Rail Fair '99

What an event! Having only been there once before, many many years ago the difference was quite impressive. This large venue has grown from a collection of old rusting hulks into a veritable theme park for railway enthusiasts. There was plenty to see and the half a day that we had to check it out was not long enough.

It was particularly wonderful to be in such close proximity to such machinery, without any restrictions other than one's own good sense. As for the increasing and depressingly common human-legislated barriers that we expect to see placed between our selves and these marvellous mechanisms, there was little evidence: truly a remarkable convergence of circumstances were at work when this place was created.

Below are photos of some rather unusual equipment that caught my eye, as well as a few famous ones.

I've broken the photos up into two groups, i.e. locomotives first, followed by all the other stuff. I am by no means an expert on what it was I was photographing, so input and corrections from informed visitors to this page are welcome. Just tell me which photo number you're referring to, to help me put a name to a face, so to speak and I'll fill in the blanks. Enjoy!

Photo # 1 By request, I'll show this one first. It is a restored vintage rail car. It appears to be driven via mechanical linkage between the hadlebars and a crankpin on one of the three wheels.
Photo # 2 Unidentified British locomotive, a loooong way from home. Exquisitely restored and, like all the locomotives there for the event, steamed up and operating.
Photo # 3 What to do with a VFT boiler? Here's one option...
Photo # 4 The cow catcher on this one was half again as long as the locomotive!
Photo # 5 Reminded me of an old Cadillac. This is one part of several cars that travel as a unit. Very posh inside and brand new...
Photo # 6 A narrow gauge beauty; one of several that were navigating this smaller track that circled the food concessions.
Photo # 7 Thomas, in the flesh, so to speak. It was difficult to take the photo, as it was frequently mobbed by kids and grownups alike.
Photo # 8 Good old 4449? But it wasn't! Can someone tell me which one this was?
Photo # 9 A shot from the upper gallery of the very impressive round house, which held many elaborate displays, including an 0-4-0 locomotive which was surrounded with mirrors, so that one could peer into its innards. Sadly, that photo didn't turn out...
Photo # 10 Without a doubt the largest traction engine I had ever seen. I am told there are larger ones about, but who knows where? Must have been fun getting this monster to Sacramento...
Photo # 11 Ahhhh, my dream car! What an urban assault vehicle this would make.
Photo # 12 And what automobile is complete without an observation platform?
Photo # 13 Can you believe it? A floating restaurant.
Photo # 14 A real steamboat, i.e. one that was free to navigate the Sacramento River.
Photo # 15 Are you ready for a steam calliope? There are plans to build one of lesser dimensions in the current issue of one of the model engineering magazines.
Photo #s 16-19 Some of the characters that were walking about, including a Keystone cop, Mark Twain and a gal promoting the Skunk Railroad, sweltering in 90-degree heat.
Photo # 20 One of the many beautifully-restored bits of farm machinery in one wing of the rounhouse-museum.
Photo # 21 This should give some idea of what it used to be like in the olden days, when all trolley cars were propelled this way; try to ignore the smell from the "tailpipe"...
Photo # 22 I had to include this: an example of an adequate design meeting its match at last. The crushed rock was more than this stoller could cross. Can someone think of a more elegant solution to the problem?

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