Recollections of a trip in 1910 from San Francisco to Willits (by the NWP) to Duffy (by stagecoach) and on to Fort Bragg by the Skunk Train

I have no idea where I got the page that the following text and pics came from. It is the only description of a journey from San Francisco to Willits to Duffy and then to Fort Bragg that I know of.

The picture of the Duffy Mill is new to me. In our website in the section that describes all the places along the Skunk Train Route it says:

Mile 18.1 (from Fort Bragg)– Alpine or Alpine Junction – When Alpine was a thriving community it was the end of the line. Alpine was 12 miles north of Comptche. Stagecoaches came here from Willits via a ridge route to transport passengers. It had a population of 1,200 was said to have been larger than Fort Bragg. The town included a tavern, a school and a post office. A fire in 1919 destroyed the buildings and the town was never rebuilt.

Near Alpine there was a mill with a railroad called the Duffy Lumber Co. Duffey was located 2.25 miles east of Gracy. It was connected by a branch line to the CWR and had a mill. A post office operated at Duffey from 1904 to 1912.”

And the loco? I think it is the Willits “Express”. This 4-4-0 had 57″ drivers, was built in 1883 and weighed 115,000 pounds.

I’ve chopped the page up to make it easier to read:

Intro to page

Intro to page

Text of Letter

Text of Letter

The Willits Express

The Willits Express

Duffey Mill in 1910

Duffey Mill in 1910

Loading Lumber ifrom the banks of the Noyo River (Fort Bragg) in 1910

Loading Lumber ifrom the banks of the Noyo River (Fort Bragg) in 1910

 

The Whyte Classification System for Locomotives

This post is to answer oft asked questions from visitors to our layout (The Mendocino Coast Railroad & Navigation Co.) – how are locomotives classified and who invented the system. Last question first:

The Whyte notation for classifying steam locomotives by wheel arrangement was devised by Frederick Methvan Whyte, and came into use in the early twentieth century following a December 1900 editorial in American Engineer and Railroad Journal.

A related question that I received a while back was, “Is the Whyte system used worldwide?” I hadn’t a clue as to the answer until last week when an old club member, John Skinner, kindly donated a bunch of very useful historical materials into my eager mitts. Amongst the materials was this chart which shows how the classification system works and that not only is there an American system but also a French and German.

Whyte Classification System for Locomotives

Whyte Classification System for Locomotives

Every day something new learned.

The Flying Scotsman is back running

Many moons ago (2012) I wrote a blog, “The Flying Scotsman, The Fastest Train in the World, Heroine of the First Ever British Movie and Me.” In it I said, “The loco still lives. Bought for the nation (England) in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum in York,  she is now part of the National Collection. It was at York when visiting the Museum that I made peace with the Flying Scotsman. When I was visiting she was undergoing a very extensive maintenance and refit. “Undressed” as she was she was still a rare beauty.” I followed this up with another piece in August 2015 in which I broadcast the news that the restoration was nearing completion.

The good news is that she is strutting her stuff anew. Flying Scotsman was very recently running on the East Lancashire Railway. Thousands of spectators lined the route of the East Lancashire Railway to watch the world’s most famous locomotive, Flying Scotsman, under steam. Huge crowds turned out to both ride on and watch the Scotsman which was pulling carriages between Heywood, Bury and Rowenstall stations throughout Saturday and Sunday. Tickets to ride and stand on the staion platforms were completely sold out.

All aboard!!!!!

All aboard!!!!!

Ready to roll

Ready to roll

And for those who like movies ………

Just wish I’d been there. I’ve put a ride on my LIST though.

 

Restoration of Flying Scotsman nears completion

Many moons ago (2012) I wrote a blog, “The Flying Scotsman, The Fastest Train in the World, Heroine of the First Ever British Movie and Me.” In it I said, “The loco still lives. Bought for the nation (England) in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum in York,  she is now part of the National Collection. It was at York when visiting the Museum that I made peace with the Flying Scotsman. When I was visiting she was undergoing a very extensive maintenance and refit. “Undressed” as she was she was still a rare beauty.”

Built in Doncaster in 1923, the locomotive was named the 'Flying Scotsman' after the London to Edinburgh rail service which had been running since 1862

Built in Doncaster in 1923, the locomotive was named the ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which had been running since 1862

Flying Scotsman at King's Cross station in London in 1999

Flying Scotsman at King’s Cross station in London in 1999

The LNER Class A3 Pacific steam locomotive  No. 4472, Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 for the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works  to a design of H.N. Gresley. She was employed on long-distance express trains on the LNER and its successors, British Railways Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, notably on the 10 am London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman train service after which she was named. The Flying Scotsman was retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles

Flying Scotsman undergoing restoration

                                      Flying Scotsman undergoing restoration

Flyimh Scotsman nearly ready for the off

Flyimh Scotsman nearly ready for the off

Well the good news is that the the restoration/refit is nearing completion. After more than a decade out of action, the finishing touches are being put on the project that could see the steam train return to service in a matter of months. The hope is that the Flying Scotsman’s return to steam will be completed in late 2015. Once complete there will be a full programme of running in tests on heritage lines. Once she has built up sufficient mileage – 1,000 miles – and she is resplendent in new BR green livery she will be ready for her long-anticipated inaugural run between London and York – a triumphant return to her home, the National Railway Museum, at long last.

