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updated: April 2, 2010

Winterail Stockton - Photo Collection
Journey via Tehachapi
March 2010

I am very pleased to show some exclusive photos of these photographers:
Andy Goodson, Marc Fournier and Bruce H. Jones
A big thank you for sharing these excellent pictures with us.
Note: The copyright belongs to these gentlemen. Do not use any photos without written permission.


Below is some background about Winterail and their activities incl. infos of the journey
Winterail web site - take a look - click here

Photos WR-01 to WR-32
On Tuesday last week (3/09/10) our railfan friend Marc Fournier contacted me to check out this years Winterail for him online. The result of which was that on Wednesday morning (3/10/10) we set out for Stockton in his superb motor home stopping off that night on the overlook familiar to many of you close to the water towers at Woodford. Wednesday was cold and wet in the Tehachapis with the snow line down as low as Walong (The loop) Traffic was slow on account of high wind warnings around and east of Mojave but we did get one BNSF Z train EB (South as per UP timetable!) and about three northbound's. Needless to say there were plenty of trains during the night ! Those GE Gevos sure are loud in run 8.
The next morning we decided to do a little exploring on the way up to Stockton First by taking the old road into Bakersfield at Edison and then the 99 Highway which parallels the UP most of the way. We stopped of at Goshen to check out the San Joaquin Valley Railroad connections and Fresno to look at Calwa crossing. (Flat crossing of the UP and BNSF). We saw only one train the whole way from Woodford to Stockton  A southbound UP Z LTLC 11 (Lathrop - Los Angeles) At Goshen we found one of the three EMD BL20 prototypes that operates on the SJVR.
Three nights were then spent camped in the Motor home close to the Diamond crossing in Stockton, not the nicest of areas but interesting non the less . It is thirteen years since I was last there in January 1997 so there has been much change. Firstly the old Western pacific track and diamond are long gone in favour of the Southern Pacific main. Also gone is the former Santa Fe tower (signal box to the educated!) and the track is also new not like the rough and ready roller coaster of 1997!.
Friday morning turned out to be overcast and threatening rain so we decided to stay fairly local exploring what we could see of the Port of Stockton and the Central California Traction Companies operations .The CCT is an old Interurban operation that started in 1905 between Stockton and Sacramento Via Lodi but is now cut short at Franklin MP 13.6. The line starts at the BNSF Mormon yards in Stockton and includes a short section of street running in the area and soon crosses the Stockton terminal and Eastern at Flora St. We found the old car barn and HQ of the CCT but no activity. There were lots of freight cars around but no action .
We then headed out to the Port finding no ships actually in port other than the Golden Arrow 1 which is a 1970 Japanese built tanker converted into a cement processing Ship. We did however find the other CCT operation which is to switch the rail facilities within the port complex. Altogether I think we saw all of the CCT's locomotive fleet of four Former UP?SP EMD SW1500 switchers, The old Ex Rock Island GP18 and a couple of what looked like GP7s or GP9s. As I understand it the Original CCT line is using a leased UP SW1500. At around this time it started raining and boy did it rain ! Nothing to the British amongst you but to someone living in Southern California it was heavy! We decided to retreat to the Diamonds again and wait out the time until it was time to go to the Friday night Pre show at Winterail hosted by Railfan and Railroad magazine which started with Pizza at 5pm. The show was very entertaining with some very nice slides and video presentations. The show ended at around 10pm. All in all worth attending for the 200 or so that showed up.
Saturday we awoke to clear blue skies, not the sort of weather to be staying indoors with Donner Pass not that far away!But non the less we headed back to the Scottish rites building for what turned out to be a superb day of Railway entertainment. The show for the first time in a long while was not sold out with about 200 tickets being available on the day. We purchased our tickets from other Railfans who had spares so as they would not lose the very reasonable $35 ticket price and at a guess I would say that there were about 870 people actually in attendance just a little short of the Normal 1000.
The show started with a great program of slides on the fortunes and demise of the Wyoming and Colorado Railroad which ran on the Ex UP Coalmont branch. Next ws a video presentation on the SP's last passenger Excursion in April 1971 from Oakland to Truckee loaded to 22 passenger cars. This was followed A show entitled Daylight Nights a pictorial of Steamfest 2009 at the Steam Locomotive institute at Owosso , Michigan.The next show was very interesting showing the Human side of Railroading entitled Mostly Hogheads by Tom Moungovan the title was pretty self explanatory showing many of the Rail people the author has been associated with over the years . This show was followed by a tribute to the Last section of the SP sunset route between Mecca California and Shawmut Arizona that is still Single track with SP searchlight signals. The UP over the last few years has been investing heavily on linking existing passing sidings, renewing the track and placing new signals into service and this show documented the line as it is between those two points. I never knew there were so many good shots out there. Some amazing stuff and many nice views around the Salton Sea along with some fantastic night shots. I really must try a few days down there sometime. Mick are you up for it sometime?
Last show of the afternoon was a general overview of the railroads of Colorado from the Moffat route  to the Joint line etc. Very nicely done very inspirational.The last show was a new Video production on steam on the Sierra railroad which was interesting if not a little long with dubbed on sound including one bird that seemed to get everywhere!
The evenings Proceedings started with an absolutely fascinating show on Steams last stand in Northern China. Some spectacular images on this one .Very nice indeed. Next was  a Show encasing 40 years of Dave Orozi's Photography around the USA. Lots of very interesting stuff, lots of variety in both subject and location, probably my third favorite show of the day after the Chinese steam and the Sunset route shows .
The next show was entitled Twenty something by Ted Smith-Patterson about his railroad interests between the ages of 20 and 30 and how the rest of his life fits around his career and railroad photography interests. Very well done show. Again lots of interesting material including a very colourful section on the UP local switching the LA Times plant in downtown LA.
Last show was of the San Francisco Muni and it's colourful trolley cars including an old Blackpool corporation Open Boat!

