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Train returns to Latrobe after 54-year absence

By: Margaret Snider Telegraph Correspondent
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Aug. 6 and 7 will mark the first passenger train of the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad (P&SVRR) to the town of Latrobe since 1957. Although some freight trains have run, there has been no passenger service since the 1957 special. This will be a beginning for the P&SVRR, which had been negotiating with the Joint Powers Agency (JPA) for a five-year license to run excursion rail the full length of the line from Folsom to Diamond Springs. “We got that agreement with the JPA,” said Philip Rose, President of the P&SVRR. On Tuesday, July 26, 2011, the agreement was ratified by the County of Sacramento and the City of Folsom. “Now we’re just waiting for El Dorado County,” Rose said. El Dorado County is scheduled to decide on Aug. 16. In the meantime, with the previously washed-out portion of track repaired and safety tested, the rail is ready for use with the Skagit, the line’s light-weight rail vehicle. Fortuitously, the train is running the same weekend that Folsom High School is holding its all-class reunion. Eric Olds, vice president of the P&SVRR, and one of the conductors for the weekend, said they did not plan it that way. “We weren’t aware of it ahead of time,” Olds said. “We think it’s just a great opportunity for people who want to experience something unique about the area.” When Rose heard of the high school reunion, he contacted Dean Handy, who is one of the movers of the reunion. “He was really excited about the idea that people would be able to ride the train,” Rose said. Handy, Folsom High School class of 1964, sent e-mails about the railroad to some of the landmark reunion classes. “With this being a special reunion weekend for you,” Handy’s e-mail said, “I thought you and your classmates may enjoy taking a couple hours out of the day to experience this wonderful rebirth of a railroad.” Handy is an enthusiastic participant and organizer of the reunion. He emphasizes that he is not in charge, he’s “just the most vocal and boisterous.” Departure times for the excursions to Latrobe, as well as those for the shorter trip to Carson Creek, can be found at psvrr.com or by calling Gary Davis at (916) 834-3094. In October, the P&SVRR is looking forward to a pumpkin run, also with light vehicles, and another excursion near Christmas. The ticket proceeds from all the excursions go to the efforts of the all-volunteer organization to save the historic rails and keep the trains running. “We replaced maybe 200 ties on the washout,” said Rose. “So we’re hoping that if all goes well we can run heavy equipment at Christmastime.” * * * KNOW AND GO What: Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad Excursion to Latrobe When: Aug. 6-7, Saturday and Sunday Where: Departing from Hampton Station, 155 Placerville Road, Folsom Info: For times, tickets and information call Gary Davis, 916-834-3094 or go to http://psvrr.com