The Western Railway Museum is located about halfway between
Fairfield and Rio Vista along Hwy 12 in California. This is just
northeast of the San Francisco Bay. The Museum is open weekends all
year for tours and trolly rides. They can be reached at (707)-374-2978
or at The Western Railroad Museum Web
American Car Company built this streetcar in 1911 for the Key
System, an traction company that operated all over the East Bay near
San Francisco until the line was scrapped in 1948. This restored car,
and others, are used to haul the public on a few miles of trackage that
the museum purchased from UP (formally Sacramento Northern).
While the museum specializes in restoring streetcars and
interurbans, I went there to take photos of the disused and lonely
equipment on the "dead line."
This car, I didn't get its ID, was in the shop for major repairs
due to an accident. Much of the structure of the car was being
One of reasons for the repairs was due to these frame rails, which
used to be a little straighter.
The WRM has three electric mine locos, two of them are pretty
conventional heavy box cabs. They said that that they had to take all
three from Kennicott Copper to get one of them.
This is the one that drew me back to the museum. This loco goes to
show that there is a prototype for everything. This loco is battery
I asked around the staff at the museum that day to get some details,
but nobody there knew much about it except that it was dual powered. I
surmise that this loco was used to run down short spurs off the
electrified main line in the open pit copper mine to spot cars and ran
back to the main line to pick up power and recharge. The other two were
probably used to haul cars out of the pit. Moving tracks around in a
mine would be a lot of work, moving overhead as well would be a real
pain. Also having overhead all around would be dangerous. This loco
hadn't moved from this spot since the last time I was there maybe 5
years before so it doesn't look like it is very high on the museum's
This wooden wire maintenance car has obviously seen better days.
This kind of car was used to work on the overhead wire. Since the
platform was wood, the wire could be worked on while it was still
This steel tank car was basically unidentifiable. This is a good
example for a truly heavy weathering job.
The Porter Manufacturing Company made many small switchers such as
this one. I have to assume that this loco is not in running condition.
There were other switchers at the museum such as a 44 tonner and a GP9,
but I didn't post the photos because they were too ordinary and in much
too good of a condition.
For many years, the SP ran a beet train down the central valley and
the coast route. The cargo was sugar beets and these high side gondolas
were used to carry them. The beet trains are long gone, what beets are
left go by truck, but an example of a typical beet car is sitting on
the dead line at the WRM.
This wooden boxcar was so badly weathered that its roadname was
totally gone. Considering the archbar trucks, it probably hasn't
carried a revenue load in many moons.
This D&RGW boxcar has probably been restored, it couldn't have
been in this good of shape since it last ran.
This is one of the last steam powered wrecking cranes still around.
Unfortunately, this crane is not in working condition.
An SP boom car is attached to the crane. This car looks fairly
modern in comparison to the crane.
The Central Traction Company ran some freight operations and needed
a caboose. It is clear that this version has seen some hard times. The
car is sitting on trolley trucks, it can't be seen in the photo, but
the axles are geared.
The Pacific Fruit Express ran full blocks of refrigerated cars all
over the country until trucks took much of the perishable business away
from the railroads. This wooden reefer is an example of an early PFE
The museum has to maintain their own track. This ballast tamper is
not much of a relic, but I found it interesting anyway.
The guys in the shop called this a tie shear. It is designed to
break up old ties. It would seem to me that a regular tie puller would
be more effective than mashing old ties, but they must use it for
This infernal machine looks like a roto-tiller on steroids. It is
used for digging up the ballast after a tie has been pulled. It also
has a tie puller mechanism right behind its claws.
This powered truck probably came from underneath the wrecked car
being restored. Because it has two large traction motors, it is
probably an interurban truck as opposed to a streetcar truck which
would probably be not quite so big.