Old 10-29-2005, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default Western Pacific 1970's-80's in Northern Nevada and California

I have been trying to research Western Pacific Railroad information on the web to find railmaps, timetables, and freight handling information, in the Northern Nevada and California region (namely Reno, through California, and into Oregon (Portland) and have had no luck. This particular single mainline of tracks were taken over (or operated by) Southern Pacific, not Union Pacific. Can anyone direct me to a website, or is anyone here knowledgeable of this rail system?
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Old 10-30-2005, 01:54 AM   #2
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SP's (Central Pacific's) original transcontinental line went through Reno. WP, founded in 1903 later acquired a branch line to Reno. WP also operated the Sacramento Northern (an interurban line that operated from the Bay Area to Chico). As portions of that railroad were abandoned, WP utilized trackage rights over SP to reach the disconnected portions. SP and WP did share each other's trackage between Winnemucca and Wells, NV to provide current of traffic operation in each direction.

SP's Modoc line from Oregon to the east used to join the main track east of Reno near Fernley. This "Pyramid Lake Line" was later abandoned and the line swung eastward near Flanigan to join the WP line eastward.
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Old 10-30-2005, 03:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information. I'm still fuzzy though. I drew a sketch of approximately where the tracks lead. They start from Downtown Reno, and go north, pass under US-395 and walk their way accross to California and maintain a NW direction. I believe these tracks end up in Oregon. It doesn't sound like these are the tracks you just told me about.
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Old 10-31-2005, 05:50 AM   #4
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So far as I know, Western Pacific did not run north of The Feather River Canyon-- It tied in w/ BN at Keddie-- In the early days of the 1900's, The Sacramento Northern which was taken over by WP ran into Oakland, CA. SN provided both freight and passenger service until around the mid-30's, and freight only after that time-- SN ran southwest out of Sacramento ultimately reaching a rail ferry which carried the trains across The Sacramento River west of Pittsburg, CA.-- I believe the ferry was discontinued in the 40's, but the line ran as far as St, Marys College east of Orinda until the mid 50's-- All trains to this point were electrically powered-- The tracks were taken up back to Walnut Creek by the early 60's, and eventually back to Clyde by the mid 70's-- Clyde was the SN interchange w/ the railway for The Naval Weapons Station, Concord-- SN & WP hauled a lot of material into NWS-- SN/WP used trackage rights on the ATSF from Stockton, CA. after the ferry was discontinued-- SN/WP ran on ATSF to Pittsburg, CA. where they got on their own trackage which ran to Port Chicago, then south about 4 miles to Clyde-- SN/WP hauled a lot of material into and out of the U S Steel Mill at Pittsburg, to and from The U S Steel plant near Salt Lake City, UT.-- Of course, WP Tracks ran across Northern Nevada paralleling The SP Main into Utah-- Ultimately through an agreement, all WP & SP traffic ran east on the WP, and west on the SP, providing better utilization of trackage--
SN/WP ran north out of Sacramento to Marysville/Yuba City, then north to Chico-- As far as I know, they never ran north of Chico-- This line was de-electrified I'm told in the late 50's, but service was provided by diesel power well into the 80's-- I will try to locate the site regarding this information. and post it for you-- Hope this helps-- da Gator
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Old 10-31-2005, 02:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firegator
So far as I know, Western Pacific did not run north of The Feather River Canyon-- It tied in w/ BN at Keddie--
Minor correction: WP's "Inside Gateway" extended north from Keddie to join the Great Northern at Bieber, CA.

I'm weak on the geography of this area but do know that SP's Modoc line from Flanigan to Alturas did have a route west out of Wendel through Susanville that joined the WP "Inside Gateway" line north of Westwood.
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Old 11-03-2005, 04:59 AM   #6
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Default WP Trackage

Well gosh, I did a foul-up-- You are absolutely correct, and I knew that, but I guess the CRS is becoming terminal-- What I didn't know about was the connection between SP and WP north of Susanville-- In researching old maps, I think I found it, but can't tell exactly as the quality of the map is not the best-- It appears to run west from SP toward Bieber-- I think that would be the most likely location as the extreme terrain west and north of Susanville is too steep for practical railroading-- Thanks for sharing the info, and if you confirm the location, please share-- Best regards, da Gator

Guess what? Further research and I located the line you speak of-- This old map shows the line running west from Susanville and a connection with UP (old WP) at Westwood near Lake Almanor-- I don't know if this line is still in existance-- I drove a logging truck all through that area in the early 90's and don't remember seeing the line-- Adjacent to Hwy 36, east of Westwood is what appears to be an old roadbed, which is likely what we're talking about-- This has been most interesting-- Thanks da Gator

Last edited by firegator; 11-03-2005 at 05:57 AM. Reason: Additional Information
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Old 11-04-2005, 02:18 AM   #7
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Finaly, I get some correspondence about this! My grandmother lived just a few houses up from a horeshoe curve at Panther Valley (just north of Reno), and I never seen a train. In the early 80's, when I would spend the night, I would hear a train's horn around 06:00. Over the year's, when I would be at my grandmother's house during the day, I only seen one train, of about 10 cars, pulled by an SP geep. There was a warehouse that used boxcar service (which stopped in the early 90's, and spur tracks were removed), and on the other side of the horeshoe curve was a small business that utilized tank car service (still used today). There is a small intermodal facility at north Reno off of Parr blvd, which loaded and unloaded Golden Pig trailers, which as far as I know where only transported to the Sparks yard. When I went with my family to Frenchman Lake, the tracks were along the highway, and I always looked for a train. Long story short, I am developing a track plan for a future HO layout that will be modeling SP from Sparks, into the Sierra's, and wanted to include this WP line as far as it goes, and serve the industries and businesses, and perhaps reaching another yard. I don't know if your railmap shows, but I do remember a wye just off of the highway (not US 395, perhaps Hwy 36?).
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Old 11-04-2005, 02:46 AM   #8
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For some reason I just did a map search on Yahoo! for Chilcoot (wrong aparently), which is a small town just before Frenchman Lake, and found this interesting bundle of trackage! See link:

http://www.geocities.com/montana_rails/y_map.jpg
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Old 11-04-2005, 07:07 AM   #9
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Default Trackage Information

If you go to "Mapquest" on your 'puter, type in city and state-- When the map comes up, use magnification 8 on the left side of the screen-- That shows a lot of rail trackage-- You can follow the tracks using the pan buttons on the sides of the map-- I can not vouch for accuracy as some of the trackage shown on the map has been gone for years-- Hope this helps-- Regards, da Gator
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