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A Trip to Winterail 2007

by Chris Guenzler

It was time to go to Winterail 2007 in Stockton, California so like last year I had gotten Chris Parker a ticket and I would met him at Downtown Burbank early Friday morning. Anton and Jonathan both wanted to go with us this year for their first time to Winterail. Chris would pick up Anton on his way to Burbank and Jonathan would get on the Metrolink train at Fullerton that I would be on. That was the plan but as always "Everything works out if you let it!"

Metrolink 681 3/9/2007

I was up early to pack and eat before I drove to the Santa Ana train station and parked in the northwest lot. I walked over to the Santa Ana Blvd grade crossing to access to east platform. The train pulled in right on time and we left starting this trip to Winterail. I had told Jonathan to meet me on the lower level of the cab car at Fullerton. We stopped at Orange and Anaheim but then I got a feeling that someone was wrong. Sure enough at Fullerton no Jonathan. I walked the train but had no luck in finding him. We made our way to Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs before we made the final sprint into Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal arriving on Track 8. My train to Downtown Burbank would be on Track 8. I waited in the predawn coolness for that train to back into the station.

The train pulled in about fifteen minutes before departure time. I was relaxing when about a minute before departure time I heard a familiar voice say, "Is Chris Guenzler here?" I said,"Here I am! and soon Anton was carrying one of my bags off the train and I asked "Did we hear from Jonathan." Anton and I soon walked through the tunnel and out into the bus loading area where we found Chris Parker and a Chevrolet Impala. Chris told me that Jonathan was on the 60 Freeway about 7 miles away. We drove over to the east entrance and pulled up to bus level and waited for Jonathan to arrive. I joked that I lost the rail mileage to Burbank and we all had good laugh about it. Jonathan finally arrived and Chris went with him parking his car on level P3. Soon they returned and we were all on the road heading to Interstate 5 via Mission Blvd. This whole episode put us 45 minutes behind schedule. It turned out that Jonathan had forgotten to gas up and had to then miss the train at Fullerton. He got on the wrong road so it had taken him longer to get to LAUPT. We had an enjoyable drive over the Grapevine and stopped for snacks and gas at Lebec. Here we found someone needing a ride to the U-Haul Dealer on White Lane in Bakersfield so we drove him there. Now being in this western part of Bakersfield made me decide to follow the BNSF line north towards Hanford. Anton then spotted something and soon we were making a u-turn to investigate.

The Burger Depot on White Lane in Bakersfield.

A west view of this unique restaurant.

The drive through.

The exit driveway.

The view inside of this unique restaurant.

The menu above a window.

Ex Santa Fe 1576 Diner later known as Amtrak 8117. We all got back into the car and our next stop was a gas station for the barely under three dollar gas. Back on the road again we headed north to Shafter for a few pictures at the historic Shafter Station.

The Shafter Station.

A Santa Fe Caboose.

Another view of the Shafter Station.

A wig wag.

Another form of grade crossing protection. We next headed to Allensworth.

A platform for special stops to Colonel Allensworth State Park.

The entrance to the state park.

An ex Santa Fe Car on display.

Overlooking the state park. We drove north but a lost cell phone causes a little delay.

Amtrak San Joaquin 702 doing full track speed down this fast track south of Corcoran. We drove north to Selma and lunch at a Carl's Junior. After lunch while driving north through Fresno I got an idea about riding the train from Merced to Stockton. Anton and Jonathan both wanted to ride the train as neither had been on the San Joaquin before. We made it to the Merced Amtrak Station in plenty of time to buy our tickets to Stockton. Right after Jonathan got his, a train came into the station and we went outside for a look.

San Joaquin 714 had arrived into Merced.

Anton, Chris and Jonathan posed in front of San Joaquin 714.

The train left Merced with our northbound just south waiting for this train to clear.

BNSF local that ties up at Atwater.

San Joaquin 713 arrived into Merced and the three of us boarded. We looked for seats and guess who we found asleep aboard this train.

Ken Ruben who is also going to Winterail 2007. The three of us took a table in the cafe car and settled in for the trip to Stockton. Ken then joined us and we enjoyed the ride. Jonathan and Anton were impressed with the cafe car but not the California Coaches and bathrooms. The trip went very quickly and soon we were getting ready to detrain at Stockton.

San Joaquin 713 at Stockton.

Amtrak California 2052 at Stockton.

The Stockton Amtrak Station. We waited a few minutes for Chris Parker to arrive and soon we were off for the Best Western Stockton Inn where we checked in for the weekend. Since I do not like pizza, I walked over to KFC for a Three Strip Meal and A&W Root Beer. Back at the hotel I took a hot shower then changed into some fresh clothes before the five of us drove to the Railfan and Railroad/NRHS Friday Night Slide Show at the Scottish Rite Temple where Winterail 2007 would be held tomorrow.

