Friday, June 26, 2009

Travel 1898 NY to Mexico City

From: "Bradley Hodge"

I have a reference to a trip made from England to New York City on the S.S. Etruria, Cunard Line and then from New York City to Mexico City by train.

Was this possible in 1898 and how was it accomplished? Do you know of any travel books or map routes which could verify such a trip?

—Bradley Hodge, Huntsville, Texas

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Naming Pullman cars

From: "Bill Weatherford"

I'm doing research on a play and wanted to know how and why Pullman cars were named and by whom.

Many thanks for your service,

—Bill Weatherford

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Secret Hotels of California Wine Country"

"Secret Hotels of California Wine Country" by Jaime Gross, © Budget Travel, April, 2007. (Article)

" ... Old Crocker Inn: In the late 1800s, Charles Crocker, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, purchased nearly 600 acres above the Russian River and built a ranch and summer home there for entertaining his powerful friends and business partners. The ranch has been subdivided and parts have been sold over the years – much of it is now a residential development and a KOA campground – but five of those acres still bear Crocker's name, in the form of the Old Crocker Inn. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Surviving early rail car

"At the Throttle: Combine car 06 reveals its secrets" by Mark S. Bassett, © The Ely Times, January 26, 2007. (News Article)

" ... Under all of that paint was solid mahogany wood. It was beautiful and as smooth as a baby's bottom! And the discovery scared me; according to the records we had, the car was built in the late 1880's ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

"Train needs makeover before next Hollywood close-up" - The Sierra Railway No. 3 motion picture locomotive

"Train needs makeover before next Hollywood close-up" by DIXIE REID, © NEWSPAPER, January 25, 2007. (News Article)

" ... at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, the far-flung Tuolumne County outpost of Sacramento's California State Railroad Museum. ... In better times, Sierra Railway No. 3 was a star. Her first onscreen appearance was in a 1919 silent-movie serial called The Red Glove. Her first feature-film role was alongside Gary Cooper in The Virginian (1929), the first 'talkie' shot on location. In the 1950s and '60s, the locomotive appeared in a slew of Westerns, from the classic High Noon (again starring Cooper) to TV's Bonanza and Death Valley Days. Also among her 72 movie and TV credits are Gunsmoke, Petticoat Junction, Bound for Glory and Back to the Future III. ... She needs major work ..." [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

"Weather brings drama to Donner Pass"

"Weather brings drama to Donner Pass" by Mark McLaughlin, © Sierra Sun, November 7, 2006. (News Article)

" ... In January 1890, a relentless barrage of blizzards and a derailed train shut down the railroad for 15 days. Central Pacific used every weapon in its arsenal to clear the line: a rotary snowplow, an armada of wedge plows, hundreds of railroad personnel, and nearly 5,000 civilian snow shovelers who were hired to augment CP crews. Despite their best efforts, the winter’s 66 feet of snow (fourth snowiest on record), overwhelmed their efforts and passenger trains were snowbound throughout the high country. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Friday, June 12, 2009

California Iron/Wooden Artifact and Info on Stone Ovens

From: "GATES, William R, VBABOIS"

Request for information/assistance on Wooden Artifact from Union Pacific Railroad Line, located near Las Vegas Nevada. I saw some information on one of the related links to your Iron Site information. I read some information in reference to "Fence Line Wooden Line Posts (RR Boundary, or Survey markers)".

I have a wooden post which is square approximately 1 1/2 inches on all sides, approximately 14 to 18 inches long, with the word "UNION" all in caps on one side, the letters have been scoured deep into the wood, the other half "PACIFIC" is missing assuming that Pacific was there?? There are small holes in the top and bottom which secures a wire. I was intrigued by the notion or possibility that these may be original Redwood items from the turn of the century i.e. survey markers, or some sort of boundry marker. I did find it along a old UP Railroad siding. Have you or anybody else ever seen something like this?? I can try to get you a few pictures, it is quite interesting.

I am also quite interested in early railroad history, I have walked miles of UP right of way in southern Nevada, found some of the old construction camps and the like.

