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Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad Trip 11/26/2022

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose at the Best Western and after a good night's sleep, checked the Internet then packed and checked out. I drove us to the Black Bear Diner where I enjoyed French Toast and bacon while Elizabeth enjoyed cinnamon French Toast. From here I drove us to Felton via CA Highways 183, 1 and 9, the latter a twisting and turning road that took us to Roaring Camp. We parked and walked in, picked up our boarding pass then visited the general store and bought Arcadia Publishing' "Images of Rail: Roaring Camp Railroads" by Beniam Kifle and Nathan Goodman. I then waited for a train to come into the station.

Roaring Camp station.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Heisler 2 "Tuolumne" reversing to its trainset for the 10:45 steam train.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Heisler 2 "Tuolumne" built by Stearns Manufacturing in 1900 as West Side Flume & Lumber Company 3 at Tuolumne, California then in 1900, was transferred to Hetch-Hetchy & Yosemite Valley Railway Company 3 "Thomas S. Bullock". In a 1925 corporate sale, it became Pickering Lumber 3, then another corporate sale in 1934 sent it to Westside Lumber 3 and was sold to the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad in 1963.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Shay 1 "Dixiana" built by Lima in 1912 as standard gauge 3 for the Alaculsy Lumber Company in Conasauga, Tennessee then sold to the Atlanta, Georgia dealer Southern Iron & Equipment in 1919 and became Smoky Mountain Railroad 3 at the W. M. Ritter Lumber Company, in Proctor, North Carolina, where it was converted to 36" gauge. It moved to McClure, Virginia before being sold to the Coal Processing Corporation in Dixiana, Virginia, in 1938. In 1958, F. Norman Clark found the engine abandoned near a coal mine in Virginia. He bought it in 1962.

We boarded the train, taking the first fully open car. On the first big curve after departure, this was the scene.

Crossing Indian Creek Trestle.

Our train passed a fallen tree.

A tree that our train ran around.

The redwood forest is a unique as it depends on a foggy environment.

Our Heisler took another of the curves on this route.

The train ran by another downed tree.

Another curve and more steam memories as our engine was really working hard on this eight percent grade.

I love scenes like this.

The good curves show our Heisler.

Stll climbimg this steep grade.

Our wonderful conductor Don.

The start of the old corkscrew route I rode when I was child; I remember it well at Spring Canyon.

The burnt-out trestle.

The other side of the burnt trestle.

The Spring Canyon signpost.

The track below us as we climbed the switchback. We reversed directions and continued up Bear Mountain.

The top of the burnt-out trestle.

Where the corkscrew route returned to our route.

Taking another curve on this unique railway.

Catheral grove of redwood trees.

You need to always look up.

We met speeder ten who did the safety run this morning for the steam trains at Westside.

The train took the curves towards Bear Mountain.

Another catheral grove of redwood trees. At Bear Mountain I detrained.

The train at the rest stop.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Shay 1 "Dixiana".

The Bear Mountain signpost.

The Bear dressed up for Christmas. I returned to the train and after four whistles everyone else returned to the train and we left here.

The 10:15 train has arrived at Westside. It is at the right side of these pictures before they continued on to Bear Mountain.

Conductor Don gave our train and inspection before he boarded the last car at Westside Junction.

Heading back down the grade to the switchback.

The train heads down the switchback.

Reversing down the switchback.

Reversing past the switch stand after which the train took up the switchback lead.

Now pointed the right way, we departed the switchback lead.

Our car passed the switch stand.

Steam flies by the switchback.

I think you know what engine pulled us.

The sun beamed down on our train on this returrn trip.

Curves abound on this railroad.

The redwood trees were beautiful.

The engine coming off the Indian Creek Trestle.

Heisler 1 performed a blow down before we returned to the station where the two of us detrained. It had been another fantastic trip on the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railway.

I then drove us out to CA Highway 17 and CA Highway 1 to Main Street in Watsonville then took Santa Cruz County Highway 156 to US Highway 101, to Santa Cruz County Highway 156 to CA Highway 152 to CA Highway 99, which I drove to Selma and The Habit for linner. I enjoyed a Tri-Tip sandwich and Elizabeth had a Char Burger and we both had lemonade. Elizabeth took over driving and we went south down the San Joaquin Valley.

Sunset as we passed through Delano. She drove the rest of the way to the Best Western Hilltop House in Bakersfield for the night.

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