E-mail I have received from site visitors, reprinted with their permission.
If you would like your comments posted here, please email me at
. If you have a site you would like me to link to, include it in your email. Thanks!
Subject: Modoc Northern
Enjoy your webpage, have spent a fair amount of time enjoying the photos, maps and info. I was wondering if by chance you knew if there was any sort of schedule for the former Modoc Northern line as I would like to come over from Medford and chase trains some time, but seem to have always missed the days they operate.
Thank you for the compliment!
Last I knew, UP would leave the Klamath Falls at approximately 1pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, running as far as their interchange with Lake Railway at Perez, and returning fairly late at night. But as far as Lake Railway's schedule, my contact there is no longer there so I am out of the loop on their schedule.
Would it be okay if I post this on the visitors' comments page of my website? Maybe someone will read it and give a better answer!
Thanks for getting back, and feel free to post on the site. Good to hear that they have a Saturday run, will try to catch it in the next few weekends. Thanks,
Subject: Modoc Northern 1011
I was poking around on the computer and came across your website as I was searching for info on (Modoc Northern / LRY) #1011. I took a couple of pictures of it in the Albany, OR yard Feb 12, 2013. I always try to stay off railroad property if possible and sometimes it's difficult to get descent photos. I finally got a pic with the engine info and started searching. There are four RFRX locos in and around Albany and #1011 looks like it would fit right in to his ( Rick Franklin ) fleet. Just speculation but when I first saw it that was the first thing that came to mind.
It's nice when I can suddenly find information on an item I've seen. There is an SD9 working around Albany once in a while. It's privately owned and painted in SP black widow. Very nice looking engine. Always on the lookout for it. I usually check out the Albany yard on Tuesdays so I'll let you know if anything interesting.
Thought I would pass the info along. Nice chatting,
Subject: Wonderful work
I've viewed your pages numerous times over the years and visited a
number of the lines you've chronicled.
My grandfather was an engineer back in Kansas, but I really know
nothing about trains — just that I love seeing them. Particularly the
I was born and raised in southern Oregon and still kick myself for
ever leaving, but every time I see your page, I get to take a minute
to come back home.
Sincere thanks and compliments,
Subject: Modoc Northern
My wife and I returned from her family reunion at Lake Tahoe on Father's Day 2011 and on our way to Klamath Falls, where we spent Sunday night and caught the Amtrak train to Eugene Monday morning and then returned to Klamath Falls that night for a complete trip, we passed through Merrill where I noticed two Modoc Northern locomotives and their caboose. As something of a train buff, I looked up Modoc Northern when we got home and your listing came up. I spent a considerable amount of time looking through the pictures and want to compliment you on your work. What really caught my attention was the washout and repairs with the side dump rock cars and the trouble they had with them. I have a copy of "The Rock Trains" by Golden Rail Video of the repairs to the Mt. Rainier Scenic main line due to a washout caused by winter storms several years ago and it shows the same trouble with the side dump rock cars. I really appreciated the short video that you had for that segment.
As we progress in resumption of the Coos Bay to Eugene rail line formerly operated by CORP, it will be great for you to get pictures of the line and action with the new company that will run it for the International Port of Coos Bay. I have the "CORP 2001 Coos Bay Subdivision" by Bates Publishing which covers that line before CORP ran away from the line. Since the port has purchased the line and is effecting repairs so service can be restored by this September they are saying, several clients can't wait to resume rail shipping instead of truck shipping of their materials. American Bridge on Bolon Island just out of Reedsport is eagerly bidding on new bridge jobs that can utilize the rail handling of larger and heavier bridge sections.
Keep up the good work.
Robert W. White
I hope the weather in Klamath Falls is as great today as it is here in
I've been enjoying the train films on your web site. Particularly the one
from the NWP join-up in 1914.
I'm a member of the Timber Heritage Association here in Humboldt County,
so have an interest in the NWP. I'd not be surprised if we had met, and
bet you know other folks in the THA.
I've been a rail-nut since birth near as can be determined, but must
confess that steam is my first love in that regard. Something about the
feel, sound and smell of a steam locomotive.
When I retired a few years ago I allowed that I'd been allowed to play
with every type of equipment I cared to (worked for the U..Army, Corps of
Engineers) except a steam locomotive. Thanks to the Timber Heritage
Association I've now done that. One of the little 0-4-0 locomotives at
Fort Humboldt (Bear Harbor #1).
When I was growing up, I made numerous trips up and down the San Joaquin
Valley with my family. My Dad used to "race" the Pacific Types that
Highway 99 ran parallel to in his Packard.
I do allow for rail equipment with infernal combustion however,
including MOW equipment. Here is a brief video my son in law shot during
a test run for one of my speeders (Woodings CBL) last July, on a stretch
of NWP track where we offer speeder rides to the public.
That was just shot on the spur of the moment because he had a camera in
We are starting to produce some short video segments concerning the THA
collection and activities, with the aim of posting them in rotation on
the Association web site (long overdue for a rebuild).
Thanks for maintaining such a great site.
On another note, we have a group of people in the area that are intent on
pulling out the NWP tracks and replacing them with a bicycle trail. They
managed to insinuate themselves into the process of the revision of the
county general plan. Luckily we were able convince the county planning
commission to remove wording that was aimed at a deceptive "rail banking"
scheme. The Calif. North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) sent a letter
expressing their policy which was read to the commission during an
irregular meeting which was held with minimum notice on 16 Dec.
I have been viewing your web site with a lot of pleasure. My dad, Warren H. Layton, was an engineer on the ill fated NCO line sometime in the 1920's. In Jack Bowdens book "The Modoc: Southern Pacific's Back Door to Oregon" on page 18 is a photo of my dad & the crew of engine #5 taken in 1927. I ordered Jacks book thru the North Bend, Oregon library. Somehow I need to find out where I can purchase about 5 copies of this book for me & my grown kids.
I have discovered that historically not much is available about the crews that ran the NCO engines. I have contacted several museums etc., but nothing comes up concerning personel on the NCO line.
My dad was killed in an auto wreck in 1935 just east of Alturas. I was born in Alturas in 1930.
I have very faint memories of my dad lifting me into the cab of a steam engine. I got to ring the bell all the way to the roundhouse in Alturas. What a thrill that was for me. I was probably 5 yrs. old at that time. My mother said I ran away from home once & when they finally caught me I was headed for the train tracks where my dad was working. Also he often had to be on duty at night in the winter chill to keep the engines steamed up so they wouldn't freeze. He must have spent a lot of time on the run to Wendel. I visited this site a few years ago. I also remember the hobos coming to our house for a handout. Mother made them split fire wood for their meal. She often spoke about this event because she felt uncomfortable when they showed up.
Thank you for your "e" photos.
Leroy w. Layton
(In my reply to Leroy, I sent him contact information for a book store here in Klamath Falls which has stocked Jack Bowden's book. --Craig)
Subject: OC&E railbed
I'm an adventure motorcycle rider. Came up on some abandoned rail bed, we picked it up going South out of Silver Lake Oregon a few weeks ago.
Realized quickly it was an old rail bed. So doing some research came across your site.
Seems we were on a Spur just near the end, and off the OC&E trail (no signs at that end), and ended up jumping off close to Fremont Point.
Just thought you might be interested since I came across your web site.
Here's a link to a helmet cam video I took along the way. Wow, it was loose, slick gravel. Some parts had steep drops on the sides. No way to turn a truck around (we're on dual sport dirt bikes). (These videos may not be available on a long-term basis.)
If you get up that way, there is a lot railroad stuff laying all along the sides. Brackets, ties.... looks like they just pulled up the rails and left the rest alone.
Seems no matter where I ride, I nearly always find remnants of rail... I've come across bunches of trestles up in the Tillamook State Forest near the coast.
(I'd like to point out that where they were riding is not part of the "No Motorized Vehicles Allowed" OC&E/Woods Line State Park, but rather north of the end of the park trail. I much enjoyed watching the videos and plan to go explore up that way someday! Thanks for the comments, Dave -- Craig)
Subject: Modoc Northern
I was doing some impromptu train research on the Modoc Northern. I had not seen their engines running for quite some time, and saw them parked on a siding in Tulelake. I had gone down to see the X crossing of the two railroads at 139 and County Road 111A, when I noticed them. Thanks to your page I now know why. I enjoyed your page and pictures thoroughly and will return frequently. My brother and I are fans of old logging railroads, and like to go out and follow old grades.
Subject: Railroad Education Suggestion
I just wanted to say thanks for making your website about railroads. I have been using your Sites of Interest page for my lesson plans at school. The kids love learning about trains!
Since your page was helpful, I thought I'd pass on another web page I've bookmarked and have been using: Railroad Parts: History for Kids. The kids really like that page because it's simple and easy to read. Perhaps your visitors would find it helpful as well? Let me know what you think!
