Crew Training for 2015 Season

That time is rapidly approaching again!

Crew Training and Orientation will be held on April 11 and 12, 2015, as well as May 2 and 3, 2015.  If you wish to be on the operating crew this season, please make an effort to attend at least one of these days.

General information, training, and rules exams will be given.  RAL Engineers should stay after the rules exam for the RAL Meeting, though anyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

NOTE: The Calendar listing the dates of 5/16 and 5/23 are incorrect.

Posted in Crew Training, Operations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Western Pacific Historic Convention 2015! – Registration open

April 24-26, 2015 – Elko, NV

Registration for the 2015 Western Pacific Historic Convention in Elko, NV is finally open! (Took some doing to nail down the venue) This year we have a special event on Sunday, April 26, following the convention: a tour and exclusive steam powered excursion on the Nevada Northern! This is limited to only 50 riders, so sign up early!

Go to for more information!

We still need a few things for the convention: we’re looking for someone to promote and coordinate model exhibit and contest, also we’re looking for a few more clinics and shows with at least one more being about a modelling topic. If you would like to help and / or do a show, please contact Eugene Vicknair at or

Posted in Uncategorized

Current Progress for Winter 2014-2015

Currently, the museum is closed to the General Public, however, that doesn’t mean the lights have been off and the gate locked, on the contrary, there are many MANY good things happening to further the preservation and presentation of the WP.

This past Holiday Season, we added a 3rd “Santa Train” to our ever popular Christmas event. While the recent Santa Train was our best attended ever, the best result was that over HALF A TON! of non-perishable food items were collected from our guests to benefit the local EPCAN food pantry. Santa Train is a holiday tradition for the Habeck Family, as each member of the family spends countless hours helping Steve string Christmas lights, decorate the cars and facility, and coordinating the hot beverages and goodies for the event. Volunteers spent several weeks assisting in getting the equipment switched and staged, cleaned, serviced and ready to accept our holiday guests, not to mention Santa & Mrs. Claus. Gail McClure and her assistant Jasmine did a fair amount of business in the giftshop during the event and we couldn’t have pulled off our most successful Santa Trains EVER without the assistance of our merry band of volunteers. Look for an in depth feature article coming soon in “The Trainsheet”, soon to hit your mail box.

The “Railroad Passenger Car Alliance” had their annual convention in Reno, culminating with a visit to the museum on Sunday the 25th. We hosted 2 tour bus loads and several car loads of guests from within the railroad preservation and private railcar industry. We made some great new friends, caught up with old friends in the industry, and received a LOT of compliments from within the group regarding our collection and museum. FRRS Directors, Officers, & volunteers Eugene Vicknair, Steve Habeck, Rod McClure, Debbie Reynolds, Alicia La Brecque, Tom Carter, Steve Lee, David Elems, Greg Elems, and Rick & Lissa Grunninger spent the day cleaning and prepping the museum for these guests and showing them around the grounds and equipment. We received lots and lots of compliments from all over the group, who really enjoyed themselves.

During the weekend of RPCA’s visit, Director Tom Carter had the unique opportunity to take lessons and advice from Steve Lee of Cheyenne Wyoming, retired Superintendent of UP’s Heritage Fleet, who came out to our museum to teach him how to paint historic rail equipment. During his time with the Union Pacific Steam Program, Steve, along with a couple other employees, painted both of UP’s steam locomotives (on numerous occasions), the UP 6936 Centennial, the E9’s and their shop switcher, UPP 96. They first went through and performed an inventory of painting equipment and supplies, and explained what was needed in supplies, painting equipment and personal protective equipment to be able to paint our equipment to the standards of the Union Pacific Heritage Fleet. Currently, Western Pacific 1503 is sitting in the shop, having repairs made to it by Rod McClure, David Elems, Seth Adams, and Matt Elems. 1503 is now ready to perform paint preparation so we can paint it back to its as delivered Perlman Green & Orange Paint Scheme. Steve will once again make the long trip out to Portola from Cheyenne to mentor Directors Carter and Greg Elems in the fine art of locomotive & railcar painting. Once WP’s last switch engine, 1503 is complete and fully restored this year, she will join WP 501, WP’s first switcher and first diesel locomotive, as operable artifacts, thanks to the hard work of volunteers Dave McClain and Dwight Whetstone who have quietly labored behind the scenes fixing a myriad of small issues on 501 that were left over from its post WP days as an industrial switcher. Together, these two locomotives represent the myriad of power and innovation of the Western Pacific Railroad and we’re proud to not only have them, but present them to the public as jewels of our collection.

Directors Tom Carter and Gail McClure are currently working on assembling a restoration team for Central California Traction caboose #24, our “Little Red Caboose”. While this project was announced last year, they made the conscious decision to place more emphasis on other more pressing projects, while raising money for the cabooses restoration. As soon as 1503 leaves the shop in new paint, CCT #24 will go inside for a new paint job with reflective vinyl lettering and logos, after receiving new windows, window sashes and end sills. After the exterior is complete, work will focus on the inside, turning this into a VERY comprehensive example of a day in the life of a railroad crewman.

