A few days ago a gentleman named Mervin Mahler sent me four photos that I believe were taken from a scrapbook or photo album. I have separated them and you can see them below:
In his e-mail Mervin said …… “I received this with a group of Rockport photo’s. I know that these engines would not be [from there]. Have you seen these engines before? Willits to Eureka line?”
I wrote back ………. Attached is the picture of the train crew which I have converted to black and white and enlarged. If you look behind the left gentleman’s elbow it looks like rocks or possibly a pier in the water. Looking along the line of the right hand gentlemen’s shoulder to the edge of the photo looks like cliffs. The ground in all the photos looks very sandy.”
Derailment crew converted to b & w and enlarged
I continued ….. “One engine is a 2-6-2 and has #1 on it so I’ll search to see what pics I have of 2-6-2’s and get back to you. So, your guess of Rockport I think is a good one. My guess would be the Ten Mile Branch not too far from Ten Mile river.”
I started to go through my collection and homed in on the Western Railroader devoted to the CWR. Shonuff there they were:
CWR Locos 11 and 12
The final question is where the derailment happened. Well, the only place that I know of that the CWR went near the sea was on the Ten Mile Branch. This photo shows the route of Ten Mile branch along the dunes by Inglenook Fen.
Coast line along Inglenook Fen with path of Ten Mile branch marked
This pic is for the same stretch of coast taken from the above.
Google map of location of Inglenook section of the Ten Mile Branch
Anyone have more info or better ideas?
Our website has quite a good selection of photos of the CWR’s roster of locos. That said it is always nice to find new photos like this one:
CWR Loco #5 in the woods
Click on the photo to enlarge it.
What is particularly interesting about this photo is that iy says that #5 belonged the CWR & N(avigation) Co. – the predecessor company of the CWR when the ships owned by the CWR were part of it.
Redwood Grove became Grove and was 12.7 miles from Fort Bragg.
#11, a 2-6-2, was built by Baldwin. Our gallery of CWR’s locomotive roster includes several pics of #11 but does not include this one. Baldwin routinely photographed every loco it built and this pic would have been taken when she came out of the shop. The “N” was dropped and the CWR & N became the CWR.
CWR & N #11
I was in the Fort Bragg Depot of the Skunk Train this morning when I saw a happy sight – smoke from the stack of #45 as she made her way around from the engine house to the depot to take out the 10 o’clock.
CWR #45 waiting to leave this morning
The old girl came a cropper a couple of weeks ago when one of the wedges attached to the frame failed. Notonly did our 90 year old girl do herself some mischief she tore up a sizable stretch of track in the process. Below you can see the broken wedge:
It wasn’t lack of maintenance or anything of that sort – just one of those things that happen if you are old. Luckily a firm over in Ukiah (50 miles away) were able to fashion some brand new wedges using the old ones as “patterns”.
Old broken and newly made wedges
New wedge with locking bolt
Happiness is a puffing loco and she sure looked good this morning ……..
Eager to strut her stuff again
CWR Diesel #53 currently languishes in desparate need of refurbishment in the yard of Roots of Motive Power in Willets– see picture below:
CWR Diesel in yard at Roots of Motive Powe in Willits
Club President Phil Miller has a superb G-scale radio controlled battery powered copy of #53. Phil’s #53 is in pristine condition as you can see in the photo below:
Club President Phil Miller’s CWR Diesel #53
Last week at our Wednesday brekkers meeting a copy of Blowing Smoke Up the Noyo was being circulated. Phil was idly perusing the book when he became quite animated – there was a picture of #53 in operation – the first that he had seen. The photo is below and as you can see there is snow on the ground. As snow is pretty rare around Fort Bragg my suspicion is that the photo was taken in Willits.
Diesel #53 in the snow
Anyone have a source for more photos of #53?
Basil Casabona and I were working on our club layout this morning when CWR #45 rolled past us on her pre-summer season test trip (she passed with flying colours). It was a long time ago but the California Western Railroad once owned a much bigger loco – a “Super Skunk,” a 2-6-6-2. Coincidentally Basil owns a G Scale 2-6-6-2 and the track we were working on will handle his “Super Skunk” when it is finished.
The photos below were taken in 1970, some 40 plus years ago. #45 and #46 did not double head a train all that often and I suspect there are not too many photos of them operating in tandem.
September 1970 CW #46 and #45
September 1970, CWR 2-6-6-2 #46 filling her water tank at Fort Bragg
California Western Railroad (CWR) Diesel #53 still exists. According to club member Chuck Whitlock she was on yard duties in Fort Bragg when the wreck of her three companions occurred. She lives at Roots of Motive Power in Willits where she awaits restoration.
During the years 1946 and 1949 Baldwin produced 56 of these DS4- 4-1000 diesels. Number 53 was built for the Army Corps of Engineers and she served on several bases around the Western United States until 1952 when she was sold to the CWR.
Website visitor Isaac Kuster took this photograph of her on the same day he took the photos of the remains of the wreck of her companions.
CWR Diesel Number 53 awaiting restoration at Roots of Motive Power
CWR Diesel Number 53 basking in the sun awaiting restoration at Roots of Motive Power
Thanks for the pics Issac.
The only diesel locomotives that operated along the Redwood Coast belonged to the California Western Railroad (CWR). At the time the diesel roster in the Western Railroader in August 1965 was compiled the CWR had three diesel locomotives – see below.
CWR Diesel roster in August 1965
In 1952 CWR acquired a Baldwin S-12 which was numbered #54.
Website visitor Isaac Kuster wrote and asked if I had any information about a wreck involving CWR diesels #’s 51, 52 and 54. With the aid of club member Chuck Whitlock we were able to offer some modest help to Isaac who managed to dig up the whole story and took some new photographs of what is left of the wreck.
Isaac dug up from the files of the Ukiah Daily Journal the report on the wreck – see below.
Train Wreck 1970-1 as reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal
It gets better. Chuck, who as well as being a club member, is an engineer on the Skunk Line told me/Isaac that pieces of #53 and #54 were still lying beside the line where the wreck occurred. According to Chuck they fell off when the NorthWestern Pacific steam crane to salvage the diesels and clear the line. Isaac clambered up the Skunk Line from the Willits side to near the Summit and sure enough the pieces were still there – see his pictures below.
Cab of CWR Diesel Number 53 wrecked in January 1970
Cab of CWR Diesel Number 54 wrecked in January 1970
Piece of Cab of CWR Diesel Number 53 wrecked in January 1970
Piece of Cab of CWR Diesel Number 54 wrecked in January 1970
Piece of CWR Diesel Number 54 wrecked in January 1970
Thank you Isaac – your efforts are much appreciated.