Western Pacific Railroad Museum

The Feather River Express laid over in Portola, CA for two nights, giving The Frog a full day to explore Portola Railroad Days and the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola.

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum is one of the more notable railroad museums in that they not only have a great collection of locomotives,  but also passenger and freight cars from the Western Pacific and connecting lines.  And – you can also rent a locomotive and be an engineer for an hour or two.  Who out there can honestly say they never wanted to run a locomotive?  Who, I ask!

The Western Pacific Railroad ran between Salt Lake City / Ogden Utah and Oakland, CA.  It was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1983.

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum Gallery is a reminder that there was a time before graffiti, and that railroads did paint things other than black and red.  Railroads even had slogans in those days!  And, who knew that the Strategic Air Command had command centers on the rails?

Great museum. Great area.  What else can be said?

For a look at the sights and sounds of modern railroad power in 1952, as well as a look at passenger cars from that era, check out a few short video clips on Laughing Frog’s YouTube channel.

This is a view-only gallery (at least at this time).

If you like what you see, consider making a visit to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum to experience it for yourself, or at least make a donation so that others can continue to enjoy the museum and the artifacts for decades to come.





The Feather River Express

Last weekend, The Frog rode the Feather River Express IV, a private train chartered by Trains and Travel International and operated by Amtrak over the Union Pacific Railroad.  The train ran from Emeryville, CA to Sacramento over the rails of the former Southern Pacific Railroad, and from Sacramento to Portola, CA over the rails of the former Western Pacific Railroad.  The timing of the trip coincided with Railroad Days in Portola, complete with a parade!

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The Western Pacific Railroad (“WP”) operated the famed California Zephyr (“CZ”, “Silver Lady”) in conjunction with the Denver and Rio Grande Western (“Rio Grande”) and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (“CB&Q”, Burlington, or, simply, the “Q”).  The train ran between Chicago, IL and Oakland, CA.  The Q took the train from Chicago to Denver, CO.  The Rio Grande took her west to Salt Lake City, UT.  The WP carried her from Salt Lake to Oakland.   The Silver Lady was the first train with regularly scheduled Vista Dome service.  You can read more about the past and present CZ operated by Amtrak here.

Our train was made up of private vintage railroad cards from several owners.  The Frog elected to do the trip “old school”.  When the CZ was new back in 1949, most cameras had exactly one lens, used film, and most folks photographed in black and white simply because it was cheaper than shooting in color.  So, out came the D-90 and the 35mm lens.  And that’s how the trip was documented – one camera and one lens.  No all-in-one zoom, no mega-zoom, no wide-angle.  Strictly old school.

As the trip ended last Sunday, the images have just been uploaded to the hard drive and the real work is beginning – selection, straightening, conversion and preparation for uploading to the galleries.  Look for three new galleries to be added – Eastbound, Westbound, and the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, which is located in Portola, CA.

Stay tuned for the new posts and galleries, and don’t forget to subscribe to new posts by clicking the link below so you don’t miss a thing!

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