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Final Winterail Trip to Stockton Part 1

plus the Dell Osso Farm Train and Loose Caboose Boat Trip

by Chris Guenzler

First I received the news that due to low ticket sales, Winterail would be moving to Corvallis, Oregon starting in 2016. In addition, Vic Neves and his wife, Annie, who are the organizers of the event, moved to Albany, Oregon. I took this news and decided to make this final Stockton Winterail trip really special. I contacted Dell Osso Farms who would run a train for me Friday afternoon then made the rest of the plans and decided to do Conductor Larry's Loose Caboose boat trip to end the final Winterail event. Robin Bowers decided to go and after making hotel reservations, and with a plan, we waited for the day of the trip to arrive. That morning at 11:30 AM at work I received the most sad phone call of my life from Chris Parker.

Ken Ruben Death March 12, 2015

Ken Ruben had had a stroke back on December 30, 2014 and died the morning on March 12th at 10:30 AM. Chris Parker had found him about 54 hours after his major stroke. Chris went beyond the call of duty and even cleaned his apartment for him. I knew Ken all the way back to the San Diegan Club that the late Richard Hamilton started. He became the official caller of Let's Talk Trains and I always looked forward to hearing his report. He was also a member of the Fullerton Train Travel Meetup Group and joined us at most meetings and on many trips. He came to La Plata, Missouri with us all for the moving of to that unique small town in America. He went to Winterail with me in 2006. Ken was always a character and the world will be short of one very interesting person. I asked Chris if he were still on for Winterail and he said "Yes".

The Trip starts on March 12, 2015

Robin Bowers, who was making his first Winterail trip with us, met me at my house and we loaded the Ford Focus rental car then drove up to Los Angeles in bumper-to-bumper traffic through the construction zone on Interstate 5. We pulled into the Denny's parking lot and soon Chris Parker joined us. After he dropped off his bags, he parked at Los Angeles Union Station and we picked him up and officially left Los Angeles, taking Interstate 5 and CA Highway 14 to Santa Clarita to get Chris Parker's signature so he was able to drive the rental car. We then drove Interstate 5 to CA Highway 43 and made our first stop to change drivers.

The Red Wagon Cafe, former Pacific Electric car 466, south of Shafter was our first stop of the trip on CA Highway 43. We made it north of Shafter before spotting our first train on this trip.

San Joaquin train 714 just north of Wasco was running over 25 minutes late today. We had a green signal so reached Wasco just as San Joaquin train 717 came into view.

San Joaquin train 717 at the station stop in Wasco. I noticed that all the cars had names given to them and photographed the consist.

California Comet Coach 5009 "The Valley Flyer", nee New Jersey Transit 5166 built by St. Louis Car Company in 1969.

California Comet Coach 5013 "The Citrus Belt Limited", nee New Jersey Transit 5224 built by St. Louis Car Company in 1969.

California Comet Coach 5011 "San Diegan", ex. New Jersey Transit 5168, exx. New Jersey Department of Transportation 529, nee Penn Central 129, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1969.

California Horizon Cafe 53509 "Pacific Horizon" built by Bombardier in 1998.

California Comet Coach 5014 "Spirit of California", nee New Jersey Transit 5230, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1969.

California Comet Coach 5008 "The Redwood", nee New Jersey Transit 5165, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1969.

Amtrak Cabbage Car 90229, rebuilt from Amtrak F40 229, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1976, brought up the rear makers. We headed north on CA Highway 43 and made our next stop at an interesting rail location from the past.

The old packing house once shipped out goods by rail in days long gone.

Interesting old track and switch stand used here in the past. From here we went north but had to double back to Garces Highway when we spotted another train.

At Sandrini, we caught BNSF 9212 East with BNSF 4398, Citirail 1944, BNSF 1951 and BNSF 6578 in the consist. We continued north but had to double back to West Sierra Avenue to get pictures.

BNSF 7060 East at Avenue 120. Heading north one more time we had to double back to West Sierra Avenue to get pictures.

BNSF 7200 at Hesse Avenue south of Corcoran. Chris and Robin were having a good time, From here we headed up north to the big curve south of the Kings River and took CA Highway 43 north to Flint Avenue west and at the tracks, saw a headlight coming our way.

