Wheels of Time Blog
« N-scale two day reservation deadline warning. | Main | Once upon a time ... »

A personal reflection ...

Warning: I am going to write this from the first person and not from the "official" Wheels of Time view. I took this snap shot along the Embarcadero of San Francisco sometime in the early or mid 1980s. Those were the days when the City played hosted to celebrate the railroads in the area. The middle cab unit is the Western Pacific No. 913 in all it's splendor which, as you know, Wheels of Time is doing a special run.WP 913 - SF daysI was too late to see the last four F units running on the WP.  These were the days before I had wheels and could only borrow my dad's car, if it "looked like" it wasn't too far from my travels to school. Further, I was  preoccupied with the action on Espee and SF Municipal Railway which both operated relatively near by.

For those who were like me, one who came a dollar too short and too late, let me reintroduce you to the "Fab Four in action with the below links and through the eyes of our fellow rail fans.

921 leading the four up Altamont
913 at Niles Tower

913 leading Golden Gate Merchandise on 3rd St Oakland

913 eastbound in Livermore

918 in Stockton
917 with Red Ball West in Oakland
921 leading Auto Racks

913 was originally built by EMD and delivered to Western Pacific in January or February of 1950 and numbered 920A. It was painted in the "freight paint scheme" of orange with black whisker strips on the nose. 920A was renumbered to 913 with the WP shop forces adding a surplus SP snow plow.  WP basically assigned the F units mainly between the 160 miles of coast mountain pass between Stockton and San Jose, but with occasional trips up to Oroville through the Feather River canyon. During winter, the F's were sent up to the mountain passes to help with snow clearing efforts. Then on July 10, 1977, WP 913 and sister 917 caught fire as it was  while taking up a train up Altamont Pass with the San Jose Turn. By the time firefighters reached the scene at Redmond Cut, the F units were fully engulfed in flames severely damaging both units. Amazingly, management at WP decided to repair the units and sent them to Morrison-Knudsen for rebuilding instead of scrapping them. Included with the rebuilding was adding automatic transitions to their electric motor controls.  With WP employees advocating and management giving the nod, 913 rolled out in a special paint scheme that harkens to their former WP Zephyr passenger locomotives. WP Engineer Norman Holmes donated the famous "Feather River Route" herald plate to added to the nose of 913. The other three F units, 917, 918 and 921 all received the green scheme but with the addition of the orange strips down the flanks of the engines. The final four F units rolled on to the delight of fans and passerby, and then faded into history as the railroad itself was merged into the Union Pacific. 913 now resides at the California State Railroad Museum.

Now a word from our official sponsor :-)  For those wishing to relive some WP history and have the final F7 locomotives . . . go here and just be sure to reserve by Dec. 20th.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.