Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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My Jacket Looks Sort of Like an Anorak, I Guess...

Today after lunch, I went for a walk down to the Centerville Train Station in the hope of being able to do the loop (about 2-3 km) before the rain started. As I went onto the platform, I saw that there were half a dozen or so people hanging around with cameras of various sorts. I asked, "Is there a special movement coming through?"

Indeed there was. The Golden Gate Railroad Museum at Hunters Point, which had lost its lease and been told to quit the property, had managed to put together a "hospital train" of most of their equipment, which was to be moved to the Niles Canyon Railway which runs not too far from where I live in Fremont. The Feather River Rail Society, operators of the Portola Railroad Museum, were providing the motive power for the move, and Caltrain and Union Pacific had granted the necessary permission.

I decided to hang around and watch the move go through. The rain began to fall, and people started shielding their cameras and moving under the eves of the station building. Fortunately for all concerned, the train had been delayed a bit, and the rain let up just before we heard in the distance the whistle of WP 707, a GP7 diesel locomotive. Soon thereafter, the train rolled through, accompanied by (I think) WP 925C, a "booster" (cabless) locomotive, and one other WP-paint-scheme locomotive that I didn't make note of but should have. Behind them, moving at a necessarily reduced speed, was a train of -- let's be honest -- clapped-out railroad equipment, including beat-up old coaches, maintenance-of-way equipment, an old WP wood-frame caboose sitting with no trucks (wheels) sitting on a flatcar, and a few locomotives, a couple of which looked cosmetically okay. Most of the equipment did not look to be in good shape, including a former California Zephyr dome car. The air was filled with the sound of flat wheels lumping along.

I heard that some of the coaches would be moving on to Virginia City, where they are rebuilding the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. That will be a bit of a trick, as even the newly-rebuilt portion of the line (Virginia City to Carson City) will not connect to the national railroad network (the line from Reno to Carson City was abandoned in the 1950s) and the coaches will have to be transported by truck. But they had to do the same thing for the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.

(BTW, Lisa and I have been to both the NSRM and the current portion of the V&T, and we're fond of both. Lisa got herself a footplate ride on the V&T, and the folks at the Museum have on more than one occasion taken us behind the scenes in their backshop. I expect that if I ever were to relocate to that area that Lisa would want to get involved with the NSRM the way she is with the Oregon Electric Railway Museum.)

Once the special train came through, there were more trains to watch. A UP freight pulled up to change crews, and soon after they were gone, a pair of Capitols made their station stops. I hung around for all of these, and also ended up answering questions from people coming by and discovering that the station waiting room was locked. I don't recall them locking the station on Sundays, but I reassured several people who were worried about being charged a penalty fare for not buying their ticket at the station that if they tell the conductor, "The station was closed," they won't be charged the penalty. Besides, I looked inside the station waiting room, and the ticket vending machine was out of order (again), and it's not a staffed station anyway.

With the four trains having cleared through, there was nothing else to see, and the rain had stopped for the time being, so I walked back home.
Tags: trains

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