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:

New/Rebuilt Engine installed in CWR’s (California Western Railroad) Skunk Train M100 MotorCar

The CWR enginehouse crew in Fort Bragg have been doing a great job and M100’s new/rebuilt engine was installed this week. Still more work to be done but 90 year old M100 is expected to take to the rails with a new lease on life in the near future. Webmaster Roger Thornburn took these pics:

You can see the bogie with the new engine in place under M100

You can see the bogie with the new engine in place under M100

M100 awaiting final parts before she hits the road

M100 awaiting final parts before she hits the road

New engine peeking out on left

New engine peeking out on left

Work in progress on M100

Work in progress on M100

New Engine for the Skunk’s (California Western Railroad) 90 year old M100 Railbus

If you check out the website  you can see that we have been chronicling the renovation of the Skunks M100 Railbus. The Enginehouse geniuses did a super job renovating her from top to bottom and end to end including giving her a new yellow coat of paint so that she looked as she did in her prime. She was back running and then the original diesel engine, notwithstanding the love and care lavished on her gave up the ghost.

Not to worry. A new, well rebuilt, engine has been acquired from Nevada and it is in the process of being installed. Check out the photos taken by webmaster Roger Thornburn below. We’ll let you know when she returns to work.

M100 with her empty engine compartment

M100 with her empty engine compartment

View of M100's empty engine compartment

View of M100’s empty engine compartment

New diesel engine for M100 - M100 in the background with the engine compartment empty

New diesel engine for M100 – M100 in the background with the engine compartment empty

Rebuilt diesel engine for the 90 year old CWR M100 Railbus

Rebuilt diesel engine for the 90 year old CWR M100 Railbus

Refurbishment of CWR M100 continues

The engine house staff have been using all their innovative powers to get CWR’s venerable M100 railbus back on the rails (as it were). When I visited the engine house last week they were trying to figure out where you find a replacement muffler for a diesel engine that is close to 100 years old? The answer is there are no sources so you have to invent. In the case of M100 the answer the geniuses in blue came up with was to modify a tractor muffler as you can see in the picture below.

Tractor muffler waiting to be installed on M100

Tractor muffler waiting to be installed on M100

I have always been curious as to what the chains do that connect the truck to the body – see pic below. The answer is that they are a safety feature to keep the wheels beneath the body in the event of a derailment. Ah so …..

Safety chain connecting wheel truck to the body of M100

Safety chain connecting wheel truck to the body of M100

Below you can see the rear entrance which is going to be modified so that there are doors across the steps which will mean that passengers can stand in the vestibule at the rear and look backwards down the track. A great boon for the photographers who visit the Skunk.

Rear entrance of M100 where the new door will be fitted

Rear entrance of M100 where the new door will be fitted

Area where photographers will be able to stand to look back down the track

Area where photographers will be able to stand to look back down the track

Refurbishment of CWR Railbus M100

Our website reported in August 2011 that CWR Railbus M100 was being extensively repaired and refurbished. I was recently allowed a peek in the enginehouse to see what progress has been made since August. I was pleased to see there was a lot of progress – see pictures below.

Battery compartment awaiting new batteries after wiring had been replaced

Battery compartment awaiting new batteries after wiring had been replaced

The old wiring was a cats cradle gone wrong - the new wiring is all tagged

The old wiring was a cats cradle gone wrong – the new wiring is all tagged

M100's refurbished diesel engine back in place

M100’s refurbished diesel engine back in place

Note the safety chains securing the diesel motor to the body

Note the safety chains securing the diesel motor to the body

There was more news from the enginehouse gurus …… passengers will be more comfortable with more leg room (one row of seats are to be removed) ….. there will a rear view viewing area and (this is a rumour) M100 will go back to being yellow as in the photo below:

M100 in the enginehouse at Fort Bragg in 1972

M100 in the enginehouse at Fort Bragg in 1972