Archive for the ‘Railfanning’ Category

Natural Disaster Consist

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Like many of you, natural disasters are on my mind a lot lately. Close to home here in Oregon there are wildfires seemingly ‘everywhere’ and throughout the west. At the same time, hurricanes of historic strengths have been and are still hitting the American south. When that seemed like more than we could handle at one time, Mexico got hit with an 8.1 earthquake spawning tsunami, reminding us that anything can happen. It’s daunting to say the least. Once we’ve donated what we can to the American Red Cross (or other organizations, I’ll post a list of good options at the end of this) what can we do to process the destruction and uncertainty? For me, I have been feeling compelled to write about railroads. I’m weird.

At the end of July our extended family had a once in a lifetime vacation together in Yosemite. It was grand and a privilege for four generations to share a house together in Wawona on the South Fork of the Merced River and explore the park and surrounding goodness including the Sugar Pine Railroad. Right before we arrived, the park had been inundated from smoke from the Detwiler fire. Right after we left, the South Fork and Empire fires broke out prompting evacuations of the very location we had been staying. And then the Railroad fire broke out, named after the very Sugar Pine Railroad we had just recently enjoyed an excursion on. It should be noted that this fire broke out near the Railroad but the cause is still listed as unknown.

Shay #10 at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad Photo by Cat Cook

Shay #10 at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad – Photo by Cat Cook

Here is a video posted by the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad of the fire inspection on September 3, 2017.

Video of current Railroad fire inspection on 9/3/17

Posted by Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad on Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Then, thanks to kids throwing fireworks off a cliff in the Columbia Gorge for kicks, the Eagle Creek fire was sparked along the Columbia River east of Portland, OR. It became so big so quickly it crossed the Columbia River and spread to the Washington side. If you are familiar with the train lines along the Columbia that means it moved from the Union Pacific/Oregon side of the river to the BNSF/Washington side of the river.

Some of you may also know that the SP&S 700 and the SP 4449 occasionally run excursions along the Gorge. It’s special railroading country to many. We were fortunate enough to meet up with the 4449 on one such excursion in 2011.

4449 at Wishram WA (attempt at tilt-shift photography) - Photo by Cat Cook

4449 at Wishram WA (attempt at tilt-shift photography) Photo by Cat Cook

Seeing before and after pictures of the Gorge and the fire helps to give some context.

Before and after photo of the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge - Photo by James C. Kling, appearing in the Camas-Washougal Post-Record

Before and after photo of the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge – Photo by James C. Kling, appearing in the Camas-Washougal Post-Record

All of the above got me thinking about railroads and natural disasters. Sometimes trains cause natural disasters, sparking fires through derailments or even just passing through trackage surrounded by tinderbox-like conditions. Other times, railroads are affected by natural disasters just like the rest of us and our infrastructure whether that be fire, flood, earthquake, what-have-you….

Railroads can also there to save the day with firefighting trains that either help put out fires or prevent their trains from sparking fires.

A BNSF firefighting train working the White Lightning fire in Oregon in 2010. Photo credit unknown.

A BNSF firefighting train working the White Lightning fire in Oregon in 2010. Photo credit unknown.

When disaster strikes a railroad, I luckily have a massive library of railfan DVDs that I can turn to and visit these places close up. I’m going to share some of them that I’m watching right now.

 

Ride tourist logging railroads including the Yosemite Sugar Pine

Ride tourist logging railroads including the Yosemite Sugar Pine

 

West Coast Railroad Logging Volume 1

West Coast Railroad Logging Volume 1 (Yosemite Sugar Pine included)

 

Sierra Shortlines - Volume 2 (Yosemite Sugar Pine included)

Sierra Shortlines – Volume 2 (Yosemite Sugar Pine included)

 

Columbia River Gorge Part 1 - Union Pacific's Portland Sub

Columbia River Gorge Part 1 – Union Pacific’s Portland Sub

 

Columbia River Gorge Part 2 - BNSF Railway's Fallbridge Sub

Columbia River Gorge Part 2 – BNSF Railway’s Fallbridge Sub

 

Gorges and Mountains Volume 1 - The BNSF (Columbia River Gorge)

Gorges and Mountains Volume 1 – The BNSF (Columbia River Gorge)

 

Gorges and Mountains Volume 2 - The Union Pacific (Columbia River Gorge)

Gorges and Mountains Volume 2 – The Union Pacific (Columbia River Gorge)

 

Daylight Freedom Special (Columbia River Gorge)

Daylight Freedom Special (Columbia River Gorge)

 

Columbia River Gorge Volume 1

Columbia River Gorge Volume 1

 

Columbia River Gorge Volume 2

Columbia River Gorge Volume 2

 

Steam to Spokane (Columbia River Gorge)

