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Double Headed Through the Foothills 11/04/2007

On the Sierra Railroad

by Chris Guenzler

Chris Parker and I left the Best Western Rama Inn in Oakdale just after 7:30 AM and drove down to the Sierra Railroad Shops. There we found the two steam engines that would be pulling our special steam train today, the McCloud River 2-6-2 18 and the Sierra Railroad 2-8-0 28.

Both engines in the fantastic morning light.

The McCloud Railroad 18.

Headlight and builder plate of the 18.

Two more views of the McCloud 18.

Sierra Railroad 28.

Headlight and builder plate of the 28. After some great pictures, we headed back over towards the boarding area for today's trip.

We stopped along the street for this overview of the Sierra Railroad Golden Sunset Dinner Train and new boarding area. We parked out on the street so we could make a quick exit. I had decided at this point to ride home with Chris and forgo the Amtrak mileage and long overnight bus ride. It will be interesting to see what time we will get home tonight to Santa Ana. It is 1:40 AM for the Thruway Bus from San Joaquin 704. Our train would be boarding at the old Sierra Railroad Dinner Train Station now a Mexican Restaurant. Just before 9:00 AM, our special steam train backed into the loading area. First the lounge supplies would be loaded onto the train before it would be spotted for boarding. I was at the perfect place and was the first person to board walking all the way to the rear partial open air coach taking the rear seat with Chris across the aisle from me. The trip was being run by the Pacific Locomotive Association with Henry Luna running the trip. It was announced that our first Photo Runby of the trip would be held at the grade crossing south of our train. We detrained and walked along the train on the way to the crossing. Our train consisted of the McCloud 18 and Sierra 28, Coaches 12, 14 and 15, 697 Open Air Concession Car and 599 Partial Open Air Car.

Our train at Oakdale ready to start our day of photography and train riding. I walked down and joined the Photo Line to wait for the first Photo Runby of the trip.

The train did the Photo Runby 1 in Oakdale. After such a fantastic Photo Runby, we all reboarded the train and we left Oakdale heading out of town. We passed many of the photographers who would be out chasing our double headed steam train today. Once we left the last grade crossings we headed out to along an orchard where our train stopped for the 2nd Photo Runby of the trip which we would do twice.

The train did the backup move for the next Photo Runby.

The train did Photo Runby 2.

The train did the next backup move.

The train did Photo Runby 3. After it was over we all reboarded the train and continued east down the Sierra Railroad.

Our train only traveled through the next curve and out onto the straight track passing through a five mile an hour slow order before we stopped for the next Photo Runby.

The train did the backup move.

The train did Photo Runby 4. The slow order did have an effect on the engines performance during the Photo Runby.

The train did the backup move.

The train did the next backup move. The train did Photo Runby 5. We all reboarded the train and our next stop would be Warnersville where the engines would be serviced.

The train took the curves towards the Dodge City Curves.

The train took the curve towards the Turkey Farms.

Four horses were watching our twin iron horses.

A few minutes later we traveled by the Turkey Farms with thought of a Thanksgiving Dinner racing in my head.

Our train taking the last curve into Warnersville. Here we would be allowed off for the servicing of our steam engines.

The train at Warnersville was being serviced.

Three views of the servicing of the engines.

The front of the McCloud Railroad 18. I walked to the rear of our train.

The rear of our steam special.

Our rear marker lights.

The coupler of our rear car. I went back onto the train to finish my lunch and found that the local flies had taken over the inside of our train. I changed film then went in search of other images to take pictures of.

The top of the Sierra 28 tender.

Light on the Sierra 28.

I took a pre departure picture at Warnersville.

The train took a curve to cross the next creek as we ran along a road with the chasers still with us.

The train came into Coopersville the destination for our trip.

Click here for Part 2 of this story