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Passenger Trains > 20 years ago - Chasing the American Orient Express to Napa CA


Date: 05/20/20 07:01
20 years ago - Chasing the American Orient Express to Napa CA
Author: WP17

The pandemic has provided many of us with a lot of additional free time at home, and I'm using some of that to catch up on reading. I recently finished Karl Zimmerman's book on the Grand Luxe Express in which he covers in admirable detail the almost 20 year history of the cruise train in its three incarnations-- American European Express, American Orient Express, and Grand Luxe Express. Definitely a worthwhile read.

I was curious how many times I had encountered the train and discovered while I saw it in multiple times in stations in several cities, I found out I had chased it but once. And that was 20 years ago on May 20, 2000 on a re-positioning move from Oakland CA to Napa.

First two shots are of the AOE on the bridge at Benicia as it crossed the Carquinez straits.
Third shot as the train left the CalP mainline at Suisun to head west on the Cal Northern to Napa Jct



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/20 07:53 by WP17.








Date: 05/20/20 07:07
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: WP17

#4: American European Express at Cordelia 
#5: AOE heading south into Napa Jct
#6: AOE stages on the branch just south of the City of Napa, awaiting passengers to reboard the train








Date: 05/20/20 08:15
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: GenePoon

The American Orient Express had one infamous trip to Napa, when its two Amtrak P42s stalled on the uphill climb in Jameson Canyon, out of Cordelia. The Genesis units overheated and shut down. A second try went even worse. California Northern sent GP-15s to the rescue from Lombard and from Busch; 6000 EMD horses did what 8400 GE stallions could not.



Date: 05/20/20 09:03
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: bradleymckay

KipGenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The American Orient Express had one infamous trip
> to Napa, when its two Amtrak P42s stalled on the
> uphill climb in Jameson Canyon, out of Cordelia.
> The Genesis units overheated and shut down. A
> second try went even worse. California Northern
> sent GP-15s to the rescue from Lombard and from
> Busch; 6000 EMD horses did what 8400 GE stallions
> could not.

Interesting. I never heard that story before.

It's a 4 mile climb up the Canyon to the top at Creston. Stiffest part of the grade is mile 2 at 1.8%.

Allen

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/20 09:05 by bradleymckay.



Date: 05/20/20 09:32
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: coach

One time it was in the Oakland, CA station near Jack London Square.  The bar car was open, and right there in front of me.  I asked a staff member if I could take a look?  "Sure!"

Wow.  Gorgeous inside, dark wood paneling, tablecoths, nice bar....................and a baby grand piano in the corner!!!  That did for me.  I started saving money to do a trip.  But then, sadly, it went out of business.



Date: 05/20/20 11:41
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: atsf121

Great series Neil, I don’t think I chased that trip. But I do remember the great “stall” trip the Gene mentioned, I chased from Suisun to Napa Jct.

Nathan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 05/20/20 13:24
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: RRBaron

coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow.  Gorgeous inside, dark wood paneling,
> tablecoths, nice bar....................and a baby
> grand piano in the corner!!!  That did for me.
>  I started saving money to do a trip.  But then,
> sadly, it went out of business.

Keep saving money and ride the real thing--Venice-Simplon Orient Express runs once a year from Paris to Istanbul. Other dates it calls at Venice, Italy. No, not the one in California.  



Date: 05/20/20 14:16
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: trainjunkie

Only saw it once. Here it is on May 21, 2000 coming up Feather River Canyon by Rock Creek Dam between Camp Rogers and Belden.




Date: 05/20/20 14:49
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: andersonb109

Such a great train. I had the privilege of riding it twice. Shame it didn't make it. To me the main issue was probably for many the room sizes. Many were simply Pullman double bedrooms.The larger ones were way more expensive. That and the high cost of line access and Amtrak power prompted an  early demise. And yes, the lounge cars and diners were works of art. 



Date: 05/20/20 16:11
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: photobob

That low angle shot on the bridge is spectacular I have never seen it from that angle. That was a cool looking train. I'll post a couple of shots I have of it rolling through the Dunsmuir area.

Robert Morris
Dunsmuir, CA
Robert Morris Photography



Date: 05/20/20 16:13
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: GenePoon

bradleymckay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> GenePoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The American Orient Express had one infamous trip to Napa, when its two Amtrak P42s stalled on
> > the uphill climb in Jameson Canyon, out of Cordelia.
>
> > The Genesis units overheated and shut down. A second try went even worse. California Northern
> > sent GP-15s to the rescue from Lombard and from Busch; 6000 EMD horses did what 8400 GE stallions
> > could not.

============================================
> Interesting. I never heard that story before.
>
> It's a 4 mile climb up the Canyon to the top at
> Creston. Stiffest part of the grade is mile 2 at
> 1.8%.
>
> Allen
===================================================

As I recall (I was there and witnessed it), that is just about where the Amtrak units laid down and gave up.  

Photos and a story were published in Rail Travel News, a now-defunct passenger rail "magazine"
(more like a pamphlet, usually) for which I was an occasional contributor.

Another TO member, "weather," was there, too.



 



Date: 05/20/20 18:25
Re: 20 years ago - Chasing American European Express to Napa CA
Author: PHall

bradleymckay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> KipGenePoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The American Orient Express had one infamous
> trip
> > to Napa, when its two Amtrak P42s stalled on
> the
> > uphill climb in Jameson Canyon, out of Cordelia.
>
> > The Genesis units overheated and shut down. A
> > second try went even worse. California
> Northern
> > sent GP-15s to the rescue from Lombard and from
> > Busch; 6000 EMD horses did what 8400 GE
> stallions
> > could not.
>
> Interesting. I never heard that story before.
>
> It's a 4 mile climb up the Canyon to the top at
> Creston. Stiffest part of the grade is mile 2 at
> 1.8%.
>
> Allen
>
> Posted from Android

It was helper territory during the steam era on SP.



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