Steam to Spokane (Columbia River Gorge)

 

Tough Times on the Southern Pacific (Assorted problems including natural disasters)

Tough Times on the Southern Pacific (Assorted problems including natural disasters)

There are many more on both of those locations but those are some great ones to explore if you haven’t already. I promised some disaster/emergency relief organization information for donations. Aside from the American Red Cross which assists with all of the disasters mentioned in this blog and more, here are some others:

Both Hurricane Harvey & Irma:

Hand In Hand: A benefit for hurricane relief

Hand In Hand: A benefit for hurricane relief

Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 8/7c, all the major networks will be broadcasting a celebrity-studded fundraising telethon, Hand In Hand: A Benefit For Hurricane Harvey Relief.

Hurricane Harvey:

The Greater Houston Community Foundation

The Texas Diaper Bank

Best Friends Animal Society

Lone Star Legal Aid

Houston Humane Society

United Way of Greater Houston

Hurricane Irma:

GlobalGiving Hurricane Irma Relief Fund

Best Friends Animal Society

Eagle Creek Fire (Columbia Gorge):

Friends of the Columbia Gorge

Hood River County Sheriff and Search and Rescue: Immediately following the rescue of 153 hikers from Eagle Creek, Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched a social media fundraising campaign to support these heroes. We raised over $30,000 in less than a week! A memorial fund has since been created in honor of a recently deceased sheriff deputy. The Hood River County Mike Anderson Search and Rescue Fund will directly support the county’s search and rescue efforts. Donations can be made at any U.S. Bank branch or can be delivered or mailed to: 601 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031.

Railroad Fire (Near Yosemite):

This is almost contained now and I can’t find any specific need to donate to so how about a more general suggestion for keeping Yosemite awesome with the Yosemite Conservancy.

In general if you are ever donating to an organization be careful not to be scammed. Charity Navigator is a great site for getting an objective rating for non-profits before you donate.

I’d be interested in any of your stories of railroads and natural disasters. Feel free to comment! Stay safe out there.

~Cat

 

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Big Boy 4014 Restoration Underway!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

If you haven’t heard already, Union Pacific is in the process of restoring a Big Boy locomotive for operation. This is pretty exciting news for railfans, especially foamers (I use this term affectionately) with a penchant for steam locomotives. So far, UP 4014 has been moved from the RailGiants Train Museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, CA to Union Pacific’s steam locomotive shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. UP anticipates the restoration will take about 5 years; they are hoping to have it operational in time for the 150th Golden Spike Anniversary in 2019.

UP Big Boy 4014

No. 4014 Big Boy, Pomona, Calif., July 2013 (Credit: UP Steam Media Kit of uprr.com)

What makes Big Boys unique? The Big Boy was originally designed by the American Locomotive Company as an articulated, coal-burning, 4-8-8-4 to power wartime tonnage over the Wasatch Mountains and Sherman Hill. In fact, originally it was going to be called the Wasatch locomotive but one of ALCO’s mechanics working on the project wrote the words ‘Big Boy’ in chalk on the boiler and the name stuck. There were originally 20 built for Union Pacific with an additional order for 5 more to handle the increasing loads required by the war effort. Due to the impending switch of the industry to Diesel engines, there were no more produced. Only 8 of the Big Boys survive and all are in various states of (dis)repair in static (non-operating) display.

Once Union Pacific decided they wanted to restore a Big Boy, their Steam Operations Team went to visit all 8 remaining Big Boys to determine which was in the best shape to be restored to operation. They decided upon Big Boy 4014 owned by the Southern California Chapter of The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society where it had been on display in the mild climate of Southern California since 1962. To lessen the blow of taking Big Boy #4014 off their hands, UP gave the museum a freshly painted SD40-2C Diesel Locomotive (UP 3015), UP insulated boxcar #453665, and a CA-13-2 Bay Window Steel Caboose (UP 24567). The RailGiants Museum blog has many pictures and reports of the play-by-play action of the Big Boy moving out and the replacements moving in.

UP Bay Window Caboose

UP Caboose #24567 (Photo by Danny Mouawad)

Pentrex was also on hand for the elaborate process of moving the 4014 out of its Southern California home and onto the rails.  Their new DVD, Big Boy 4014 Update gives some history of the Big Boy locomotive including some nice vintage footage. The majority of the DVD is detailed coverage of  how the Big Boy #4014 made its way from its home of 52 years back onto the tracks so it could be relocated to Wyoming. The DVD shows a front-end loader towing 4014 from its static home at the RailGiants Train Museum through the parking lot using pre-built panel track sections (just like snap track!), to the San Gabriel Metrolink line. Then it joined a Special made up of UP Heritage 1996 (SD70ACE), 7 flat cars (6 empty and 1 carrying a vehicle and supplies for the Steam Operations Team) and UP 4014 (a diesel locomotive specifically chosen to help the Big Boy 4014 head to UP’s facility in Cheyenne, WY which took it onto the mainline.)