Text by Andy Goodson

Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, NB = North Bound, SB = South Bound, WB = West Bound, MP = Mile Post,
DPU = Distributed Power Unit (Helpers)

For bigger size photos - please click on the 4-digit number below each photo.

3/10/10 BNSF at Woodford (Tehachapi) WR-01 UP 5399 NB Cement Train WR-02 BNSF WB at Woodford WR-03
BNSF train on Loop seen from Woodford WR-04 Same BNSF train at Woodford WR-05 3/10/10 Damaged plastic pellet hoppers WR-06
from the recent Tunnel 9 derailment and fire WR-07 Heavy damaged wheelsets WR-08 Truck sideframes for the scrap yard WR-09
3/11/10 BNSF EB 7464 at Bealville WR-10 3/11/10 DPU's at rear end near Kern Jct. WR-11 3/12/10 Cement processing Ship at Stockton WR-12
3/12/10 Central California Traction SW1500's WR-13 are switching Ethanol Tank Cars WR-14 around Washington Street area WR-15
3/12/10  at Port of Stockton WR-16 This sign will stop doing foolishness WR-17 UP train at track speed pass Goshen WR-18
EMD BL20-2 on SJVR at Goshen WR-19 Amtrak reflection in lake Stockton WR-20 3/14/10 GP10 seen along Route 99 WR-21
Probably an old SD9 along Route 99 WR-22 3/14/10 UP 8363/8444 at Woodford WR-23 UP 8363 = EMD SD70ACe WR-24
Second unit 8444 is also a SD70ACe WR-25 BNSF EB uphill at MP 347.2 WR-26 2nd BNSF EB (Hwy 58 at the back) WR-27
3rd BNSF EB meets UP WB at Woodford WR-28 4th BNSF EB train WR-29 5th BNSF EB w/double stacks WR-30
3/14/10 UP signal at Woodford WR-31 UP NB double stack train WR-32 x

Below are photos taken by Bruce H. Jones at Truckee, CA

Photos WR-33 to WR-44
Here's a little more on Winterail. Marc and Andy covered the show very well. Pete and I booked it out of the show about 3:45 having pretty much seen what we wanted to see and socialized with all the folks we only see once a year. The show was definitely not full as Marc and Andy noted. For the first time in the 20+ years I've been attending, Vic Neves, one of the show producers, made a solicitation to the audience for show material. It used to be people "lined up around the block" to get their shows into Winterail. We'll have to see what the future brings. Also of note is the "greying of Winterail". There were not many young people in attendance. The big temptation to leave the show was the absolutely beautiful afternoon outside with clear skies and a brisk breeze. In fact, that morning when we left Pete's place in Pleasant Hill we could see the Sierras 100 miles away. It offered a much better alternative to sitting in a hot dark theater. Of note was a sign posted above the theater door that said, "have you bathed today?"  Humor or serious advice?  Could be both.
Pete and I went down to the diamond for a short while with not much results so we headed up toward I-80 and Truckee where we had dinner and enjoyed six trains. All the stacktrains now go over Donner and the Canyon Sub gets the westbound heavy manifests and locals only. After spending the night at his place near Portola we headed back to the Donner line and Truckee for a late breakfast and saw a train or two including the Reno Fun train. The adventure was when #5 limped into Truckee with a dead unit. They switched one of the plow units (GP-38-2) onto the point of #5 and took off. The plow units can idle for days at a time and the photos show the result. We took a leisurely trip down the Donner line and detoured via Roseville to avoid the Sunday I-80 traffic jam. There are still 5 rotary snowplows stored in Roseville. They can no longer be used because of the ADA-mandated passenger platforms that the plows do not clear. U.P. fights the snow with flangers, spreaders and bulldozers. Pete dropped me off at Sacramento airport and our 2010 Winterail adventure went into the books.

Special note to photos WR-37 to WR-44: Here are some photos of snow fighting equipment used by the Union Pacific on the Sierra Crossing, also called the Donner Line, in California. This line is formerly Southern Pacific and formed part of the original Transcontinental Railroad. 

Written by Bruce H. Jones

3/14/10 Reno Fun Train leaving Truckee WR-33 Amtrak # 5 leaving Truckee WR-34 with UP Plow Unit on point WR-35
3/14/10 Amtrak train is disappearing WR-36 Jordan Spreaders. These machines are pushed by tow or or more of locomotives and have large wings that spread out from the body. WR-37 Snow fighting locomotives. Mostly GP-38-2's. Note the special windshield cleaners and heavy grating over the center windshield. These locomotives replaced the famous snowfighting SD-9's which did the job for many years. WR-38
3/14/10 Another view of the spreaders. These are the main machines used for snowfighting since rotary snowplows can no longer be used on the line. Additional help is done by bulldozers which are brought in as needed. WR-39
A "flanger" train. Two locomotives and a "flanger". WR-40
Rear view of the flanger. These cars are towed at medium speed and have blades below the carbody to clear snow and ice from the inside of the rails, creating a "flangeway" for train wheels. They are the first to be used when snow falls. WR-41
3/14/10 The fleet of snowfighting locomotives. One of these was borrowed to help Amtrak # 5 complete its journey. WR-42 Another view of the spreaders with UP #567 getting ready to help Amtrak #5. WR-43 A view of retired rotary snowplows in Roseville, California. They were steam powered many years ago but were converted in the 1960's to diesel-electric. Note the F-7B unit on the leftmost plow that provided power to the plow. WR-44

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