WP 165 Restoration Blog

Updates on the restoration of Western Pacific 0-6-0 number 165 at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall 2009 Workweek Report

Wednesday, October 21- I again successfully escape my fetters and hastily drive back north, over the Grapevine. Happily, another uneventful trip would clear my head. Since the truck bed was to be relatively empty, I took a load of lockers for the shower car, provided by our good friend and member John Hachey of Ontario, California. A stop for lunch in Sacramento was in order with Paul Zaborsky, old pal and currently a director at Bay Area Electric Railway Association. Paul looks and feels much better now after his recent transplant surgery. For the first time in his life he is no longer diabetic, and we wish him the best with the replacement parts. Another leg of the drive over Donner Pass, with the fall colors in their full glory, and a mid afternoon arrival back in Portola, again. Peace and quiet at last. I enjoyed at least ten hours of sleep in the Pullman, after vacuuming up the cat hair. Cat hair and I don’t get along. A generous application of Febreze® didn’t hurt either.

Nathan “Maverick” Osborn and James “insert nickname here” Cowdery arrived Thursday and immediately started taking readings on the wrapper side sheets. As of this writing they have completed the first one thousand or so readings, with quite a few left to go. Suffice to say they have the process down. Mike Mucklin checked in and began photographing the goings on. Some of his and Nathan’s excellent photos are included in this post. More of Mikes photos from the week can be viewed here. Thanks again guys! He also made a nifty plywood template to match the curve of the roof sheet, the top of the wrapper sheet, at the location of a needed patch under the rear sand dome, to be utilized when the new piece of steel is rolled.

I'm holding the rolling template made by Mike Mucklin for the wrapper patch.

Nathan "Maverick" Osborn noting shell thickness readings.

The shiny dots are where readings were taken on the side sheets.

James Cowdrey carefully removes the rust prior to taking ultrasound readings.

Mike got dirty later in the week, and took a bit of a “love kiss” while needlescaling on the frame; just a bit of a scrape really. Matt Parker joined the party later in the day. He was able to tape up Maverick’s full scale tube sheet replacement drawing in place to verify that the new boilerplate misses all the parts we want it to, and that the tube locations are correct. A few minor modifications were noted, but all in all, nice work by Mav. Matt was given a quick lesson by me on cutting torch operation (sorry Rod) after which he began removing the cotter pins on the pedestal binder nuts. He then took the opportunity to burn off the grease from the nuts, etc and apply some Kroil® to ease removal of them sometime next year. An excellent first day was had by all. I enjoyed dinner at the Mexican place with Nathan and James, some quiet reading time in the Edenwold, and back into my rack.

The bottom portion of the front tube sheet is removed.

Matt Parker having a good time in the pit.

Friday October 23- Matt Parker was back for more abuse, so I put him on freeing the cab from its floor, a process Charlie Spikes already had a pretty good start on by this point. The ever-dependable Charlie torched out the portion of the front tube sheet that will be replaced, we now have a spacious entranceway to the interior of the boiler shell, no more snaking ourselves through the dome and past the throttle drypipe for a while. The cab floor was freed from the cab itself, and the whole assembly was levered up a couple inches so we could see any potential trouble spots. There were a few, but the cutting torch took care of them in short order. Rod McClure and Mr. Noodle brought the mighty “Little Giant” truck crane into the shop. We rigged for the “pick” and the cab came up with little resistance. This event drew quite a number of onlookers, a veritable “peanut gallery”. The spectator- members viewing from the floor donned their shiny hardhats. The multicolored spectacle looked from above, where I was directing the crane, like a deranged Easter egg hunt.

Mike Mucklin and I consult on rigging the cab prior to the "pick".

After a few turns jockeying the crane, boom, Rod and Mr. Noodle around, the cab was finally off and down on the ground. Eugene Vicknair and I helped guide it to its final resting place outside of the shop. The woodwork can now be removed and cataloged, and the cab sandblasted and primered prior to starting the body work. Roger Stabler arrived just as we were wrapping up. He spent the day down in Woodland fixing our invaluable porta-power ram, which no longer squirts hydraulic oil at you when under load. Another case of what you may perceive as a small job taking the whole day. My old friend Jim Blake returned for another visit. Jim is active with the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society in Pennsylvania, and now thanks to cheap airfares, with us. The Wallace family also turned up Friday night to work on their Santa Fe caboose. Everyone ended up going their separate ways, and I had dinner at the former Log Cabin, (which is now a “Roadhouse”) with Roger and Jim. I enjoyed a pretty decent piece of prime rib roast and good conversation. Later a bit of time coalescing with David Wallace in his waycar rounded out the evening.

