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Sierra Railroad Railfan Excursion 3/9/2008

by Chris Guenzler

The morning after Winterail 2008 was the Sunday morning when we "Spring Forward" {ie lose an hour of sleep} so it was a little tougher to get out of bed at the Best Western Stockton Inn. Tom Anderson and I walked over to McDonalds to get some breakfast then waited for Chris Parker and Larry Boerio to drive down from Lodi to pick us up and soon we were all on our way to Oakdale for the Sierra Railroad Railfan Trip 2008. We parked in the Golden Sunset Dinner Train parking lot and soon went into the new Ticket Office/Gift Shop to pick up our tickets for this trip. When I got mine, I also got a blue piece of paper and was told that I had won the 4th Cab Ride of the Trip. It was nice to finally win something and I would have to find our conductor later to set up the time. We all went outside to start our photographing for the day.

The first picture was the Sierra Railroad Golden Sunset Dinner Train which would double as our excursion train.

Sierra Railroad Baldwin S-12 42 would also be on our train besides the McCloud Railroad 18 steam engine which was still down at the shops. I took a walk down to the shops and made a few new friends.

Outside of the shops the McCloud 18 was being prepared.

Another view of the McCloud 18. The ex Southern Pacific 1277 still under work in the Sierra Railroad Shop. I walked back to the train and boarded the open car. Our excursion train was made up of McCloud 2-8-2 18, Sierra S-12 42, Power Car, SERA 7005 El Capitan, SERA 7007 Lounge, Yosemite Falls Table Car, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley SERA 7000 and the Cal Western Open Car 692 Quiburi Mission.

Chris Parker and Tom Anderson who was making his first steam excursion and Sierra Railroad trip.

At 9:00 AM the train left Oakdale with the McCloud 18 running tender first out of town. Passing the yard where the two former Sierra S-12s had been scrapped.

A few minutes later we ran out past the orchards. A few minutes after that we stopped for our first Photo Runby of the day.

The back up move.

The train did Photo Runby 1.

The train did the back up move.

The train did Photo Runby 2. We all reboarded the train to continue east.

Our train ran by a rain filled pond.

The train took another curve.

A typical Sierra Railroad scene.

The train went by a farm house along the line.

We saw many horses along our route.

Trees were in their Spring Bloom along our route.

A Sierra Railroad scene. We ran by the farm house and horses along our route. Trees were in Spring Bloom along our route. Our train took the curve at Dodge City Curves where we would have our next Photo Runbys. Unfortunately no one organized the photo lines so for us up on the hill we had to deal with people in our pictures.

Two members of our helpful train crew.

McCloud 18 waits to start its back up move.

The train did the back up move.

The train did Photo Runby 3.

The Sierra S-12 42 uncoupled from the McCloud 18 to do a solo Photo Runby so here is its back up move.

The McCloud 18 then moved east to let the Sierra 42 have plenty of room to do the Rhoto Runby.

McCloud 18 took its opportunity to blow down while the Sierra 42 got ready to do its solo photo runby.

The train did Photo Runby 4.

Our train after we were all back on took another curve. There were plenty of railfans out chasing our train for pictures.

The open car was a poplar place on this trip.

The train went by another orchard with bees being raised.

The peaks of the Sierra Nevada came into view on this curve.

At Warnersville we were allowed off the train while the McCloud 18 was being water. Once that was finished the McCloud 18 backed the train the rest of the way out to Keystone where the engines would run around the train. Everyone detrained and I got up on a loading ramp to get some pictures.

First the Sierra 42 ran by the train.

Next the McCloud 18 ran by the train then stopped while the Sierra 42 was waiting for the switch to the mainline to be thrown.

The McCloud 18 at Keystone.

The Sierra 42 looked great as it went back to the point of our train.

They then spotted the McCloud 18 with the Sierra 42 for pictures.

Two views of our engines.

The McCloud 18 then backed onto our train.

Our train ready to start back to Oakdale and it was now my turn for my cab ride but that is in the next part of the story.

For Part 2 Cab Ride and the Trip back to Oakdale