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The best of the Western Pacific Feather River Railfanning Trips

by Chris Guenzler

I made the different trips to photograph the Western Pacific in the Feather River Canyon including one in 1981 right before the railroad was merged into the Union Pacific. The other trips were in 1976 with my brother Bruce, 1978 with Jeff and then the last pre UP trips with Bill in 1981. We shall now go back in time to when the Western Pacific was still a great railroad.

On the way there you could start seeing WP power as far south as Modesto where the power for the Tidewater and Southern would lay over.

Stockton was a sure place to stop as was Marysville where I caught WP SW-9 606 in 1976.

Across the Feather River in Yuba City in 1978 was Sacramento Northern GP-7 712.

On Jeff and my trip back home we caught three of the WP F-Units being washed in Stockton.

Here is WP F7A 913 freshly washed.

Next was the green WP F7A 917. This was the only time I ever saw the F's moving.

Now onto the Feather River. Right outside of Oroville along Table Mountain we caught in 1981 a WP-BN Pool Train at Kramm.

One of my favorite photo location was at James where on the lower level the track climbs under Highway 70 then goes through a curved tunnel to reach the top level then under the highway again.

Here is that pool train again coming out of the tunnel and through James.

In 1978 we see WP 3522 West coming through James at the upper Highway 70 Bridge.

The train goes the long way through the tunnel as I walked along the highway to the lower view at the lower Highway 70 bridge. A word of caution here as I saw the largest Rattlesnake at my feet in the brush before the train came and my reaction put me up on the roof of my 1964 Chevy Impala with Jeff wondering where I went only being able to say "Snake!" Like Indian Jones, Chris Guenzler hates snakes! Now heading into the Feather River Canyon, you travel past the bridges at Pulga and the bridge at Rock Creek.

Jeff and I climbed the hill to get a shot of an eastbound near Merlin right above Rock Creek Bridge in 1978. Passing the Homeymoon Tunnels and the Serpertine Canyon, the bridge right before Keddie provided the view in 1981.

The bridge just to the west of the tunnel to the Keddie Wye. Right after the tunnel right below us in the previous shot the Western Pacific line ran out onto the Keddie Wye.

That train in 1976 came from Salt Lake City.

Now here is a shot of the WP 3022 leading a train off of the High Line in 1981.

Now we will take a little side trip up the first few miles of the Highline. Here is the same train as above crossing the high trestle right outside of Keddie.

A little further along the line we see a BN-WP pool train in 1976.

Now we will look at two pool trains at the same location with the first in 1976.

Now look how the vegetation has grown in a 1978 view of WP 3554 east. Heading back east through the town of Quincy the next access along Highway 70 was the over crossing near the Williams Loop.

Here we see the WP 3522 West in 1978.

In 1981 Bill and I got into the middle of the Williams Loop for the OME which sadly was all UP power and too short to make the complete circle.

Further east along Highway 70 we went to the east switch at Blairsden in 1976 for the WP 3515 West.

In 1981 Bill and I found the Clio Viaduct and were rewarded by the TOFC with WP 3516 on the point.

As the train headed east the TOFC parted the Turquoise painted signals unique to the Western Pacific. Back on Highway 70 took us to Portola, a WP division point with a small yard and engine facility that later became the Feather River Railroad Museum.

In 1981 we managed to get one all WP powered train with the WP U-30-B 3068 leading its train into Portola.

Well that gives you an idea what the old Western Pacific was like and I truly miss that railroad. Long live the memory of the Western Pacific Railroad!