Rod "EP" McClure handily manipulates the "Little Giant".

Eugene Vicknair guides the cab out to it's temporary resting place.

Saturday October 24- With the cab removed access to areas of the boiler shell was made easier in spots. Charlie and Duane became men possessed; parts of the cab floor and cab support came flying off at a frightening speed. They made some great progress and got to areas of the engine that are in desperate need of cleaning, scraping and chipping. Jim Blake tried to keep up by sweeping the floors of any detritus and tripping hazards, and did a good job of it. There was a lot of rust, grease and etc. that came down. The cab floor plates will need to be replaced. Roger managed to get the blowdown valve off, which has been a thorn in our side for some time. He also was able to run down the driving box wedges in preparation for freeing up the driving boxes at some point.

The two James- Blake and Cowdery amid the clutter on Saturday.

Duane and Charlie lay into the cab floor.

Roger Stabler argues with a stubborn blowdown valve.

The 165- now resembling a submarine, missing it's cab.

After wrapping things up we made our regular trek into town for pizza, and as luck would have it the local kiddy football team showed up just as we did, so it was a slow, noisy dinner, but we persevered. That evening I parted ways with most of the crew. Sunday morning I said goodbye to Roger and Jim and was back on the road headed home. The fall colors going through Sierraville were brilliant. -JCA
P.S.: Everyone please consider the purchase of a 2010 WPRM Steam Dept. Fundraising Calendar; your generosity will go a long way toward bringing steam back to Portola! It’s also the only Western Pacific calendar available for 2010. CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

WPRM Steam Dept. dates for 2010

The following are the WPRM Steam Dept. work session dates for 2010:

April 5th-10th
July 29th-31st
October 21st-23rd

As always please contact David Epling, our Museum Manager at (530)832-4131 if you would like to take advantage of the accomodations in the Pullman Car. Additional dates will be added for the boxcar move and as we ramp up the momentum on the locomotive restoration. Let's make 2010 our most productive year yet! -JCA

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer 2009 Workweek Report

Pre-dawn on Saturday morning, July 25th, 2009. I made my usual run across LA in an attempt to get to the Grapevine while traffic is light and the temps are still cool, in this case, in the low 70’s. Quite a few finished locomotive components were packed for the trip, and given the size of my garage shop; it was good to reclaim the space for new endeavors. After the requisite stop at Harris Ranch for a restroom break, the next stop was the 15” gauge Redwood Valley Railway in the Berkeley hills. The RVRy is where my little 0-4-0 is currently stored, and whenever I pass through town I stop to tinker a bit on it. Dana was to meet me here for lunch, but he was not up to it. Sadly, he passed away the next day. My eulogy, which most of you have already read, is here. I received word of his passing from Craig Ferguson Sunday night at my parent’s house. Shocked doesn’t begin to describe how I felt.

Monday morning, and the week is beginning with a pall of sadness at Dana’s passing. Not much a person can do at that point but press ahead. It doesn’t pay to dwell on such things; there will be plenty of time for mourning in the weeks to come. I met Roger Stabler in Woodland, and took a quick tour of his progress on the restoration of his private railcar, the Two Rivers. He has to renew a good deal of steel around the windows on the car, a tedious process to say the least. I admire him for his persistence. We stopped to pick up a new refrigerator for the shower car at the Stabler families appliance store (another generous donation by Roger and Gloria, let’s hope it stays CLEAN!) and we were off up the hill. Just about every road to Portola was being paved, poured or otherwise being ripped to shreds so it took a bit longer than normal, but we did make it eventually. Steve and Charlie had already moved the wood caboose out of the shop by the time we arrived. This allowed us to roll the engine back and forth a bit, and get the siderods off. Not a bad start to the work week. Charlie left for home soon after, and Roger and I dined at the Mexican place, plenty of cold beers to go around.

Needlescaling progress on the brake cylinders and frame.

