Northern California railroad pictures are from past calendars by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society. Become a member!
Twin passenger traditions meet at Willits. Beloved M-80, California Western's original "Skunk," transfers a young couple to NWP's Budd car. Both services exemplified the informal approach to passenger operations. Each would stop anywhere enroute if you just waved a hand. Campers, fishermen, and hikers could board or depart at will under this friendly regime.
Jack Farley made this favorite among his photographs. Bank of Marin hand tinted it. The date is June, 1942 as No. 178 points a gravel extra bound for the construction of Marinship. Breasting the Cerro hill with a portent of many many more gravel jobs to come.
In March, 1964 Northwestern Pacific's own photographer, Ken Hawkins, overflew rebuilding efforts in the Eel River Canyon. Here a small quarry has been opened near Farley on Outlet Creek and a shovel is loading air dumps with ballast rock. - Charles Neal collection.
After three years leaving the Sonoma & Marin "to the gophers," Peter Donahue in 1881 opened the road to regular service. He celebrated by ordering his first Baldwin locomotive, No. 8 San Rafael. She is seen here in this photo as she originally appeared with fluted domes, wide-throat stack, oil headlight, crosshead pumps, and moon-shaped counterweights. See next photograph for the same locomotive. - Harlan/Shekel collection.
By 1901, at Tiburon, A.W. Foster had shopped her looks considerably. New domes, stack, headlight, counterweights; injectors replaced the crosshead pumps. Foster remained wedded to wood fuel. Rival North Pacific Coast was already using oil. - Jack Farley collection.
Bert Rudolph recorded this rare view of the main track side of Alton depot about 1955. Crews stopped here to register their trains on and off the Carlotta Branch. - Roots of Motive Power collection.
A Marin County tradition was the "Peanut" train, so-called because of the shrill whistle carried by Baggage Motor 370. The Peanut carried the daily newspapers from San Francisco to Marin readers. Here is the Peanut, captured by Jack Farley, about to end its run at San Rafael Union Station.
A beautiful sepia toned scene on the Mill Valley & Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway, as it was then called, about 1898 from the Jack Farley collection. In those days, Heisler No. 2, The Bull, wore a wood burning diamond stack and passengers rode open air steam cars like coach No. 20 down the mountain. The delightful gravity cars awaited the arrival of Bill Thomas as Superintendent in order to be invented. These passengers are all dressed up in their Sunday best, perhaps not intending to hike on the mountain at all. Their loss, but the photographer's gain. Mt Tam information at www.millvalleylibrary.org/history/
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An action moment caught on camera as an SP 2-8-0 rear end helper is about to cut off from its train rumbling over the hump at Ridge. Conductor has swung off, walked ahead to man the switch stand. Brakeman standing on caboose steps ready to pull the pin when the engine halts. Loco will then back downgrade light to Willits. - Jack Farley photo.
Busy Fort Seward. A 1953 rail fan excursion halts to let fans examine lumber loading practices. A forklift operator employed by Lindroth Timber Products is loading a string of gondolas. Lindroth leased the ground both north and south of the depot to give them adequate space to store and load lumber cut at their own sawmill. It's boom times on NWP and the railroad is one of the most profitable lines in America. - Cliff Nash photo, Ted Wurm collection.
Petaluma & Santa Rosa motor and slug 1008 - 1008B pause on the west Petaluma branch, just south of the junction switch with the main line. Despite the light two car train, the slug was necessary to get over the hump coming north up Water Street to breast the East Washington Street crossing. Fortunately, rails still grace this colorful reminder of our railroad heritage. Petaluma Trolley hopes to put interurban cars on them once again. Jerry Graham photo in the late 1930's. - Graham/Schlaich collection.
Navarro Mill Company 2-4-2 ST loco built by Rix and Firth of San Francisco. Photo at log landing near the Navarro River. This loco became No. 3 of the Mendocino Lumber Company in 1910 and survived World War II. Fine view of log loading practices in the redwoods. - Allen Tacy collection.
Jack Farley rode this fan trip crossing Scotia Bluffs trestle about 1950. Note the slide chute in the middle background. Such structures were common throughout the NWP lines. NWPHS has a scale standard drawing of them. Sometimes they were built out over the tracks, with the water they drew cascading down harmlessly at trackside.
A Willits hauler rounds a curve running north of Hopland at MP 99 with SD-9's 201 and 200, SP 4390 and 4424. It's January, 1994, and the vines of the Russian River Valley lie dormant awaiting spring bloom. - Angelo Figone photo.
Conductor tries to play traffic cop vs. tin lizzie in downtown Guerneville so Train 222 from Sausalito can get to the depot without smashing an auto. - Jack Farley photo.
Then and now at Camp Taylor station. Bruce MacGregor found the 1890's view of campers awaiting their train atop a redwood stump, at Marin County Historical Society. Dewey Livingston took the color photo of the same spot in 1988. Today the right of way is a hiking trail.
Northern California railroad pictures are from past calendars by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society.