Saturday, September 5, 2015

North west Pacific

And now for something completely different to NSW... ten years ago this week I headed to the States with a group of non-railway enthusiasts.  It took them a while but eventually they got the meaning of 'hey! Pull over quick!'.  We started in San Fransisco.  It took the brightest of my traveling companions about 48 hours to work out what was going on... BART, MUNI, cable cars, Market Street trolleys... like this one... 

After a couple of days I snuck away to Sacramento to the Cal State Railroad Museum for the day. A particular favourite of mine is the Western Pacific F7A pictured here.

More modern locomotive power got me there and back again. Slightly larger loading gauge than your NSWGR profile!

If you ever get to Sacramento, stick around the downtown area as a steady diet of UP freights mingle with the passengers.

I took tons of very average phots that day. One I particularly liked shows a pretty decrepit Southern Pacific loco teamed with a Union Pacific sister on a fuel train. This was taken from the cafe car on the train I was riding... its good to spend time in the cafe cars.

The second half of the holiday was up north - Portland and thereabouts.  It was notable for three things... first I have no photos but UP Challenger 3985 was in town in steam for the weekend.  I saw it from a distance and heard it whistling every hour.  Absolutely sensational stuff.

The second memory is this...

What? Well it shows that the curse I have (coming upon the last half of a train or a train in a cutting) transcends continents.  I reckon I saw the back third or the top quarter of 30-odd trains that week.

Third, I went to Tillamook. If you ever get a chance, go there.  Its famed for cheese and beer, but it also has Tillamook Naval Air Station which contains a blimp hangar the largest wooden structure in the world built in 1942.  

If you are not impressed with the immense scale of the hangar, take another look at its floor. There are standard gauge tracks, used to tow the dirigibles in and out of the shed.

Just as impressive, just across the carpark was the open air servicing area for the Port of Tillamook shortline.  The loco I had been wanting to see all trip was there - it had been the subject of a Trains article and it deserved to by seen by this little tourist. so, here it is... a loco painted up like a cow.

For the slightly more historically inclined, I also hunted down this Baldwin logging Mikado (built in 1926 for the Polson Logging Company of Hoquiam, Washington State).  With 48 inch driving wheels it looked anything but a typical logging loco.

The Pacific north west is full of logging railroads, but I was unsuccessful in convincing the others to spend a day riding the rails. Instead we went to see an active volcano - probably a fair call. We did stop along the way to photograph railroad bridge signage.

Anyway, it was a marvelous trip. Travel broadens some minds, they say. Will return soon with some homegrown ramblings.

Ciao for now!

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