Tuesday we got the jacks under the frame and lifted some of the weight off the spring rigging. The idea was to get one of the leaf spring packs out so Roger could take it down to his “spring guy” for estimates on rebuilding and/or replacement. The engine was in the air; unfortunately the driving boxes went right up with the frame. In order for the spring rigging to go loose the boxes would have to drop. Roger spent the next two days in the pit running down the wedges on the rear driverset so the boxes would come down. They were quite stubborn, but after lots of heat, porta-power applications, and Kroil, the wedges submitted. In the end the two rear springs were removed, or at least what was left of them. That evening a brisk thunderstorm blew through and cooled us off a bit, which was welcome. Later Matt Parker joined Roger and me on the deck for my beer brats. They started talking Union Pacific-speak, so I left them to it and retired into the air-conditioning and my comfy berth.

Nathan (call sign “Maverick”) made it up on Wednesday, he was a welcome sight. His compatriot, James, had to attend a wedding the next weekend so he was, regrettably, absent. We will make sure he takes double needle-scaling chores next time! Just kidding, Nathan and James have been making extra trips to the Museum to further the progress on the thickness mapping of the boiler shell. To date they have completed the first and second courses, as well as the steam dome. Good work, guys! Roger had to get back to his life and the railroad on Wednesday night, so he left us. Thanks to him for spending three full days, in which time a great deal of progress was made. The two Bills, Bill Jackson and Bill Clark, spent lots of time during the session needle-scaling paint off the driver centers and frame. Nathan joined in later and scaled the brake cylinders. Thanks to those guys the 165 is finally starting to look like an engine under restoration. Even better, more of that accursed blue trim paint from the fairgrounds has “left the building”. We look forward to seeing both Bills back again soon for more fun with air tools.

A rare view of the tender outdoors.

By Thursday the heat was on. Nathan took the opportunity to photo-document the tender while it was outside and in the sunlight. Thanks go to Charlie who had previously pumped out around 300 gallons of oil, which will help weight-wise when we go to lift the bunker off the frame. Mid-morning I decided to drive over to Quincy and have lunch with my old friend Rick Mugele, a BNSF engineer who was in town on his rest. It was nice to see him and catch up a bit. Rick and I worked together at the now defunct Westside and Cherry Valley Railway in Tuolumne, California back in the early ‘80s. It was a neat little narrow-gauge operation that ran on the mill grounds of the old Westside Lumber Company. Nowadays Tuolumne is an Indian Casino, and the railway and mill are but faded memories.

Almost immediately upon my arrival back from Quincy, an old friend from even further back in my life stopped by. Jim and his daughter Christine were out from Pennsylvania visiting family in the Bay Area. I gave him the tour, he joined up, and we went over to the Log Cabin for dinner. Jim is a long time member of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, which is the only other privately funded all-volunteer group in the US dedicated to preservation of a single class one railroad, in addition to the Feather River Rail Society. He marveled at our facility, especially the diesel house. Jim wished they had something similar. He was also interested to see our boxcab diesel on the flatcar, evidently the Reading Company had a similar locomotive from this builder on their roster at one point. Jim's remarks remind us that we are lucky to have what we have. All in all Thursday was not a big day as far as progress on the engine was concerned, but certainly good for my spirit to see so many old friends and recount so many good memories.

My friend Jim and I take a break.

The Wallace boys, David, along with his sons Patrick and William were up Friday to work on their Santa Fe caboose. I have mentioned in previous posts that David is, like me, a former Rio Vista steam department member, dating from the days when we were running the Western Pacific 94, a ten-wheeler, and restoring the Robert Dollar 3, a 2-6-2T that now resides at Niles Canyon. David got some floor torn up in his car, as well as the diesel tank removed. The strong fuel odor in the car is starting to dissipate; he is in the market for a coal-burning caboose stove if anyone has any leads. Charlie soldiered on and got some needle-scaling done in the interior of the boiler shell, as well as applying a new head to the model-T railcar engine, and of course taking up the slack running locomotive rentals. He was a busy guy, but still managed to smoke his delicious ribs on the deck, which we did scarf down during the Friday evening feast.

By Saturday we were all fairly crisp from the heat. I was down to the last of my clean laundry. David and the boys went over to the city pool for a dunk which was easier than talking the boys into bathing. Nathan continued the needle-scaling on the frame and brake cylinders. I gave my report at the board meeting which began with a moment of silence for our fallen comrade Dana. Nathan and I also did some layout on the piece of the front tube sheet that is in need of replacement. The lower portion below the superheater flues has numerous cracks and welds from over-rolling. In the short term, removing this piece will give us better access to the shell interior. Many measurements and photos were taken so it can be drawn up on CAD and “hopefully” be cut out on a waterjet cutter, saving untold hours with the magnetic drill press. Our traditional Saturday night dinner at the Pizza Factory was followed by cocktails in the Pullman car with David, Seth and Nathan. Thank you again to the management for the air conditioning!

