Thursday, April 28, 2005

Headon wreck of 1901

From: "Arnold Menke"

Photo of the headon wreck was mentioned, and dated 1901. I have no quibble with the date, and it seems likely as 2800 was rebuilt that year.

You also said the engines were wood burners. Obviously they have wood burning stacks, but 2800's tender has what appears to be coal in it. Can't see anything in 2195's tender, and that of 2843 could be wood.

Also on page 31 of Signor's book on the Shasta Division 2800 is sitting there and you can just make out the wood burning stack, but the tender has coal in it. And note the coal servicing facilities to the left. John did not date this photo but it has to be about 1900 or 1901.

I guess my point is that wood burning stacks remained in place even as coal burners, probably for a short time.


electrical output

From: "Ed Gadbois"

... One of our students posed the question "what is the electrical output of the diesel generators which supply power to the traction motors of the locomotives and what is the power of each motor?" ...

Ed Gadbois
fire etc., Lakeland College

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

last steam

From: "Bill Anderson"

Passenger service from Sacramento to Folsom ended in 1939. The last diesel freight run we believe was around 1986 (to Placerville). We have a photo by Alan Aske showing a steam locomotive at the Folsom Depot in 1956.

When was the last steam run to/from Folsom/Sacramento?

Bill Anderson

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

SP ferryboat

From: "Wendell Huffman"

I also see the SP ferry Fresno is desparately looking for a home. Too bad Rio Vista Junction is so far from tidewater. ...


Palisade, NV

From: "Wendell Huffman"

I notice by this morning's Reno Gazette-Journal that the townsite of Palisade, NV is being sold today at 2 PM at Greg Martin Auctions, 660 Third St, San Francisco. 800-509-1988 or

Maybe one of you would want the townsite – located on the old CP. ...


Question: Minthorn M. Tompkins, 1869 passenger

From: "Marita Gladson"

Minthorn M Tompkins traveled from New York to San Francisco in 1869. Is his name on any of the passenger lists for that year?


"Jupiter" replaces damaged "Antelope" locomotive

I like your website!
I couldn't find this in the faqs. what was the name of the Central Pacific train that left Sacramento towards Promontory Summit? I visited Promontory Summit and was told the original train crashed. And a replacement train happened. Not the Jupiter?
Thanks for this info.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

tunnel clearances

[Replying to the question: Can anyone tell me the "normal" height of a railroad tunnel?]

The following quote is more historical, referring to the Central Pacific [Railway], which would indicate considerably less than an absolute minimum in later years.

From a book "Railway Track & [Maintenance: A manual of maintenance-of-way and structures formerly published under the title of railway track and track work]" by E E Russell Tratman [a McGraw-Hill book Co; 4th ed edition was published in 1926] (reprint NMRA), 'A Manual of [Maintenance] of Way and Structures', page 168:

Clearance limits:
'In the standard tunnel section of the Central Pacific [Railway], the height is 14 ft 3 inches from top of rail to springing line (base of 'cat tails?") , with a roof radius of 8 foot giving a clear width of 16 feet, and a total height of 22ft 3inches.'

Earlier it states "Overhead structures (not tunnels) must be 22 ft above the rails, in order to clear men standing on [top] of box cars [... "]

Thoought this might be of historical interest.

John Butcher

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup]

... SP raised the roof of Summit Tunnel at Norden to accommodate autoracks in the 1970's, but doublestacks are too high for it. They closed the line rather than raise the roof again since traffic was down and CTC permitted them to use the other track of former double track.

Tom Irion [from the R&LHS Newsgroup]

Friday, April 22, 2005

CP Coal

I just noticed that the classic view of San Francisco & Oakland "Liberty" [see locomotive photo below] shows it with a small diamond stack and coal in the tender.  Note the locomotive was built by A. J. Stevens (quite possibly with design work by elder brother C. W. Stevens) in the San Francisco & Alameda shops in 1869.  

Also, studying the photo further, I believe the loco is a 4-4-0 with 4-wheel tender.  Looking closely, I believe we see the end of the cab support bracket in the sun, and the rounded nosing of the tender deck right behind it - as a separate piece.   

