Another question posed to me last weekend was, “I remember as a child travelling by train from Kansas City to San Francisco. Do you have any idea what train I might have traveled on?” My answer, “Off the top of my head, No.” Well since my answer I have had a quick search on the internet and a search in my collection of railway books.
As the person who asked the question was middle-aged it would mean that the journey took place around 50 years ago. This map shows probable route:
Double click on the map to “blow it up.” Although the map is as of 1891 I think the route would have been the same some 60 years later: Kansas to Topeka to Florence to Burriton to La Junta to Salt Lake City to Sacremento to San Francisco.
Does anybody know the name of the express train that one might have ridden?
A day or so ago – see blog just below – I was asked why we didn’t have railroad songs playing in the background on our layout. I asked the lady who made the suggestion to name her favorite five – which she did – right off the bat. At the end of the blog I asked if there were any more suggestions to add to our play list. Well, I’ve had two more suggestions:
Morningtown Ride by the Seekers. This version was filmed in 1966 on the ‘Puffing Billy’ near Melbourne with the kids from a local Children’s Home.
Midnight Special by Lonnie Donegan. Lonnie is a favorite of one of our club members. The legend of The Midnight Special is that a train would pass the prison each day at midnight and its headlight would flash through the bars and into the prison. The superstition was that if the light shone on you, that meant you would be the next man to get out of the prison.
I generally look at St. Patrick’s Day as a load of codswallop – an event drummed up by merciless merchandisers. However, when I came across these two pictures I had twinge, a very minor twinge of a change of heart.
I was sloshing paint on a backdrop at the layout yesterday when a lady came by to see what I was up to. As usual I asked her what she thought of the layout. She was very effusive in praise of the layout. “But,” she said, “I think you are missing something.” “Oh,” says I, “and what might that be?” “Music,” she said, “There are so many great railroad songs. You close your eyes and they just take you there.”
“So,” I said, giving her my notebook, “If you were our DJ which five railroad songs would you start with?” “That’s easy,” she replied and spent the next couple of minutes scribbling non-stop. “I’ll put them on the blog, ” I told her, “and we’ll see if folks agree with your choices.” “And,” I said, “I’ll ask the Wednesday brekkers group what they think of having music at our layout.”
Choice number 1 was Steve Goodman’s classic , “City of New Orleans.” Here’s Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie and Dottie West belting it out:
Number 2 – a bit of a surprise – Hobo’s Lullaby. It wasn’t written by Woody Guthrie as many folks think. A man called Goebel Reeves wrote it and it was Woody’s favorite song, This version is by Woody and Emmylou Harris:
Next up is “Orange Blossom Special”. This is a very different version which I really like – Mark O’Connor and the Boston Pops.
Here’s a very funny and clever version by a group wife Sarah and I saw recently at Humboldt University – The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britaim:
Now this one really got me – “This Train”. When I heard this version by Ruby Turner and Jools Holland I understand the choice:
The last one on the list was “Railroad Song, Jim Croce’s version”. As the lady wrote, “Railroad Song” by Jim Croce.
According to club member Mike Aplet (who lives in Brooktrails just north of Willits) Rayonier 2-6-6-2 Loco #8 is to be brought to Willits and restored. She has been bought by Chris Baldo – one of the mainstays of Roots of Motive Power in Willits. As you can see in these two photos that Mike kindly provided she sure does need a LOT of help.
Mallet To Willits-1
Mallet To Willits 2
Hopefully when she is ready to roll again she’ll look like this Rayonier 2-6-6-2:
Just it has slipped your mind the Skunk Train (California Western Railroad) once owned a 2-6-6-2 (#46). Here she is in her heyday:
Super Skunk pulling a freight uphill
Alas she now lies rotting at Pleasanton in southern California:
Super Skunk 2-8-8-2 at the San Diego railroad museum
Just to round out the local 2-6-6-2 story – the Caspar Lumber Company owned two – check out our website page for details.
Roger Thornburn, our computer guru, has set up a shop where anyone can buy “stuff” with our club logo on it. The merchandise includes male/female tee shirts, sweat shirts, zipped sweat shirts and hoodies. There’s also regular and magnetic buttons, caps, mouse pads, water bottles, license plate holder, soda can insulators, etc. Even some kids clothes!
You can browse and buy here – http://www.cafepress.com/mendorail
The clothing items are duplicated. The first set of clothing have a small logo in a front top pocket position, and a larger emblem on the back in a central position. If you click on an item, you can choose to see front/back and enlarged.
The same second set of clothing just has the front logo a bit larger on front center, with nothing on back (just plain) and are cheaper than the ones with front/back printing.
The rest of the items have the same logo as the front of the clothes.
Here’s the cap I have ordered:
Hat with Club Logo
If anyone has ideas for improving our “line” please let me know.
Many, many moons ago in the dark ages before this website was started club member Dan Fessler and I trooped way down south to attend the The Big Train Show at the Ontario Convention Center. We had heard about this train show which, until the year we visited, had been located on the Queen Elizabeth. The show itself was a bit of a bust with one exception – the finest modular layout I have ever seen. And, it was a G scale layout – the Del Oro Modular Group’s layout.
Rather than me warble on about how great it was have a look at this vid:
Not only is the layout large the quality and detail in the dioramas is simply amazing:
Del Oro Pacific Layout – Baseball field
Del Oro Cemetary
The layout generally only goes on show about six times a year in Southern California. If you are “down south” check out their website to see if the layout is “up” when you are visiting. Just a hint when visiting their website the menu is in the smoke from the engine on the left side of the page.
At the end of last week I took wife Sarah to the airport. Just before she left me to board the plane to England she said, “Don’t forget it’s eight hours time difference.” As I was trolling my way north up 101 I started to wonder who decided it was eight hours time difference. And who decided it was 3 hours time difference between California and the east coast where the kids live?
I thought it was just me who was dumb enough not to know. After asking five different people and getting five incoherent answers I learned I was not the only dumbass. Two other persons (ladies interestingly) said, “The railroads had something to do with it”. It turns out they were absolutely right. With power restored I hit up up on my computer and, sure enough, there was a great short vid which explained the whole thing.
For those who know the answer you can stop reading. If you don’t know or just think you know have a butchers at the vid below …….
My name is Tony Phillips. I was unanimously voted...
historian for our Model Railroad Club here in Fort Bragg. Which really means I was the sucker the members thought would take the job!
I have been extremely lucky to team up with Roger Thornburn who is the genius behind the scenes doing all the code and mirrors and flim flam stuff on this website - and he's English too so he knows what I'm talking about when I complain about my aching "plates of meat."
I see my job as assembling for the club members/world at large the material I and the Club have collected and I and the Club have been given into some semblance of order. The focus is not to create a history of the Mendocino Coast but to provide historical background to all the dioramas we are trying to include in our layout.
To all those who have helped me - a HUGE thank you.