Thanks again! (Toot Toot hehe)
Was interesting to see your pictures and story about Kelso. When I was around 13 / 14 (1975 / 1976) I would go camping with my friend and his dad. We always stopped in Kelso for water before heading out to our campsite. I remember how interesting the small town was. I have some photos I took back then still. I recall a graveyard where the locals told us people that died riding the trains or miners were buried. Thanks for the posting.
Subject: "Railroad Pages Feedback OC&E"
I am a retired employee of the Southern Pacific RR and enjoyed your pages on the OC&E.
When I was a young man, the Southern Pacific leased the RR operations at Sycan several locomotives to be used in their shop operations. I was fortunate to have been assigned the task of "adapting" the locomotives to their operation.
It turned out that the units (Alco, RSD something ?????) were well past their operating life and did not work out.
During the week or so that I was there, I took the opportunity to explore the area and discovered the old cemetery just above the shop. It was quite interesting to read the tombstones. Several individuals were listed as "ambushed" as reason for death. Several others as "snake bite" and "shot" ?????
What I found to be very unusual was that over years, a small herd of ponies had accumulated around the Shop.
They would wander around the lumber cars and were looked on by the shop personnel as I would a dog or a cat. Quite unusual to me.
Also recall a large (3 legged) dog that belonged to one of the shop Foreman. Was told the dog lost leg after being run over by one of the lumber cars. Did not slow him down much and he would jump on and off the cars along with the Foreman. They were a good match, the Foreman had several fingers missing and this did not slow him down either. I guess the lumber industry can be tough?
During my visit, I stayed at a small hotel in town. They would pack lunches for our crew each day and were very nice people. I remember them warning us to stay out of the small bar just a few miles from the shop. We were told that the locals quite often were involved in fights there on Saturday nights. Of course, none of the SP folks drank and we never found out (ha).
In all, a very nice little community and I have often wondered how it would be to live in such a small place ????
I would like to visit there again.
But, I guess old geezers think that about a lot of places.
Thank you for your WEB site and the memories.
Subject: "OC&E RR Videos"
I have been keenly interested in Weyerhaeuser rail operations since I was 15. I am now 47 and have accumulated much info and many artifacts as well as video of weyerhaeuser trains in action in the northwest.
I have looked for years for home movies or video of the O C & E and the Woods RailRoad operations out of K. Falls with no success. Would you possibly know of the existence of any footage either privately owned or offered commercially to the public?
Any help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!
Thank you for your time.
Lance W. Hutto (alias rubber chicken)
I sent a reply to Lance that I don't know of any existing videos, but if anyone of you has any information for him, his email address is email@example.com, and he would appreciate the info.
Just read your narrative about the OC&E Railroad out of Klamath Falls, Oregon…and it was very interesting. My father, Clifford Carter, worked for OC&E at the Sycan shop from nearly the beginning of its ownership by Weyerhaeuser to when the shop closed in 1990-ish. We lived in Klamath Falls for the majority of that time (small stint living in Bonanza) and he drove to the Sycan shop every day-terrible weather, slow roads and all!
Thank you for the trip down memory lane!
Subject: "THANK YOU for supporting our food drive - garden railway tour"
Dear Craig - We want to thank all of you that supported us in this year’s food drive! It was a tremendous success! We had almost 600 guests and collected a lot of food as well as $2600 in donations to feed the hungry in our communities!
Tim Csabanyi of “Movie Mix Production” has contributed his considerable personal talent and created a professional video of our open house tour. Lasting approximately 1 hour, it shows all of the railroads that were open on August 15, 2009 for our food drive. If you would like a DVD of your day with us, or if you missed it and want to see what you missed or just looking for “stocking stuffers” [yes, Christmas is just around the corner] you can order them through Pat at All Aboard Junction, 8355 Monterey St, Gilroy, California 95020 - (408) 846-8841 - firstname.lastname@example.org. I believe the price is $10.95 each [plus $2 S&H if you want them sent to you rather than pick them up].
DVD’s should be available within the next week.
South County Garden Railroaders
Subject: "Your Modoc Northern web pages."
Enjoyed your website and fine photos taken on the MN RR. I live in
Dunsmuir and just don't get up there to Tulelake as much as I like. The
MN had one of the nicest paint schemes I have ever seen on a short line.
The UP has removed the Modoc Northern signs in Tulelake.
Subject: "Hello From Train Fan Keith Johns"
Good Evening Craig:
My name is Keith Johns and I am a huge train and railroad fan. I am 45 years old, married and currently reside in the city of San Diego, Ca. I found your web site and want to tell you that I enjoy it very much. My Aunt and Uncle used to live in Fallbrook, California during the 1970's and 1980's, so I do remember some of the areas that you described in your photos of the Fallbrook Branch back in the day.
During the early 1970's, I was living in Yuma, Az. and remember the Southern Pacific very well! I had another Aunt and Uncle that lived about 45 miles east of Yuma in the small town of Tacna, Az. I remember many of the S.P. Trains with their oscillating lights on top flashing in a figure 8 direction.
In the later part of the 1970's, my family moved to the Imperial Valley part of So. California and I continued to see the S.P. in action. In 1978 we moved to the desert town of Indio, near Palm Springs. I would continue to see the S.P. in action until the take over from Union Pacific in 1996! I only wish that I could of known then, what I know now! There is no more S.P. and that was a big loss today!
I continued to live in Indio until last year when I finally was married! My wife and I decided to move to San Diego. She is not a big fan of extreme heat! Now, once in a while I make it down to the BNSF area of San Diego and watch the auto racks leave town.
I would love to get my hands on a BNSF timetable for the San Diego area along with the Bakersfield and Mojave areas. I love to go exploring on many different railroads. One of my favorites is the Carrizo Gorge Railway that runs from San Diego to Tijuana. Then from Tijuana to Tecate Mexico. Then from Tecate to Plaster City, Ca. where it connects to the Union Pacific west of El Centro, Ca.
I have a 4 wheel drive truck and love to go camping out and watch for trains during all hours of the day! Of course now that I am married, it is not as easy as it was before! I have a scanner radio and have most of the BNSF and U.P. frequency's dialed in and listen to them as much as possible in my truck!
Thanks again for all of the railroad information. Again, I really enjoy your site and go back and forth to it over and over. It is amazing how you can discovere new information in both your articles and your photos just by going back and reading or looking at the same photos over and over!
Do you know by chance of any websites that have the oscillating lights of the S.P. on them in say in video format? Like on a short video that you can just watch on the internet without having to buy the entire video?
When I go chasing trains to view them, nowadays I usually have to do it alone. Back when I was living in the desert, I would sometimes have a friend or two go with me which sometimes was more fun. My problem has always been not knowing people that live close by that have the same train and railroad interest as I have.
My train traveling trips back in the desert were a lot of fun and I did many of them at night. But being out in the middle of no where at night and by yourself can be an uncomfortable situation. I would want to camp out there by myself and that can be a dangerous thing to do.
Now living in San Diego, I have gone to some of the local museums and have talked to people there, but most are older and retired and are mostly into the model trains like HO Scale. I also enjoy those and have two sets myself. But nothing to me is more exciting then to see the real thing!
If you happen to know how I could get hooked up with other people that also want to do the same things, please let me know.
I just finished reading your "Memories of the Santa Fe Railway in Fallbrook" on your website. I was stationed on Camp Pendleton from mid-1987 to mid-1994 and lived on Ammunition Road in Fallbrook for the first nine months of that time. I used to ride a bicycle from our apartment in Fallbrook to the air station on Camp Pendleton and my route paralleled the tracks most of the way.
The trackage existed intact and useable all the way into the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station as late as early 1993. The tracks aboard Camp Pendleton were renovated in 1989-1990, just in time to be put to good use during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Unfortunately, the Santa Margarita river overflowed its banks in February 1993 and washed out most of the roadbed from Basilone Road (Google Maps link here); the track north of Basilone Rd can still be seen adjacent to Vandegrift Blvd) all the way to Stuart Mesa Road (Google Maps link here), or approximately from milepost 1 to MP 7. The tracks were not repaired after that and no longer go beyond the wye at Fallbrook Junction (link here).
During the couple of years the line was back in active use prior to the flood, the Marine Corps worked the line with two GE 80-tonners (some more info here). During Desert Shield, the USMC had purchased an ex-ATSF caboose and had painted it in desert camouflage as a tribute to the Marines from Camp Pendleton deployed in support of that effort.
Keep up the great work on your railroad pages.
Subject: "My grandpa and His Father in-law both ran the 700 steam engine"
Our family has tons of memories and pics of both of them running the old steam engine.
My grandma had always waved at them coming in and leaving but never got to go up and sit in the engine until 2 years ago for Christmas they let people come in and sit in the engineers seat and look out the window like her husband and dad once had. It was quite the moment since they have both passed on.