I really don't think it is a 4-4-4T  

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is:
My personal address is:

SFORR Liberty

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Route of the Freeport RR in Sacramento, CA

From: "Gene Lewis"

... Does anyone know the route of the Freeport RR constructed in 1863 from Freeport (on the river south of Sacramento) to a connection with the Sacramento Valley R. R. at Brighton, about 10 miles? The line did not last long as the Central Pacific acquired parent SV and the Freeport Branch on August 16, 1865. I expect the branch was swiftly torn up as it competed with the CP's wharves and facilities in Sacramento.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup]

Monday, April 18, 2005

Harp switch stand targets

From: "Randall Hees"

I am working on a mystery

Several of us did a photo survey of South Pacific Coast harp switch stand target and paint styles. It appears that originally the SPC followed CP/SP practice. This appears to be a circle with a crown, (at the top of the mast) and a diamond (at the middle,) both painted red, with a white outline.

We find the originally SPC stands have both targets, or only the top (crown), and later, after 1895 also in some cases have only the lower (diamond) but by 1895 the upper is white while the lower is dark (red)

There are also some stands with no targets, and some with a derail sign.

We know what the derail means, we assume the no target version is for yard or industrial tracks, but what do the two targets, diamond only or crown only arraignments mean?

Randy Hees
Please note, my email address is changing to

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Central Pacific Railroad Rail

From: "Robert Stout"

I have a section of C.P. rail marked CAMMELL SHEFFIELD TOUGHENED STEEL P.I.C. 61 1/2 1887 S. Like G.J. Graves who does not know what the P following 1887 on his rail stands for, I do not know what the S. following 1887 on my rail stands for.

I have had this piece of rail for some 24 years. I was an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad at the time and a friend sent it to me from Sacramento where he found it among some of the rail removed from the yard near the Sacramento Locomotive Works. Like most rail found in yards, it undoubtedly was cascaded from the mainline to yard service as the wear pattern is unlikely for rail used only in the yard. The wear pattern indicates that it was in tangent track, not curved. Except for rust pitting on the base of the rail, it is in remarkably good condition.

Robert B. Stout
Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer
Alaska Railroad Corporation

CP Stevens stacks


I've recently seen two photographs of engines ordered during the construction era in what is clearly the original builder's paint but with the Stevens large diamond stack. When did the large diamond replace the CP designed (and other) balloon stacks? Was in 1870-71, 72?

I'm trying to figure out a series of dates for various stacks used on the CP/SP to date photographs – and paint jobs – by.


Question: Sacramento to Omaha?

From: "Patrick & Stacey"

Is there a historic steam engine that runs from Sacramento to Omaha? I'm finishing Ambrose's book and would like to relive the scenery and road of the original route. Thanks for any info.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Judah - bronze sculpture in Folsom, CA

From: "Bill Anderson"

A bronze sculpture is in the works to honor Theo. Judah in Folsom, CA. to celebrate 150 years of the first railroad west of the Rocky Mountains, the Sacramento Valley Rail Road. The new arrival of modern light rail travel on the same right of way is set for October 15, 2005. This is only 4 months shy of the 150th birthday of the first railroad. We are hoping for a special celebration to occur.
Attached is what we would like to add to the sculpture. We'd like to keep it at a minimum of course.
Ted and Anna are both depicted on the bronze.

Bill Anderson, FEDSHRA.


March 4, 1825 – November 2, 1863

Theodore Judah was asked to come to California as Chief Engineer
to build the first railroad west of the Rocky Mountains, the
Sacramento Valley Rail Road.
The road covered a distance of 22 miles from Sacramento to Negro
Bar now known as the city of Folsom and was completed in
February 1856. Judah also surveyed the city of Folsom, which
became the transportation hub leading to the gold fields of the
Mother Lode as well as the Comstock Lode in Nevada. While
returning east possibly to secure funding for the Central Pacific
Railroad, he fell ill with yellow fever and died at the age of thirty-


June 30, 1828 – September 2, 1895

Wife, friend and confidante.
Stood by ‘Ted’ through all his endeavors.

