SUISUN CITY – Eric Mencis is the new Executive Director of the Western Railway Museum.
“There aren’t enough words to describe how thrilled I am to join this fantastic preservation team. It is a pleasure to help preserve the history of the region’s electric railway. A train enthusiast from the start, I made my very first ride on the tracks at the Illinois Railway Museum Union at the age of three, ”he wrote on the museum’s Facebook page. “They had one of the electric long-distance phones running that day. The only memory I have, and probably the first real memory I have, is that I was fascinated by raising and lowering the poles of the cart.
He brings nearly 15 years of experience working on various historic railroads.
“My sense of adventure and love of trains took me from my family home in Joliet, Ill., To Durango, Colo., For college. At Fort Lewis College, I studied Tourism and Hospitality Management. Of course, I went there for the railroad too, and I was educated as a car attendant on the famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, ”he wrote on Facebook.
Other parts of his career include the Skunk Train right here in California.
“It was an exciting time, driving their ‘Skunk’ car up the slopes and back between Willits and Fort Bragg,” he wrote.
Mencis was also an agent for Dirt the Cat on the Nevada Northern Railway.
“We had some exciting times for him to become the icon that he has become. Managing NN Visitor Services for five years has been a real pleasure. It was an honor to work in such a preserved and historic place. After some time on the east coast working on the 2-ft. Maine gauges, I have now planted my feet in the ground here at the Western Railway Museum, ”he wrote.
He also shared his first impressions of the Western Railway Museum.
“I am blown away by what has already been accomplished here,” he wrote. “The welcoming volunteers, wonderfully preserved equipment and beautiful grounds make a great combination for a museum. By learning more about the ancient traditions of electric railways, kept alive here at the Western Railway Museum, I hope to bring new perspectives and opportunities to the museum. Anything is possible if we imagine it and work together to make it happen.