October 2015 Board Meeting Rescheduled

As announced previously, the October FRRS Board Meeting, originally scheduled for October 10, has been rescheduled to Saturday, October 17 at 4:00 PM due to a conflict.

The meeting will still be held in the Meeting Room at the WP Museum in Portola.

Eugene Vicknair

Secretary – FRRS

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Around the Museum, 8/17/15

Greetings, everyone.  Matt Parker here again with a report on activities around our museum.

It was another great day in Portola, in terms of weather as well as volunteer and visitor activity.   I began the day by driving over at the crack of dawn so I could go for a bike ride out to Lake Davis and back, grabbing breakfast along the way, and be back in time for a shower before opening time.

When I returned from the bike ride, Charlie Spikes had arrived and was working on some weed abatement in the parking lot.  Our Gift Shop Attendant Elise arrived promptly on time.  She had mentioned last week that she was expecting a big shipment of merchandise to arrive by today, and so I was figuring I would spend much of the day assisting her in getting the merchandise labelled and put on the shelves.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that yesterday’s Gift Shop Attendant, Jazmine, along with our Operations Supervisor Rick Gruninger’s girlfriend Lisa, had already labelled and stocked it all yesterday.  Great job, ladies, and thanks!

Bil Jackson, Loren Ross, and Vice President Steve Habeck were also on hand.  Bil went to work cleaning inside our Business Car, UP 105, while Loren cleaned up messes left by the large bear who frequently includes our museum in his nighttime raids around town.

It wasn’t long before we had a request from some visitors for a walk-in RAL (Run-A-Locomotive – Elise is so good at selling them!).  Loren handled that.  In the meantime, I was visiting with visitors, conducting equipment tours, and spelling Elise so she could take a lunch break.  When she returned, it was my turn to head back over to Nichole’s Coffee Depot and grab a bite.  Upon returning to the museum, a father and son had decided they wished to do an RAL.  I took that one so that Loren could take a lunch break.  We had a great time, and the young man who did most of the running said he was really looking forward upon returning home to the Bay Area to being able to tell his young railfan friends as they were watching trains go by, “Hey, I’ve run one of those!”

Once this RAL was completed, our switch crew consisting of Steve, Loren, Charlie, and Bil, along with Matt and David Elems (who arrived while I was doing the RAL) went to work setting up our equipment displays for Portola Railroad Days this weekend.  I retrieved some more merchandise from storage for Elise to stock, then grabbed my camera and headed out to the yard to get some picture of “the boys and their toys” in action.  All in all, it was another great day for the museum with lots of work getting done around the property and a good dose of happy visitors.

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Around The Museum, 8/12/15

Hello Everyone! Matt Parker here, with an update on goings-on around the museum today.

Today was my first opportunity to visit the museum this summer. Disappointing that so much of our busy season has passed, but with other matters settled I am looking forward to spending more time around the property with our other volunteers during the back-side of the season.

Elise was quite busy in the Gift Shop today, which is always good news. I introduced myself to her (today was the first time we met) upon arriving and let her know I was available to man the store, giving her a break for lunch.

After catching up with volunteers David Elems and our all-time favorite “wrench nazi” Seth Adams, it was time to go to work. A guest with physical limitations desired an RAL, which necessitated preparing WP 917-D for service and the efforts of a few volunteers to get the guest aboard the locomotive. The guest later said that running a locomotive was something on his “bucket list” which he was not sure he would be able to achieve due to his difficulties in getting on and off the equipment. Making magic for guests such as this gentleman is a great reward for our volunteers who go the extra mile to get it done!

Between assisting with this RAL as well as taking time to answer visitor’s questions and give a few equipment tours, it was after 2:00 by the time I got to eat my lunch and give Elise a break! So goes those days when it is busy around the museum, but being busy is never a bad thing.