Friday, April 15, 2005

California Central Rail Road

In an otherwise terrific article in the [April 15, 2005 Sacramento] Bee ... it was said, re: the California Central Railroad "following the route of railroad pioneer Theodore Judah's California Central Railroad, which was abandoned in 1866."


The California Central Rail Road, incorporated April 21, 1857 was in operation from October 31, 1861 until July 22, 1868; on that date in July, 1868 it was sold to the California & Oregon Railroad Co. Consisting of 18.50 miles of track, it ran between Folsom and Lincoln, with a 60" gauge. The 8.2 miles NORTH of Folsom were conveyed to the Contract & Finance Co. in 1868 for scrapping of rails and fittings. The California Central Rail Road was not owned by Theodore Judah, he was the surveyor and engineer of the railroad. The President of the CCRR was Charles Lincoln Wilson, for whom the City of Lincoln was named.

Thanks for reading this far, but, the perils of history must be noted!

G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, AltaCal'a

Promontory Summit, Diary Account by Capt. John Charles Currier

From: "chris graves"

Here are the US Army comments regarding Chinese seen along the route of the CPRR following the May 10 doings. "Hundreds are seen" Chris Graves

Personal Diary Account by Capt. John Charles Currier of the 21st U.S. Infantry at Promontory on May 10, 1869.


Previous comments.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wrought Iron rail

From: "chris graves"

In 1889 the Riverside Brick Co., operating in what is now called the Pocket Area of Sacramento County, bought a wood burner 0-4-0 manufactured by the H K Porter Co. The sale was conducted by the Huntington Hopkins Co. This 0-4-0 ran on a 3/4 track from the clay pit to the mill, that rail was 45 lb wrought iron, branded C B D Co. with no date. Insofar as the locomotive was purchased thru the Huntington Hopkins Co., it may be reasonable to assume that the rail C B D Co. was also purchased there.

The Riverside Brick Co. eventually became the Sacramento Brick Co.

Does anyone ... have any idea as the to full company name of the C B D Co.? ...

Thanks, G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.

Theft of Walter Oehrle Old Faithful Bear Pit paintings

Many of you are familiar with the Union Pacific Bears images of Yellowstone National Park as well as the cartoonlike bears images that today grace the Old Faithful Inn dining room and Bear Pit Bar in the form of glass panels. These bear images are well known to Yellowstone afficionadoes.

Both the Union Pacific Bears and the Bear Pit images were originally painted in the 1920s and 1930s by artist Walter Oehrle (pronounced EARLY) and were published in a small pamphlet that was given away by the Yellowstone Park Company. They were rendered into woodcuts, which graced the inside of the Bear Pit Lounge at Old Faithful Inn for many years. A couple of these woodcuts are still on the walls of the Old Faithful Inn Snack Shop. During a recent remodeling, the images were redone in cut glass, and today they appear on the walls of the Old Faithful dining room and Bear Pit Lounge.

Recently Walter Oehrle's original eleven Bear Pit paintings were STOLEN from the residence of Dan Fey of Seattle, a descendant of Oehrle's. There are eleven paintings, each rendered in brown and white (two-tone) on cardboard, each about 20 inches by 24 inches in size.

As you might imagine, the owner is quite upset about this theft and has the Seattle police fully involved. Should anyone encounter these images or information on their whereabouts, please email Dan Fey at or call him at (206) 329-6525 (home) or (206) 448-0474 (work).

These images may eventually be offered on Ebay to collectors, to a rare book or art dealer, or to a library or archives. PLEASE BE ON THE ALERT FOR ANY OF THESE IMAGES. Yellowstone collectors are likely to be in the group of people to whom they may be offered. A copy of this message will be placed in the Yellowstone National Park History Archives so that those who come after us can know of the theft in case the perpetrator waits for many years to "unload" the materials.