I will round up some old pictures of Grandpa O’hearn and Great Grandpa Provost and maybe some people out there have some knew them?
We are always looking for more info about our family history in the SP&S! Thanks for taking the time to put up this site it helps give more info!
Subject: "Just excellent, Craig!"
I'm a San Diego County resident (La Mesa), and want to tell you how much I enjoy your rail web site. Your writing is descriptive and personal. Your photographs are superb, and your film links work... actually work! Your story about living along the Fallbrook line was SO informative and well-written.
Keep you eyes and ears attuned to the world around you. Never lose the wonder of your childhood. And remember, to quote the late Utah Phillips. "No matter how loud a train is, it's never noise, it's always sound."
Thanks and Best Wishes!
Subject: "Portland Traction Info"
Craig, I'm a Portland Traction Fan, and found your pages very
interesting. Back in 1984, or so, I even got to ride in the PTC #100
out to Lents and back. About 15 years ago, when I still lived in
Portland, I managed to acquire a large number of blueprints, drawings
and track plans for PTC, including the track plan books for at least as
far as Boring (I can't remember if they went beyond there). I kept
these for a number of years, but became concerned about them getting
damaged or destroyed, so I donated them to the Oregon Historical Society
in Portland. If anyone is looking for these documents, which included
trestle plans, track plans, building plans for the locomotive barn,
etc., OHS has them. Hopefully, someone will find this information
useful. And someday, maybe I'll build a PTC layout......
Subject: "Great Site"
Thank you for posting your site. I live in Oceanside and grew up watching trains with my dad. Of course seeing the Warbonnet FP45s on the SDX and much earlier the Escondido locals (CF7 days) was something I looked forward to. I still catch the local every now and then - still cool even though it's always late at night (one small benefit of restaurant work). It's refreshing to see that there are still people around who care about important local history. Especially railroad history.
Thank you. PS: LONG LIVE THE SANTA FE!
Subject: Railroad Pages feedback
I enjoy your site immensely and have added it to my favorites; it keeps me in touch with my roots. I grew up in Yreka, graduated from high school there in 1978, (I can't imagine six-axle power on the YW) and have since moved about the U.S. and overseas serving in the Armed Forces. I am currently serving in Kuwait with the Ohio Army National Guard. I'm nearing the end of my tour, and should be out of here sometime in December. Visitors to your site might be interested in my background: I spent 13 years in the Army Reserve as a "railway operations crewmember." My last rail mission was to Ft. Hood, TX in October of 2005, while assigned to the 226th Transportation Company (Railway Operating) from Westover Air Reserve Base, MA. In my civilian occupation I am a locomotive engineer for the Indiana & Ohio Railway. It was my move from Mass to Ohio that sparked my transfer from the Reserve to the Guard; I couldn't afford the 14 hour commute to and from drill every month.
I think I have covered much of the territory included in your website. Of course, living in Yreka put me in intimate contact with the Yreka Western. My first train ride as a toddler was pulled by the 19. Unfortunately, I haven't been back "home" to Northern California/Southern Oregon since my brother Colin got married in Montague, CA three years ago on one of the hottest weeks of the year. My father (who now pastors the United Methodist Church in Fall River Mills, CA, and nearing retirement) used to take Colin and I to Dunsmuir to go "train watching," as we hadn't heard of "rail fanning." Colin never displayed much enthusiasm for these trips; always complaining about being hungry or thirsty, wanting to use the restroom, and asking frequently throughout the afternoon, "When are we going home?" Sometimes we'd chase trains using the backroads from Montague to Hornbrook; back in the days of huge SP trains a little more than 20 years before the CORP entered the scene.
Back then I would not have ever imagined myself bringing a train down the California side of the Siskiyous from just outside the south (SP timetable west) portal of Tunnel 13 down to Hilt. I got that opportunity a few years back when I was in Yreka on vacation; a benefit of working for a Rail America sister railroad. I dream about moving back, but my wife, Meg, her family is in Southwestern Ohio, and we have children in school; plus all of the usual logistical and financial headaches that come with moving cross-country.
Meg, who didn't know anything about the railroad industry when we met, has become quite knowledgeable over the years, and surprises me with her comments now and again. Once she and I were arriving home from work about the same time, and she commented later that she had predicted a "headlight meet." Hopefully, before long, we will be able to get out west again, at least for a visit. I told her three years ago, "It's paradise, I tell ya!" and I'm still trying to prove it. I don't think Meg was really impressed with Montague. I envy Colin, who now works in the communications department of the Florida DOT, because he seems to be able to make more frequent visits to Northern California than I.
Without going on too much longer, I was especially interested in your coverage of the Modoc Northern. I think I carefully studied all of the photographs. I wondered why there was a nearly new-looking Utah Central hi-railer in one picture; I couldn't find a connection. Then I read your feedback page of 25 September and the mystery (to me anyway) was solved. I miss those wide open spaces. Again, I thank you for your website for making me feel connected.
SFC Kevin Brackney
Camp Buehring, Kuwait
Subject: Railroad Pages feedback
Hey Craig nice site!
I've always been interested in railroads; now that I live along the Phoenix Sub of the BNSF in Paulden AZ, I can drive 5 min and be at an area called "Abra" that has a large siding track where they have trains pass each other and do crew changes quite a bit.
I don't know what RR it was but I remember as a kid going up to my uncle's house in Cloverdale, CA and crawling under the fence at the local park to get close looks at the trains when they came through.
I work right down the street from another reporting point on the Phoenix sub, "Tucker," which has another long siding, so when I get off work and hear trains on the scanner, it's 10 minutes down the road to that point.
Keep up the great work!
Subject: Railroad Pages feedback
Thank you for posting information on the Portland Traction Company. My grandfather worked for them while living in Sellwood back in the 1940’s. I have been trying to hunt down information and I enjoyed reading what you posted.
Subject: Railroad Pages feedback
Really enjoyed your site!
We live in Oakesdale Wa. We had three RRs run through here: UP, Northern Pac, BN in the old days. And the Milwaukee was close!!!
We are trying to set up a museum????
We have the ol "Black widow" F7 come through here a couple times a week. The local Coulee Palouse RR keeps it maintained and running.
Subject: "Fantastic Site!"
I just wanted to extend my thanks for having such a great website. I was searching for information/pics regarding the Modoc Northern line, and was blown away when I came across your site. I've recently gotten into model railroading, and would love to one day model parts of the Modoc Line. Your site has been a wealth of information, and a great resource.
I currently live up in Vancouver, BC, and have passed through Klamath Falls many times on road trips. Both when I was growing up, and as recently as last summer. The drive from Klamath Falls -along the 139- to Canby has to be one of my favorites of all time.
Although I am quite spoiled to have both CPR and CN lines more or less in my backyard, I am quite jealous that you have the Modoc Northern in yours! But at least I have all those great pics of yours to tide me over until my next road trip!
Keep up the great work!
Subject: "Twilight Zone" Moment
I was doing some reminiscing via Google Earth last night. Looking for my old haunt when I was in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, I did a Google search for trailer parks in Fallbrook, and came across your site. You see I used to live in the same trailer park as you did!
I was there from 82-84. As far as I can remember we were on the northwest end of that Trailer park. I remember that we had to look up to see the road that went by as it was on a small ridge/bluff above us. Might have been a creek there too. There were 5 of us that stayed there off and on.
We used it mainly to drink and play in, as we still had a room on the base. The trailers there were pretty run down, but they were cheap.
We used to hang out at the river off of DeLuz road. You could walk around in it easily as it was almost a dry wash most of the time.
Although I'm into old military airplanes myself, I've always been fascinated by old trains as well. Here in Wisconsin we have a few train museums as well as the famous B&B Circus train. We used to have an original Great Northern "train bar" here in Milwaukee, complete with it's own "Drink Nazi" waiter. (See www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=249327 for the story.) My girlfriend and I used to go there for drinks before they took it to Kansas. I also had a chance to ride the Burma railway train while I was in the Corps. That was very interesting to me as a history buff.
As for the other part of my Twilight Zone moment; my name is Craig also!
You've got a great website and I know it took a lot of work to put together.
Thank you very much for this site. Great photos of the Modoc Northern. Back in late 1940s and 50s our parents drove us from Greenville, CA on WP, up US 395 to Oregon. We were always on lookout for cab forwards. I was sad to see Modoc line was torn out south of Alturas.
Subject: Craig's Railroad Pages
Your website has something for everyone, from the written word to the pictures and
I am not a modeler although when I was a kid, my folks were given a Lionel set from
my dad's twin brother and they gave it to the 3 boys in our family to enjoy.
My grandfather on my dad's side worked for the Santa Fe as a gandy dancer and later
a Section Foreman, raised 8 kids of 10 kids, 2 died as youngsters, while living in Section Houses and Company MOW cars.
