Imagine, gliding along the railroad tracks through
the Sierra Madre Mountains in the deepest part of Copper Canyon
at 50 miles an hour. No wait, that's 15 miles an hour but it
feels like your traveling faster when you are sitting in a "speeder".
What's a speeder you may ask? Also called railroad motorcars,
inspection cars or putt-putts, these little cars were used for
maintenance by railroad track crews before they converted to
using standard pick trucks with special wheels to traverse the
rails. Niles Canyon Railway's Chief Station Agent Al McCracken
has traveled many miles in his speeder since purchasing his
first after retirement in 1996. Al was lucky enough to travel
to Copper Canyon in Mexico with his group from the Southwest
Railcar Ltd. where they put their speeders on the rail and traveled
through the canyon. Copper Canyon is located 400 miles south
of El Paso, Texas. Al says Copper Canyon is similar to our Grand
Canyon but is 10 miles longer, 1 mile wider and 1,000 feet deeper
and the best part is that there is a railroad track that runs
the entire length of the canyon. The canyon has 87 tunnels,
37 bridges and a loop rail and the entire excursion took them
a week to complete.
Niles Canyon Railway is now excited to offer you "a thrilling
railroad experience" on a speeder this Sunday, June 6 at
the Sunol Depot. Members of the Southwest Railcar Ltd. are loaning
Niles Canyon Railway 7 to 10 speeders that will run throughout
the day. Each ride will last approximately 10 to 15 minutes
and you will be traveling approximately 2 miles each way. Niles
Canyon Railway promises to "give you the chance to take
the trip of a lifetime". The cost for this fundraiser is
$5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children (with a signed release)
and all proceeds will go towards the Niles Canyon Railway.
Last week I mentioned the great success of Sunol Glen Schools
tri-tip dinner and the numbers have finally been tallied. There
were 187 served that evening and approximately $770 was raised
towards the seventh grade students Washington DC trip. Parent,
Kelly Capilla says, "Everyone teamed up very nicely for
this event and it really turned out to be a lot of fun".
Kelly said the class has also begun another fundraiser called
"Step Up to the Plate for Education". Sponsored by
the Oakland A's, the students will sell field level tickets
to select games and the A's will return a portion of each ticket
sold back to the students. Look here for more information soon.
The Oakland A's will be a big hit with Sunol Glen sixth graders
as two lucky kids get to accompany teacher Georgette Whitbred
onto the field before the game on June 1. The students participated
in the "Home Run Readers" program sponsored by the
A's. They were challenged to set a goal for how many books they
thought they could read in a certain amount of time and the
reward for accomplishing the goal was a trip to see an A's game.
Wow! These 18 bookworms read over 180 books combined in approximately
3 months. Mrs. Whitbred was one of four teachers chosen to go
onto the field to meet the players and she requested that each
of her students write an essay describing why she should pick
them to accompany her. She said, "This is a great encouragement
of the importance of reading. I am very excited for them to
be doing this and I can see them being excited about it, too".