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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 we got the news due to low ticket sales Winterail would be moving to Corvallis, Oregon in 2016. 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. I made the rest of the plans and decided to do Conductor Larry's Loose Caboose Boat Trip to end of final Winterail event. Robin Bowers decided to go and after making hotel reservation and with a plan we waited for the day of the trip to arrive. That morning at 11:30 AM at work I got 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 he had a major stroke. Chris went beyond the call of duty and even cleaned his apartment for him. I knew Ken all the way to the San Diegan Club that the late Richard Hamilton started. He became the official caller of Lets Talk Trains and I always looked forward to hearing what he had to say. He was also a member of the Fullerton Train Travel Group and joined us at most meetings and on many trips. He came to La Plata 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 through the 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 we official left Los Angeles taking Interstate 5 and CA Highway 14to Santa Clarita to get Chris Parker signature to be able to drive the rental car. We drove Interstate 5 to CA Highway 43 and made our first stop to change drivers.

The Red Wagon Cafe south of Shafter was our first stop of the trip on CA Highway 43. We made it north of Shafter before we spotted 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 we made it into 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. I shot the consist.

California Comet Coach 5009 The Valley Flyer.

California Comet Coach 5013 The Citrus Belt Limited.

California Comet Coach 5011 San Diegan.

California Horizon Cafe 53509 Pacific Harvest.

California Comet Coach 5014 Spirit of California.

California Comet Coach 5008 The Redwood.

Amtrak Cabbage Car 90229 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 things 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, Citrail 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 at Hesse Avenue. From here we headed up north to the big curve south of the Kings River. We took CA Highway 43 north to Flint Avenue west and at the tracks we 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 gassed up the rental car then went to Carl's Junior for dinner before we drove north up 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 MacDonald. 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 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 Ex Penn Central GP-38 3809.

The front of that San Joaquin Valley Railroad train.

The Van Ness Wig Wag once more.

The Fulton Street Wig Wag once more.

The former Trolley Cafe.

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 trhe 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 people 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.

We took the car to the office in Merced and Chris went with the guy to a shop next story that said "Don't drive that car!" The Ford Focus we had was a piece of junk and did not have current registration stickers. Good bye to that car. They gave us a Nissan Altima which we just loved. We got on CA Highway 99 to Bradbury Road which we took west to CA Highway 165 north then West Harding to Chermurig 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.

Turlock Western Railroad GE 44 Toner 25.

Former Southern Pacific SD-9 4409.

Turlock Western Baldwin S-12 17.

Scenes around the Turlock Western Railroad.

Three more views of Union Pacific Caboose 25696.

Turlock Western Railroad GE 44 Toner 26. After that picture we walked back to the office and signed out thanking them for letting us take our picture this morning. We left their property and stopped along West Harding Road and walked up onto the levee of a canal to continue our picture taking here. Enclosed are some very unique railroad engines and I will do my best to show you them.

In these two views you see California Central Traction GP-18 1795 and two more ex Southern Pacific SD-9s.

The ex Southern Pacific SD-9s.

A BN switcher cab.

Ex Southern Pacific GP-40 7632.

Ex Union Pacific SD40 3913.

Another view of ex Union Pacific SD40 3913 and ex Southern Pacific GP-40 7632.

Southern Pacific SD-7 1533 and ex Santa Fe 1331. They also have ex Santa Fe Alco S4 1518 and BUGX 621 a very early EMC switcher. With that done 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.

Click here for the next part of this story!