Ethan Doty has made regular visits to the museum working on various projects; his youth and enthusiasm a continued breath of fresh air. Our younger volunteers like Ethan, David Elems, Matt Elems, Deanna Fecko, Debbie Reynolds, Kathy & Jennifer Habeck and Seth Adams represent a future of not only our museum, but the furtherance of the mission started with the founding of the Western Pacific over 100 years ago. Though most of these younger volunteers may be too young to have seen and experienced the Western Pacific before the UP merger, regardless, they are fine examples of the “Willing People” spirit that the WP’s employees were always known for. We at the FRRS greatly appreciate their hard work, enthusiasm and above all, dedication and look forward to continuing to grow and cultivate the skills they will need to eventually carry on this mission in the future.

Director Charlie Spikes has been a regular visitor to the museum as well as volunteers Duane Vanderveen & David Elems, performing various tasks around the grounds, including overhauling “Big White”, our yeoman heavy forklift. Member Bob Simms continues working on restoring our wooden Denver & Rio Grande Western wooden boxcar for use as a steam tool car, as well as his assisting Directors Eugene Vicknair and Tom Carter in setting up our wood shop and turning it into a world class wood artifact restoration facility.

The WP 165 steam locomotive, in the very capable hands of the steam team, led by volunteer Chris Allan, is making major strides towards operating WP steam to return for the 1st time in many years. Much progress has been made on 165 this past year and 2015 will see the locomotive much closer to completion. Check out their blog at for more details, and to show your support if possible. They sure could use it.

As you can see, despite the fact that the museum has been closed for the Winter, we have not been sitting around the Christmas tree, drinking cocoa and waiting for Spring to return to the museum to work. Several of us have been busy!  We can use more help though. We need YOU to get involved, whether it is in person with labor, with donations of money or materials, expertise, or with moral support. As much progress and good things are going on right now with your society, we are obviously doing so with a relatively small crew, so we welcome you to join us!

Posted in Uncategorized

Work at the WPRM, 22 January 2015

Today’s efforts at the WPRM involved rearranging the “Ops Office” for greater ease of use.

Work began with removing the overly deep desk and placing the shelf that resided on it on the wall.

Fritz measures for attaching the shelf brackets to the studs in the wall.

Fritz measures for attaching the shelf brackets to the studs in the wall.

Work was complicated by the spacing of the studs being a bit unpredictable, but success was achieved nonetheless.

Fritz measures the middle of the shelf to center it on the brackets.

Fritz measures the middle of the shelf to center it on the brackets.

With the shelf now placed, and attached to the brackets, it was time to re-hang the wall-art that had to be removed.

Wall Art

Wall Art has been changed a bit.

With the shelf mounted, and the large desk removed, we arranged the computers to allow for traffic through the room even with the computers in use.  “New” printers have been acquired and one is operational.

New arrangement of the office allows for people to walk through even when others are using the computers.

New arrangement of the office allows for people to walk through even when others are using the computers.

And, the (mostly) finished product.

The mostly finished product.

The mostly finished product. Ready for use!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

2015 Western Pacific Historical Photo Calendars

There are still WP Historical Photo calendars available.

To order, go to

All proceeds support preservation of the Western Pacific Railroad and its family.

All photos in the calendar are high-resolution scans, professionally retouched and printed, from the Feather River Rail Society historical archives. (note: watermarks shown in attached images are not in calendar.)

Eugene Vicknair
Director – WPRM

FTs leading rail train passing steel train 72d WMMotorcars waiting service 72d WM

Posted in Uncategorized

2015 Western Pacific Railroad Calendar now available!

As part of our fundraising efforts, the Feather River Rail Society now has available a Western Pacific 2015 wall calendar featuring images from its WP photo archives. Thirteen photos (12 months plus cover) covering steam, diesel, Sacramento Northern electric, San Francisco Bay ferry operations, motorcars and images of WP crews at work.  The calendar opens to near 11″ X 17″ and it professionally printed on high quality paper.

Price is $15.95 plus tax and $5.00 shipping and handling. The calendar will also be available in the Museum Store at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum during Santa Trains the next two Saturdays (December 13 and 20) from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

To order, go to this address: http//

Enjoy the Western Pacific all year long and help support its preservation!

Eugene Vicknair
Feather River Rail Society

Posted in Uncategorized

Santa Trains 2014!

The WPRM will be running Santa Trains again this year, and have even added an extra Saturday!

Trains will run the first THREE Saturdays in December, the 6th, 13th & 20th, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Once again we are benefiting EPCAN, the Portola Food Pantry.  Admission is $5.00 + 3 cans of nonperishable food per car load or $10.00 per car load.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there and there will be complimentary Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Cider and Cookies .  Also, be sure to visit the museum Gift and Book Store!

If you would like to help, donations are always welcome.  We need volunteers to help run the event, donations of cookies and baked goods, and monetary donations to help defray the costs.

Santa Trains will be running at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum
700 Western Pacific Way near Old Town Portola
For more information, visit or call Debra Baer at 530-832-0819

You can download the Santa Train flyer here:

Posted in Uncategorized