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The Winterail 2012 Trip 3/9/2012

by Chris Guenzler

I arose at 3:30 AM and after preparing myself, drove to the Santa Ana station and parked my Geo Metro then walked over to Track 1 and dropped off my luggage on a bench before getting my Metrolink ticket to Los Angeles.

The quiet night time Santa Ana station.

Metrolink 681 arrived and I boarded the cab car for my trip to Los Angeles. I enjoyed an eye-opening Coca-Cola as the train arrived into Los Angeles at 5:25 AM. I went out to our pre-arranged pick up spot and waited and soon Dave Abbott joined me. Next our driver Nick arrived and we learned Chris Parker was running late this morning, so we went off site for a few minutes then returned to pick him up and started the drive to Stockton. We took Interstate 5 to Old River Road where we met up with Larry Boerio and Tony Escarcega, who would follow us for most of the day. We turned right on Shafter Road and left on Gosford Road, soon finding our first station of the day.

At 13343 South Gosford Road is the former Sunset Railway Conner station built by the Santa Fe Railway in 1901. From here we headed north to the Taft Highway, going through Pumpkin Center to CA Highway 99 which we took north to Airport road and turned right on Norris to our next new station.

The joint Southern Pacific/Santa Fe Seguro station built in 1918 and originally named Waits, which currently is lettered Oildale and houses The Rustic Rail.

The glasswork on the door caught my eye.

Union Pacific SD70ACe 1996, the Southern Pacific heritage engine was on this train. It incorporates Southern Pacific's historic colors and graphic elements to honor the men and women of the railroad. It was the final unit in Union Pacific's Heritage Series of locomotives and was inspired by the railroad's famous "Daylight" trains, often referred to as "The Most Beautiful Trains in the World."

Views of Union Pacific 1996 at Cowelo.

The train then departed so we drove over to South Shafter and our next station.

At 30360 Orange Ave is the former Sunset Railway Fellows station built by the Southern Pacific in 1917. From here we got on CA Highway 43.

BNSF 7876 East had BNSF 3115 in the DPU set. We continued north.

From here we drove north and went to Alpaugh to the Corn Production Services Office, where I checked us in and the lady called David who came from their offices to drive us back to their locomotive. The West Isle Line is a private railroad and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nutrien (formerly Western Farm Service). The line is operated by a contractor and does not have any employees. The line began service on January 7, 1998 after being acquired from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, running 5.25 miles from Alpaugh, California to a connection with the BNSF Railway at Stoil (milepost 936 on BNSF's Bakersfield Subdivision). Western Farm Service is the only customer on the line and bought the line in order to avoid having the BNSF's "Alpaugh Branch" abandoned. The line was formerly part of the Santa Fe and was constructed in 1914.

West Isle Line GP9 3399, ex. Southern Pacific 3399, exx. Southern Pacific 3472, nee Southern Pacific 5639 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1956.

More views of 3399.

The details on the locomotive.

David took a picture of our group in front of West Isle Line 3399.

David then gave us a tour of the locomotive cab. A special thank you to him for letting us see and get pictures of their locomotive. From here we drove back to CA Highway 43.

The next train was Amtrak 702 from Sacramento on its way to Bakersfield. We headed north to CA Highway 137 then CA Highway 65 to Exeter, where we found the residential driveway which we took to the house of the owner of the station. Here we met Chris Brewer who said it would be all right to photograph the depot on his property.

Wooden railroad coach of unknown origin and history.

Views of the Santa Fe Exeter station built in 1914.

Details of the station.

Chris showed us a book with a picture of the station in its original location. We thanked him for allowing us to photograph the station before we drove into Exeter.

Central Oregon and Pacific GP38 3824, ex. Central Oregon and Pacific 5047, exx. Conrail Leasing 300, exxx. CSX 2047, nee Baltimore and Ohio 3847 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1967.

San Joaquin Valley GP40 440, ex. Florida East Coast 440, exx. SOO Line 4649, exxx. Milwaukee Road 2023, nee Milwaukee Road 197 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1966.

Kyle Railroad GP20R 2043, ex. St. Louis-Southwestern 4144, exx. St. Louis-Southwestern 4040, nee St. Louis-Southwestern 810 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1961.

San Joaquin Valley GP38 2126, ex. San Joaquin Valley 3809, exx. Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway 3809, exx. Minnesota Northern 3809, exxxx. Kiamichi Railroad 3809, exxxxx. Pittsburgh and Lake Erie 2031, exxxxxx. Conrail 7778, nee Penn Central 7778 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1969.

San Joaquin GP28 1825, ex. Kyle Railroad 1825, exx. Iowa Interstate 9430, exxx. Iowa Railroad 9430, exxxx. Illinois Central Gulf 9430, nee Illinois Central 9430 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1964. From here we drove into Visalia and went to have lunch in an old friend.

The Southern Pacific station in Visalia, now The Depot Restaurant, where I enjoyed a steak sandwich for lunch. We then returned to the car and drove to Roeding Park in Fresno.

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