American Flyer Tour
August 2021

Aug 22, 2021:
We had a 17 car turnout! Eight T's, three A's, a '15 Buick, a '32 Pontiac and four moderns. The route took us on a ghost railway tour. What is a ghost railway tour? In the early 1900's, the Peninsular Railway Company was formed and electric trolley cars proliferated in the Santa Clara Valley and connected San Jose, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Los Altos and Palo Alto. So, the intent of our tour was to drive on segments of those old original rail lines. Bascom Avenue, Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, Saratoga Avenue, Stevens Creek, and Foothill Expressway all had electric trolley lines on them. As we drove down those streets, you had to imagine what they looked like with a trolley line down the middle. Back in the day, these were country roads linking valley towns, today they are super busy thoroughfares that still link the valley but bustle with traffic and red lights. The included map shows the network of rail lines as it existed in 1915. The Peninsular Railway Company lasted until the mid-1930's when trolleys were replaced by bus lines and personal automobiles.
Our tour destination was Bob Kiehl's American Flyer Railway. Bob has an incredibly detailed layout which is carefully set to reflect life in the 1950's. We all loved the detail, complete with sawmill, machine shop, fishing pond, downtown area, and a wrecking yard. Like a lot of us, Bob's model train interest dates back to the 20th century and a childhood train set which sparked a lifelong interest.
Lunch was picnic style in Bob's backyard. Bring a lunch, bring a chair is the new pandemic norm for old car touring nowadays and I think folks enjoy it. 2021 driving patches were earned by two members on this tour, Larry Johnson and Jim Lukash. Thanks to Bob and Ann Kiehl for hosting this tour at their house.

Bob Meneely

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Photos provided by Bob Meneely
Click here for photos provided by Rob Guzzetta
Click here for Train Article by Bob Kiehl