Of the group of boys in his family only my father and one of his brothers continued in
railroading. One of my dad's nephews did also. He later became Roadmaster in Enid, OK.
on the Rock Island. One of my uncles ran dining cars on the Frisco for Fred Harvey.
My father worked as a kid as a switch tender, filling switch lights with kerosene and
making sure they were lit so they could be seen at night. He hung around one of
the depots (Rock Island) and learned morse code from listening to the operators and
having the operators on duty teach him during slack times. He hired out on the Rock
Island in western Oklahoma, worked in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle both
east and west of Amarillo till he had enough 'whiskers' to bid in and hold a job
without fear of being bumped. Sometime during all that, he bought a book from his
union, the Order of Railway Telegraphers and self-taught himself to touch type,
thereby becoming more proficient in office duties of which mainly were switch lists
and typing of waybills and keeping records for the auditors office.
He raised 5 kids while working for the Rock Island, I was one of them, I was the only
one to attempt to pursue a career in railroading, but alas it wasn't to be as I like
many other young men was color blind and could not work as anything but a
clerk. At the time, going to college offered a better future than railroading, but I
worked for the Rock Island, Santa Fe and Union Pacific while I was a teenager
in the summers while going to college.
There has always been somewhere I've been or lived that there was a railroad track
to watch for a train to come down the track. Unlike most folks who hate to get caught
at a railroad crossing, I relish it. If I had the time, I could sit for hours and watch trains
go by. But alas again, duty calls to kids, grandkids and family, so my railfanning has
to take a back seat to my few brief moments I can indulge myself on the internet.
Once in a while if I have a slow night at work, I can surf train sites. That's how
I found yours, in a link from Yahoo Groups railroad_depots_west.
I grew up in a town where we had Rock Island Main Line, AT&SF, Union Pacific &
Missouri Pacific Branch Lines.
My family started out in Sanford, TX pre-WWII, then migrated to
South central Kansas in 1948 where my father was Rock Island Agent in McPherson
Kansas till he passed away in 1964. As I said, that was the Rock Island Main Line
(Golden State Route), it connected with the SP at Santa Rosa, NM.
The AT&SF branch line there from over east near Emporia and out west to I think
The Union Pacific had a real rickety branch line from Salina,KS south into
McPherson, and at that time, that was the southern most point of the UP.
The Missouri Pacific also had a branch that ran from over near Potwin, KS to
McPherson where it was end of track for that branch.
The Rock Island had direct interchange with both the AT&SF and the MOPAC.
They did interchange a good bit of No.1 Diesel to the UP which was destined
for 'out northwest', North Platte and Cheyenne.
McPherson had, may still be, one of the largest Refineries in the United States.
It is/was a CO-OP refinery. Large production of gasolines, both regular and
I don't suppose a lot of folks know about ETHYL itself, a form of alcohol,
but ETHYL was a patented process mixture that was manufactured by the
ETHYL CORP. in Houston, Texas and Shipped by the Tank Car Load to various
refineries around the country so they could make ETHYL/Hi-Test gasoline blends
for bumping up octanes.
I remember one time the local CRI&P Switch engine
crew got in big trouble for helping themselves to a few gallons of RAW ETHYL
that had been left in one of the tank cars because it hadn't been unloaded properly.
They would have been ok, but someone had loose lips and it sank all their ships.
But that RAW Ethyl was so hot it would burn the valves in a car if not mixed with
regular gasoline. It was more of an additive than a gasoline per se so I was led
That refinery also manufactured Diesel#1 and Diesel#2 and I suspect at one time
had made bunker oil for the old Oil burning Locomotives that were so prevalent.
About the only thing that uses Bunker Oil these days is SHIPS, mainly because
there are no air pollution laws in international waters. They also later manufactured
petroleum coke which was used in blast furnaces for refining iron and steel.
A lot of COKE went to the Chicago area and a lot of it was purchased for diversion
by a company up there called Great Lakes Carbon Corporation. They bought a
lot of on consignment and by the time the rail cars got to Chicago, the coke had
been diverted from its original destination and shipped on somewhere else to a
steel mill in Birmingham, or in Pittsburg, you get the idea.
The main interchange the AT&SF had with them was Wheat and Flour. There were
4 large flour mills on the AT&SF in McPherson. Actually there was 4 but one
company owned three of them. The only independent is still there and if the next
time you go to the grocery store, look for W-R Flour and you will see it is
manufactured in McPherson, KS. I know it is shipped a lot of places, I've found
it in Memphis at all the major big-box grocery stores and several over in east
Tennessee and up in Pennsylvania where I've traveled in the past.
Sorry, got on a tear. I work nights and when it's slow, I type a lot, mainly to stay
awake. I got all my regular work finished and I just have to stay alert the rest of
the shift. I do secret government work here. We make the front end of donkeys
and send them to Washington, D. C. for final assembly.
Just another ferroequinologist out chasing trains!
Subject: Foamers to the Rescue
I thought you might be interested in this article about how railroad enthusiasts can play a role in homeland security. It's about an innovative program launched by Fort Worth’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, in which train buffs keep an eye on the tracks and pass along information that might be useful from a security perspective. It's sort of a neighborhood watch for the railroad.
Love your RR site, especially the photos of the SP in Oregon from the
1980s! I model the SP Siskiyou Line from that era in HO, and have been
careful to model locos that I know actually ran in that region/Northern
California (Dunsmuir and north) during the 1980s. Interestingly enough,
some of your prototype photos have the very same locos I'm running on my
layout! For instance, SP7444, SP4333, SP4407 ... to name a few.
(Your link has been added to my links page as well as here, Joe. Thanks for the compliments!)
Subject: Great Site
My grandfather worked for the Rock Island railroad. He was killed in an accident in Nov 1936 in Nevada Iowa, I have always been a rail nut.
Subject: Fallbrook Depot
I'm retired and live in Fallbrook. Our home overlooks the Santa Margarita River canyon where the old RR used to run before it was finally washed out. A year ago or so I was visiting our local history museum in town and talking to Mr. Don Rivers. He was our local expert until he passed away a short while ago. He related to me that the SF Depot had stood vacant for some time and was scheduled to be torn down so the townspeople arranged to meet with the Santa Fe people to see if the building could be saved. The meeting was held in San Diego and an agreement was reached which made the building and land available to the town. The town's plan was to refurbish the building and host the Chamber of Commerce there. I don't know the exact timing of the events but Don said the meeting took place like on a Friday afternoon and sometime on the weekend or on Monday the lowboy with the Cat showed up and demolished the building. It seems that Santa Fe had a contract with a private firm to tear the building down and forget to get back to them immediately to tell them to stop because of a new agreement. That lack of a phone call resulted in Fallbrook losing the Depot.
About four years ago the two palm trees were still standing on the vacant lot where the Depot used to be. But the County either owned or bought the lot and decided to build a Sheriff's substation there. The two palm trees had to go to make room for the new facility. Now the Sheriff's station is in use and its decor is accented with murals and pictures of railroad memorabilia giving some credit to the actual history of the site. I think they even planted a couple of small palm trees in a slightly different location where space permitted. I will have to go back and look at that for sure.
The old right of way east of the depot is all filled in with business buildings but it can clearly be seen where the right of way was because the property lines along the route were all curved. When people bought that land their boundaries were also curved and in some cases they have built their buildings with a curved side to adhere to the maximum lines they can build to. There is no evidence anymore of the wye that use to go up Santa Margarita street. A friend of mine also has connections to Fallbrook. His grandparents owned a general store in town. He used to spend summers here helping in the store. I'm guessing that was in the 1950's some time.
--Anonymous by request
Subject: Great Site!
I was born and raised in a very tiny logging and railroad town in 1937. The town was/is called Timber, Oregon and was quite a rail center for the Southern Pacific line running from Tillamook to Portland. I lived with my grandparents and my granddad retired from the SP as the lead mechanic and foreman in Timber. I used to spend every spare moment hanging around the "roundhouse" or in the "doghouse" listening to the crews getting ready to make a run.
I am now trying to find someplace that might have pictures of Timber or the area and of the great old "steamers" on that line. I used to hitch rides with the engineers who would let me ride in the cabs and would drop me off along the Salmonberry River for some great fishing.
If you have any information that you could share, I would be extremely grateful. Thank you.
There used to be a telegraph station, located between Cochran and the junction of the Nehalem River and the Salmonberry River, called Enright. At the time, it was only accessible by rail. The engineers that were returning to Timber would give 3 long whistle blasts at Enright which would signal me to climb out of the canyon and be waiting by the tracks for my ride back home.
Sometimes I would dry out and get warm in the caboose but most times I would opt to ride in the cab of the engine. When the SP switched from "steamers" to diesels I still hitched rides but it was not quite the same.
