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A trip north to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge and Transportation Museum 11/29/2014

by Chris Guenzler

I got up at 4:30 AM. I showered and shaved before fixing breakfast. I got dressed then loaded the rental car, a VW Jetta, and headed up the Interstate 5 to Los Angeles taking only four Metallica songs from Death Magnetic to get there. I pulled into Dennys and waited for Chris Parker to arrive. We loaded his stuff before he parked at Union Station and I picked him up there. With little traffic after a CHP traffic break, the first one I had ever witnessed, we headed over Tejon Pass into the San Joaquin Valley. A stop was made for some coffee for Chris Parker and we headed up Interstate 5 to CA 43 which we took north to the BNSF mainline. North of Wasco we found our first train of the day.

BNSF 7100 West north of Wasco. We continued north to Hanford for a MacDonald's breakfast of Hot Cakes and Sausage. We drove to the big curve just north of Shirley but soon learned the Amtrak San Joaquin 702 was running late. Driving north to Fresno a call the Winston found the train and San Joaquin 712 stopped near Turlock . He kept me informed. We went into Fresno in search of the two Wig Wag signals I still needed to take pictures of.

At Hamilton Street and Anna Street we found the first one and could see the other one a block west.

At Cherry Street was number 2 plus two surprises.

San Joaquin Valley Railroad PR40B 3000 was the first one.

The San Joaquin Valley Railroad Emblem. Now the next surprise.

H.P. #99 Fresno Trolley Cars/Standard Diner (1912/1925). This diner is constructed from the only known surviving street cars from the Fresno Traction Company. In 1935 a surplus trolley was hauled to this location, and the following year was remodeled as a cafe. It is unclear whether the second trolley was moved to the lot at the same time or at a later date. Originally known as the Standard Diner, it was renamed "Trolley Car Carole's" in 1968.

More views of the H.P. #99 Fresno Trolley Cars/Standard Diner (1912/1925).

One last view of the Cherry Street Wig Wag. From here we drove over to near the Amtrak station and parked just south of it. The two hour late San Joaquin 702 arrived into Fresno.

San Joaquin 702 heads south to Bakersfield. Next the low level San Joaquin 712 pulled into Fresno.

From the south came San Joaquin 701 and it would sit until San Joaquin 712 was done with the station work.

San Joaquin 712 left for Bakersfield.

San Joaquin 701 finally pulled into Fresno. From here we drove north to the BNSF mainline north of Madera.

BNSF Citirail 1434 East east of Le Grand.

Amtrak San Joaquin 714 east of Le Grand.

BNSF 4774 West east of Merced.

BNSF 4026 East north of Atwater. From here we drove to Riverbank.

Amtrak San Joaquin 716 at Riverbank. We continued north.

BNSF 768 at Escalon. From here we drove to Linden to see what was left of the Stockton Terminal & Eastern railroad there. From there we went to Stockton where I got KFC for dinner then checked into the Clarion Inn for the night. I worked on the story then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

11/29/2014 After a free breakfast at the Clarion Inn, we headed north to Roseville where we used our umbrellas to try and stay dry.

The Rotary Snow Plows are ready for service when needed.

The Flangers wait for their call to duty.

The Amtrak station in Roseville, a replica building.

Southern Pacific 4-6-0 2252 on display in Roseville.

Southern Pacific Rotary Snow Plow MW 7221 on display in Roseville. From here we drove through the rain to Nevada City and our first major stop of the day.

Nevada County Narrow Gauge and Transportation Museum

I pulled into the museum's parking lot and the rain stopped. Would we get lucky while we are here.

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad History

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad began operations in 1876 to provide reliable year-round transportation to the rich mining districts of western Nevada County, California. The original twenty-two and a half mile route began in Nevada City, traveled to the railroad's headquarters in Grass Valley, and then on to Colfax for connections to the Central Pacific.

During sixty-six years of colorful operation, it hauled out more than two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) worth of gold while bringing in mining machinery, lumber, petroleum products and all of the essentials necessary to maintain the thriving county. Thousands rode its first class passenger trains, mixed trains, and the occasional special excursions.

Affectionately known as the "Never Come, Never Go", the railroad's reliable service, combined with the prosperity of the mines, helped Nevada County avoid hard times during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The narrow gauge route boasted the highest railroad bridge in California for its time (the 1908 Bear River Bridge), and was the first railroad in the U.S. to have a woman president (Sarah Kidder, 1901-1913).

The outbreak of World War II led to the closure of the gold mines and, with its major customers gone, the railroad was scrapped in 1942.

The main museum building.

The sign above the door.

In the main hall is NGNGRR 2-8-0 5 built in 1875 on display and decorated for X-Mas 2014.

Views around the main hall. Now we would be given a tour of the equipment this group has collected.

Denver & Rio Grande Western Stock Car 5672.

NCNGRR Hopper 148.

Lake Tahoe Railway Box Car 4.

Union Oil Tank Car 187.

Agent Lumber 2-6-2 5 built in 1910.

West Side Lumber Caboose 4 built in 1940.

West Side Lumber Parts Car built in 1940.

West Side Lumber Utility Flat Car 265.

NCNGRR Tank Car 4.

Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad Passenger Coach 56 built in 1897.

Swayne Lumber Company Caboose 1 built in 1917.

NCNGRR Box Car 142.

NCNGRR Museum Replica Caboose 1 built 1939.


Narrow gauge wheel sets.

NCNGRR Pump Hand Car.

MCNGRR 0-4-0 13 built in July 2009. This is a forced draft steam generator engine.

West Side & Cherry Valley Rail Bus built in 1970.

MCNGRR 0-4-0 13 built in July 2009.

Engine House scene.

Westside Lumber Company Plymouth Locomotive 1 built 1927.

NCNGRR Plymouth Locomotive 10 built 1943.

West Side and Cherry Valley Railbus 97 built in 1970.

Locomotive frame.

Tool Car.

The Museum Building.

NCNGRR Box Car 142.

The West Side and Cherry Valley Railbus 12 pulled out of the engine house.

NCNGRR Flat Car 255.

Narrow gauge switch stand.

Westside Lumber Company Plymouth Locomotive 1 next came out of the engine house. I asked for a ride on the West Side and Cherry Valley Railbus 12 and they said "Yes". I got Chris Parker's attention and he joined me on the rail bus.

We rode the West Side and Cherry Valley Railbus 12 back into the engine house.

Museum scenes.

The plaque out in front of the museum. We thanked our hosts and I went out front to call Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Show every Saturday 10-12 Pacific Time or 24/7 in the achieves. We drove from here through the rain and some bumper to bumper traffic on Interstate 80 west of Sacramento to Dixon then down on CA 133 to CA 12 to our second major stop of the day.