Big Boy 4014 Update

Big Boy 4014 Update DVD from Pentrex (Released June 2014) Click for more info or to order.

The first half of the DVD has almost constant narration about the logistics of each step of the elaborate move. The 2nd half of the DVD shows many long run-bys (including some nice footage on Cajon Pass), train meets, and the crowds of fans who turned out along the way to get a glimpse of this historic locomotive and its journey as it passes through Southern California.

More Big Boy

Products

From Pentrex:

Big Boy Combo Part 1

Big Boy Combo Part 1 DVD (Click for more info)

Big Boy Combo Part 2

Big Boy Combo Part 2 DVD (Click for more info)

Union Pacific Big Boy Collection

Union Pacific Big Boy Collection DVD (Click for more info)

Big Boys, Cab Forwards, Challengers & Daylights

Big Boys, Cab Forwards, Challengers & Daylights DVD

Union Pacific Classic Collector's Series Combo

Union Pacific Classic Collector's Series Combo DVD

From Greg Scholl:

Big Boys & Challengers

Big Boys & Challengers DVD

From Sunday River Productions:

Big Boys and Brothers in the '50s DVD

Sunday River Productions just released Big Boys and Brothers in the '50s on DVD, August 2014

For HO Modelers, from Rivarossi:

Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Engine #4008 - DCC Ready (HO)

Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Engine #4008 - DCC Ready (HO) from Rivarossi

Show off your Big Boy enthusiasm with this great Big Boy T-Shirt:

Big Boy at Night (Glow in the Dark T-shirt)

Big Boy at Night (Glow in the Dark T-shirt)

Child Sizes $12.99

Adult M, L, XL $14.99

2X $16.99

3X $18.99

LINKS

To read more about Big Boys here are some links:

UP’s 4014 Page with TONS of info

RailGiants Train Museum Big Boy Page

RailGiants Train Museum Big Boy News

The UP 4014 Project – Memories of the Move (YouTube Video from Union Pacific Railroad)

 

Our Visit to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (Part of our Fall Focus on #4449)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Early this month we headed on up to Portland so I (Cat) could bowl in a tournament and so Don and I could visit the newly opened Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC)! As soon as we arrived in town we drove directly over to the new home of the Southern Pacific 4449, Spokane, Portland & Seattle 700, and Oregon Railroad & Navigation 197 locomotives.  Before heading inside, we saw the familiar Oregon Operation Lifesaver trailer parked outside of some Empire Builder passenger cars and then we stepped into what is now affectionately known as the Doyle L. McCormack Enginehouse. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by friendly docents & volunteers welcoming us to the new facility. There is no admission to visit the center by the way, they rely solely on donations. I donated my folding money right away and started to explore.

The Doyle McCormack Enginehouse doors are the restored former Brooklyn Roundhouse doors which are a generous gift from Darcy Marentette in memory of David. (From a plaque next to the doors) Photo by Cat Cook

The Doyle McCormack Enginehouse doors are the restored former Brooklyn Roundhouse doors which are a generous gift from Darcy Marentette in memory of David. (From a plaque next to the doors) Photo by Cat Cook

Directly in front of you upon entry is the Nickel Plate Road 190, an Alco PA-1 built in 1948. Originally an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) it was purchased in 2000 by Daylight Locomotive Works and it is currently under restoration with the intent to make it operable once again.

Nickel Plate

Nickel Plate Road #190 at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Photo by Cat Cook

There were train buffs old and young wandering the large space and you are presented with a variety of equipment you can get right up close to and experience.

Cat at the controls - Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Photo by Don Cook

Cat at the controls - Oregon Rail Heritage Center - Photo by Don Cook

The building contains Locomotive Inspection Pits so the engines can remain right on the rails after pulling into the engine house, giving the crews access to the underbellies of these historic locomotives.

4449 perched above her Inspection Pit, you can see the daylight coming in through the back door of the engine house at the other end of the Daylight - Photo by Cat Cook

4449 perched above her Inspection Pit, you can see the daylight coming in through the back door of the engine house at the other end of the Daylight - Photo by Cat Cook

Volunteers were busy maintaining the locomotives and moving heavy equipment including Terry Kimzey who you may have seen at train shows in the Pacific Northwest at the Operation Lifesaver trailer or Friends of the SP&S 700 booth. There’s also a video of this operation on our YouTube Channel: http://youtu.be/_5pYsVcqbw8

Terry Kimzey moves some heavy equipment at ORHC - Photo by Cat Cook

Terry Kimzey moves some heavy equipment at ORHC - Photo by Cat Cook

The center is not just great for seeing stationary trains, while we were visiting, we watched a Union Pacific train go by just feet away on the neighboring track and overhead, Portland’s streetcars traveled on the overpass. Here’s a video of the UP going by ORHC on our YouTube Channel:

UP at ORHC

The Portland Streetcar line passes right over the ORHC yard - Photo by Cat Cook

The Portland Streetcar line passes right over the ORHC yard - Photo by Cat Cook

The center also has a gift shop with apparel, books, calendars, pins, and more all providing an important revenue stream to the ORHC.

