to do a very tough job, like pushing a long train filled with passengers

in REVERSE up the hill, it needs much more power. The photo below of the black smoke was of this event.

The train travels through the redwoods but not on a circular loop. The train has to literally back up and down onto a separate track to go to the upper part of the redwoods. During these parts, we kept saying "I think I can, I think I can" because it was obvious that this train was working so hard to push everyone. The blue sky finally emerged on our way back to the station (evidence below) and I absolutely LOVED this whole experience.

The video below shows the steam coming from the train both from the top pipe for the most part but at the end of the clip- there is a huge release of steam from the sides to get rid of excess pressure before they go down inclines. There is also the iconic whistle.

And for people with kids who love Thomas the Tank Engine, they are doing a special ride out with Thomas next week. The ride is pretty slow and we saw the whole range of ages from little babies to toddlers to pre-school and it seemed that they all enjoyed the one hour and 30 minute ride (it is a bit shorter than that- they do give you one stretch break half-way through in the redwoods).

1 comment:

Julie Laughlin said...

we loved the railroad in alaska! and the roaring camp. I like riding trains too! :)