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October 1985 - Page 21


Wayne Monger

B Y J AMES E . H UMBERT
ROTOTYPE MODELER b egins i ts s tudy o f F eather R iver r ailroading t his m onth w ith a d etailed r oute d escription b y J ohn R yczkowski. We s hall a lso s tudy t he h istory of F eather R iver r ailroading p ast , p resent a nd f uture , w ith p articular e mphasis u pon i ts o perations a s U nion P acific's F eather R iver D ivision. I n a ddition , a s pecial s ection d evoted t o t he F RC 's m ost e steemed o ccupant , t he C alifornia Z ephyr, w ill be p resented h erein. N ext m onth w e'll c ontinue o ur i nquiry o n t he W estern P acific a s w e p resent a d eluxe t rackplan f eaturing t he c anyon o f t he F eather R iver a nd a lso a c onversion p roject a imed a t p roducing a u nique h igh-nose E MD GP20. C limb a board a s P M v isits " el R io de l as P lumas! "

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ention t he s ubject o f t he W estern P acific a nd /or t he C alifornia Z ephyr t o a g roup o f r ailroad e nthusiasts a nd o ne i s s ure t o e licit a t l east s ome k ind o f r esponse. T he W estern P acific R ailroad p ossessed a f ollowing t he s ize o f w hich w as d iametrically o pposed t o i ts r elative l evel o f i mportance t o t he A merican r ailroad " community ." E ven t oday , n early f our y ears a fter i ts t akeover b y t h e U nion P acific R ailroad, t he p hrases "Feather R iver C anyon " a nd " Western P acific R ailroad " a re c onsidered n early s ynonomous . W hat a bout t he W P w as /is s o s pecial? A lways h ighly v ulnerable a nd d ependent u pon i ts c onnections f or m ost o f i ts t raffic , s mall -but-strategic W P w as c omprised o f a s ingle -track, t wo d ivi sion e ast-west m ain l ine a nd a s ingletrack n orth-south f eeder l ine. C om-

p leted l ong a fter i ts a rch-competitor S outhern P acific 's l ine o ver t he S ierra N evada v ia D onner P ass , t he WP w as t he l ast r ailroad l ine b uilt i nto t he s tate o f C alifornia. I ts 9 30-mile m ain l ine w as c ompleted f rom S al t L ake City, U tah t o O akland , Calif. , in 1 909 ; i ts 2 97-mile n orth-south "High L ine" to B ieber , C alif . (WP's c onnection to t he G N , N P a nd S P&S) w as e ssentially c ompleted b y 1 931. T he e ast-west S .L.C .-Oakland m ain l ine p ossesses a r uling g rade o f o ne p ercent c ompensated , w ith m aximum c urvature o f 1 0 d egrees 1 5 m inutes. T he " High L ine " b etween K eddie a nd B ieber, Calif. h as a m aximum g radient o f 2 .2 p ercent c ompensated , w ith m aximum c urvature h eld t o 10 degrees 1 2 m inutes. B oth l ines a re e ssentially s ingle-track , e quipped w ith remotely c ontrolled s idings o f v arious

OCTOBER 1985

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