4449 Wheel

Is it weird that I have a favorite locomotive wheel? Well I do, it's the 4449's Drive Wheels... - Photo by Cat Cook

Now that the holidays are imminent, make sure to ride the Holiday Express if you are able. Scheduled for November 30th through December 2nd; December 7th – December 9th; and December 14th – December 16th you can ride in a vintage rail car pulled by either the SP&S 700 or SP 4449 all decked out with thousands of holiday lights and holiday decorations. The trip is about 40 minutes starting from The Oaks Station across from Oaks Park in southeast Portland just north of the Sellwood Bridge (free parking is available). Join Santa and his elves for one of these trips! Proceeds from the tickets and your donations help fund the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. For tickets or more information go here: http://www.orhf.org/about-orhf/holiday-express/  or call 503-224-8499.

OR&N 197

ORNC's Oregon Railroad & Navigation 197 looking out the front of the Doyle L. McCormack Enginehouse

Happy Holidays!

SP&S 700

ORHC’s SP&S 700 – To see more pictures from our visit please like us on Facebook

To see more photos please visit our Facebook page: The Short Line


 

Momentous time for SP 4449 and Railfans

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Being a vendor at train shows throughout the Pacific Northwest, there is one locomotive that fans ask for DVDs and Blu-rays about more than any other, the ever-recognizable Southern Pacific 4449. This fall is an incredibly special time for SP 4449, her friends, and railfans everywhere. This weekend, September 22nd and 23rd, is the Grand Opening of the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Over 5 million dollars have already been raised to make this opening a reality. The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation is still just under 1 million dollars away from being fully funded for Phase 1 of the project designed to house, give needed space to restore, and give public access to the three steam locomotives owned by the city of Portland, the only US city to own two operating steam locomotives (SP 4449 and SP&S 700);  Portland’s third (OR&N 197) is still being restored.

 

4449 Wishram 2011

4449 in Wishram, WA on July, 3rd 2011 during an excursion - Photo by Cat Cook

This October, you can even take an excursion with SP 4449 leading the way from Portland, OR to Bend, OR where they will spend the night and return the next day. These are very exciting times for railfans from all over the world. If you can make it to one of these events, do so! If you do, we’d love you to share your experiences with us by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page.

 

Reporting from the Capitol… of California… the Great Train Expo in Sacramento and other Train Goodness

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A few weeks ago we attended the Sacramento Great Train Expo. Usually I try to document the trip within a week or two but unfortunately my immune system was assaulted (repeatedly) which laid me up for awhile and I got behind on a lot of tasks. This ended up getting further compounded by another show. I apologize especially to those who I told would be making an appearance in this blog, please forgive me. Without further adieu… here’s my report on the Sacramento show and the accompanying trip!

My trip began with a flight from Southern Oregon to Burbank where I sat next to a nice woman who had been a teacher most of her life and we had a long conversation about a variety of topics. Here, I have to offer another apology as I lost her name and email address but hopefully she kept mine and will see this. As we discussed trains and travel, she asked me what the longest train route was and I admitted that I didn’t know but that I would find out and put it in my blog for her and my readers. A few days later, as Don and I were headed north from Los Angeles on our way to Sacramento we fortuitously heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition on the Trans-Siberian Railway and I realized that was the answer to her question. To further flesh out the answer, someone has made a nice little page on Wikipedia attempting to document the longest passenger train journeys, the top 3 of which are all in Russia.

Trans-Siberian railway, photos by DAVID GILKEY

Trans-Siberian railway, photo by DAVID GILKEY from his NPR story titled 'Russia By Rail'

Once we arrived in Sacramento we made our way to the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds where vendors were in one hall and layouts were next door. As we were unloading the truck we could hear trains passing nearby blowing their whistles. Once we we were set up, I took the opportunity to visit the other vendors and layouts. I met Diane Rodriguez who is an artist and painter who brought many of her original works of watercolor and oil paintings showcasing locomotives and trains. She also sells prints and and cards of her works, you can check them all out on her website, www.dianerodriguezart.com.