3rd Annual Railfan and Railroad Pre-Winterail Pizza and Slide Party 3/9/2007

We arrived at 5:25 PM and the other four enjoyed pizza while I visited with Skip Waters of Dallas, Texas. At 5:50 PM I went inside and saved 5 seats inside the hall. The programs started at 6:00 PM with Steve Dorsett showing his "P&W Harbor Turn" I was next with my "Needles Sub" program. The projector showed all of our slide shows dark. Drew Jacksich showed the "Last Days of the McCloud". Forrest Becht showed "Some Favorites". Ed Lynch showed "Saudi Arabia Railroads". Mike Perchner showed his "NWP Retrospective". Phil Gosney had a program of pre Amtrak passenger trains plus a few snow shots which were fantastic. Steve Barry then did announcements and then we had a video on the restoration of Ocean Shore Railroad Car 1409. After that we had Keith Ardinger showing his "Mexican Surprise" including the Bosque de Chihuahua. Larry Zanker showed an excellent program about "Australia". The final program was by my good and dear friend Barry Christensen "Desert Crossings". As usual it was a very interesting and diverse evening of railroading. We returned to the Best Western for the night.

3/10/2007 We woke up at 7:05 AM and soon were across the street at Perko's for breakfast with Chris, Anton and Ken with me enjoying French Toast and sausage links. Anton needed to pick up some Amtrak tickets for a Coast Starlight trip in a few weeks so Chris and I drove him down there. They went inside to take care of ticket matters and I went out to the tracks to watch some trains.

First a BNSF coil steel train with DPU's on the rear end.

Next Amtrak 711 arrived into Stockton.

While 711 was in the station, San Joaquin 712 came down the siding into the Stockton Station. We then returned to the Best Western and picked up Jonathan and Ken to head to Winterail.

On the way there, we stopped by the former Central California Railroad shop for a view of this steam engine under restoration. From there we drove to Winterail 2007 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Stockton, California. We parked out on the street for an easier escape at the dinner break tonight.

Winterail 2007 3/10/2007

We all walked in and I headed to the swap meet to see what was for sale. I first picked up two public timetables one an October 23, 1949 Illinois Central and an October 14, 1945 Missouri Pacific. I also picked up "Santa Fe Passenger Trains in California" by Patrick C Dorin. I visited Charley Smiley table picking up two programs: "Santa Fe Vintage West" and "Scarlet and Gray Memories". After that I went outside to have a Tri Tip Sandwich before taking my place in line but this year I sat in a chair. I borrowed Jonathan's cell phone to call Lets Talk Trains, the Internet Radio Show, every Saturday morning 10 AM to 1 PM Pacific Time or 24/7 in the archives. At 11:30 they opened the Theater Doors and I got us the same seats we had last night at the Pizza Party.

Jonathan, Anton, Ken and Chris before the first program at Winterail 2007 started. After the Pre-show Announcements the first show was "Plywood & Paradise" by Bob Eisthen. Next we enjoyed "The Magnificent Mina Subdivision". That was followed by the "Reno Trench" by Bruce Blackadar. During the break between the shows, I took Anton out into the Swap Meet and we found some Southern Pacific Public Timetables for sale at a good price. The next show was "The First 10" by Raymond Lewis. The Winterail Shorts started with the "Patch" spoof which was hilariously funny followed by "SP Memories" by George Andrews and "Blossom Valley Railroading" by Ken Rattenne. The next show was excellent called the "Bill Darrough Story" by Steve and Ken Sloan. The last afternoon program was a movie called the "Coast Daylight" by Don Olsen. We skipped the "Three Favorites" and headed to the Black Angus for dinner with me enjoying a Top Sirloin. After dinner we headed over to the Stockton Tower and really wanted to see a few trains.

A UP northbound train at the former Stockton Tower location.

Next another UP freight this time southbound. After that we returned to Winterail 2007 for the evening shows. The Photo Contest Awards were given out for those back from dinner. Next "Long Black Train" by Jon Shaw who was then given the Winterail Hall of Fame Winner. The first evening program was "Helena West" by Ted Smith-Peterson. We had a repeat of the Patch Short before "When Steam Moved Mountains - Nevada Northern Railway" by Gordon Osmundson. The last program was "Steaming Along" by Steve Barry. It had been another excellent Winterail Program and next year will be the 30th Anniversary Show. We returned to the Best Western for the night.

3/11/2007 We got up and then Chris and I went to gas up the car to get some snacks. After everyone had checked out we headed to the Amtrak Station to drop Ken Ruben off. Next we headed over to the Stockton Terminal & Eastern Shops for some Alcos in storage.

