Facebook Page

Niles Canyon Railway Robert Dollar 2-6-2T 3 Trip 3/13/2021

by Chris Guenzler

We woke up at the Best Western Plus and once ready, we went to MacDonald's for breakfast where I had hot cakes and sausage and brought it back to the room. After that, we checked the Internet as we do each day and then met Greg and Marty at 9:10 and we drove to the Livermore Altamont Commuter Express station parking lot where we parked.

The Southern Pacific Livermore station built in 1892.

There are two different plaques on this historic building. From here we drove straight to Sunol and parked, then I went and picked up our tickets for today's trip while Greg picked up his for he and Marty.

Robert Dollar 3 History

Robert Dollar Co. No. 3 is an operating steam locomotive on the Niles Canyon Railway. It is notable for having been the last wood-burning locomotive built for an American company. The Number 3 was built new by the American Locomotive Company for the Walter A. Woodard Lumber Company in November 1927. The Woodard Company assigned the 3 to its sawmill in Cottage Grove, Oregon. In 1942, the sawmill, and the locomotive along with it, was sold to J. H. Chambers & Son. They kept it for just four years before selling to facility and locomotive to the Lorane Valley Lumber Company in 1946. In 1951, the locomotive was sold again, to the Robert Dollar Lumber Company. The Robert Dollar company converted the locomotive to burn oil, and finally donated it to the San Francisco Maritime Museum Association. The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park ended up not having much use for a locomotive, and she was leased in 1973 to the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association (it was eventually donated). The Western Railway Museum began restoration of the engine in 1979, but this project was not finished, and the disassembled No. 3 was donated to the Pacific Locomotive Association (Niles Canyon Railway). Restoration on Robert Dollar Company No. 3 was completed in February 2007, and she has been operating in regular excursion service ever since. In a special event in 2009, she operated side by side with Southern Pacific 2472 and Union Pacific 844.

Our Trip

Elizabeth and I walked down to the crossing and across to get our first pictures of the steam engine today.

Robert Dollar 2-6-2T 3.

Our train in front of the Sunol depot.

My lovely wife Elizabeth anticipating her first ride behind Robert Dollar 3. We boarded the train and took seats in our usual open car.

Our tickets for today's trip.

The engine ran around the train at Sunol.

The Southern Pacific Sunol station.

At 10:40 AM, the engine released a blowdown as the train started to move. Now sit back and enjoy a trip on the Niles Canyon Railway's first excursion of the 2021 season. This is also my first ride behind the Robert Dollar 3.

The trip from Sunol to Niles.

The Southern Pacific Niles station as seen from the train.

Robert Dollar 2-6-2T 3 went around to the front of the train for the return trip to Sunol.

Amtrak Capitol Corridor 729 at Niles en route to San Jose.

The train leaving Niles for Sunol. I took the pictures off the camera and put them into the computer so I would be able to start afresh for the next story. I labelled the pictures then relaxed for the rest of the trip. We arrived in Sunol and had to find Glenn Fountain for our member Brightside Yard tour.