Flying Scotsman at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf in 1972

Flying Scotsman at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf in 1972

 

 

 

 

A Spiffin’ New Loco being built in England – a 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado called the Prince of Wales

I am still “unpacking/sorting through” all the “stuff” we collected on our (relatively recent) vacation in England. I bought several British Railway mags and I am only just now getting to read them. In the middle of the BRM (British Railway Magazine) was a grubby piece of paper which had written on it a URL. I stared at this stained piece of paper with the scrawling on it trying to get my addled brain to cough up its genus. I couldn’t remember. A couple of days or rather nights later on one of my nocturnal visits to the loo it came to me.

We were visiting the Bodmin and Wenford Railway  which is located in Cornwall in the far South-west of England. As we were about to leave I was confronted by a pimply, skinny lad housed in a very ill-fitting railway uniform. He was armed with a collection can which he rattled menacingly in my face.

“Got a couple o’ quid fer a new loco mister,” he said. “New loco?” I queried. “Yeah,” he said, “brand spiffin’ new from the bottom up.” “Hold, on,” I replied, “I gave 20 smackers toward the A1 and she has been built and has been running for a while now.” “Nah mate,” he scoffed,”Yer bleedin’ years outta date wiv yer info – this is fer the P2.” “The P2?” “Yeah, the P2 – she’s a big un – 2-8-2 Mikado type and she’s gonna be called ‘The Prince of Wales’ an’ she’s gonna be loike ‘The Cock o’ the North’”

His info seemed too precise to be a cock and bull story. “Tell yer wot, ” he said, “You give me a pony an’ I’ll give you the link to the website so’s yer can see I ain’t rippin yer orf.” “Deal,” I said, “if you don’t mind some in Euros.” “We don’t like rubles, shekels and wooden nickels but we’ll take anyfin else.” He dove into one of his capacious pockets and produced the grubby piece of paper which I had found in the BRM, found a pencil with barely any lead which he sharpened on a nearby brick wall and wrote down the link. I gave him a pony – twenty-five pounds – and with a quick. “Fanks mate,” he scuttled off to accost two Americans.

So, q1, what had I donated 25 smackers toward? A quick visit to Wiki assured me I had not wasted my loot:

“LNER Peppercorn Class A1 60163 Tornado is a mainline steam locomotive built in Darlington, England. Completed in 2008, Tornado was the first such locomotive built in the United Kingdom since Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways in 1960. It is the only example of an LNER (London North Eastern Railway (LNER) Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive in existence, the entirety of the original production batch having been scrapped without preservation. The locomotive’s namesake is the Panavia Tornado, a combat aircraft flown by the Royal Air Force.
Construction of Tornado began in 1994, and was based at Darlington Works for most of the project, while numerous components such as the boiler were manufactured elsewhere. The project was financed through fundraising initiatives such as public donations and sponsorship deals; further funding came from hiring out Tornado itself for special rail services. Construction was completed in 2008, and full certification of the locomotive was achieved in January 2009. Having been designed with compliance to modern safety and certification standards, Tornado has been conducting passenger services on the UK Rail Network and on mainline-connected heritage railways since 2008.”.

And, my twenty-five smackers had bought me a piece of a beauty – see pic below:

A1-4-6-2-Tornado

A1-4-6-2-Tornado

Alas, I have never ridden behind her. But, I have added such a ride to my Bucket List.

Q2, was the info I had bought from the ‘orrible urchin true?

A quick search on the ‘net established that the ‘orrible urchin was spot on. The P2 has an excellent website  which starts, “Welcome to the project to build the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales”  The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly 4-6-2s in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961.”

And what will she look like?

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales

The 7th Gresley class P2 will be aesthetically similar to P2 No. 2001 Cock O’ The North. Here’s the Cock O’ the North at work:

Cock O' the North

Cock O’ the North

If you want to get an idea of how big she will be her drivers are 6 foot 1 1/2 inches high – which is a ½ inch taller than me! She is named after Prince Charles who is the Prince of Wales. Construction began last year – 2014. Construction will take some ten years and she will be paid for solely by public construction. To date 1.7 million pounds have been raised in a year toward her estimated cost of 10 million pounds. You can contribute if you want.

Pretty spiffy what?