Also as a matter of interest to you and other members of the CPRR.ORG group, on the subject of the Stone Ovens previously thought to be a RR Worker's Hut. I got a copy of Patricia Weggers document about this subject. I have found 3 to 4 locations in Nevada, near Las Vegas, all pretty much, intact. I can try to get you a photo of the best one I found, for you or any interested readers. Hope to talk with you soon, tell me what you think about the "Union" embossed wooden stake??

—William R. Gates, Nampa, Idaho

SP Commute Car Gates


Attached is the patent for the wire gates used on the CP/SP commute cars in the East Bay. Thought it might interest you. It was initially used on the wooden open platform steam-pulled cars, and later adapted to the electrics.


Car, Commuter, Safety Gate - Brown 1889 403,176 - Sacramento

SF Newsletter Golden Spike to Dodge


Attached is an article from the Sacramento Bee in May 1869. It may be from the 10th, or perhaps a day or two after. (I received the photocopy from a source who copied Bee articles from May 5, 8, 10, 11, and 12 - but unfortunately didn't mark this particular one.) This is the first contemporary article I know of that claims that dodge received the 2nd (SF Newsletter) golden spike, and not Durant as I had supposed (but also had no evidence of).

I'm also looking for more complete copy of the May 10 Bee article about the festivities in Sacramento and the speech of Charles Crocker. Attached is what I have. I attach a May 8 article describing the celebration and parade, including loco Gov Stanford in front of the depot. Finally, a May 5 article describing the plans for the parade (unfortunately with the middle section missing).

—Kyle Wyatt

Sac Bee May 10, 1869 perhaps - Promontory Ceremonies concluded, Dodge gets golden spike
Sac Bee May 10, 1869 - Sacramento Celebration May 8
Sac Bee May 8, 1869 - Sacramento Pacific RR Celebration - loco Gov Stanford
Sac Bee May 5, 1869 - Sacramento Celebration Program - partial

Eagle Scout Project - restoration of a Railway Express Baggage Cart

From: "Suchernick Michael"

I am a Boy Scout in Troop 156, Howell NJ. I am working on my Eagle Scout Project which is the restoration of a Railway Express Baggage Cart. The cart that I am restoring belongs to the New Jersey Museum of Transportation, Pine Creek Railroad. All that is left of the cart presently are rusted rusted wheel assemblies and side straps – no wood exists at all. Can you help me in locating blueprints for REA Baggage carts and possibly proper paint information? ...

—Michael Suchernick, Life Scout, Troop 156, Howell, NJ

"JOLIET 1886 V" rail

From: "Systems By Moltec"

Granddad had a piece of rail that was marked "JOLIET 1886 V". What is its history?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Verdi, Nevada in 1870

From: "Greg Smith"

I'm working on a paper regarding the train robbery of 1870 outside of Verdi, Nevada. I was wondering if you might have or could direct me to information regarding the town of Verdi in 1870. Specifically, I'm looking for information regarding vital statistics i.e. population figures, life expectancy, etc.

Also if you are familiar with the politics of the town and the gossip within the city. What I'm also trying to write about is what life was really like for the inhabitants. ...

—Greg Smith

Stereo viewer

From: "Ulrich Rathgeber"

I have some original "Ilford Special Lantern Plates" in b&w and bromide, I think they are made around 1900. The sizes are 8,5 x 17 cm and 4,3 x 10,6 cm, most of the pictures on the glasses are stereoscope. I would like to know more about them, but find it hard to get some information. What kind of viewer do I need to see them in 3 D? What wold be an adequate price if I would sell them somewhere, for example to a museum or a collector?

—Ulrich Rathgeber

Monday, June 08, 2009

What machines were used to build the first transcontinental railroad?

What machines were used to build the first transcontinental railroad?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Southern Pacific Caboose #1353


... I have been very busy working on a web site at for Nathan about our caboose. I've finished the web site and would love for you to see it! ...

—Chantel Paul

Monday, June 01, 2009

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