Diane Rodriguez Art

Diane Rodriguez and some of her paintings - Photo by Cat Cook

Out of Ione, California, Comstock Construction were on hand showing off their Garden Railroad Structures. They only sell direct so you can contact them through the info on their website: Comstock Construction Their buildings are designed to endure the elements, “using water resistant adhesives, mechanically fastened joints with steel brads, or staples, and all California Redwood construction.”

Comstock Construction

Comstock Construction Garden Railroad Structures - Photo by Cat Cook

Among the layouts were the Diablo Pacific Short Line which is a non-profit organization that educates the public about railroading and the role of railroads in America. They are a modular layout with 500 feet of track and have members from hard-core modelers to youths just learning about railroading.

Diablo Pacific Short Line

Diablo Pacific Short Line - Photo by Cat Cook

Another large layout was provided by Coastal Valley Lines out of the Sonoma Valley, CA. I met two of the module designers, Allie and Joan. They and some of their designs are highlighted below.

Allie with her Coastal Valley Lines modular layout

Allie with her Coastal Valley Lines modular layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Allie's Snow-Themed Coastal Valley Lines Modular Layout

Allie's Snow-Themed Coastal Valley Lines Modular Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Joan Fleck with one of her Coastal Valley Lines modular layouts

Joan Fleck with one of her Coastal Valley Lines modular layouts - Photo by Cat Cook

Coastal Valley Lines Stack Train

Coastal Valley Lines stack train in front of one of Joan Fleck's Module

Joan's Farm

Farm layout by Joan Fleck of Coastal Valley Lines - Photo by Cat Cook

Also at the show was Sacramento Valley N-Trak who model the greater Sacramento area focusing on fallen flags including Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, Santa Fe, Sacramento Northern, Tidewater Southern, and others.

Sacramento Valley N-Trak

Sacramento Valley N-Trak Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

I also came across this layout called the Rusty Spike Railroad Co. , a member of the Toy Train Operating Society (TTOS). I believe they will also be at the upcoming Toy Train Expo & Sale in Santa Clara, CA on Sunday March 4 from 9am to 4pm.

Rusty Spike

The Rusty Spike Railroad Co. - Photo by Cat Cook

Another group visiting from the wine country was the aptly named, Wine Country N-Scalers.

Wine Country Layout

Wine Country N-Scalers - Photo by Cat Cook

That’s it from the show, it turned out to be great even though my beloved Saints lost the playoffs that weekend (boo.) Our drive home was pretty uneventful. Except for this guy….

Overpass Northern California

The Keeper of the Overpass - Photo by Cat Cook

It was cold, clear, and beautiful out. I snapped a nice shot of Mount Shasta as from the warmth of the truck as we drove by.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta January 2012 - Photo by Cat Cook

More blogs are in the hopper! Stay tuned… :)

 

Report from Rickreall Show – Winter is Coming!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Last Saturday we drove up to Rickreall, west of Salem, Oregon for the Willamette Valley Model Railroad Show at the Polk County Fairgrounds. We left good ol’ Merlin in the wee hours of the dark and cold morning. Once the sun came up a few hours later we could see the passing countryside tinged with white frost everywhere and as ice formed on our antenna it began to flail back and forth with gusto as if in irritation.

Sunrise by the tracks on the way to Rickreall

Sunrise by the tracks on the way to Rickreall

Since we were only allotted a couple of hours to set up we brought our railfan goods (DVDs, Blu-rays, T-Shirts, etc.) and had to leave the bulk of our scale modeling items back at the ranch as our usual show setup takes about 5 hours to erect. Available from the wide variety of vendors were new and used goods in a variety of scales. It was a proper swap meet format lacking operating layouts on display which seemed to suit the 500+ attendees just fine as they kept a discerning eye out for prized pieces for their collections.

The Show Floor in Rickreall Oregon on December 3rd 2011

The Show Floor in Rickreall Oregon on December 3rd 2011

Below you will find a picture of a SW1200 with full sound and battery charger custom made by Michael Baker of R & M Electric Locomotives. It is 7 1/2 inch gauge in 1 1/2″ scale and is available to purchase for $9100 by emailing mjbaker.1@juno.com. He is in the process of building another one that will also be available to purchase and it can even be custom-ordered to the road name and paint scheme you choose.  If you are looking for a place to run it after you’ve bought it then look no further than the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers and their Shady Dell Train Park in Molalla, OR. You can learn more about this non-profit train park by visiting them online at PNLS.org or you can call 503-829-6866. Their 2011 season is closed now but next year they will again be open to the public Sundays and holidays from 12:00pm to 5:00pm beginning the first Sunday in May through the last Sunday in October.

