How the Skunk Train Got Its Name – Version 3

Our website gives two versions of how our Fort Bragg Skunk Train got its name. There is a third version.

Every Wednesday morning at 8 am our club members gather in the Deli Restaurent in Fort Bragg (across the road from the Skunk Train depot) for an informal breakfast meeting. The Deli is also a sort of museum and houses two restored non-functioning locos, Daisy (a 0-4-2) looms over our table. Dinky (a 0-4-0) is in the back of building.

This morning after breakfast and a visit to our layout I needed another libation and went back to the Deli to tank up on java. In the course of conversation with a visitor at the counter whilst waiting for my brew he asked where the second loco was (Daisy was in plain view). I ended up taking hime to the back corner and showing him where Dinky lives. Whilst there I remembered that I had asked Roger Thornburn (our erudite webmaster) to photo two frames which tell of a third version of how the Skunk Train got its name …… it’s quite a bit different from the first two.

The full story can be found in the two pictures below. Here’s a quickie version.

Frederick N. Goranson (Fred to everyone who knew him) went to work in 1907 for the two-year-old California and Western Railroad and Navigation Company (CWR) as a steam locomotive engineer. In 1909 Fred got married and had three children.

In 1925 the CWR acquired a new Mack Railbus powered by a gasoline motor. Fred was asked to be its first engineer. Given two weeks to master the new machine he mastered it in one.

His family asked Fred how he liked the new Railbus. He said it was fine but “it smelled like a damn skunk”. This was nothing new to the kids as he said the same thing about anything that smelled funny to him. The kids thought it funny that their dad had “to drive a skunk”. The kids spread the word in school and soon the whole community was using “the Skunk” to refer to the new acquisition.

Take your pick, version one, two or three.

How the Skunk got its name - Version 3

How the Skunk got its name – Version 3

Fred Goranason - Engineer of the first Skunk (on the left)

Fred Goranason – Engineer of the first Skunk (on the left)