Charlie during a quiet moment on the shower car deck.

Nathan finally got a picture of Roger Stabler from the front!

The cleanup Sunday morning went quickly thanks to our combined efforts, and I was out by 08:30. No major obstacles other than an overturned Honda pickup on I-5. I was home by dinner. Thanks again to everyone who made for a week of good progress and camaraderie! And thanks to Nathan for the photos used in this post. See you all in October! -JCA

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Our Friend Dana.

WPRM Steam team member and good friend Dana Greeley passed away suddenly Sunday, July 26th, 2009. He was 49 years old. Cause is yet to be determined. His only surviving family is his brother, Doug. I spoke with Dana that Saturday before, and he was feeling poorly. I urged him to get to a clinic but he was determined to put his doctor visit off until Monday. I could be angry at him for being so stubborn, but that would be fruitless. Dana’s stubbornness was actually one of his more endearing qualities. His being argumentative and opinionated led me to more thoughtful decisions, or just shook me out of my supposed “Tree of Knowledge” at which point I would land on my butt, which would in turn cause me to rethink whatever I thought I was doing.

Dana and I met in the late 1970’s at the then California Railway Museum, now the Western Railway Museum near Rio Vista, California. I was involved in the steam program there, and he was primarily involved in maintaining the diesels. Of course in an environment like that, with so few volunteers, everyone did everything, so Dana and I would work together on track projects and the like. In those days Dana seemed a bit brusque. That might be attributed to the museum environment, youthful exuberance, or many other things; however later in life, removed from the Museum we became great pals. I would look forward to our driving trips over the mountain to Portola, or the gatherings in our friend’s backyards watching G-Scale trains going in circles.

Back in the day we really did think we were immortal. Shoving cuts of cars around with electric locomotives in the dark gave us a sense of empowerment, I suppose. Now we know this not to be true. Dana’s passing is a moment of great sadness for all of us, not only do we mourn this great guy, but also the passing of our youth.

David Wallace related the following: “Dana left this world within 20 feet of where he entered it....he was the only person I met who was born in his parent’s living room!”

No doubt his parents were there to welcome him back home. Goodbye old friend. - JCA

Sunday, June 21, 2009

WP 165 Family Album

I present a few images generously provided by Martin Hansen. Our number 165 was one of four in the S-34 class that were purchased by the Western Pacific in 1927. The 164 currently resides in Hewitt Park in Oroville, California. The 163 and 166 were off the roster by 1953 and 1956, respectively.

Thanks to Martin for this peek into the past. - JCA

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Whistle for the 165.

Through the generousity of Norman Holmes, we now have a whistle for our locomotive. This five-chime was originally carried on the WP 166, an identical sister to our 165.

For the time being, it is mounted on a display base until it's time for it to go up on the engine. According to Norman, it was last used a few years ago on V&T #29 at Virginia City for a day or two.

The WP 166 did not escape the scrappers torch, but at least her voice will survive to echo around the hills of Portola once again.

Thanks again to Norm, for this and for offering to bring a headlight down to Oroville for the WP Historical Society Convention. Unfortunately my truck was uncooperative so I did not make it. Maybe next year...

Don't forget our next steam work session takes place July 28th-August 1st, 2009. Please let David or me know if you will be requiring space in the Pullman. Have a great summer and stay safe. - JCA

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring 2009 Workweek Report

Welcome to a new year for steam work in Portola and another trip for me up the I-5. It is always good for me to clear my head for a few days and get away from the mental fog that is life in the greater Los Angeles area. The date was Tuesday, April 14th, and I was on my way north to the Bay Area to spend an evening with my parents. Unfortunately they were headed south to Palmdale to make my Grandmother’s funeral arrangements, (she lived to be 100, by gaud!) so consequently I got to hang out with my sisters Mary and Patty, which I hardly ever do anymore.

I stopped briefly in Hayward to visit my friend Gary, and his current project, the Cortez Mines Porter locomotive restoration. This diminutive little three foot gauge 0-4-0T locomotive languished out in front of a casino near Boulder City, Nevada for many years, and it was good to see it coming back together again for operation. Noted FRRS director Eugene Vicknair joined us for lunch and we talked of Zephyrs, steam regs, and other topics. We wish the best of luck to Gary and his partner Tom on getting the little Porter out and steaming again for our enjoyment!