I had the same feeling when I was in the Marine Corps and we switched from "props" to jets.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with Renal Cancer and had to hade a kidney removed. My wife promised me a neat trip if I pulled through it. I did and she treated me to a nostalgic trip that was wonderful. She had found a train trip that ran from Wheeler, Oregon to Timber. We left Wheeler early in the morning and followed the Nehalem River and Salmonberry River and arrived in Timber. At Timber, we were treated to a great barbeque dinner and then headed back to Wheeler. This trip is held by the Port of Tillamook and is only held for a few weeks each year. It is well worth the time and money.
Believe it or not, there was a lady on the trip that I went to school with in Timber at the 2 room schoolhouse there. My wife found out about the trip through the AAA magazine.
--Sid C. Gerling
Copy of my reply to Sid:
I am quite familiar with the Timber area, including West Timber, Cochran and Scofield. The road crossing at Timber, last time I was through there a couple of years ago, still had the original wig-wag signal. As for pictures of the area, all I have are the ones on my website that I took one day while chasing a Tillamook-bound SP train; crossing Scofield Road then topping the summit and passing the old water tank at Cochran. These are on www.craigsrailroadpages.com/sp/index.htm, but you've probably already seen them.
There is a Yahoo! group of which I am a member, called "EsPee in Oregon", that reflects on the history of the SP in Oregon (naturally) and there you might be able to find someone with more photos and information. They are located at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EspeeOR and there is a wealth of information among the members there.
If anybody can supply him with more information or photos, please contact him. His email address is email@example.com (posted by permission).
Subject: Looking for blueprints or drawings
Its nice to see some one that has an interest as I do. I grew up in Salem Oregon and too had a HO train set. When I was 18 I got a job at Cascade warehouse loading railroad cars with lumber.
I remember as a child laying in bed I could here the rails in the distant night; maybe that's why I like them so much.
So here's the thing. I'm 43 now and have wanted to build a 1/2 scale system for a long time now and yes I know how expensive it will be. The first thing I need to do is find out what kind of engines they were using in Salem @ 1982 they were Burlington Northern's I think they may have been an SD-40 or an GP-38 could you shed some light on weather I'm right or not I want to build an exact replica of the ones I used to load. Then the next thing I will need is some blueprints or drawings to go by so any help would be greatly appreciated as where to get this information.
Copy of my reply to Paul: If anybody can supply him with more precise information or drawings, please contact him. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org (posted by permission).
I don't know what they were using in 82 in Salem but I am pretty sure that in 81 the BN was running both the SD40's (six axle) and GP-38 (four axle) as well as still operating F7 and Alco road locomotives.
Subject: Information for your web page (Portland Traction Company)
Through a link on Brian McCamish's website I just discovered your website ... I used to be the engineer on the midnight Hoyt Street Yard Eastside job which switched the industries on SE Third Avenue and made the nightly interchange with the PEP just before returning to Hoyt Street Yard in the morning. We used the PEP trackage on Water Avenue to make the SP&S delivery to them in their East Portland yard and picked interchange cars from them to go back to Hoyt Street Yard. I often talked to the PEP engineer who was just coming on duty when I was in their yard making the interchange. Over thirty years later I no longer recall his name but at that time he was the last PEP engineer to have worked the electric interurbans.
After we returned to SE 3rd Avenue from the PEP each morning it was always a fight trying to get back up 3rd Avenue through the maze of delivery trucks to just south of SE Ash Street where we swung over to SE 2nd Avenue to the UP and on up to the East Portland interlocking.
A note about the SP&S to PEP connecting track: It actually was not an alley as indicated in your description but just a right-of-way between buildings (i.e. not possible for a vehicle to negotiate) that has since been filled in by more buildings (visible in the aerial map photo) since the abandonment. The track was in poor shape, so much so that when we headed toward the PEP as we hit the first SP diamond the whole track structure would be leveraged and lift the westernmost diamond (and the connected rails some distance to the north and south of it) several inches into the air above the ties. It would drop back down to the ties as we crossed the river side main line diamond. There were many low spots in the Third Avenue track and we would frequently scrape the ends of the locomotive on the rails and/or asphalt.
Some time before the abandonment of the SE Third Avenue line the BN turned it over to the UP to operate which they would do when they went over to service their SE Second Avenue line. The SP&S used to have a freight office on the Third Avenue line. It seems to me it was on the west side of Union Avenue just south of Salmon Street but I don't remember for sure. That whole area has changed so much. I believe it was on the corner where a spur crossed SE Union Avenue.
Thanks so much for all of the effort you put into your web pages. I enjoy reading rail history of the area.
Subject: Web site ATSF photos
There is a ton of content which I have yet to see on your site but the Santa Fe photos are fantastic! Always great to see photos from the 70s and 80s. As a resident of Escondido for the last dozen or so years I found your photos from here and San Marcos very interesting. The line from Oceanside to Escondido is in the process of being rebuilt for commuter rail with start-up scheduled for December 2007 with freight ops now at night.
The "Sprinter" line has had its share of hold-ups though with the recent arrival of six or seven car sets testing/training is currently underway according to signs posted at a couple of crossings. The tracks from the Highway 78 overpass to just south of Washington Street (where the maintenance building is located) is fenced on either side which is a shame. I understand the entire line is to be done eventually. At any rate, it IS nice to see the line progressing.
Also wanted to give a thumbs up to the JSS2 group, of which I just became a member. It is hard to not be a fan of a railroad using a caboose regularly. I will have to do some research for winter weather in that part of the state but if a December trip does not happen it is my hope to make a trip next spring to photograph the line.
Thanks for two terrific sites!
(Golden State Railfan)
You are welcome, Chris, and I have been enjoying the photographs on your site as well - Excellent roster shots! I especially enjoyed seeing the Oceanside depot the way I remember it. Great site! -- Craig
All I can say is "Wow!" I really enjoyed your site and will come back to (it) again and again.
-- Michael Maass
Subject: Lake Elsinore Branch
Excellent photo compilation of this forgotten branch. I have seen some remnants while driving on both I-15 and Temescal Canyon Road. Thanks for the history.
-- Lane H. Frank
Subject: Railroad pics
I have always loved trains; they are like the backbone of progress. I have never outgrown them, I hope I never grow up. Thanks so much for posting the great pics of the railroads. I love the railroads and always hate to see them shut a line down and then take up the track, you will never get that right of way back!
I live in the DFW area of Texas. There is a foundry they take most of the pieces to melt. Why didn't they sell this and make some money?
-- Howard Schukar
Subject: Yreka Western
Awesome website! Just wanted to let you know the Yreka Western #19 is back up and running. The #19 will be running next weekend on another freight train with photo runby's.
Check out Trainorders.com in the Steam discussion page to see pictures of the locomotive.
-- Brian Bundridge
Subject: Your Modoc Northern site
My name is Ron and I live in Chico CA. I am planning on taking a trip up to the Modoc Northern starting Sunday June 4 and in the planning process I came across your web site. You are are doing a great job.
I have a lot of fondness for the former SP Modoc Subdivision. One night, back around 1982 when the temps were around 8-10 degrees, I was traveling east on Hwy 299 and encountered a massive Espee EB freight. Probably at least eight motive units. I paralleled that train all the way into Alturas while listening on the scanner. It was quite a beast.
Anyway, I am off on another road trip! (Road trips are a luxury of being old and retired.)
Subject: Modoc Northern cab ride video available
I was looking at your inaugural run photos the other day. I noticed a few frames that included me and my video camera. I shot that run from the cab to Tule and back. Maurice, Rito and Chris were gracious enough to let me ride.
Subject: Modoc Northern
Fantastic, your web site and pictures are tops, I love their former Rio Grande caboose. I used to own the 1523 but sold it. This is a sweet shortline and it looks like there is some real potential. From the comments by Steve Smith these are can do and will do railroaders and I wish em well.
Something they may or may have not thought of, what a good location for a medium to big steamer to locate and run. Good heavy rail with hopefully enough good ties, cab forwards use to roam those rails. Where oh where can a sugar daddy be found for 4294?
Keep up the good work we enjoy your photos and narrative very much.
Niles Canyon Railway
Subject: Modoc Northern Railroad Work Train Pics
Craig, allow me to add my "wow!" to your new photos. I just looked at them and was really impressed of how great they are. Really told a story. Told a story in a part of California that I love. Nice job!
Hello Mr. Bass:
My name is Keith Mitchell and I surfed into your site this evening following "Fallbrook" entered into Google.
First off; thank you for your wonderful commentary on your web pages. As a child, I too lived in Fallbrook and your memories have triggered many of my own. My dad was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton and I grew up in Fallbrook from 1950 until in 1959 when I left at the age of 15. It appears I left just about the time you got there.
I lived on East College Street and I had to cross the tracks to the elementary school daily and later I had to cross them once again to Potter Jr. High. I too loved the trains; in fact all of the adolescent boys in Fallbrook did. What boy would not be awestruck by those huge smelly noisy monster machines that shook the very ground we walked on. During the summers my friends and I have hopped on the side and rode through town to the swimming pool more than a couple of times. I never got to see a Santa Fe " Warbonnet" in Fallbrook. However I did see many of them in San Diego where I again lived reasonably close to the railroad.
