Napa Valley Wine Train

by Joe Thompson

Click on thumbnails to view larger photos. Use back arrow to return. All photos by Joe Thompson unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved.


Wine Train Logo The ubiquitous Napa Valley Wine Train logo on the nose of Alco (Montreal Locomotive Works) FPA-4 73. July, 2015.

We spent a weekend in Napa and took our first ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Saturday morning we took a leisurely drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. this was our first trip across since the movable center barrier had been installed. The zipper truck sat at the north end. We stopped in Sonoma to have lunch at the Cheese Factory. We visited the outlet mall in Napa and a toy shop for some teacher supplies.

River Terrace Inn The River Terrace Inn. Our balcony is just hidden behind the bush on the right. The rack in the foreground is for bicycles that guests can borrow. July, 2015.

We checked into the River Terrace Inn, which is within walking distance of the Napa Valley Wine Train station. We had a nice balcony on the parking lot side. We ate breakfast there each morning.

Wine Train Logo The ubiquitous Napa Valley Wine Train logo on the front of the station. July, 2015.

Sunday morning we walked down the road to the wine train station. The waiting room on the second floor was air conditioned. We got in line to check in and received a boarding pass with a letter "B" on it.

Wine Train Meals A sign in the depot lists the different services offerred. July, 2015.

I sat and watched a video about the train while my wife explored the shops. In the wine shop she found a tee shirt she wanted to get for me.

bridge The bridge and the train. July, 2015.

When they called our group, we lined up by the door and went out onto the porch. At one end, there was a bridge that led to the tracks. At the far end of the bridge, they had us pose for photos by a wine barrel.

dome The dome car is visible on the bridge. July, 2015.

trin Looking towards the front of the train. July, 2015.

dome Looking towards the front of the dome from the aisle by our table. July, 2015.

dome Looking towards the rear of the dome from our table. The wine bottles are decorations. July, 2015.

We splurged and rode in the dome car. We climbed aboard the coach ahead and went back to the dome car. We climbed a stairway and walked almost to the rear of the dome.

Soscol Avenue Looking towards Soscol Avenue from the dome. Note the solid construction of the other tracks. July, 2015.

The track was very smooth for the whole trip.

Oxbow Public Market The two of us sat at a table for four. Tables on the other side of the car in that stretch seated two. The car was not full on our trip and these tables remained vacant. The Oxbow Public Market is visible in the background. July, 2015.

The waitress served champagne and took our order before the train left the station. We ordered a bottle of Cult Rosé to go with our meal. Cult?

Crossing Soscol Avenue Leaving the station, the train crosses Soscol Avenue. July, 2015.

Salad My salad. I have to find the menu so I can remember what it was. July, 2015.

The salads arrived while we were still rolling past backyards in Napa. Both salads were good.

vineyards Our first view of vineyards. Highway 29 is in the foreground. July, 2015.

Our waitress, who said she was born in Saint Helena, also served as a guide, telling us about the sights.

Veterans' Home The Veterans Home in Yountville. July, 2015.

Grgich Hills The train stops for a few minutes at the Grgich Hills Winery so people taking the winery tour and tasting can disembark. July, 2015.

Grgich Hills stop Riders gather after leaving the train at the Grgich Hills stop. July, 2015.

Entrée Our entrées arrived during the Grgich Hills stop. July, 2015.

I had beef and my wife had pork. Both were excellent.

Saint Helena Saint Helena station, which is currently the end of the line. July, 2015.

We finished our entrées just before we arrived at the station in Saint Helena, which is currently the end of the line. The waitress took our orders for desert and suggested that we look around the train a bit.

We walked through the car behind our car. The people were still eating. That car was full. We walked through a generator car and a lounge car to the open platform. I wanted to see the locomotives run around the train.

run around The conductor rides Alco 71 as the pair of locomotives run around the train. July, 2015.

The train is pulled by a pair of back-to-back Alco (Montreal Locomotive Works) FPAs. The locomotives made the same Alco burbling noise as the SF Belt Line locomotives, but they don't belch big clouds of black smoke because they burn compressed natural gas. There is a generator car between the locomotives.

run around The pair of locomotives pauses at the switch so the conductor can climb down. 73 had been the lead locomotive going north. The car in between carries a generator. July, 2015.

run around The conductor climbs down. July, 2015.

run around The conductor signals for the locomotives to move forward. July, 2015.

run around The engineer on 73 looks back as the locomotives run through the switch. July, 2015.

run around 73 backs through the switch. July, 2015.

run around The conductor grabs the irons as 73 runs forward through the switch. July, 2015.

run around 73 approaches the train. July, 2015.

Dessert came shortly after we left Saint Helena.

We enjoyed the ride back, talking and watching the scenery.

The hotel had Sangria Sunday at happy hour.

Monday we had breakfast on our porch and then headed home.

My wife said she was happy we rode on the dome car.

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Copyright 2015 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.

Last updated 31-August-2015