BNSF 6586 at Flint Avenue north of Hanford. We stayed west of Flint Avenue then went north on 12th Aveune to Douglas Avenue.

San Joaquin train 716 running twenty-six minutes late this early evening. We drove back to Deer Avenue and took CA Highway 43 to Selma where we filled the rental car with petrol then went to Carl's Junior for dinner before driving north on CA Highway 99 to Jensen Avenue and the Vagabond Inn in Fresno for our first night.

The Trip North Part 2 3/13/2015

At 7:00 AM we met up with Robin and soon the three of us were having breakfast at McDonald's where I had my hot cakes and sausage. From here we took Jensen Avenue over the BNSF mainline to the Calwa Yard office and parked.

The Santa Fe Calwa station built in 1922 is the BNSF yard office in Fresno.

This very large BNSF sign stands above the former Santa Fe station at Calwa Yard. From here we drove over to Van Ness Street where we found a San Joaquin Valley Railroad train stopped waiting to cross the BNSF mainline.

The back of that San Joaquin Valley Railroad train.

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

The front of that San Joaquin Valley Railroad train.

The Van Ness wig wag once again.

The Fulton Street wig wag once again.

The former Trolley Cafe. This diner was constructed from the only known surviving streetcars from the Fresno Traction Company. In 1935 a surplus trolley was hauled to this location and the following year was remodelled 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.

The Cherry Street wig wag once more. We headed back to CA 99 and took Larch Street to the BNSF tracks and took Santa Fe Avenue to the grade crossing and parked. Here I called Carole Walker, Carl Morrison and Skip Waters to tell them of the death of Ken Ruben while Chris called Ken's friends on his phone. Soon I heard a horn and we saw a headlight coming our way.

San Joaquin train 702 at MP 1036. Robin noticed we had two blisters on two tires so I called Enterprise in Santa Ana and asked them, "What we should do?"

The LeGrand Santa Fe station built in 1896.

We took the car to the office in Merced and Chris went with the employee to a shop next door who said "Don't drive that car!" The Ford Focus we had was a piece of junk and did not have current registration stickers. Goodbye to that car. They gave us a Nissan Altima which we just loved, returned to CA Highway 99 to Bradbury Road which we took west to CA Highway 165 north then West Harding to Chemurgic and our next stop. I went into the office and asked permission to take pictures of their Turlock Western trains and was told to have everyone sign in and out when we were done.

Union Pacific caboose 25696 built by International Car in 1967.

Turlock Western 44 ton switcher 25, ex. Stockton, Terminal and Eastern 25, nee Central California Traction 25 built by General Electric in 1946.

Former Southern Pacific SD9E 4409, nee Southern Pacific SD9 5384 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1955.

Turlock Western S12 17, ex. US Steel 17, nee ARMCO Steel 706 built by Baldwin in 1955.

Scenes around the Turlock Western Railroad.

Three more views of Union Pacific caboose 25696.

Turlock Western Railroad 44 ton switcher 26, ex. Stockton, Terminal and Eastern 569, exx. Stauffer Chemical, exxx. International Mineral & Chemical, exxxx. Federal Iron & Metal, exxxxx. Pacific Fruit Express 1, exxxxxx. Pine Flat Dam Construction 2851, nee Pine Flat Dam Construction 30465, built by General Electric in 1950.

After that picture we walked back to the office and signed out thanking them for letting us take our pictures this morning. We left their property and stopped along West Harding Road, walked up onto the levee of a canal to continue our picture taking here. Enclosed were some very unique railroad engines and I will do my best to show you them.

In these two views you see California Central Traction GP18 1795 and two more former Southern Pacific SD9s.

The former Southern Pacific SD9s.

A Burlington Northern switcher cab.

Southern Pacific GP40 7632, nee St. Louis-Southwestern 7632, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1979.

Union Pacific SD40 3913, nee Missouri Pacific 3229, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1976.

Another view of Union Pacific SD40 3913 and Southern Pacific GP40 7632.

Southern Pacific SD7 1533 and Santa Fe 1331. They also have Santa Fe S-4 1518 and BUGX 621, a very early Electro-Motive Corporation switcher. With that, I drove us back to CA 99 north on CA 120 west to Interstate 5 south, exiting at Exit 60 to our next destination of the trip.

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