Wednesday morning Dana Greely parked his luxury vehicle in my parent’s driveway and we headed east for the climb over the Sierra. After a stop at at Cabela's sporting goods store just across the Nevada border in Verdi, (enough guns to arm the northern Nevada militia, even pink rifles for the ladies!) we overshot Reno by a few miles so that we might witness Union Pacific steam locomotive 844 literally blasting into town. After catching up with them in Sparks, I had to opportunity to meet UP Steam Dept. boss Steve Lee in person, and thank him for his moral support and advice on our project in Portola. Steve is a very down-to-earth guy considering the challenges he meets every day to keep the last US mainline Class 1 railroad steam program functional and relevant. Our FRRS president Rod McClure fired the locomotive the first half of the day out of Winnemucca, we found him riding in the luxury of the tail car coming into Sparks. Hopefully by the end of this tour for the 844 Rod will be a fully promoted steam fireman.

UP 844 westbound a few minutes out of Sparks, Nevada.

As luck would have it, steam team member Roger Stabler was laying over at the Nugget just next door to the UP yard, so we were able to dine with him that evening prior to continuing on to Portola. Once again Roger invited me aboard his private railcar “Two Rivers” the next weekend, and once again I had to decline due to prior commitments. Maybe someday I will get to ride with him. Until then I have to work on my timing, which stinks. Dana and I arrived in Portola and moved into the Pullman, visited with Steve Habeck for an hour or so, and turned in.

Charlie and Steve had switched cars for six hours or so Wednesday so that Thursday we would have access to the 165. Charlie and Dana moved in a steel staircase and placed it at the rear of the cab as a work platform, which made getting in and out of the firebox safer. The remainder of that day and Friday were spent removing tube ends from the front and rear tube sheets, and needlescaling the interior of the boiler shell.

Bill and Duane removing cotter pins in the brake rigging.
Charlie (just his hat visible) in the pit cutting cotter pins.
Dana grinds seal welds on rear tube sheet

Sadly our pals Nathan and James were not able to attend this session due to having to attend a trade show in Las Vegas. They promise to come up during the summer and continue taking ultrasonic readings on the boiler, which we hope to have completed by the end of this season. Roger Stabler was also not available to us this time due to his company moving his vacation around. We do however owe Roger a debt of gratitude for another generous monetary donation to the project. Bob Simms also sent in a check for $1000 and we thank him as well. Without the continued support of fine gentlemen like these our work would come to a halt. Thanks also to John Belluomini for the donation of the magnetic work light. Grinding in the firebox is much easier now that you can actually see what you are doing!

During the work week we were treated to temperatures in the low ‘70s, quite unexpected for this time of year. We didn’t complain. The balmy weather was welcomed by our new steam team members, the Wallace Family of Corte Madera, California. Dave Wallace brought his dynamic family: his vivacious wife Pam, and their twin boys Patrick and William, up to scrub on their new acquisition, Santa Fe caboose 999197, formerly a fixture in the Museum’s caboose train. This car will serve as a cabin for the Wallace’s and an ongoing project, a labor of love. I met Dave (aka “Eldee”) during our time on the steam crew at Rio Vista, maintaining and operating Western Pacific steam locomotive 94. He is a top-shelf machinist, specializing in vintage race car engines, and an excellent mechanic. The entire Wallace Family's talents and spirit of camaraderie are welcome additions to our team!

The Wallace Family aboard their new (to them) caboose.

Dave Wallace suits up for steam work!

Suffice to say the week passed too quickly. Although we did not get to accomplish any of our “big” goals this week due to our small number, we did get the job further along with the removal of the brake rigging, all the tube ends out of the front tube sheet, and over half of the rear tube sheet seal welds ground down by Dana, whose efforts were tenacious. Thanks to Charlie Spikes (and his coffee!), Dana Greely, Craig Ferguson, Bill Clark, Duane Vanderveen, Steve Habeck, and Dave Wallace for their efforts on site. Also thanks to Roger Stabler, Nathan Osborn (aka “Maverick”) and James Cowdery for their continued moral support and desire to be there despite their job responsibilities.

Craig Ferguson cleans up after us.

Come on up and join the steam “family” for the next work session, July 28th-August 1st 2009. After work there is always "social hour" and dinner; either a BBQ on the deck, or dinner at the Pizza Factory (or some other trendy location).

For those attending the 2009 WPHS Convention in Oroville on May 29-30, I will have a table displaying a few of the components that have been restored, so please stop by and say hello. - JCA

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Progress continues down south.

