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Golden Gate Live Steamers Train Meet at Tilden Park

Steam Train Medley from multiple sketches
Steam Train Meet Medley from multiple sketches

A few weeks ago Cathy and I were sketching guests at the Spring Meet of the Golden Gate Live Steamers Club in Berkeley’s Tilden Park. The train people were as curious about us as we were about them, and they wanted to see what we were doing. I usually don’t care when people look at my sketches, but I was drawing their trains that they had lovingly built from scratch, designing and engineering everything from the wood-burning boilers to the screws that held them together. It was like drawing their children—one thing out of place and they would know it.

Train guys
Train guys

Many of their members maintain and operate trains that their fathers or grandfathers built and they are now apprenticing their sons in the craft. Over the years the club has built a complete course of tracks with trestles, tunnels, and small buildings to match the 1.5″-to-the-foot scale of the trains. You can see photos and videos on their website including this one below of me sketching at the meet (much to my surprise!)