Wheels of Time Blog
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Train Action around Stockton

I like trains. It's my hope that this passion is reflected in the work I do at Wheels of Time, and especially in our commitment to authenticity. Authenticity in train modeling comes from a connection to the past. I've had a lot of opportunities to explore sites that are no more: It's sad to see beatiful and interesting sites disappear, but the memories serve to keep my love of trains alive. Here are photos that I took in Stockton, California on July 19, 1997 -- a fascinating site where the former Santa Fe Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad, and Western Pacific Railroad converged. The context: in July, 1997, the Santa Fe Railway had merged with Burlington Northern seven months prior; Western Pacific had already disappeared under a sea of UP yellow and Southern Pacific was headed that way too. Fast forward 13 years: warbonnet Santa Fe diesels, BN green livery, SP scarlet, red and gray are all now just snap-shots of history. Central California Traction survives, in contrast to expectations in 1997, but much has changed. The venerable interlocking tower is gone.

What period in history do you model? Return with me to the busy and varied action back in July 19, 1997. Maybe your next layout could model this interesting crossroads of history?

Surprised: Westbound BN geep running abnormally long hood-forward with a string of pigs bound for Richmond. Maybe the lead engine went dead and was set-out.Horns blowing, southbound Amtrak San Joaquin announces it’s arrival.Minutes later another westward BNSF piggy-back train lead by Santa Fe’s Warbonnet GE C40-8W heads across UP's ex-Western Pacific diamondInterlocking tower provides traffic control on BNSF’s Stockton Subdivision and UP lines; here Southern Pacific engines head up a northbound UP freightCentral California Traction, originally conceived in 1905 as a streetcar system providing the people of Stockton mobility (hence “traction” in the name). At one time, 600-volt “juice jacks” provided locomotion for it’s trainsEMD GP7 No. 60 at the CCT shops, remembering the better days as Reading Railroad No. 607CCT No. 1795, an ex-Rock Island GP18, slumbering

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