Redwood Valley Railway

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No. 7 train and passengers.

The Redwood Valley Railway is a 15 in (381 mm) gauge miniature railway in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, California.[1] It was established in 1952 by Erich Thomsen, and has expanded to 1.25 miles of track and over 160,000 passengers a year.[2]

The railroad uses 5" scale model live steam locomotives. Rides last approximately 12 minutes. As of September 2011, tickets for adults and children are $3 (children under 2 years old ride free). A five-ride ticket costs $12.[3]

Operation schedule[edit]

The Redwood Valley Railway operates Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm year-round (5pm in winter - weather permitting).

During the summer (from mid June to Labor Day) the railway operates 7 days a week from 11 am to 5 pm weekdays and 11 am to 6 pm weekends.

Special events[edit]

The first full weekend in June is the Anniversary Meet, which is open to the public from 11 to 6. Most of the RVRY's locomotives are under steam, and often visiting locomotives and rolling stock appear for the occasion.


  • The Number 2- An 0-4-0 Gasoline-Hydraulic locomotive "Juniper"
  • The Number 4- A 2-4-2 Columbia "Laurel"
  • The Number 5- A 4-4-0 American "Fern"
  • The Number 7- A 2-6-2 Prairie "Oak"
  • The Number 11- A 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler "Sequoia"

Rolling stock[edit]

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 seating for up to eight adults, are the mainstay passenger rolling stock for this operation. The RVRY also owns three stock cars which have been specifically built to carry passengers as well. These are often favorites with small children, although a full-sized adult can comfortably fit inside.

Other equipment includes a boxcar, extra convertible gondolas, which can either haul passengers or satisfy M.O.W. needs.

The RVRy. owns numerous four-wheel maintenance-of-way cars known as "jimmies", which have specialized uses such as welding, tie replacement, or carrying ballast.

The RVRy. also rosters a single flatcar, built as a high school shop project by one of the crew in the 1970s. This rugged flatcar has seen thousands of uses, and is one of the most versatile cars on the railroad.

Unique among the roster of cars is a coal gondola, once used to carry extra coal for the #4. Coal was used up until the mid-1970s when the #4 was converted to fuel oil. The coal gondola, with its higher sides, is infrequently used. It currently carries a few dozen metal folding chairs for the annual meet.

A favorite with both young and old is the caboose. Based on a D&RGW 36" gauge prototype, this "short" center cupola caboose has graced the end of most revenue trains for over 30 years.

Future projects[edit]

Parts for a 2-4-4 Forney and a 2-6-0 exist, but currently remain unassembled. Plans for a second caboose and a lavish, scale (down to the furniture, wallpaper, and bar with tiny glasses) business car are in the works.

As of mid-2010 the boiler for the #13, the aforementioned 2-6-0 has been manufactured. Not to be confused with a visiting GSP&P #13 from the Glenwood Southpark and Pacific.

Former locomotives and rolling Stock[edit]

The Number 1 "Cricket" a 12" gauge steam locomotive along with a few 12" gauge cars were sold to the Folsom Valley Ry. in Folsom Ca. [1]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°52′50″N 122°13′23″W / 37.880498°N 122.223029°W / 37.880498; -122.223029