Not a lot can happen on site in Portola this time of year, given that we are not Polar Bears. Despite this, we continue to move forward here in my Lakewood shop, approximately nine hours drive south of the Museum.

The 165's bell has been cleaned up, polished and painted. Every chance I get to eradicate that accursed blue trim applied to the engine at the Alameda Fairgrounds is a victory. A new rope arm fabrication was made to replace the original that was broken off I assume after the horizontal-piston air ringer was applied. I hope to bring it to the WP Historical Convention in Oroville on May 29-30. There a few more people will be able to hear our engine's "voice" once again.

Another item that has been restored is the throttle valve handle. The original lever was "liberated" while on display, this one was donated by our rich Uncle, and modified to suit our needs. Thanks again Uncle!

We will once again be in Portola for our Spring work week April 16th - 19th. Stop by and we will put you to work! Until then take care and stay safe. - JCA

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Boxcar for the Steam Department.

Here is some background and an update on the progress to get the D&RGW 62962 moved to Portola for preservation, hopefully in the spring of this year.

This historic car has been offered to WPRM on a no-charge, no strings attached basis by the Bay Area Electric Railway Association. It is currently stored outdoors at Rio Vista Junction.

D&RGW 62962 – Current photo:

The 62962 was retired by the Denver and Rio Grande in the late 1930’s. Wood-bodied cars were fast being replaced by less maintenance intensive and higher capacity steel cars. Our car was later acquired by the War Department after the deadly explosion that took place on July 17, 1944 at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine. This car and many others were to replace those railcars damaged in this terrible tragedy.

The car came to Rio Vista in the ‘70s from the now-renamed Concord Naval Weapons Station, along with several others, for storage purposes. Another identical D&RGW car is being retained by BAERA for their permanent collection, consequently this one has been deemed surplus.

The car is complete and in fair condition. It needs to be painted as most of the Navy paint has peeled off leaving the body free of any paint.
The Collections Committee and subsequently the WPRM Board of Directors have approved this acquisition to be included into the permanent collection, based on key determinations:

· The 62962 is complete and intact, and representative of “steam era” railcars of the mid 1920’s up to post World War II, of which there is a noticeable gap in the WPRM collection.
· This boxcar was built by AC&F in 1909, the same year that the Western Pacific was completed.
· The Denver and Rio Grande was the driving force and financier in the construction of the WP, which ties this car directly into our mission.

D&RGW 62962 high brake wheel:

Estimated outlay in the amount of $5000.00-$6000.00 will cover movement by truck to Portola. To date Nathan Osborn, James Cowdery and I have donated $3000.00, which is an excellent start. We are well on our way to our goal.

This car is to be utilized by the newly formed Steam Department to house a modest machine shop and office. Members of the Steam Dept. will perform initial conservatory measures to arrest any decay at the outset, but any major work such as roof or siding replacement will be delayed until the 165 steam locomotive restoration is substantially complete.

I would ask that you help us to preserve this piece of history by donating toward the move and eventual restoration. Any amount will help us toward preserving this significant artifact of western railroading, as a tribute to American craftsmanship, and as a reminder of what once moved our great Country.

Please send your donation to:

Western Pacific Railroad Museum- DRGW 62962 Boxcar Fund

PO BOX 608

Portola, CA 96122-0608

Make sure to note: DRGW 62962 Boxcar Fund on the memo line of your check!

You may also follow the link below to donate via Paypal:


Drawings from the collection of the Denver Public Library have already been acquired which will help us to accurately restore this car to its post 1925 livery:

Thank you for supporting rail preservation in Portola! (And thanks to Nathan for providing the photos!)

Chris Allan, FRRS Steam Program Coordinator

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A bit of winter warmth for Hotbox.

Here's a cellphone pic taken by Charlie Spikes yesterday, 1/17, of our shop cat, Hotbox, sunning herself on the running board of the 165.

No doubt this feline will appreciate the coming of Spring. So will we, when steam restoration work commences again in Portola.- JCA

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter slumber.

As Portola currently slumbers under a blanket of snow, I offer this view taken in 1959 by our friend Tom Moungovan. Number 165 is relegated to the garden tracks at the Stockton roundhouse, her career for the Western Pacific now over. Two years later the engine will be taken to San Leandro, on the San Francisco Bay, for permanent display. The rest as they say, is history...-JCA

WP 165 at Stockton, 1959.