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Winterail 2008 with a stop at Sassy Classics on the way there

by Chris Guenzler

Winterail 30th Anniversary was going to happen on March 8th and as usual I was going to it in Stockton, California. I got Chris Parker and Tom Anderson their tickets and we planned to drive. Larry Boerio then decided to go and would drive us and Anton who would also be going. Just before the trip Anton decided not to come so Ken Ruben would take his place in the car. We would all meet at Los Angeles Union Station on Friday morning at 6 AM.

Metrolink 681 3/7/2008

I was up, packed then drove to the ATM all before I parked at the Santa Ana Train Station. The northeast lot was closed because of some Dance that night so I had to park in the northwest lot. I walked over to Track 1 and waited for Metrolink 681 to arrive. It made a quick trip to LAUPT and I walked up to the east entrance where I met Ken Ruben. A few minutes later Larry drove up and we loaded the van. Next we drove into the parking structure to pick up Chris Parker.

The Drive North 3/7/2008

We made our way out of the greater Los Angeles area by taking Interstate 5 north over the Grapevine and down into the San Joaquin Valley. We stopped at Grapevine for snacks before staying on Interstate 5 then took the road to Shafter which from there we followed the BNSF Line into Wasco where we saw the rear of a BNSF freight.

We pulled up to the tracks and saw BNSF 5242 West sitting in the siding at Wasco.

The BNSF 5479 West came flying down the mainline passing the BNSF 5242.

A few minutes later, the BNSF 4760 West then went by the BNSF 5242 still in the siding at Wasco. I was on the phone to Trains Magazine when that train passed renewing two magazines and gave the operator a rare earful of that passing freight which she enjoyed hearing. The switch was then thrown so we knew that the BNSF 5242 West would soon be leaving Wasco.

BNSF 5242 West then left Wasco for points west. We all got back in the car and left Wasco but just north at Pond we saw an approaching headlight and pulled off the highway to have a look.

BNSF 5057 East first came by us.

We traveled about a mile north and stopped again for the BNSF 4198 East.

That train was followed by the BNSF 5087 East. From there we drove north to Corcoran to gas up the van. After that a bathroom stop was made at the Amtrak Station in Corcoran and I noticed it was near train time for San Joaquin 702.

San Joaquin 702 after a track inspector truck cleared the view of the train. We headed north when Larry remembered he had once visited an auto museum in Hanford and asked if we wanted to go see it if he could find it. It did not take too long and soon we were parked outside of it.

Sassy Classics Hanford, California 3/07/2008

The sign said "Open" but the door was locked so we decided to take pictures looking into Sassy Classics through the windows. It looked like a racing shop with all sorts of auto memorabilia.

It looked like a racing shop in my first picture.

All sorts of auto memorabilia.

This looks like a 50's Diner.

All sort of things on display.

I liked the old gas pump in this view.

Some classic autos.

That famous Marilyn pose!

The Hot Rod Shop neon sign. We walked back around to the front and were getting ready to leave when one of the workers returned and opened up the building for us.

The 50's Diner Area.

More views of those classic autos and trucks on display here.

Under a plastic tarp a model railroad.

Two steam engines under the plastic tarp.

JFK and friends.

Railroad Heralds.

More displays.

Railroad pictures.

That gas pump.

A car being worked on. We all traded business cards before it was time to leave Sassy Classics.

We drove north to Selma first to get some needed supplies before we stopped for lunch at Carl's JR. After lunch we continued north but decided to stop by the Fresno Amtrak Station to photograph the inside of it.

Inside of the waiting room of the Fresno Amtrak Station.

Outside views of the Fresno Amtrak Station. I then heard a horn coming my way.

BNSF 4871 East ran by the Fresno Amtrak Station. Back in the van we decided to see if a building I spotted was the former Southern Pacific Station in Fresno.

The former Southern Pacific Fresno Station. We headed north out of town through Madera to Ave 20 and a Half. We followed it north to the BNSF mainline and turned onto Santa Fe Ave. Just west of Sharon I spotted a train coming our way.

BNSF 774 East was our next train. We drove to Highway 140 to Highway 99 so not to be delayed cutting through Merced like we usually do. At Atwater we headed back over to the BNSF mainline and Highway J7 north along the track. BNSF 5203 West caught up to us and we tried for a picture at the Merced River Bridge but he got there before we could set up. Following him north we knew he would have to meet the Amtrak southbound train so we remained patience. At Ballico we found the BNSF 5203 in the siding.