You Can Own This 7 1/2" Gauge Illinois Terminal Locomotive by Michael Baker of R & M Locomotives

You Can Own This 7 1/2" Gauge Illinois Terminal Locomotive by Michael Baker of R & M Locomotives

Also with a booth at the show were the folks from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association who are dedicated to preserving the history of the Northern Pacific Railway. If you’d like more information or to become a member please visit them at www.NPRHA.org.

Northern Pacific Railroad Historical Association booth at the show in Rickreall OR

Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association booth at the show in Rickreall OR

Happy Holidays from us at The Short Line!

Brrr.... It's cold out there!

Brrr.... It's cold out there!

Thanksgiving Weekend’s Railroad Show in Medford

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This past weekend was the annual Rogue Valley Railroad Show in Medford, Oregon. This year the main floor was packed with even more layouts and displays than before and when the doors were opened on Saturday we were slammed with attendees all day long which was great to see. One of the first-timers was Laurie who I initially met at the Rickreall Train Show earlier this year, she is a photographer who was showing her work which captures rolling stock adorned with street art (aka graffiti). In August she was featured in the Douglas County, News-Review Currents; if you have a subscription you can read the article here: News-Review Article on Laurie.

Laurie's work was featured on the front page of the News-Review' Currents section August 25, 2011

Laurie's work was featured on the front page of the News-Review' Currents section August 25, 2011

Also represented was the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association whom I first met at the Eugene Train Show.  In their own words, they are a… “non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to restoring, maintaining, and operating historic railway equipment of the Pacific Northwest. [They] are the official caretakers of the SP&S 700, a 4-8-4 steam locomotive that ranks among the largest steam engines still in operation.” If you’d like to help them out you can visit their website to buy some of the goodies you can see in the picture below or become a member here: http://www.sps700.org/

Goods featured by the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association - Photo by Cat Cook

Goods featured by the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association - Photo by Cat Cook

Next door to the SP&S 700-people was Roger Rasmussen, of Coastmans, showing off his Evergreen trees & kits. His kits are handcrafted in Oregon and are incredibly realistic. The Douglas Fir Tree Kit is their flagship product offering the absolute best in detail and prototype accuracy. Another one of their products, “SuperTrunks” is made from 100% Port Orford, Oregon Cedar. It may not singlehandedly keep the Oregon forestry industry alive but hey, every little bit helps. The kits and “RediMade” trees are high quality and affordably priced. Check out the Coastmans website here: www.coastmans.com

High quality trees for scale modeling direct from Oregon - Photo courtesy of www.coastmans.com

High quality trees for scale modeling direct from Oregon - Photo courtesy of www.coastmans.com

One of the layouts was by Shaun Anscombe and depicted Hogsmeade as well as some other Harry Potter-inspired scenes. He also had some reference photos of the real-life of the train station in England (where he hails from.)

Hogsmeade Station by Shaun Anscombe - Photo by Cat Cook

Hogsmeade Station by Shaun Anscombe - Photo by Cat Cook

A train speeds through Shaun Anscombe's Hogsmeade - Photo by Cat Cook

A train speeds through Shaun Anscombe's Hogsmeade - Photo by Cat Cook

Also sharing their layout was the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad Club out of Springfield, Oregon.

BNSF locomotive with warbonnet paint scheme on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

BNSF locomotive with warbonnet paint scheme on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Lumber operations on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Lumber operations on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Winning first place for People’s Choice was the Southern Oregon Z-Scale Modelers out of Medford, Oregon. Check out the short video below featuring part of their layout:  It features a helicopter with rotating blades, a highway with moving vehicles, tunnels with plexiglass sides so you can see what is going on inside, and more!

This Saturday is the Rickreall Railroad Show and Swap Meet – Sponsored by the Willamette Valley Model Railroad Club – 10AM-3PM Polk at Polk County Fairgrounds Hwy 22 and Hwy 99E, 10 miles west of Salem. Over 50 different vendors on over 100 tables, a wide variety of railroad products, and inexpensive food. Since it is just a one day show (with 2 hours for setup) we can’t bring all of our modeling items, just railfan goods this trip, but hope to see some of you there!

‘Hell on Wheels’ premiering this Sunday on AMC

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I’ve been aware of and anxiously awaiting the upcoming TV series Hell on Wheels for about a year. Finally it will make its debut this Sunday on AMC at 10/9c.  The show depicts post-civil war life on the front lines of the constructions of the transcontinental railroad. The railroad promises to be the star of the show which is exciting for railfans like me.

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) in Episode 1

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) in Episode 1

Watch the trailer here: Hell on Wheels Trailer

Dunsmuir Railroad Days Overfloweth With Train Happiness

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

In my last blog I mentioned Dunsmuir Railroad Days and the Baldwin  Locomotive Works 2-6-0 Mogul I saw in Globe, Arizona. Well, 2 weekends ago we went to Dunsmuir, CA to see one of the sister 2-6-0 Moguls, Southern Pacific #1727, and to see what their Railroad Days (June 10 – 12, 2011) had to offer.

