Facebook Page
A Visit To The Western Pacific Railroad Museum
  I knew that since I was gonna be in the northern California area on this trip, I wanted to visit the Western Pacific Railroad Museum after hearing from another railfan friend of mine back home in New York about how great a museum it is! So after a quick breakfast at McDonald's, I hopped on I-80 and began the 180+ mile drive from Vacaville which was rather non-descript through Sacramento and Auburn. Once east of Auburn however, I would start climbing through the Sierra Nevada Mountains! I was in shock! This has to be one of the most beautiful drives I've ever done. And to think, I rode the train through these mountains yesterday! I decided to make a brief stop in Truckee, CA to possibly see the eastbound Amtrak California Zephyr but when I got there, I was 2 hours ahead of the train, so I continued driving up to Portola, about an hour north of Truckee.
  On the way there, I witnessed a small cattle drive on a farm somewhere not far from Portola. It reminded me of a scene in the movie "City Slickers"! I eventually got to Portola and started exploring this incredible museum! I took a lot of photos of pieces of equipment they had on display, mostly of Western Pacific heritage but also stuff from railroads like the Union Pacific! This is by far, one of the best railroad museums in the country! Lots of the equipment is open and you can climb aboard some of the locomotives and cabooses on display there. The museum also offers engine and caboose rides, and you can even operate a locomotive here as well! Although I didn't do any riding or running of any engines while here, I definitely want to get back here again on a future trip to take a caboose ride and run a locomotive!
  Well, I stayed here for a good part of the afternoon and had a nice chat with a member of the museum staff as well! Included here is a collection of photos from this great museum. Special thanks goes to the museum staff for providing me with the historical information about the equipment you'll see here. If you're ever in the Northern California/Northern Nevada area, you should definitely take a drive to this museum. There's lots to see and enjoy whether you're a fan of the Western Pacific or just a railfan in general! Have fun!!!
This is the main shop building at the museum. Tracks do lead into the shop so work can be done inside so weather is no issue.
Located inside the shop are former Western Pacific Dome-Lounge-Dormatory Car #832 - "Silver Hostel" along with former
Union Pacific Heavyweight Business Car #105 which was built originally for the President of the Union Pacific!
The other end of the "Silver Hostel" which is currently under restoration. This car was built by the Budd Company in November 1948
and was one of 6 cars of its type that were built for the California Zephyr.
The other end of Union Pacific Business Car #105. This car was built by Pullman in March 1917.
Feather River & Western Fairbanks-Morse H-12-44 #1857. This engine was originally built for the U.S. Army in 1953 and is one of
the engines available at the museum that are part of the "Run A Locomotive" program where you can be an engineer for an hour!
Sacramento Northern EMD GP7 #712. It is the only existing SN locomotive today and was originally built for the Western Pacific.
Southern Pacific EMD GP9 #2873. This is another locomotive you can operate as part of the "Run A Locomotive" program and is
painted in what has been known as the "Kodachrome" paint scheme that was part of a merger between the Southern Pacific and
the Santa Fe Railway which ultimately was stopped but only after several locomotives were painted into this scheme which had the
letters positioned so that after the merger, the other railroad's letters would be included. In this case, the sides of the locomotive
would have read "SPSF" once the merger was complete. Today, this is one of the only locomotives still wearing this paint scheme.
Southern Pacific EMD SD9 #4404, built in 1955.
Union Pacific "Centennial" EMD DD40AX #6946. It is the last of the original 47 locomotives of this type
built for the UP with this unit being built in September 1971.
Western Pacific ALCO S-4 #563, built in June 1951, it was one of 2 S-4's built for the Western Pacific.
Western Pacific EMD NW-2 #608. Built in May 1940, and is one of the engines available in the "Run A Locomotive" program.
Western Pacific EMD GP7 #707, built in October 1952, this unit was regularly stationed in Portola in the late 70's and early 80's.
Western Pacific EMD GP7 #708, built in October 1952.
Western Pacific EMD GP9 #731, still in partial Union Pacific paint, and originally built in September 1955.
Western Pacific EMD FP-7 #805. Built in January 1950, it's the last WP California Zephyr unit in existence today.
Western Pacific EMD F7A #917. Built in January 1950, this engine is part of the "Run A Locomotive" program.
Western Pacific EMD F7A #921, built in January 1950.
Western Pacific EMD SW1500 #1503, still in Union Pacific paint. Built in 1973, it was the last switcher acquired by the WP.
Western Pacific EMD GP20 #2001. Built in November 1959, it was the first GP20 ever built and was
also EMD's first production turbocharged 4-axle locomotive.
A line of cabooses or should I say "cabeese" next to the big UP DD40AX "Centennial"!
Union Pacific vs. Southern Pacific, you pick a side! Truthfully, SP would eventually be bought out by UP in 1996!
A wide view of a very impressive collection of locomotives at this museum!
Union Pacific Class CA-5 Caboose #25283, built originally for UP in August 1952.
Western Pacific Bay-Window Road Caboose #428, which was part of the first order
of steel cabooses for the WP and built in November 1955.
Western Pacific Bay-Window Road Caboose #484 which was part of the last order of cabooses for the WP, having been built in May 1980.
Budd-built 10-6 Sleeping Car originally built for the Southern Pacific and later operated by Amtrak, numbered 2444 by Amtrak and
assigned the name "Magnolia Grove" while under Amtrak ownership. It was a common foreign road car on the California Zephyr.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Budd Dome Car #4717 "Silver Lodge" from the California Zephyr, built in April 1948.
Feather River Rail Society Baggage Car #5653. Built by American Car & Foundry in May 1954, it was originally built for Union Pacific.
Feather River Rail Society Lounge Car #754. Built by Pullman in 1948, it was originally built for Canadian National and
also operated on VIA Rail Canada.
California Zephyr Dining Car #841 "Silver Plate". Built in November 1948
by the Budd Company, it is the last surviving intact CZ dining car.
A view of the dining area of the "Silver Plate", nice interior!!!
One of the museum's engineers moving a cut of cabooses and pushing a gondola car, using the SP GP9 #2873.
The other end of the same cut of cabooses being moved around at the museum with EMD NW-2 #608 bringing up the markers.
Is it just me, or normally don't you have a caboose on the end of the train rather than an engine with cabooses as the consist?
The museum also features lots of freight cars on display as well as this Quincy Railroad GE 44-Tonner #3 which was built in 1945.
Lots of Western Pacific boxcars!!!
  TRUST ME when I say: What I've shown you here BARELY scratches the surface when it comes to the very large amount of equipment that is on display here. You really need to experience this museum for yourself! You can click the link below to view the museum's official site for more information about this great museum! After completing my visit here, I drove to a nearby Subway restaurant for a late lunch, then made the 180+ mile drive back to Vacaville, stopping in Truckee for gas. Once I got back to the hotel, I put away the camera and had dinner at Del Taco, the restaurant I wanted to visit in Toledo, OH on this trip but never got around to it due to time constraints! Well after visiting an incredible museum, the next destination on this trip would be what has become my favorite tourist railroad on the planet, and I'm not even a big wine drinker either! I'm talking about none other than the absolutely world class Napa Valley Wine Train. I would spend 3 days covering this railroad on this trip, click the link below to see why this train is one of my favorites!!!