Lee H. Whittlesey
Park Historian, National Park Service
Yellowstone Center for Resources
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

[Forwarded by Bob Spude and Kyle Wyatt]

SP Left-hand Running

"As an occasional traveler on the Capitols to Sacramento I also noticed the left-hand operation. It apparently had to do with which track the train would arrive on at the Sacramento station. Also of interest, the last single track on the old SP line between Emeryville and Sacramento was finally replaced just last year. I write "replaced" because the double-track trestle across the Yolo Causeway just west of Sacramento had been single tracked by the SP, as was portions of the line over Donner Summit. SP had been provided with funds to upgrade this line between Emeryville and Sacramento by the State of California but did a very slow job. I was surprised at how long the joined rail lasted long after the funding began. As for the Auburn Amtrak stop, it is on a single track portion of the double track over Donner summit, which also features left-hand running as far east as Weso, NV [east of Winnemuca] where the SP and WP ended their shared trackage in a huge crossover. So the Auburn station is approached eastbound and westbound on the same track by Amtrak, and in only one direction by freight trains.

Incidentally, the Oakland, Emeryille and Martinez stations on this Capitol line are modern works of art. The Sacramento station is the former SP station and while not a work of art is a classical brick station still worth saving. And it is fortunately within walking distance of the California State Railroad Museum; so a visitor to San Francisco can enjoy not only a great train ride to Sacramento but also a visit to one of the premier railroad museums in the US. ...

Vern Waight"

[From R&LHS Newsgroup]

Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad

From: "Sharon Bartholomew"

I'm trying to find out if the [B&MLRR] train is going to operate this year. Do you happen to know? I saw some kind of a notice on the web indicating that it might not operate in 2005.

Thank you.

Anaheim, CA

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Montague Family Reunion [Family of CPRR Chief Engineer Samuel S. Montague]

From: "Larry E. Montague"

Montague Family Reunion (Worldwide)
The Largest Montague Family Event in History
Salt Lake City, Utah USA
July 21st through July 25th 2005
This is a "non-profit" family sponsored event

This is the official announcement of the Worldwide Montague Family Reunion, which is being held in Salt Lake City, Utah USA in July of this year. We have received many inquiries regarding the reunion, so we decided to make an attempt to email as many Montague’s, Montague relatives, and those who have expressed an interest in being notified of the event.

Please go to The Montague Millennium website. for complete and detailed information about this world class event. If you know of others who do not yet have Internet access please ask them to call either Mike Montague in Salt Lake City, Utah, who is the chairman of the reunion, or Larry Montague in Memphis, Tennessee, who is the founder of The Montague Millennium website. Mike can be reached either through his email address or by telephone at his home (801) 972-0188 in the evenings. Larry’s email address is , and his home telephone number (901) 937-8228. Please call Larry in the afternoons or evenings.

A lot of you are familiar with the reunion that was held in Philadelphia in 2000, which was a great success. We had attendees from all over the US and Canada, as well as Tasmania, Australia, and the UK . We hope that they return for this event which promises to be more successful than the last.

Many events are on the calendar that relate to the family as well as other outside events of interest to both children as well as adults. It will be an occasion to remember.

Salt Lake City was selected primarily because of its worldwide prominence in the study of genealogy. More genealogy records are stored and accessible by the general public there than at any other place on earth. It is also located closer to the West coast to reciprocate for the fact that the reunion in 2000 was held near the East coast. It has a pleasant climate and a lot of attractions to keep your family busy. It is also a major transportation hub which is convenient for your travel arrangements either by air or automobile. It is also served by the passenger train California Zephyr operated by AmTrak from Chicago to San Francisco.

This reunion is dedicated to the entire WORLDWIDE Montague family, so try to be there regardless of your individual family ancestry or country of origin. This is a reunion for ALL Montague family members, descendants and relatives, Not just those in the United States, but all Montague's regardless of the name derivative; Montagu, Montague, McTague, Montag, and others.

Keep watching The Montague Millennium website for further information on this great event.

I would be most grateful if you will send me a simple reply to let me know that I have your correct email address and that you received this announcement. It would also be very helpful if you would send me any other email address of Montague's that you may know. Any information such as this is NEVER allowed outside this website, and is ONLY used for official family communications. Thanks for your interest and your help.

NOTES! Please let us know if you plan to attend as soon as possible. Help spread the news around the world. As you know, there are Montague family member who do not yet have e-mail or Internet access.

