Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Northward, Ho! Work Train Operations Reach Santa Rosa

During the last week of June and the first two weeks of July, Balfour Beatty forces distributed ties along the Northwestern Pacific mainline between Petaluma (milepost 38.5) and Santa Rosa (milepost 53.8), and also shuttled nine of the 11 ballast hoppers stored in Petaluma yard to Schellville. These Shamrock-owned, former Helm cars were repaired and restenciled for the NWP prior to movement and will be used in the ballasting of the mainline between Lombard and Ignacio.

The following photo essay - presented chronologically - provides a glimpse of operations for the last three weeks.

On June 30, the work train passes the handsome Mission-style NWP depot at Petaluma and will soon dump ties between that station and Penngrove to the north (Kevin Sheridan photo).

Balfour Beatty forces dump ties north of Penngrove on July 1 (Kevin Sheridan photo).

A local farmer watches the first train movement through Penngrove since 2001 with awe on July 1. On this day, Balfour Beatty forces dropped ties between Penngrove and Cotati (Nate Muhlethaler photo).

The northbound work train ambles through vegetation as it approaches Railroad Avenue in Cotati on July 1 (Nate Muhlethaler photo).

On July 2, a Schellville-bound work train rolls through the baylands near Burdell with three empty centerbeams and nine ballast cars from Petaluma, marking the longest train to date during the present incarnation of the railroad. The crew distributed ties between Penngrove and Cotati the previous day (Kevin Sheridan photo).

After planting ties as far north as Santa Rosa, the work train returns southbound through Petaluma with two empties on July 8. Dairymen's Feed - a long-time NWP customer that will ship again when revenue service returns - dominates the scene (Kevin Sheridan photo).

On July 8, the southbound work train spans Petaluma Creek on the Haystack Bridge on Petaluma's south side (Kevin Sheridan photo).

Special thanks to Nate Muhlethaler, Keith Powley, and Kevin Sheridan.

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