Charlie Spikes was here, cleaning up in the Silver Plate dining car and also handing our walk-in RAL’s. David spent the day performing work on WP 501’s prime mover, getting it ready for return to service after many years of being sidelined. Seth was working on several small issues on WP 1501. Also present was Larry Hanlon, who has been on the property throughout the beginning of this week working on electrical issues on WP 805-A. To facilitate his work, Larry rigged up the dynamic brakes on the #2 power unit of our DDA-40X, UP 6946, to use as a load box. During his testing this afternoon, the combination of WP 805-A’s engine throttled up while the dynamics on UP 6946 screamed, absorbing 805’s load, provided some GREAT acoustics.

During the day, Portola City Manager Robert Meacher stopped by with some family members. We had a nice chat with Mr. Meacher regarding Portola Railroad Days, which is just over a week away, as well as some planned future cooperative efforts between the City and our organization.

It was another great day in Portola! If you can, come visit us soon, and experience the ongoing efforts to preserve the Western Pacific!

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2015 Election Completed


A simple 4 letter word sent over crude telegraph wires marked the end of a colossal feat; the completion of a railroad that would unite the country with a ribbon of steel rails on May 10, 1869.

Done is a good descriptive to finally sum up the results of the legal fiasco that has become the 2015 Board of Directors Election.  As of Saturday, August 7th, it’s FINALLY done, over, and finished.  The membership has spoken, and we are proud to announce that the honesty and integrity of the society has prevailed and Directors Habeck, McClure, and Vicknair have retained their seats and the Feather River Rail Society has survived this recent coup attempt by FRRS members James Mason, Robert Reininger, Debra Baer, William Meeker and Keith Gillette, who sued the society and took over the election in Plumas County Superior Court.  While the procedural, financial and behavioral issues behind the scenes of this fiasco are far from over and will be dealt with, the election is in fact over and the membership has spoken.


On behalf of the Feather River Rail Society, we sincerely apologize for the strife and inconvenience that this has caused our membership during what has become the biggest obstacle that the FRRS has had to overcome in its 31 year history.  Fighting for what is fair and right has been a monumental feat.   We appreciate the support shown to your trusted, elected officials and we thank you all.

Now, back to productive work we go….

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The Feather River Rail Society is pleased to announce a new marketing partnership with the City of Portola to bring visitors to town and to the museum.

Look for our new full page color ad in “Deals & Wheels” magazine, which should be hitting news stands early next week.

Deals & Wheels Ad

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Around the Museum

There have been a lot of things happening around the WP Museum in the last few weeks.  Would like to take a minute and share a few with everyone….

First off, a crew from the California Conservation Corp came by several weekends ago and added over 30 more poles to the perimeter fence project over 2 days.  And this work was performed for free.  The FRRS and the CCC have enjoyed a great relationship going back several years and I am working with them to find another slot to get a crew on property along with a crew of FRRS volunteers to perform more work on the fence.  Thank you to the CCC!

Burr and Alex Wilson installed one of the new doors on the Silver Debris Lounge Car recently.  They also worked on the train crew last weekend and performed some other volunteer work around the facility.  Thank you for your help, gentlemen!

David Elems continues to be the go to guy for getting projects done.  He has been invaluable.

RALs are up this year and several of our RAL instructors have really stepped in to handle the volume.  Special thanks to Charlie Spikes and Craig Simmons.

Work continues on WP F7A 917.  Greg Elems and his boys have been working hard on her.  SN caboose 1642 has also been seeing some work thanks to Duane VanDerVeen, who also takes care of a lot of other projects around the place.

It has been great to see Bil Jackson and Loren Ross again.  Thanks for all your work!

With help from the Portola City Manager Robert Meacher, we are working on grant applications with the city to benefit several big projects, including restorations and archives.

And of course a big shout out to our Steam Crew.  WP 165 keeps moving forward in her restoration.  Hope to have more information on that front soon.

Thanks to everyone for their support of the Society and the Western Pacific!

Eugene Vicknair

Secretary – FRRS

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Friends of the FRRS???? NOT!!!!!!!

Some of you are receiving a piece of mail from the self named “Friends of the FRRS” These people are not friends of the FRRS, you will understand that as soon as you read the material they have sent you. I will once again ask you to ask for facts from these people.

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