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, 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