San Joaquin 716 came flying into Ballico.

He then passed the BNSF 5203 West.

BNSF 5203 West then left Ballico. From here we drove to Riverbank and Escalon where we took Highway 120 to French Camp Road before we reached CA 99 that took us to Stockton. They dropped Ken and I at the Best Western Stockton Inn before they drove to Lodi where they would be staying at the Holiday Inn Express there. I checked in and got my room. I walked over to the KFC for some dinner and Casey's Gas Station for some Coca-Cola. I checked the Internet and relaxed before it was time to be picked up for tonight's X Rail Program which I brought a program to show. Larry and Chris picked me up and we were soon at the Scottish Rite Temple for XRail 2008.

XRail 2008 3/7/2008

About 300 people showed up for this Friday night event. Stories were told some very interesting and others rather boring. Ted Benson shared a poem about the last eastbound Super C. There were no time limits so some people rumbled on and on. The show ended at Ten PM and once again my program was not allowed to be shown so I put it up on my web site in that story for all to see.

The XRail Program You Didn't Get To See that Night.

After XRail they drove me back to the Best Western Hotel for the night.

3/8/2008 I woke up and walked over to Perko's for a French Toast and Sausage Breakfast. At 8:15 AM Chris Parker pulled up and we were off to pick up Tom Anderson at Amtrak with a few stops on the way there.

The Stockton Terminal and Eastern is now fenced in and their EMD Switcher 777 sat outside their engine house. Chris and I then drove down towards the tracks and soon found us at the old Western Pacific Station in Stockton.

The old Western Pacific Station in Stockton. We then stopped by the old Stockton Tower site before heading over to the Amtrak Station to wait for Tom Anderson to arrive on the first northbound San Joaquin of the morning.

A BNSF local went west first.

San Joaquin 711 arrived at the Stockton Station.

Soon we spotted our dear friend Tom Anderson arriving for his first ever Winterail. The three of us then drove to the Winterail Site and parked on the street.

Winterail 2008 3/8/08

I showed Tom around the swap meet before I purchased a few items. I stopped by the food area for a Tri Tip Sandwich before Tom joined me a few minutes later in line to get in for the show. I like coming to Winterail as I get to see all the people I only get to see once a year here. At 10:30 AM they opened the doors and I took seats in the room on the left side down low. I then bought a few more things before the show started.

At 11:15 AM the Pre Show Announcements took place just before "The Other 70's Show" by Tom Moungovan was shown. Next was of interest to me was Andrew Nelson's Show on the "Green Bay & Western" where we looked at the last years of this interesting shortline. "Key System East Shore Electric Empire 1939-1958" by John Harder and Dunston Fish was next. "The Peavine" was next by Bill Meeker was an interesting look at that piece of railroading. "EVRM - Narrow Gauge Super Railroad" by John Kirchner and Jack Neville really caught my attention. "Fire in the Storm" by Charles Dischinger looked at the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad during a snowstorm. "Santa Fe Across the Southwest - Photographic Impression On The Transcon" provided a look at a piece a railroading I know all too well. "Pride of the Rio Grande" by Mel Patrick was a fantastic show that brought back all of memories of my trip on the Rio Grande Zephyr. Thanks Mel for that trip back in time. We skipped the "Three Favorites" to get a jump on dinner.

Ken had gotten us a reservation at the Black Angus and our group took up two tables. I had a great steak and after dinner we went to the former Stockton Tower area but alas no trains. We then headed back to Winterail for the evening shows.

They had the photo contest winners and then the Winterail Hall of Fame Award which went to the founder of this event 30 years ago Dave Stanley. The night shows started with "59 Days In A Logging Paradise" by Dave Stanley. Next were two programs on the McCloud River Railroad the first called "Where The Sidewalk Ends" by Travis Berryman then "More Than Just A Railroad" by Phillip A. Brahms. Next was "Northern Light - A Portrait Of BC Rail" by Dale Sanders and the shows concluded with "Spellbinder" by Mark Perry about the Hudson Bay Railroad and brought back those -25 degree and lower memories from when I took that trip to the far north. It was another real winner of shows and it was time to return to the Best Western and call it a night.