Old Black and White Photos of CWR’s (California Western Railroad) M300 Railbus

The M300 was built by American Car & Foundry in 1935, Order #1432, as Seaboard Air Line RR 2026, part of a three car order, 2024 thru 2026. She was sold to the Aberdeen & Rockfish as 106. In 1951 and was purchased as Salt Lake Garfield & Western M.C.3 to replace their electric cars. Finally, in 1963 she became part of the CWR roster where she was numbered M300. So (in 2019) she’s 84 and still rolling along. Not bad eh?

Daughter Annalise, who works at Berkeley University and has access to their archives, found these pics for me:

M300 on a trestle on the Skunk Line

M300 on a trestle on the Skunk Line

Interior of M300

Interior of M300

M300 at the Depot in Fort Bragg

M300 at the Depot in Fort Bragg

CWR (California Western Railroad) Skunk Train Railbus M80

We were recently given an exquisite O scale model of CWR’s M80 – see pic below.

 

I thought I had a bunch of colour photos of M80 but can’t find ’em. You can read about M80 in our main website here. There’s also an “addendum” in this blog.  I do have a couple of new to me photos of M80 taken quite a while back.

M80 at the Fort Bragg Depot

M80 at the Fort Bragg Depot

M80 at Fort Bragg

M80 at Fort Bragg

M80 crossing the Noyo

M80 crossing the Noyo

No colour photos sadly.

 

A video entitled The Redwood Route (AKA The Skunk Train in the 1940’s)

This is the text that our computer guru, Roger Thornburn,  inserted at the beginning of this lengthy (44 minutes) video:

Redwood Route is a 1940’s video made by the Union Lumber Company of Fort Bragg, Mendocino, CA. The video was made to promote the railroad as a tourist attraction, and the redwood tree logging business as a modern sustainable resource. It shows both the operation and maintenance of the railroad. The video was originally shot on 16 mm film and then transferred to VHS in the 1980’s and to digital format around 2005, hence some of the quality issues.

As historian of the club I found it interesting to see how the CWR (California Western Railroad) operated up over Summit – the last big hill before you get to Willits. I also enjoyed watching how useful the Skunk train was to those who lived along the line from Fort Bragg to Willits.

PS – Roger also added the sound.

Railbus M200 which used to belong to the Califiornia Western Railroad running at Niles Canyon

The California Western Railroad (aka The Skunk Train) used to have four railbuses – M80, M100, M200 and M300. One of them, M-200, still exists and is still running but not on the Skunk Line. She has been completely restored and she runs on the Niles Canyon Railroad (out of Sunol not too far from San Francisco).

M200  was built bythe Skagit Steel & Iron Works, MAC Division, in January 1926.  Only her rear truck is powered by a diesel-hydraulic engine. She weighs 21 tons.  Her history: She was built new for the  Longview, Portland and Northern Railway  as their #20. She became the Trona Railway #22, Trona.  She was cquired by the California Western Railroad in 1941 as  #M200. She was acquired unserviceable by the Niles Canyon Railroad in July 1975. Completely restored she returned to service in 1985.  Her inaugural passenger service was in May 21, 1988.  She is still in service as this vid shows:

Thanks to our Chief Operating Officer, Frank Davis, for the heads up on this one.

Photos of the CWR (California Western Railroad) buildings and equipment by Stephanie Perdue

I received this e-mail from Stephanie Perdue a day or so ago:

“…….. Thank You…. and to Chuck for giving us the “VIP” experience. We had a great time and my father-in-law was thrilled to see everything. You guys are amazing and have done great work with your museum, we are honored to have met you and learned of your experiences.

Look forward to seeing you again, next time.
Thank You again”
Her pics of the layout were stunning – you can see them here. Here are her CWR photos. They are brilliant.  Double click on one photos and you’ll see the pics full size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

CWR’s (California Western Railroad) M100 Railbus when she was yellow

CWR’s (California Western Railroad) M100 Railbus wasn’t always the colour she is now – maroon. For many years she was yellow. Here’s a gallery of her in her canary finery:

NWP (Northwestern Pacific) RDC Budd Railcar

NWP Budd Railcar standing in Willits Station

NWP Budd Railcar standing in Willits Station

Many, many moons ago I saw the above pic in a book on the NWP. The pic recently resurfaced when Operations Manager Frank Davis was doing some research. Per the NWP site that Frank found, “1961 Railcar Lineup, SP 10, Budd RDC car operating as NWP Train 4, ready to start its tri-weekly run from Willits to Eureka on September 30, 1961. It will leave at 1:45 and arrive at Eureka at 7:20, taking 5 1/2 hours for the 98-mile run. Barely visible to the rear are California Western Railroad railcars M80 and M100, ready to depart for Fort Bragg on the coast.”

As soon as I saw the pic I wanted one for our layout. I have been looking to get one for several years at a price we can afford.

The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit car (DMU)  Between 1949 and 1962, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia. The cars were primarily adopted for passenger service in rural areas with low traffic density or in short-haul commuter service, and were less expensive to operate in this context than a traditional diesel powered train with coaches. The cars could be used singly or several coupled together in train sets and controlled from the cab of the front unit.

Wiki tells this story: The Budd Company entered the market in 1932. Heretofore Budd was primarily an automotive parts subcontractor but had pioneered working with stainless steel, including the technique of shot welding to join pieces of stainless steel. This permitted the construction of cars which were both lighter and stronger. In 1941 Budd built the Prospector for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW). This was a two-car DMU. Each car had a pair of 192 horsepower (143 kW) diesel engines and was capable of independent operation. The cars were constructed of stainless steel and included a mix of coach and sleeping accommodations. The design was popular with the public but undone by the difficult operating conditions on the D&RGW. It was withdrawn in July 1942, apparently another failure. However, several technical advances during the WWII  would encourage Budd to try again.

The proliferation of large powered vehicles such as tanks and landing craft led to the development of larger diesel engines and, just as importantly, the hydraulic torque converter. Budd, which by then had produced more than 2,500 streamlined cars for various railroads, took a coach design and added a pair of 275 hp (205 kW) diesel engines. Each drove an axle through a hydraulic torque converter derived from the M60 Patton tank. Budd broke with the “railbus” designs of the 1920s–1930s and used a standard 85-foot (26 m) passenger car shell. The result was the RDC-1, which made its public debut at Chicago’s Union Station on September 19, 1949.

The RDC came in 5 variants. NWP’s was an RDC 3.

Drawing of an RDC 3

Drawing of an RDC 3

What was it like inside?

Inside of an RDC

Inside of an RDC

And what did they look like running? This is quite a lengthy vid which, me being me, I have looked at in its entirety three times:

Now comes the good news. We/I finally landed a G Scale model. She has been fitted with a battery, sound card and radio control. She’s heaven to see operating:

RDC pulling into Tunnel #2

RDC pulling into Tunnel #2

 

RDC adjacent to Big River

RDC adjacent to Big River

RDC by Tunnel #3

RDC by Tunnel #3