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Western Railway Museum extends the adventures

Historic Rail LIne Now One-Mile Longer Courtesy of Western Railway Museum

The Western Railway Museum's interpretive ride is about to get even better.

On Saturday June 30 at 11 AM, the museum will open a new 1-mile segment of track for its interpretive ride on the historic Sacramento Northern right-of-way. Visitors can ride authentic historic electric trains all the way from the museum to Birds Landing Road for an 11-mile round trip.  The train used to stop just Fairfield Solano Birds Landing Myrtle Diner Credit Barbara Steinberg 1south of Shiloh Road. With the new track extension, riders get around a curve where the views of the Suisun Marsh and Mount Diablo really open up. The addition of a visit to Bird's Landing is a fabulous experience. Once featured in a Clint Eastwood film, Honky Tonk Man (1982), this little-visited Delta burough is a place frozen in time.

The museum's volunteers have been working on refurbishing the track and rebuilding the overhead electric lines for the past 10 years. Over 10,000 volunteer hours and more than $660,000 have gone into the project. Staff used drawings and plans preserved in WRM's archives from when the line was first built in 1912 to achieve as much historic accuracy as possible.  A lot of hard physical labor went into this project motivated by
Track Superintendent Joel Cox and Overhead Lines Superintendent Chris Pagni

A whole series or new interpretive displays have been added at the new loading platform. Panels will highlight the area's natural and human history, from the native Patwin people to the first settlers.

Western Railway Museum Courtesy of WRMThe inaugural trip will be headed by Sacramento Northern interurban #1005 on the car's 100th anniversary. #1005 is a true Bay Area native. The Holman Car Company of San Francisco built #1005 in 1912 for the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railroad, which ran from Oakland to Sacramento on the very tracks the Museum now owns and operates. Following a 10-year restoration, #1005 has been restored to its 1934 configuration. There are only a few other places in the world where the public can ride a restored historic car that runs on the very system it was originally designed to operate on.

Visitors can also tour the Car House where 25 full-size antique electric rail cars are preserved, picnic under large shade trees in spacious Laflin Park, and shop in the Museum store.

Fairfield Western Railway Museum Credit Barbara Steinberg 9The Western Railway Museum is located at 5848 State Highway 12 in Solano County, halfway between Fairfield and Rio Vista, and 15 minutes east of Interstate 80. At just an hour's drive from San Francisco, Stockton, Sonoma or Sacramento, it's an easy day-trip. For those looking for something fun, relaxing, and educational this summer, a visit to the Western Railway Museum is perfect. There's lots more to explore -- make it a weekend escape in nearby Fairfield.

Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors 65 years and older, and $7 for children 2 through 14, and includes unlimited train rides and free parking.

WRM is open year-round on weekends. Now through Labor Day, the Museum is open 5 days per week: Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The Museum will also be open and operating trains on Independence Day (Wednesday July 4) and Labor Day (Monday September 3). Trains run every 90 minutes beginning at 11 AM.

For more information about Western Railway Museum and other nearby attractions, contact the Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau.

The Western Railway Museum is owned and operated by the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, public-benefit, historical and educational organization.


Solano Land Trust closing-in on protecting Rockville Trails

This just in:  Wildlife Conservation Board award brings Trust to 85% of $15.5 million needed to purchase and care for the 1,500 acre property to be the community’s next natural park.

Rockville_trails2-copy courtesy of Brad Zweerink Daily Republic 2011One step closer to meeting its fundraising goal for The Campaign for Rockville Trails, Solano Land Trust announced today that the Wildlife Conservation Board  (WCB) approved $2.877 million for Rockville Trails’ purchase.  Solano Land Trust launched its Campaign for Rockville Trails in May 2011 to raise $15.5 million to purchase the 1,500 acre property, which was approved for development of 370 estate homes in 2008.  The Land Trust will manage the property for public recreation, habitat protection and agriculture. To date, the Trust has raised $12.7 million, or 85% of its goal, leaving $2 million remaining for acquisition and $800,000 for permanent management and stewardship.

Once acquired, Rockville Trails will provide the community a new park, offering hiking, equestrian and biking trails as well six miles of the Bay Area Ridge Trail

“The support from the Department of Fish and Game and the Wildlife Conservation Board was a critical piece in our fundraising strategy,” stated Executive Director Nicole Byrd. “With the approval of this grant, we are just $2 million away from protecting this amazing property forever.”

“The Wildlife Conservation Board is pleased to support a project with high conservation value and with such diversity in funds raised,” said Dave Means, Assistant Executive Director of WCB, “We look forward to Solano Land Trust’s successful completion of this project and the new natural park that will provide the public with another place to get outside and experience the wild places of California.”

The WCB award joins more than $6.2 million in grant dollars from the California Coastal Conservancy, Moore Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, Syar Foundation, Brewster West Foundation, Rose Foundation and AE & Martha Michelbacher Foundation. Additionally, $3 million in local open space tax assessment funds from the City of Fairfield Community Facilities District and Solano County Green Valley Open Space Management District were used to purchase 330 acres of the property last spring.

Even more impressive, says Byrd, is the $575,000 that has been generously donated from the local community.  “People think that the smaller donations don’t matter,” said Byrd, “but we have raised over $80,000 in donations under $5,000.  Many of these contributions range from $100 to $1,000 dollars and these gifts add up.”

Solano Land Trust purchased the first 330 acres using local tax assessment dollars in the spring of 2011 as part of a settlement between the Green Valley Land Owner’s Association, the Sierra Club and White Wing Highland Associates, the owner of the property.  The settlement provided for an option for the Trust to purchase the remaining 1,170 acres by February 2012.  The deadline has since been extended to July 2012.

Rockville Trails is located between Green Valley Road and Suisun Valley Road in Fairfield, CA, less than 45 minutes from Sacramento, San Francisco and Contra Costa County. The property’s rolling hills, oak woodlands, and rocky outcrops have the potential of becoming a new, natural regional park with a trail system that will connect existing and proposed trails that will one day circle the bay, reaching as far as Lynch Canyon and the Napa River.

“The finish line is within reach,” said Byrd.  “For all of you out there who have been considering helping with Rockville Trails, the time is now! Please make a generous donation today to help us reach our goal because July 31st is right around the corner!” To make an individual contribution or to get involved in the campaign, visit www.solanolandtrust.org.

 Content provided by Solano  Land Trust