Posts Tagged ‘Dunsmuir CA’

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

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From the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad to Union Pacific in Dunsmuir

Friday, December 31st, 2010
We attended the Great Train Expo in Pomona, December 18th & 19th, despite the torrential downpour that turned Los Angeles into a rather large puddle a week before Christmas. Attendance was likely diminished due to the historic rainfall (this is the third wettest December since they started keeping track in 1877) but it was a successful show despite it, and Don and his son Alan (who helped out in my stead) met some fine Southern Californian train folks.

We spent the holiday down in So Cal where our respective families still reside.  I was given a tour of the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad, my dad’s N-scale layout which is under construction, and took some pictures.  Below you can see the roundhouse and turntable in the foreground of this photo with my dad inspecting some track in the back section.

Dad Working on the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad Photo by: Cat Cook

Bill Haigler Working on the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by: Cat Cook

All of these switches work and the lights light up! It’s quite something.
The Control Panel for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by: Cat Cook

The Control Panel for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by: Cat Cook

Here you can see some, just some… of the detailed wiring involved in the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad. You can also see some washers used as counterbalances for the coal mechanisms.
Bill Haigler working on the wiring for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Bill Haigler working on the wiring for the Haigler Creek & Western Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

On the way back home we took a spur of the moment jaunt into Dunsmuir, CA. Just as we pulled into town, so did a Union Pacific train coming from the south.  Don quickly navigated us down to the tracks and I jumped out to wave at the engineer and snapped this photo of the GE ES44AC and accompanying video in the nick of time.
UP 7736 (a GE ES44AC) entering Dunsmuir from the south - Photo by Cat Cook

UP 7736 (a GE ES44AC) entering Dunsmuir from the south - Photo by Cat Cook

And here’s a video of most of the rest of the train as it pulls into the station for a crew change:  Union Pacific pulls into Dunsmuir

I’ve been through Dunsmuir at least 8 times before while traveling on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight but as the schedule always puts the train there in the dark of night I’ve never seen the town properly before. Our plan is to go back and spend a day there since it is only a 2-hour drive from Merlin, OR.

A Semaphore in front of the Dunsmuir Post Office

A Semaphore in front of the Dunsmuir Post Office - Photo by Cat Cook

Happy new year to all and happy railroading!