The Redwood Valley Railway is a 15-inch (381 mm) miniature rail gage in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, California.
It was established in 1952 by Erich Thomsen as Tilden South Gate and Pacific Railway, on a 12-inch (305 mm) gauge, and has since expanded to 1 1⁄4 miles (2 km) of the track, carrying more than 160,000 passengers a year. Thomsen worked for the Western Pacific Railroad engineering department and received at least three patents for his work. The railroad occupies land near the base of Vollmer Peak, formerly used as an anti-aircraft gun site.
800 now-ripened redwood trees were planted when the railroad was initially laid out.In 1968, the railroad was re-gauged to 15 in (381 mm). The new 15 "gage, 5" scale equipment, allowed two adults to ride side-by-side and is representative of the American narrow gage railroads. Two of the Redwood Valley locomotives made trips to England, run on several English 15 in gage railroads, including railroads.
Rides last approximately 12 minutes. As of January 2018, tickets for adults and children are $3 (free ride for children under 2 years of age). Five-ride tickets are $12.
The Redwood Valley Railway maintains a dozen or so wooden gondolas, built similar to those found on 36 "narrow-gauge lines in the American West. The gondolas, equipped with seats for up to eight adults, are the mainstays of passenger rolling stock for this operation. The RVRy also owns three stock cars that have been specifically designed to carry passengers as well. Other equipment includes a boxcar, extra convertible gondolas that can either transport passengers or meet maintenance needs.
The RVRy owns a number of four-wheel maintenance vehicles known as jimmies, which have specialized uses such as welding, tie replacement, or ballast handling.
The RVRy also consists of a single flat car, built as a project of a high school shop by one of the crew in the 1970s. This rugged flat car has seen thousands of uses and is one of the most versatile on the railroad.
The coal gondola, once used to carry extra coal for number 4, is unique among the roster of cars. Coal was used until the mid-1970s, when the number 4 was converted to fuel oil. The coal gondola, with its higher sides, is rarely used. It currently holds a few dozen metal folding chairs for the annual meeting.
The caboose is the favorite with both young and old. Based on the D&RGW 36 "gage prototype, this" short "cupola caboose center has been at the end of most revenue trains for more than 30 years.
This amazing landmark in Orinda, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
- Tilden Regional Park
- Chabot Space & Science Center
- Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park
- Lafayette Reservoir
- Grizzly Peak
- Joaquin Miller Park
- Regional Parks Botanic Garden
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek California! Stop by for a visit anytime!