California - Nevada
westbound leg took us from Portola / Feather River Canyon to
Fort Bragg / Willits, CA
Western Pacific Railroad Museum, Portola, CA
After arriving at Portola from the Feather River Canyon, we
toured the amazing museum/shop of the Feather River Rail Society.
This facility does restoration and rental of vintage diesels and
streamliner passenger cars and has a storage area for unrestored
who could see the controls got to run a diesel back and forth -
pretty cool! Snow plows were a necessity in these mountains - a
rotary and a wedge were in good repair.
Wye Bridge, CA en route to Donner Pass, CA
Lots of train watching at Keddie on ex-WP mainline (now UP and
The Donner Pass has quite a reputation as a result of its
super-deep snows, as well as the fabulous tales of hardship,
cannibalism, and death in the winter of 1846. In 1952, the crack
SP passenger train, "The City of San Francisco", was trapped for
several days when 13 feet of snow piled up in Donner Pass.
Rotary plows and a hardy work crew rescued 286 passengers and
crew, unharmed by the ordeal. The SP snowsheds are still visible
on the mountainside.
County Narrow Gauge Museum, Nevada City, CA
This is ex-gold
mining and logging country. One of the prettiest spots on the
trip, the town
is justly proud of its many preserved mansions. The
museum is spotless and a number of antique freight cars grace
the spur track, along with a neat jitney railbus. The NCNG ran
from 1876 to 1942.
The Nevada County Traction Company is a 2 foot gauge line that
links the Museum to the nearby Northern Queen Inn. A little
yellow and green mine diesel pulling converted ore cars runs us
downhill through a switchback to a very scenic setting for
dinner, a streetcar suspended over Gold Run creek and waterfall
- The Trolley Junction Restaurant.
California Western Railroad, Willits, CA
near the coast, we return to Redwood country and
onboard the California Western railbus, better known as the
"Skunk Train" because of the terrible smell from early gasoline
engines. We run from Willits to Northspur for a BBQ supper in
the heart of the redwoods.
diesel train also makes the same trip with a slightly larger
passenger load. The Northspur to Fort Bragg leg of the run was
closed due to weakened bridge, so we ended up back at Willits and
bused to Fort Bragg. The Western California steam train was not
part of the tour but we watched it set out next morning.
Continue to California Southbound