2-6-0 Mogul #1727 in Dunsmuir, CA - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

2-6-0 Mogul #1727 in Dunsmuir, CA - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

From a plaque at the site:

Locomotive 1727 is a class M-6 Mogul built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1901. It served Southern Pacific in California and Oregon until 1956.  1727 is one of only 7 Mogul engines surviving today out of 355 originally built.

Donated by S.P. and brought to Dunsmuir in 1957 by the city council: Vic Petrovics, Mayor; Morgan Jones, Fred Lloyd, E. A. Christensen and Robert Dixon

(What can I say, I like to document signage.)

The forecast was for mostly sun but there was a persistently stubborn drizzle that wouldn’t get out of our way that day, but it did not deter us from gaining maximum train happiness, no sir! First we bought our commemorative button for the steep, steep price of $1 that would give us magical access to all the trains and assorted rail goodness on display. Then we made our way over to the speeders to get in line while it was early in the day and the line was short. Sid took us on a ride in his shiny motorcar with some Atlantic Coast Line paint. You can see a video of our ride on the speeder here:  Speeder ride in Dunsmuir, CA during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011

Here is a picture of me with Sid’s snazzy speeder after our mini motorcar excursion (there were 3 speeders and we went approximately 1/4 mile, I’m not sure how fast we went, I’d guess 25 mph, but maybe faster….)

Cat Cook with Sid's speeder at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Don Cook June 11, 2011

Cat Cook with Sid's speeder at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Don Cook June 11, 2011

There were four privately-owned passenger cars available to be toured. These were powered by Amtrak 190, a P42DC GENESIS locomotive. The Tioga Pass (built as a Canadian National business car for railroad executives in 1959) and the Silver Splendor (built as a stainless steel Vista-Dome coach for Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in 1956) can be booked for one of their public trips or for private charter through www.larail.com.

The Tioga Pass Dining Room - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Tioga Pass Dining Room - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Silver Solarium and Silver Lariat were both built as Vista-Dome coaches for the California Zephyr in 1948. They can be booked for one of their public trips or for private charter through www.CalZephyrRailcar.com. These cars were part of a round-trip excursion trip from the Bay Area to Dunsmuir, as well as an excursion Saturday afternoon to Black Butte and back to Dunsmuir. More information on this and other excursions can be had by visiting: Trains & Travel International.

The Silver Solarium Dome - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Silver Solarium Dome - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

If this makes you wish you had a California Zephyr train on your layout you may be interested in some HO scale passenger cars from the now out-of-business International Hobby Corp. Once this stock is gone it will likely be unavailable in the future.

One of the IHC HO Scale D&RGW Cal Zephyr Vista Dome cars available from www.theshortline.com - Photo by Don Cook

One of the IHC HO Scale California Zephyr Vista Dome cars available from www.theshortline.com - Photo by Don Cook

One of the coolest things about Dunsmuir and its Railroad Days is they have a working turntable. They even gave rides on the turntable every hour! I uploaded a video of my turn riding the turntable on YouTube here: Taking a ride on the turntable at Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011.  And here’s a short video of them locking the turntable into place: Locking the Dunsmuir, CA turntable during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011. Union Pacific generously brought out the 1996 Heritage SD70ACe painted in commemorative Southern Pacific-inspired colors and some of the other displayed rolling stock for the event.

Some nice folks taking their turn on UP 1996 on the turntable in Dunsmuir - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Some nice folks taking their turn on UP 1996 on the turntable in Dunsmuir - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

If you are wishing you had one of these locomotives for your N-scale layout you’re in luck! We just got one of these back in stock: Kato N – UP (SP Heritage) EMD SD70ACe Diesel Locmotive. Soon after I took the above picture, a Union Pacific freight train entered the town for a crew change. I took a video of this train as it left town southbound and added that to our YouTube page as well: Union Pacific southbound leaving Dunsmuir after crew change during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011. This train was being pulled by 1 ES44AC and 2 SD70Ms and bringing up the rear were 2 ES 44ACs. Below you can see the UP train parked in front of the Amtrak Depot.  In the same building you can find the Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Historical Society. Another non-profit with a presence at the fair included The Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society.

UP Freight Train doing a crew change in Dunsmuir during Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

UP Freight Train doing a crew change in Dunsmuir during Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Did you know that Dunsmuir was originally named Pusher for the ‘pusher’ or helper locomotives that assisted trains over the steep grades to the north? Well if not, now you do! After Alexander Dunsmuir came to the town of Pusher and fell in love with it, he promised the inhabitants that he would build them a fountain if they would name the town after him. He did and they did and the fountain (and town name) are still there today! Below you will find a mural highlighting some of the features of Dunsmuir-living which prominently include the railroad, Mt. Shasta, and fishing in the Sacramento River. This mural was designed by John Signor, prolific author of many railroad books including Southern Pacific’s Shasta Division: Over a Century of Railroading in the Shadow of Mt. Shasta.