Biking Trip

From: Neil Sardinas

Years ago, I read Nothing Like It In The World by Stephen Ambrose. In February 2002 I wrote to asking questions about biking along the CPRR. ... After years of thinking about it, I have registered for a group bicycle trip from San Francisco to Maine that starts in June. The bike tour has a set route and prearranged daily lodging. A portion of the route goes from Sacramento to Salt Lake City some of it on the shoulder of I-80. The tour has nothing to do with railroad history but for me it is an opportunity to go on a bike hike and see some of the transcontinental railroad. Could you point out any CPRR highlights along my route that I could possibly see from the road or explore? I will be on a road bicycle not a mountain bike.

Mon June 6 Sacramento, CA
Tue June 7 Auburn, CA
Wed June 8 Truckee, CA
Thu June 9 Sparks, NV
Fri June 10 Lovelock, NV
Sat June 11 Winnemucca, NV
Sun June 12 Battle Mt., NV
Mon June 13 Elko, NV
Tue June 14 Wendover, UT
Wed June 15 Salt Lake City, UT

I am aware of the close proximity of the road to Summit Tunnel so I plan on exploring that area in the afternoon of June 8th. I also understand that portions of the current UP line have been realigned from the original CPRR line. Is the original CPRR line visible from the road? I plan to visit Golden Spike National Historic Park in Utah on our rest day on June 16th.

Thank you for any ideas,

Neil Sardiñas
King of Prussia, PA

P.S. Do you know the map coordinates of the former Secret Town Trestle and the compass direction of the [linked] view?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

CP (SP?) depot color in 1880.

From: "Wendell Huffman"

While looking through my files for any information that might help Larry, I came upone the following in Best's notes. Since statements about color are few and far between, I thought I'd put these out for any intersted.

14 Aug 1880, Sacramento Union. "The new [Sacramento] freight depot was yesterday being given its first coat of paint — a light drab, which looks very neat. . . . The architecture of the building of the rustic order . . . "

31 August 1880, Sacramento Union. "The [interior] walls and ceilings are cased with narrow beaded ceiling. The walls are painted a light green and the ceilings white."


William F. Boardman of Oakland

I have an old book that formerly belonged (per the stamp on the inside cover) to
Wm. F. Boardman
Civil engineer
Room 3, Court House
Oakland, Cal.  

The book is "A Manual . . . of Road-Making . . . of roads . . . and Railroads", by W. (William) M. (Mitchell) Gillespie, 9th edition, 1860, published in New York by A. S. Barnes & Burr.  Original edition published in 1847.  

So who was Boardman?  

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Monday, April 11, 2005

Question – travel to Pendleton, OR in 1878

From: "Dean Munroe"


My gg grandmother came west in 1878. A letter passed down thru the years says she took the train to Glenns Ferry, ID and from there went to Pendleton, OR. Research has shown me that there was no train to Glenns Ferry in 1878. It has been pointed out to me from someone at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center that most of the emigrants at that time took the train to KELTON, UT and then wagoned into ID. I have found out that Kelton was the first big RR town west of Promontory and that Kelton was a CPRR town.

My ancestors came from N MO at about the IA state line and also from Sigourney IA.

I am trying to determine which rail line they would have most likely taken west from an area near there that would have landed them in Kelton, UT at the end of their journey. Are there maps showing the rail lines in 1878? If not can you tell me of the route the railroad would have taken?

Any help you can provide me would be greatly appreciated. This is not a school project. I am a genealogist researching my family's journey west.

Thank you for your help.

Dean Munroe

CP 153 Young America

From: "Larry Mullaly"

A report given in 1925 by SP Chief Fuel Supervisor, JN Clark states that Steven’s applied oil burning apparatus to the CP No. 153 Young America in 1879. Is there any evidence that supports this opinion?


Sunday, April 10, 2005

A rambling note about wheat.

See previous comments about wheat.


Perhaps Randy can tell us more from the historic farm, but to the best of my knowledge wheat was shipped in sacks through the 19th century and well into the 20th century.

