Father’s Day on the Feather River!

Hey There!

Wow, I thought I had blogged about the convention, but it seems that I posted it on my Facebook page instead. Sorry about that!  Let me tell you about my Father’s Day Special up the Feather River Canyon.

It was a ‘trip of a lifetime’ for me and now, in looking back, was so much more than that. This was the third rail charter trip that Barb and I have made, and while all of our trips have been special, this one was just amazing. It was five hours each way and four of those hours (each way) were in the Feather River Canyon! We traveled at only 25 miles an hour, which is the posted speed for the area, and we were all so delighted.

The day began with word that our train left Oakland late because Amtrak was slow in getting the engines to our consist. But that did not dampen any spirits. Each of the four cars had a staff to make sure each guest was very comfortable, well fed, and happy so once ‘on board’ we were greeted and served breakfast immediately.

As we wound our way up the canyon, I could not help but think of all the books and photos I have seen of the California Zephyr on these tracks.  It was like we were transported ‘back in time’ to the sixties when this train made a trip everyday with each day reflecting the canyon walls. If only we were being pulled by the classic Western Pacific F Units, it would have completed the picture.

We were chased by rail-fans and blessed to have a retired UP engineer and published rail photographer, Kirk Baer, chase our train up the canyon. Kirk knew all the great spots and would be there, to capture forever, this trip of dreams.  Thank you, Kirk!  Once in Portola, we enjoyed a welcome reception by the WP Railroad Museum. Their crew drove out on the mainline with the orange and silver WP GP-9 to grab our cars and push them to the museum ‘track one’, where we could get off and enjoy their collection, and it was a GREAT collection!

Later, as we returned, our now westbound train actually headed into the setting sun and the long shadows came through the canyon, lighting our way. Dinner was served and all were very happy with the great food our chef had prepared. As we reached Oroville, the sky was barely light, and the gentle-rocking motion put many a tired traveler to sleep. Were they dreaming of the next trip? Barb and I knew this had been a trip ‘not to happen again’ and so thankful that 115 people joined us, making this possible.
See the footage

See the full gallery on our Facebook page HERE.
Next years trip will be a smaller group to Glacier National Park for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Get in line, and ‘on board’ now!

Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more

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These are indeed miniature masterpieces. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest


Thanks, Lowell, for another awesome addition to an already incredible train. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Dan D.

I look forward to continuing to buy trains from my favorite special run train maker. That’s how I think of you now, “The Train Maker”.  And speaking of cool trains, I just received a box loaded with great looking Texas Special cars. Thanks.  I certainly look forward to all the new releases you are planning.…

K. Lyons

Thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you do for the modeling community. I can honestly say that my enjoyment of the hobby has benefited greatly because of you. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest


The thing I love about all the things you do is the fact that everything is so well thought out, so beautiful and so unique.   Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest


“You seem to be the shining light in an industry that’s seen a lot of change since the early 2000’s when I was last in the hobby”. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Rad J.

Lowell, I am very pleased with the N Scale Ferdinand Magellan Presidential car. As a retired US Secret Service agent I have conducted security advances for the president and his family traveling by train. I have done a lot of research on the Ferdinand Magellan and the model has excellent detail. It will be an…

Charlie S.

Thank you for producing such well researched quality offerings. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Jerry E.

Received GN A10 today. Absolutely stunning! I am very pleased. Thank You all. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

J. Arenas

Wow… You made my dream come true with the CK Holiday! I am a great admirer of your work. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest