The Western Pacific was the underdog of American railroads. Sadly, it developed a strong following late in its life. Most of it’s life went with only a handful photographers or historians to chronicle its uniqueness. It was built late compared to the Southern Pacific. The road built from its connection with the Rio Grande in Salt Lake City to the Pacific Coast in Oakland, California.
Master modeler, Lee Turner, tried his hand at building up a typical power set for the California Zephyr. Lee used P&D kits to recreate power for this famous train. The first unit is a FP-7 that was created by splicing two bodies to lengthen it to match the prototype. The WP had polished stainless panels on the car bodies for passenger power. Lee used Bare Metal Foil to create the shiny panels. The B- units are P&D models as well. The weathering is very convincing.
These pictures brought back a lot of memories from the 1960s when I used to visit the WP roundhouse in Oakland, CA. Zephyr power would be serviced there and rest overnight for the morning departure. In those days, there was little or no security to hinder a rail fan’s wandering. The Zephyr trainset was serviced and cleaned. I was able to wander through the cars and imagine what it would be like to ride a classic.
I could not find a picture of a shipper when I wrote the story on the SP Vasona Branch. The picture was of Sewell Brown’s apricot pit factory in Los Gatos. The company process the pits from all of the apricots picked and canned in the Valley of the Heart’s Delight. That slogan was once used to describe Santa Clara valley and surrounding area. The land around Los Gatos, Campbell and Santa Clara once had orchards growing plums and apricots. Now it is referred to as Silicon Valley and no orchards. By the way, the pits were shipped to Germany to make an ingredient in woman’s cosmetics.
The picture is of a painting done by Mike Kotowski. Mike used to be the mayor of Campbell. He is a talented artist who used to do the art of the annual Orchard Supply calendar.