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The X Rail Show You Did Not See!

by Chris Guenzler

This year was Winterail 30th Anniversary so they decided to do something different Friday night instead of the usual Railfan and Railroading Magazine Slide Show. I contacted Vic Neves and he asked if it would be funny which is what I planned. That night with no time limits to speakers they ran out of time before they got to me. This happened one other night at the Railfan Slide Show so I was not all that upset. Instead I decided to write the program and put in the sides of what I would have shown everyone there.

Let us get this show going!

Here I am at Lavic, California back in 1981 and I wondered why would anyone in their right mind go to Stockton, California for something called Winterail when we all had so many other choices.

I could take one of my local train trips like going to Solana Beach 66.6 rail miles from home.

I could go to Cajon Pass to see Santa Fe Trains.

Union Pacific Trains.

And Southern Pacific Trains all in Cajon Pass.

Just down the road I could be at Beaumont Hill.

The Tehachapi Loop is only three hours from my house in Santa Ana.

Donner Pass is eight hours away.

Another hour north is the Feather River Canyon with the Keddie Wye.

Out in Central Nevada is a favorite of mine the Nevada Northern.

Out east one can get a steam fix at the Western Maryland Scenic.

Another great one is the East Board Top.

Or the Cass Scenic Railroad.

Or you can do some of Bart Jennings Rare Mileage Trips like this one on the Idaho, Northern and Pacific.

Or on the Central Montana Rail.

Or on the Georgia Southwestern.

One could take a Joe Harper Photo Charter like this one on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad.

I could have been up at the Izaak Walton Inn and photographing the Empire Builder on the east side of Marias Pass.

Or I could be on a train trip like at Minot, North Dakota really experiencing Winterail at 20 below!

I could be at Princeton Jct photographing the Northeast Corridor after detraining from an Amtrak train.

Or riding Via Rail like this scene at Jasper, Alberta.

At sunrise at Churchill, Manitoba, a minus 25 degree scene.

Want a warmer climate, how about a train in the Altar Desert in Mexico.

In Mexico you never knew what you might see!

You could be on a famous mainline excursion like this one by the SP 4449.

You could always drop your pants at a passing Amtrak Train at the Moon Amtrak Event in Laguna Niguel. With all these things to do why would anyone go to Stockton, California. You heard of Winterail but how would you get there?

You could drive there and railfan along the way catching the Modesto, Empire and Traction in Modesto.

Or take Amtrak 715 north to Stockton while others flew to Winterail. But once at Stockton, what would we find?

We found the California Central Traction.

As well as the Stockton Terminal Eastern.

Or the old Western Pacific that even washed their units clean for you when you visited their yard. But there would be one thing in Stockton that would draw us all there, Stockton Tower.

SP 3764 East passed the mighty Stockton Tower.

Santa Fe 5634 East passed the Stockton Tower one early morning.

Amtrak 713 passed Stockton Tower on March 19th, 1999.

UP 9041 East passed Stockton Tower that same day. One year it rained and washed out all the rail lines except for the Santa Fe down the valley.

North of Lodi on the Central California Traction we found an ex CCT Box Car along their route.

Amtrak San Joaquin was put away in the Santa Fe Mormon Yard.

Missouri Pacific units were on a rock train on the old Western Pacific at Stockton Tower.

CNW Caboose 1122 bought up the rear of that train.

UP 3663 heads to the Santa Fe detouring over their railroad to Dagget before returning to home rail there.

Altamont Commuter Express became a new way for some to get to Stockton for Winterail. We all fell in love with Stockton because of Winterail and all of the trains here. But what to do on the way home?

The Sierra Railroad started running Railfan Specials the day after Winterail.

Or we could always stop by the Tehachapi Loop on the way home from Winterail.

This brings us to the end of our story.

Or could we say the ends of our story!