I visited my parents in San Diego a few years back and drove up to my old stomping grounds in Fallbrook. I was sad to see the station, tracks and the trees were missing, but my old house, potter Jr. High, The Mission Theater and many other memories were. In fact, I was surprised to see how much of my old Fallbrook has not changed at all.
I still enjoy looking at my old mid 1950s aerial photographs of Fallbrook taken by William Ahrend's father, Floyd. They show my old house and the tracks, old station with the two palm trees. In fact, if you "Google Earth" the "bend" from about 5000 feet you can still see the old swath the tracks cut through the town.
Once again thanks for the memories.
Subject: Portland Traction Company
Today I typed in Portland Traction Co. on Google and your site drew me in. I was raised in Boring, Or in the 70's and saw firsthand the last death throes of the Port. traction Co. into Vanport Mfg.
Since the rail cars only came on an as needed basis, I always ran down to watch what was going on. I have walked the entire canyon from Boring to Trestle Glen down at Barton many times, and walked several miles toward Gresham too.
I do remember fondly when the Gresham line was still being used. It was sad when Max wouldn't allow the freight trains to run at night. I had several discussions with the manager at the Gresham Coop and they were really mad and so were the other business in Gresham that were ousted by politics. There was no reason not to share the tracks.
My thought later when I was first married and living back in Boring, was that the right of way should be used as light rail and provide passenger service during the day, and freight at night. There is no good transportation corridor for the SE Portland area. They were at one time going to build the Mt. Hood Freeway, but politics took the money to the 217 bypass in Beaverton. So that route would have been and still could be a good mass transit run from the growing Gresham, Boring and Estacada areas.
Thank you for such a good current history of the PTC and what has happened to it. It really is sad. If the Mt. Hood RR at Hood river can make it the PTC could have made it too.
I currently live in Walla Walla Wa, and watch the Blue Mt. RR--BLMR--closely and it is doing well as can be expected.
Thanks again, I'll come back and complete my tour of your web site. I'm glad you have done it.
Greatly enjoyed looking at your site. Great evening shots of the train approaching Lakeview!
-- Dave Astle
Subject: Modoc Northern Slide Show and Narrative
What a fantastic slide show narrative! Sure glad someone was on hand to capture this unprecedented move! I think the cloudy day and lighting added to the atmosphere and you captured the essence, as I felt I was right there along side you. Nice Job.
My name is Steve Richards, I am the Director of Marketing and Sales for the Utah Central Railroad. I have also been doing the Marketing and Sales for the Modoc Northern. We have enjoyed your web page about the Southern Pacific, and especially the Modoc Northern. As a newbie to web design, I especially enjoy the architecture of the web pages. I wish we had the resources to have you design a web page for
the Modoc Northern.
I worked for the Santa Fe, the N&W, Southern Pacific, and Union Pacific during my career. However, the majority of my career was with the Southern Pacific Sales Department. The last 20 years I was Manager Box Car and Intermodal Traffic, Regional Sales Manager, and Director National Accounts. I ended my sales career with the Union Pacific after they took over the Southern Pacific.
Don Blansett and I have been friends since 1992, when he came to Ogden and started the Utah Central. We have worked together to build the UCRy and are now working together to build the MN.
I will be spending some time this Spring and Summer between Klamath and Alturas calling on customers with Don trying to build up the business. I hope to meet you on one of my visits out there. Thanks again for including the M.N. on your website.
Subject: U.P. Kelso
Someone on the Yahoo group northwest_railfan posted a link to your page, so I had to have a look.
We went through Kelso last March, was completely fenced off but in perfect condition. This past week a friend of mine went past the station and said it's now open, lots of displays and artifacts for viewing. Too bad it's so far off the main road as I would like to go back.
Interesting viewing the pages on the Modoc Northern. Again last March on our way to Reno after leaving K Falls we followed the line, saw all the cars in storage near the end of track, then miles of roadbed into Reno and was wondering about the history of the line. Hope the new operator is able to make a go of it, looks like the perfect fit for a shortline rather than U.P. who probably view the line as a waste of their time.
During spring break, we head south, my son gets 2 weeks off so we can cover a lot of miles. We go Kelowna to Yakima first night, then Klamath Falls the second night, that's a lot of miles. End up around Palm Springs for a couple days. I do not find the Bend area at all interesting but we really enjoy the Klamath area, surprised it was so high, over 4000'. I make a point of going past the station and adjoining area to see what all is in the yard.
We hope to go south again this March so will try to go out to the MN shops.
Subject: Your website on Modoc Northern
Hello from Tacoma
Nice web site! Very informative and glad to see that MN is in business instead of all that rail line being torn up.
I lived in Bellingham, WA until 1976 and they tore up the Northern Pacific Line from Bellingham to Wickersham after NP and GN merged. And I didn't get any pics at all! Wish I had. My dad was engineer on GN for 31 years, I have his 25 year pin from GN.
NP ran from Bellingham, east and then along shore of Lake Whatcom, I lived near the north end of lake and a trestle, plus train ran behind our house only 35 feet away from ROW. One RT a day that ended up in Auburn thru Woodinville.
I wish I had taken pics of the GN crew removing the rails on the old NP line behind my house and when they took 2/3 of the trestle out. They left 1/3 of it in and a Condo project put a deck on it so people could fish from it.
You can't even tell there was a railroad up there in Bham now after 30 years.
Thanks again for a great web site!
Was visiting your site and it brought back old memories. I was the last locomotive engineer on the OC&E railway. So much has happened to so many of us. Some of us have passed away, two of my former friends ended up having strokes, and most of us moved on to other jobs. We are scattered throughout the Northwest. One is a teacher in Washington, construction inspector in Reno, Nevada, several went to work for a short line in California and I ended up getting my degree and am currently a teacher working for the Department of Defense in Okinawa, Japan.
I truly did not miss it until I saw the pictures. It was a good time. Long hours, but once you left Klamath Falls there was a sense of independence. It seemed like every time we made a trip we created another story to tell. Something was always happening. What a wonderful group of characters that worked on the OC&E. Who knows....maybe some day I might just sit down and write about these passings.
Subject: Great Web Site!
I just discovered your interesting website. Lots of good stuff in there, and I haven't been through it all yet! I'm a long time railfan, once worked for UPRR in Omaha, now live near Sprague River about five miles from the switchbacks. I have quite a bit of railroad photography including OC&E beginning in 1974.
I also discovered < wx4.org > today, which is an odd mix of trains and Willys Jeeps. I happen to have a 1956 Jeep wagon!
Subject: Passenger trains on the Modoc Northern
Craig, thank you for sharing your photos of the special Modoc Northern train. Darn - if I had known about this, I would have come down for it. It will be interesting to see how often the MN runs on Saturdays.
One item I noticed on your website: there were a few passenger trains on the Modoc in the 1990s. In 1989 and 1990, the Barnum & Bailey Circus train used the Modoc eastbound enroute to Salt Lake City. Also, in 1999, UP ran an Operation Lifesaver train out to Merrill. I am about 100% sure this was the last passenger train on the Modoc Line before yesterday.
-- Greg Brown
Subject: Rail Pages
Many thanks for building a great web site. I just looked at the Alturas Line pages and ended up going through most of your site. I live in Gerlach and my office is rocked many times per day by scores of trains.
Again, great web site and thanks for all the hard work.
WOW!!! I enjoyed that tremendously!! Your knowledge, and expertise come through in such a comfortable way! (Granted I don't know RR's like a lot of people do, but even so, I was able to follow what you said.) And the pictures, and "ease of navigation" was GREAT!!!
Subject: Modoc Northern and the V & T
Your Modoc Northern site was great. Keep up the good work. I'll be looking forward to seeing all of your updates. I was up around that part of the state (Lookout, Adin) two weeks ago. What a beautiful time of year to go.
Here is a small piece of news I found: McCloud # 19 looks to be headed to the Virginia & Truckee RR. They have started construction on rebuilding the line from Carson City to meet up with the rails at Gold Hill. Plans are to have # 19 make that run. Cost of the reconstruction is about 30 million.
Subject: Modoc Northern
I just found your site today. It is great. I really like the piece you have started on the Modoc Northern. It is neat to see so many landmarks that are familiar to me. I live in Eureka, CA, where the North Western Pacific used to run (with lots of SP power), then the Eureka Southern, and now the North Coast Rail Authority (although it doesn't run on this end of the line due to damage in the Eel River canyon).
My father and I travel to the Klamath Falls area each October for waterfowl hunting; in fact we left for home on Oct. 13th, the same day you photographed the Coast Starlight. I look forward to seeing more of your photos of the Modoc Northern trackage and locomotives as you get time.
