Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Train in Nearly Eight Years

For the first time since Northwestern Pacific Railway (NWPY) operated its final train in September 2001, a steel wheel turned on the line on Tuesday, March 24. Contractor Balfour Beatty operated Willamette Valley 2502 (a former Southern Pacific GP 35 locomotive) and three loads of new ties from the California Northern Railroad interchange at Lombard compass west to the yard at Schellville. A fourth load of ties was left behind, as it will be distributed between Brazos and Lombard.

In the above view, the train crossed the murky Napa River on the lift bridge at Brazos at 1 p.m. This venerable structure was the unfortunate victim of vandalism and copper theft in recent years and is in the process of receiving all necessary repairs.

At 1:15 p.m., the train crept through bucolic rural Napa County as it approached the former station site of Buchli.

At 2:05 p.m., the train slowed for the busy California Highway 121 crossing at Schellville. Safety is paramount: Balfour Beatty flagmen protected the crossing while the short train passed.

Balfour Beatty is in the process of replacing a high volume of ties on the NWP mainline and has completed the section between Brazos and Schellville. A truck and crane will soon be along to pick up the pile of secondhand ties at Ramal pictured above.

The 10 miles between Lombard and Schellville await the installation and tamping of crushed rock ballast.


  1. Excellent story & photos, Chris! I especially love the first two images. Glad our top reporter was on the case. :-)

  2. Hey Chris, this is "Hollywood's" son AJ. I haven't seen a train across the Brazos Bridge before except in Pentrex's CFNR Video. Great Pictures, really nice to see some sort of movement out there!

  3. Thanks for posting those pictures, Chris.

  4. I guess as good as it gets... Those pictures, all of them are A #1... Thanks so much.

  5. Great images. I always see the 2502 running through here where I live at in Oregon on it's home rails.