Stockton Terminal & Eastern S-1 503.

Stockton Terminal & Eastern S-1 504.

Stored locomotives at the ST&E Shops.

Stockton Terminal & Eastern S-1 503.

Stockton Terminal & Eastern S-2 557.

Stockton Terminal & Eastern S-1 507.

An ex Tidewater Southern engine had been a part source for years. Back onto Highway 99 as we drove I thought of a new plan to head home to show Chris, Jonathan and Anton some new things. We got off the freeway at Tolummne/B Street just missing a northbound UP freight. I gave directions to our next photo location and a surprise for the guys.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 2921 in Beard Brook Park in Modesto.

The rear of this former great engine.

A side view of Santa Fe 2921. Next we drove east to the engine house of the Modesto & Empire Traction.

Across the street view of the M&ET Shops.

Ground view showing the shop area.

M&ET 610.

M&ET 611.

Ex Santa Marie Valley Railroad 612.

Another ex Santa Marie Valley Railroad 613.

M&ET 604.

M&ET 603.

M&ET having given its all to one of its brother locomotives. We drove over to Empire then headed down J7 to the Tuolumne River to catch Ken Ruben's train at this spot.

As we pulled up first this northbound BNSF freight came to cross the bridge.

San Joaquin 712 with Ken Ruben aboard crosses the bridge. Next we headed south to the Merced River Bridge to set up there to catch San Joaquin 701 for Sacramento. We drove south down J7 until we spotted a headlight.

A BNSF piggyback train headed north this beautiful morning.

San Joaquin 701 crossing the Merced River Bridge. We drove through Merced then continued to follow the BNSF line south.

A Monument east of Merced to George Hicks Fancher, born New York State February 5, 1828 and died in California March 30, 1900.

We drove to Le Grande and made a stop for snacks. We headed back to Highway 99 through Madera to our next stop at the BNSF bridge across the San Joaquin River.

San Joaquin 713 crossing the train's namesake San Joaquin River.

Amtrak 713 going away at track speed. We returned to Highway 99 and headed south.

A Union Pacific freight just north of Tulare.

The JD Heiskell Company Caboose on display in Tulare.

JD Heiskell Company locomotive in Tulare.

A Union Pacific bare table train was following the first train. Back on Highway 99 we made a sudden stop just south of Tulare to catch two more JD Heiskell locomotives.

A pair of GP-9's at this new grain elevator.

Further south down Highway 99 we caught the first freight again at Kimberlina Road.

Here are the DPU's on the rear end of that freight.

The Southern Pacific Bakersfield Station.

The UP Fuel Racks in Bakersfield.

The former SP turntable in Bakersfield.

A San Joaquin Railroad engine at Bakersfield. From here we drove east to get lunch before heading to Railfan "The Hill".

At Caliente a BNSF train with two CSX units on the point took the horseshoe curve at Caliente.

Those CSX units on the point of this BNSF train.

A BNSF freight approaching Tunnel 2.

About to enter Tunnel 2.

Helpers with a TFM unit in the consist.

The DPU's exiting Tunnel 2.

The first UP eastbound approaching Caliente.

I made a mad climb to get you all this picture of that freight round the Caliente Horseshoe.

The view of the rear of this train.

The DPU's working hard on this tough climb. From here we drove to the Tehachapi Loop and let Anton and Jonathan experience the loop for their first time.

A BNSF freight crossing the top of the Loop.

Chris, Anton and Jonathan at the Tehachapi Loop.

The TFM unit.

The train pulling away.

The rear of the train leaving the loop area. After that train we switched location to give our two young friends another view of the Tehachapi Loop.

Another UP freight climbs the loop.

The Union Pacific train looped itself in this picture.

The lead unit completing the loop.

Same train now heading for Marcel.

The DPU's now working towards Marcel.

A UP Ballast Train rounding the loop. We next headed to Tehachapi for some gas and snacks.

A BNSF westbound stopped at the Summit just east of the town of Tehachapi. We would now head home from here.

Just after we had turned off onto CA Highway 14 we stopped for one last shot as the train headed out into the desert. Chris had offered to take me back to Santa Ana since I would miss the last Amtrak train at LAUPT at a decent hour. As we neared the bottom of Soledad Canyon I remembered that Metrolink had an evening train I could take home if we got to LAUPT by 8:45 PM. Chris did a great job of driving and got me to LAUPT at 8:20 PM. I said my goodbyes to Chris, Anton and Jonathan and walked to Track 8 to wait to board my train home to Santa Ana.

Metrolink 660 waited for its on time departure to Oceanside. It was a quick trip and soon I detrained at Santa Ana where I drove home ending a very interesting trip to Winterail 2007.