How can you not love this railroad?

Anyone who reads Rails West knows I love the Southern Pacific, Rio Grande and Santa Fe.  However, there are a number of other railroads of which I am a big fan as well.  This post is dedicated to the Western Pacific.  I will share some photos a friend of mine took in California in 1968 and one after the merger in 1984.   This photos have been secured in his archives for many years.

Photo-of-the-western-pacific-line-running-through-unclaimed-desert-of-northern-oregon-ten-miles-from-railroad-station-at-irrigon-morrow-county-oregon-october-1939

Photo of the Western Pacific, 1939

But first, why do I like the Western Pacific?

Growing up in Houston–hot, muggy, very leafy and a little crowded–I fell in love with the Western Pacific upon seeing a photo of a very lonely WP locomotive on the Reno, NV branch carrying a few cars and a caboose in Trains Magazine in the mid-1970s.  I developed an almost “romantic” fascination with a railroad that ran through such desolate and lonely country.  To a kid in Houston, the thought there were such wide open spaces with beautiful orange and silver locomotives was really almost overwhelming.  It was love at first sight.

This is as close as I can find to my recollection of the WP locomotive crossing the big, lonely country of the Reno branch.

This is as close as I can find to my recollection of the WP locomotive crossing the big, lonely country of the Reno branch.

Fortunately, a friend of mine was in San Jose, California in 1968 to capture these great images of the the Western Pacific–

San Jose, CA

San Jose, CA, 1968–©photo by B. Smith

San Jose, CA II a

San Jose, CA, 1968–©photo by B. Smith

San Jose, CA III a

San Jose, CA, 1968–©photo by B. Smith

San Jose, CA IV a

San Jose, CA, 1968–©photo by B. Smith

San Jose, CA V a

San Jose, CA, 1968–©photo by B. Smith

Later on in the 1980’s, he captured some WP locomotives in West Texas–

Monahans Sand Hills SP, August, 1984.  West bound UP train with WP, UP, WP, MP, UP, and UP units.

Monahans Sand Hills SP, August, 1984. West bound UP train with WP, UP, WP, MP, UP, and UP units. –©photo by B. Smith

What a great railroad running through some incredible country!  It will always be one of my favorites.

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