I look forward to surfing your site; the information and photography are top-notch. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the site!
Subject: Modoc Line Shrinkage
Apparently the Modoc Line has experienced a little bit more shrinkage. It no longer ends at the Bayley loading pen. Somewhere between the Alturas Ranch and here the line now ends. I was using my wife's sedan and not my pickup, or I would have followed it down to its new terminus.
I saw no freight cars on the tracks south of the Alturas yard. Bird droppings and accumulated gravel at crossings on the rails indicate nothing has been happening on this line south of the yard for quite some while.
--Fred K. Harrison
Subject: Railroad Memories
Hi, Craig-- My sister sent me your website address and I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying it. Haven't gotten through everything yet, but recognized a fellow railroad spirit immediately. My dad is a retired Santa Fe conductor. We grew up in Downey, with him working freight and switch jobs all over from the Hobart Yard and original 1st Street/Union Station yard to Pico Rivera, Fullerton, and the Harbor. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of the trips we took on the Super Chief or El Capitan to Colorado or closer destinations like San Diego. Not only did I get to go to work with my dad on occasion (of course, finishing the late-night shift asleep in the caboose or the engine), but I also had the unique experience of being a summer and Christmas hire for 3 years while I was an undergraduate.
I worked as a switchman in the same places my dad had worked, and also as head brakeman on freight trains to Barstow. I also later marked up on passenger (made my "student trip" with my dad), so was the head brakeman on passenger trains to San Diego and Needles. My third and final summer and Christmas, I worked out of Needles (my parents had semi-retired there, thanks to the Santa Fe). I only worked freight or passenger jobs out of Needles, since there's no local switching there. On freight trains I traveled west to Barstow or east to Seligman; passenger jobs took me all the way home to LA or east to Winslow, AZ.
I endeared myself to the oldtimers on the job one late night in the middle of the desert when, on a typically very long train we had a hotbox, near the engine. The conductor asked me on the radio if I had any idea how to set out a hot box. Since I had worked two previous summers as a switchman, I was able to answer, "Yes," and then prove it by rolling the train by, locating the offending car, setting it into the siding, and then re-setting the air hose and radioing the conductor that we were ready to roll after I walked back to the engine. He and the rear brakeman didn't have to do a thing (although hopefully the rear brakeman served as flagman during this period). The conductor was in shock that I was able to accomplish this, since most seasonal hires or new hires in a place like Needles knew nothing about making up trains and spotting cars. Everyone wanted me on their crew after that! Truth is, I think it was the only time I was ever on the ground the entire time I worked in Needles. Working as a brakeman really helped me understand the working life my father had led and it's been a great source or camaraderie and connection between us ever since.
Just wanted to thank you for your site and share some of my own interested in the rails. I see you're pretty far from Fallbrook now; I live in Laguna Beach. Would love to hear from you some time if you've got a minute.
Ran across your site doing a Google search. Great photos.
I'm another "grew up in Escondido" person - now living in the Sacramento area. I am in the middle of a G scale (garden, 1:29 scale) construction project of the Escondido depot circa 1955 (+/- 10 years either way). In that era the extended roof over the freight platform was gone ... it was red with white trim during that period. Santa Fe standard was a yellow with bronze green trim.
Subject: Hello from an old "Escondido-ite"
My name is Mike Lepker and grew up in Escondido. I stumbled across your website (very nice) while surfing tonight. I am surprised that we haven't crossed paths before and maybe we have. If so, I do not remember.
I was born in San Diego in 1956 and lived in Escondido from then until 1976. My father was a model railroader and one of the founders of the Escondido Model Railroad Club. In the early 60s, they were allowed to have a layout in the old baggage room of the Escondido depot. The Oceanside club asked for, and was granted permission to obtain, a passenger car for their club. The agent, Kenny Beckstrand, told my father and his friends that the depot would be closing and its fate unknown, so the decision was made to try to also obtain an old retired heavyweight car.
My father worked for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG& E) in Escondido , which in those days, was next to the tracks just south of the depot's location. As a child my mother and I would occasionally wait for my father to get off work and while waiting, the local would do its switching. The engineer at that time, Jim Kerr, would re-water the drinking jug (long before the little cartons) at the depot. I was about 10 or so when he asked my mom if it would be O.K. if I rode on his lap in the engine for a little while while they were switching. Thus began my love affair for the Santa Fe which led to my employment in 1977 as a switchman.
Anyway, my mom's sister lived in Yucaipa and about this time while driving up to visit her, my father noticed a string of retired heavyweights in Box Canyon on the San Jacinto branch. We walked the whole line of cars and picked one out. My father asked Mr. Marsh (then Santa Fe president) if the E.M.RR.C. could have one for their club and was granted permission. My father lined up fellow employees of SDG&E on a weekend to move the car that had arrived by lowboy to Grape Day Park in Escondido. My father wired up the electricity and helped set the display track that the car sits on. I remember the gutting of the car and even had some of the interior pieces in my childhood fort. I was in the car many times and the unfortunate twice break-ins would be the demise of the club. I still have one small section of the ballasted track in my spare room. I have no pictures of any of this.
We rode the train to Chicago in 1964 where my father personally thanked Mr. Marsh. I remember this trip. I sure wish that I could verify the dates, though. I just spent an hour trying to track down the ticket stubs from our trip to Chicago . I must have moved them, but I did find the timetables that I've had all these years and one is dated October 1963 and another Spring 1964, so it must have been early 1964.
So what am I up to today? I have been with the railroad 28 years and have moved to Bullhead City years ago. I now work as a conductor from Needles to Winslow. The model bug never bit me, as it did my father, but I drifted heavily into photographing. You might have seen my photos in a few books and magazines over the years. My father took very few photos. I truly wish that he had taken more.
The only thing that I own from the old area is the clock that was in the Vista depot. Mr. Beckstrand gave it to my father the last day that the depot was open. I still have a few timetables that he gave me.
I only worked the Escondido branch once as a student conductor. I remember all of the old sheds, the ice house, and businesses that were on the branch. I took very few photos. I do remember sitting with my father on top of a boxcar awaiting a passenger special on the Escondido branch about 1965 or so.
You have pictures in your black and white section of the Santa Fe transition cars sitting next to a warehouse in Barstow. I can tell you about those cars as my old boss (at the Texaco that I worked at before hiring out with ATSF) purchased both of them as well as two more ex S.P. coaches that were also on that siding, just further down. He was very wealthy and friends of the guy that built Barstow Station (a railroad-themed restaurant/gift shop in Barstow that utilized old passenger cars for the buildings). He wanted to also build a railroad themed building of some sort. It never came about, so he sold them and than purchased the blue ex VIA business car that is still based out of Barstow. That car has been on the last two trips of 3751 on the tail end. I know the new owner very well also, Rudy (My ex boss) passed away and the current owner, Norm Orfall, purchased it from Rudy's estate.
I was married in 1999 in front of that car, the Tioga Pass , and we rented it for the night for our reception and spent the night in it for our wedding. A few months later, Norm let us ride in it from Victorville to Barstow behind 3751 as his wedding present!! I was married in a 1955 Santa Fe uniform. Kinda neat.
Like I say, we must have crossed paths sometime. You have photo'd everywhere that I have been it looks like. I remember five CF-7s on the Miramar and Escondido locals. I worked for a year and a half in San Diego yard. Most of my time, though, was in Barstow .
You cannot imagine how many memories your photos brought back!!!! A lot of your other photos (on different subjects as well) brought back many memories. Just thought that I'd write and say "thanks for the memories." Well, take care and I'll keep in touch.
Subject: NCO Depot, Alturas
Here is quick note on the NCO Depot in Alturas CA. It is now home to the Alturas Garden Club (September 2004). Your web page was great. I especially like all you have on the Southern Pacific.
-- Bob Frampton
Subject: Hi from England
Thanks for the site. Here in Loughborough, England; I've just started a US railroad layout. Bought a lovely load of bits on Ebay! Found your site and enjoyed the photos. It will be a useful guide to for the model so I've listed you in my favourites.
-- Vic Parsons
Subject: Leucadia Railroad Station information
My name is Fred Caldwell. I've lived in Leucadia since 1963 and can refresh your memory after your 1982 visit to the Depot now located in Leucadia and Encinitas CA.
When we moved here, we used to flag down the train when the Depot was located at E st. and Vulcan Ave in Encinitas. Around 1970 they were going to tear the station down, but someone bought it for $4,000 and had it moved to its current location one mile north, smack dab in the middle of the historic border between Old Encinitas and Leucadia. The man who bought it made a good foundation with a basement and opened a toy store there. That lasted for a few years then he sold it and it's been the Pannikin Coffee and Tea house for over 20 years. It never was in Cardiff-by-the-sea however. They DID have an awesomely unusual station there but it was razed long before we arrived. I believe it was more of a Spanish stucco design.