Mural located in downtown Dunsmuir, CA designed by railroad author John Signor - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Mural located in downtown Dunsmuir, CA designed by railroad author John Signor - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

There were also 3 cabooses on display. 2 were UP cupola cabooses including the one pictured below. If you are looking for some similar ones for your layout we currently have in stock just 1 HO Athearn kit left of a UP Cupola Caboose.

Union Pacific Cupola Caboose at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Union Pacific Cupola Caboose at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Then there was this Western Pacific Bay Window caboose from the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.  Developed in the 1920s, Bay Windows allowed for a safer way to look ahead at the train and monitor for equipment problems than the Cupola. Located in Portola, CA this museum and the related Western Pacific Railroad Historical Society are a great place to visit. You can even arrange to operate locomotives! We don’t have any WP Bay Window cabooses in stock but we do have an HO Union Pacific Athearn blue box kit with 3 bay window cabooses. Once these old blue box kits are gone they are G.O.N.E. So, first come first served!

Western Pacific 484 Bay Window Caboose (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Western Pacific 484 Bay Window Caboose (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

In addition to the plethora of life-sized train equipment, one of the local model train clubs was showing off their layout too.  Below you can see part of the permanent layout of the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Model Railroad Club.

Looks like there's some unauthorized equipment on the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Railroad Club's turntable - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Looks like there's some unauthorized equipment on the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Railroad Club's turntable - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Thanks for visiting! If you would like to be on our mailing list for The Short Line Model Railroad Supply to receive special offers, information about new railfan or model railroading products or our train-related adventures, click here: Newsletter Sign-Up

I Went To Arizona And All I Got Was This Lousy Picture Of A Baldwin 2-6-0

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Last month I went on a little trip to Arizona to visit Haigler Creek with my folks. On my dad’s side of the family we have a distant relative that used to live there back in the 1890s which prompted us to explore more about our genealogy and the history of that area and the infamous Pleasant Valley Feud in which he was peripherally involved. The areas we visited were a bit light on railroad-related sights however we did happen upon this Southern Pacific 2-6-0 Mogul built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1901 which was on display in Globe, Arizona. I guess the picture isn’t that lousy, but I could have done with less fence.

Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

Here is the accompanying information to the displayed locomotive from a sign at the City of Globe’s Veteran’s Memorial Park:

Steam Locomotive No. 1774 was built by the Baldwin Company in 1901. It was one of 335 Engines of this class built by Baldwin from 1899 and 1901 and number 1774 is one of seven steam engines that are in existence today.

Engine number 1774 was acquired by Arizona Eastern Railroads between 1910 and 1924. In 1924 Southern Pacific Railroad took over and the engine was assigned to main line freight. During World War II the engine was used to pull troop trains and to haul freight to military bases in Arizona and Southern California. Around 1945-1946 the engine was reassigned to the Globe-Miami Bowie Run pulling both passenger and freight trains.

For the statistics-minded rail fans, No. 1774 has 63-inch drives, 21-inch cylinders with a 28-inch stroke and a boiler pressure of 200 pounds. Weight on the drivers is 159,000 pounds. Light weight is 164, 340 pounds.

After 54 years, engine number 1774, a veteran of more than three million miles of service over the eight-state Southern Pacific Railroad System, was presented to the city of Globe on November 2, 1956. A spur was built by volunteers of the Ironworkers Local #75 and the old steam engine number 1774 was relocated to its present site, the Veterans Memorial Park.

The remaining six steam engines are located as listed below:

#1629 Sold to Gene Autry

#1673 On display in Tucson, Arizona

#1727 On display in Dunsmuir, California

#1744 on display in Corinne, Utah

#1771 on display in Placerville, California

#1785 on display in Woodburn, Oregon

Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

This picture would have been better with less tree, less sign, and less fence, but alas, it was not meant to be. Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

Looking for your own steam locomotive? We have some kits and Ready-to-run locomotives in stock. Click here to see HO scale locomotives. Click here to see N scale locomotives.

And, speaking of Dunsmuir (mentioned above), they are having their 2011 Dunsmuir Railroad Days this weekend in Dunsmuir, CA. They will have vintage trains at the Union Pacific railyard, it costs $1 to tour them. There will also be model train displays, a parade, speeder rides, a 2-mile and 5-mile run, music, vendors, pancake breakfast, and more. For even more information you can visit their site here: Dunsmuir Railroad Days