Before the development of the internal combustion engine, threshing machines were parked in the middle of a field and made to function with a stationary tractor (often steam, later gasoline) connected to the thresher with a big leather belt. Then, wheat was cut (often enough by hand), shocked, and carried in wagons to the thresher. The wheat was sacked at the machine – and stayed sacked until it reached the flour mill. The internal combustion engine led to the development of a mobile combination cutting and threshing machine (the "combine"). Even with its own motor, the combine was pulled around the field with horses or later with a tractor. The combine had an auger which allowed the wheat to be offloaded loose – in bulk – to the great relief of man's back. Long before I started cutting wheat – while I was in grad school – the combines were self propelled. We never stopped from about 11 am (when the humidity dropped) until midnight (when the humidity rose and the straw got too tough to cut). As late as the late 1950s Kansas farmers were harvesting 10-15 bushels per acre. In the 1980s when I was at it, we often cut 50-60 bushels per acre. The difference was chemical ferterlizer. The funny thing, even with inflation, the price paid for bushel in the 1980s was about the same as during WWI. Back then wheat would support a family on as little as a quarter section (section = 1 square mile). My uncle's family was cutting 7 sections – and probably were only still in business because of the oil wells.

The change over from sacked to bulk must have begun about WWI--during which time my dad nearly suffocated in bulk wheat in a grain elevator. But the change from sacked to bulk may not have happened all at once. It was not until the 30s that the tractor began to change the farm economy in a big way. Then the tractor enabled the landowing farmer to farm all of his land himself or with a few hired men – and the sharecropper method came to an end. (The Okies who went to California were displaced sharecroppers – the Dust Bowl had nothing to do with it – the Dust Bowl was western Kansas and Oklahoma while the displaced "Okies" were from eastern Oklahoma.)

One other change between 1900 and today is the height of the plant. Now days wheat is bred to be shorter than when it was cut and tied into shocks. Farmers don't like to have all that straw to handle.

Now, I know there were loading marking and grain doors in boxcars. I have always assumed this referred to bulk loading, and thus would have dated fairly early. But now that I think about it, perhaps those load marks and even the grain doors went along with sacked wheat as well. I thank God I never had to move sacked wheat.


Friday, April 08, 2005

More Coal to California

Returning to our earlier conversation about coal in California, check out the web site on the Balclutha. Built in 1887 in Wales, her maiden trip was to California with a load of coal, returning with a load of California wheat. wheat was the valuable cargo, and British ships were know to have sailed to California with loads of cobble stones as ballast. So the British coal likely was not all that expensive. (Note even today, if you can get a back-haul from a trucker you can get a significantly cheaper rate. I've also heard of fairly inexpensive shipping rates in containers from Hawaii to the mainland, as most freight is going TO Hawaii.)

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Question: British RR Iron

From: "chris graves"

I am forwarding this on the Group, as with your combined knowledge, you may be able to help this fellow. Thanks, G J Graves, NewCastle, Cal.


I know this is a long-shot, but...

I am from Britain, which you would think has a load of information about the history of iron and so on, wouldn't you? Well, if it's there, I can't seem to find it so I am hoping you might be able to set me on the right track ('scuse the pun - you'll see).

I'm an author currently piecing together the story of an iron steamship which went down in the Bay of Biscay in 1866. It was carrying a load of railway iron and for the book I am trying to find out about (a) what they would have meant by 'railway iron' (specifications, types, etc), (b) how much railway iron cost in 1866 and (c) construction methods for iron auxiliary screw steamers.

Told you it was a long-shot! If you can help or point me to someone who can, I would be very grateful.


Tony Cornish, Director
Timescape ER Ltd

Monday, April 04, 2005

Water Tunnels East of Wadsworth, Nevada

From: "Larry Hersh"

I read in George Kraus's book on page 203, balance of first paragraph, a sentence about "tunnels" being bored into the hills by the Central Pacific east of Wadsworth, Nevada, to provide a water source for the RR.

I presume his information came from the then Southern Pacific Archives or perhaps another source?

I would like to find more info regarding the "Tunnels," whereas I have been looking in the area ( I've lived in Fernley for the past 4 years) to no avail. Perhaps the tunnels were bored somewhere between Wadsworth and Lovelock, Nevada?