I'm currently doing a mural for the North County Transit District and am researching transportation imagery through the ages. Thanks for your interesting site! Great picture of the Depot and Marnie's Antiques and the Offtrack Gallery (that was in the basement). The building was originally yellow and it has recently been repainted yellow. It just got a new roof too. Love it when we preserve the past like that!
-- Fred Caldwell
Subject: Fallbrook railroad branch
Craig: I found your site searching for information on the Fallbrook ATSF branch. Nice work.
I was stationed at Camp Pendleton from 1988 through 1992 and was responsible for restoring the rail line to use on both bases. I procured locomotives and equipment and convinced the brass to fund extensive repairs. In 1991 the base moved almost 1,000 freight cars in support of the gulf war. I rode a locomotive over the Naval Weapons Station in 1990 all the way to the fence line on the east end. It was the last train movement on that base. I retired in July 1992 and the big flood occurred in Jan 1993. It's all gone except for three miles.
I have several notebooks full of information on the old Fallbrook line and lots of photos. Somewhere I have a couple of depot photos also.
I found this site "surfing the net" looking for McCloud history! Good show!
Subject: Great Site
The Christmas of 1962 my parents sent Christmas packages to us in Fallbrook. I had just returned home from the Cuban Missile Crisis, and if the packages arrived from Michigan it would make our Christmas complete. We would go by the Fallbrook Train Station almost daily (no phone) to see if our treasures had arrived.....on or about the 24 December sure enough an elderly gentlemen who had been helping us on almost a daily basis said, he "thinks that what we have been looking for has arrived."
We packed our gifts in our 1940 Chevrolet which is the same car I had driven to Fallbrook in 1961, and that was the last time we were in the Depot. We lived on South Vine Street. We did meet a young man during that area who just arrived from out of state to take a job as a clerk at the Fallbrook Depot...we were both in our very early twenties. I cannot remember our entire conversation but he seemed "excited" to be assigned to the Fallbrook Train Depot.
(In further correspondence with Roger, we found out that we had both lived in the same duplex on South Vine Street in Fallbrook, some 15 years apart! Small world!)
Subject: Lookout Line (McCloud Railroad)
Just a heads up for you...McCloud Railway ran one last train up the Lookout line on Sunday morning, November 28 of this year. BNSF notified the McCloud that they planned to remove a short section of track at Hambone on Monday 29 November. This prompted the McCloud to make a quick trip to the ballast pit at Porcupine to load all serviceable ballast hoppers with material before that source is lost forever. The conductor on the trip is a good friend of mine, and he fed me with some pictures that were uploaded to McCloud Rails last night. The link to the page is: www.trainweb.org/mccloudrails/Miscellaneous/LTTP.html.
Take care, more later.
--Jeff Moore 12/23/04
Subject: East Portland Traction
Wow, the things you can stumble on when surfing the web. My name is Scott and I stumbled on some words about Portland Traction on google and couldn't resist checking it out. I went to high school with one of Dick Samuel's sons and worked for him for a short period of time when he bought the Portland Traction line. My job was to help tear out the line from Milwaukie to Boring. I know some railroad enthusiasts view such a thing as a loss but it gave me (someone who never saw a train as anything more than an impediment to vehicular traffic) a new perspective on locomotives and the people whose lives revolved around them.
I came to appreciate how remote the line could feel even though you were barely out of the city, and I questioned where the line had originally run to since the tracks ended in Boring but a right of way had clearly existed beyond that point. It clued me in to what kind of role places like Boring and Estacada actually played in Portland's history. And talk about inner city land squatters! I've never met people like we stumbled upon out there living in the berry bushes and weeds alongside those tracks; you could almost hear the banjo playing in the back of your mind when those guys would step out of the bushes. Scary to look at, but friendly enough if left alone.
I still go out and meet my friend Tim occasionally and climb around on the trains. I've ridden the line from RSG lumber in Mulino into Canby once or twice, I got to run the train once but got relieved of duty after about 5 minutes for having too much fun with the horn. It's a blast to go between two locations you're familiar with, and have driven between several times, and see a whole new landscape.
Anyway, I've rambled enough, I just wanted to thank you for putting the history of Portland Traction online. I saw alot of spurs off the line we tore up but never knew where they went, I never realized there was a line to Troutdale, it was fun for me to read.
Your site is great. The caboose at the main trailhead (Crosby) is sitting on the old Wye.
The A-canal bridge Was built by the Phoenix Bridge Co. Phoenixville, PA. It was originally located on the 17th crossing of the Sacramento river on the SP line it is a twin to bridges that were also on the 14th and 15th crossing. Our bridge was surplused in 1935 due to rechanneling of the river to deal with erosion of bridge bulkheads from flooding. It was moved to K-Fall in the late 30s for use on the OC&E. Note that the OC&E was owned by SP & GN during that time.
--Arthur E. Sevigny
President, Klamath Rails-to-Trails Group
Subject: Nice site, Craig
Stumbled onto your site while looking for some Portland Traction material. I'm very impressed by what you have up there.
Subject: Great site
I spent September & October 1983 extensively photographing rail operations in Cajon Pass. I don't have the savvy to put a site together so live vicariously thru others; your photos and narrations take me back to a simpler time. Somehow BNSF seems too corporate. I grew up along the SP in Pittsburg Ca and mourn its passing as well.
Subject: Elsinore Branch
I am sure that the Riverside County Transportation Commission is kicking itself for letting the Elsinore Branch get away from them with all the development along the I-15. That branch would have been a natural for Metrolink to help ease the traffic congestion into Orange County. But, alas, in the early 80's, when the branch was washed out, who knew!
--Thomas Patten 9/26/04
Subject: Nice web site
Viewing the pictures of the Modoc Line brought back many memories when I worked that route during the mid-seventies. I remember an old engineer pointing out a couple of narrow gauge boxcars at Likely that had been converted to storage barns. They were relics of the NCO railroad that ran from Reno to Lakeview. I wonder if any are still out in that pasture.
Roseville Switchman (born in Linkville)
Subject: Excellent website
I especially liked your Lake Elsinore branch page.
Subject: Enjoyed railroad site (as well as the PTC pages)
This is Dan Haneckow off of the East Portland Traction group. I had a chance to check out the rest of your web site on its new page. I enjoyed it all!
I was surprised to find out that you are in Klamath Falls. I grew up there! I was just a kid when the 4449 passed through with the Freedom Train cars. I remember being there bright and early in the morning to see it go. It was enjoyable reading about your encounter with it at the same time.
I left Klamath around 1982 for school in Eugene, but kept coming back for the summers till 1987. My parents still live there although they tend to winter in Phoenix. I was just able to catch the OC&E when they first got their own units and F-units and Alcos on the BN. I was a tad too late though for pre-merger colors. Southern Pacific was boring- just SD-45's and Tunnel Motors. Oh, for some boredom now...
I have the switchstand from Hagar spur (where the OC&E crossed Hwy 39) in my basement! There was a train wreck out there in the late 1970s and they pushed all the track wreckage in a pile (as well as the switch stand) and burned it. I convinced my Dad I really needed a switch stand.
In closing.. I still wont be surprised if your track drawings don't inspire a mini Portland Traction in my basement...
Your site brought back some dim memories. Enjoyed it.
In 1945 the Marine Corps sent me back to the Navy after participating in the invasions of Tarawa and Saipan as a Medical Corpsman. Early on it included 2 months in British Western Samoa (no railroads) then 5 1/2 months in New Zealand (railroads and street cars everywhere). I wound up at San Diego. Rode everything. Then Camp Pendleton training for the invasion of Japan. Got in the entire Pacific Electric in the process. But also got to spend a day on the Escondido branch mixed train. Mainly in the oil fired 2-8-0 cab. That's a log story, including Irish coffee with the crew.
Then I wound up on an LCI up the coast to Seattle, ferry duty around Puget Sound. One day we went up thru the straits, down the coast to Astoria, and up the Columbia to Portland (I got to steer up the river-another story). Spent 2 days on the Portland system, rummaging thru the shops and riding all the lines. The shops I remember had more unused equipment sitting around than I had ever seen. Nothing had ever been scrapped. An ancient GN wood flat was sitting in a collapsing shed, a broken end beam, plus a small tree growing thru it. Steeple cabs, unused. I keep thinking some sort of RPO car long unused. Along the line there was a structure, partially open, with 2 Willamette "Shays." Remember the SP&S arch window wood passenger cars on the Astoria branch. Rode it 3 times. NO CAMERA. Anyway Thanks.
Kirtland Ohio (204, non tourist railroads later).
I thank you all for your nice compliments and for your criticisms as well. I've enjoyed publishing this web site and am very glad you've enjoyed the fruits of my labor! Thanks for visiting, and be sure to tell your rail fan friends about this site!