Larry Hersh

Napa Valley Flea vs. San Gabriel

From: "Larry Mullaly"

When evaluating the worth of the LA and SP in a letter to Huntington dated June 21, 1872 , William Hyde listed the motive power as:

2 Engines $24,000
1 Engine (San Gabriel) $6000.

I wonder if the format suggests that for practical purposes, the San Gabriel even then was somewhat of an oddity, primarily useful for construction purposes.

The San Gabriel was fatally damaged on January 18, 1875 on a test run after having been shopped when it slid off a rain-soaked roadbed and erupted in a cloud of steam. [Los Angeles Daily Star, January 19 and 21, 1875]. Later that year the Central Pacific reported to its stockholders, that on its leased Southern Pacific road, “a small... engine (no. 30) unfit for service has been broken up.” [Annual report of the Board of Directors of the CPRR to the Stockholders, 1875, p. 22].


Re: Napa Valley Flea vs. San Gabriel

In a message dated 4/3/2005 10:10:23 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:

Kyle, thanks for the info on the Vacaville rebuilding, which was very helpful. The Stevens rebuild explains a number of details.

When Dave and I looked through LA&SP materials on the San Gabriel, we found that the photograph depicts the engine very late in life, perhaps around 1875-76 just prior to scrapping, and not as it appeared during its 1869-74 service life on the road. Its missing the wrapper and insulation on the dome, the paint is worn and the varnish crazed, a simple, unpainted cab suggests a late replacement, and the stack looks like a locally made version of the Stevens stack imposed on LA&SP engines after 1872.

San Gabriel was overhauled and repainted by the LA&SP in 1870-71 (I would have to check the notes) and reported to look very well as a result. The photo shows this paint scheme, complete with the name San Gabriel in cursive on the tender, which copies the style of the Schenectady engines Los Angeles and San Pedro, whose names were in cursive on the tender sides (cursive lettering on a tender panel was a Schenectady style; the two engines were otherwise painted identically to Jupiter, in terms of striping, panels, etc., and may have had the same color scheme).

I think that in 1870-71 the LA&SP was consolidating its independent position and brought the little Vulcan into the same stylistic paint scheme or design as the road engines. It may well have had a much finer appearance when in service building and supporting the LA&SP.

The lettering style of the label looks to be about 1900, when pioneer fever reflected a moment when LA County had finally become assured of success, and could relax - looking back to the "old days." If Kimball monkeyed with it, he got lucky, because I see no clear errors in the style, but also no clear indicators that it was beyond him.


I'd suspect that the San Gabriel received a quicky relettering when delivered in 1869 - and rushed into construction work. An 1870-71 (8/11/1870 per Dave Eggleston write-ups sent to me in 1993) shopping and repaint makes sense as a general thing, and I'd expect a repaint to reflect what the LA&SP considered their prevailing style.

As to the skill of Ward Kimball at doctoring photos, take a look at his reletter job of the supposed SLO&SMV "Avila" on page 16 of Best's "Ships and Narrow Gauge Rails - The Pacific Coast Company". It's not until you look closely that you start seeing the artifacts of Kimball's hand lettering.

Has anyone seen an original print of the "San Gabriel" photo? Who is the photographer? Watkins' trip south to LA and on to Yuma appears to have been around 1877-78, rather too late for the "San Gabriel", which seems to have been scrapped around 1876. ...

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum

Note my work address has changed to:
My personal address remains:

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Larceny probe eyes missing art dealer

From: "Mathew R. Stevens"

You have Julien Tavener (Haley & Steele) on your web site. He is now a suspected criminal being investigated by the FBI. I feel that this is potentially damaging and embarrasing for your terrific Museum

The following appeared on
Headline: Larceny probe eyes missing art dealer
Date: March 29, 2005

"The owner of a venerable Boston art and prints gallery abruptly left the country about two weeks ago, setting off a criminal investigation into whether he absconded with hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sales of artwork left on consignment at his shop, according to Boston police, state officials, and Century Bank executives."

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Friday, April 01, 2005

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