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Western Pacific Railroad freight trains

By | August 15, 2021

The Western Pacific is Classic Trains' fallen flag Railroad of the Month for August 2021

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The Western Pacific is Classic Trains' fallen flag Railroad of the Month for August 2021
Black-and-white overhead view of steam locomotive with freight train in freight yard

Doubleheaded freight arriving Salt Lake City

Western Pacific 2-8-2s 304 and 303 bring a freight into Salt Lake City in September 1940. Note the Denver & Rio Grande Western yard and road engines at right.   

R. H. Kindig

Black-and-white overhead view of steam locomotive with freight train in freight yard
Black-and-white overhead view of streamlined diesel locomotives with freight train passing hydroelectric plant

Freight along the Feather River

Four F units lead a westbound Western Pacific freight past Pacific Gas & Electric’s Las Plumas hydroelectric plant on the Feather River east of Oroville, Calif., in May 1953.

W. E. Malloy Jr.

Black-and-white overhead view of streamlined diesel locomotives with freight train passing hydroelectric plant
Black-and-white view of road-switcher diesel locomotive with short freight train amid barren hills

Reno Branch local freight

A Geep begins the descent toward Reno, Nev., with Western Pacific train 220, the daily-except-Sunday Portola, Calif.–Reno local, on September 8, 1972. It’ll return at noon as train 219.

R. T. Sharp

Black-and-white view of road-switcher diesel locomotive with short freight train amid barren hills
Black-and-white broadside view of tugboat with barge carrying freight cars

Freight to San Francisco by car float 

Western Pacific tugboat Hercules shepherds a car float loaded with boxcars across San Francisco Bay in October 1938. Like the Santa Fe, WP reached the city only by water.

Classic Trains collection

Black-and-white broadside view of tugboat with barge carrying freight cars
Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train entering a loop in mountains

Freight on Williams Loop

About 15 miles east of Keddie, Calif., a Western Pacific 2-8-8-2 enters Williams Loop with a westbound freight in the 1940s. The train will soon re-enter the picture on the track coming in from the right and pass through the tunnel beneath the locomotive.  

Union Switch & Signal

Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train entering a loop in mountains
Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train on track in a city street

Freight in the streets of Oakland

Western Pacific 2-6-6-2 208 trundles down Third Street in Oakland with a long freight train in the 1940s. 

Arthur Lloyd

Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train on track in a city street
Black-and-white overhead view of steam locomotive with freight train on trestle in mountains

Westbound freight at Keddie

Western Pacific 2-8-8-2 256 leads a westbound freight onto the mainline trestle at Keddie, Calif., on July 4, 1941. In a moment the engine will hit the junction with the Bieber line and then enter a tunnel. 

Bob Searle

Black-and-white overhead view of steam locomotive with freight train on trestle in mountains
Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train in mountains

Freight in Niles Canyon

Western Pacific 4-8-4 453 climbs through Niles Canyon, WP’s exit from the Bay Area, with an eastbound freight in November 1950.

John C. Illman

Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train in mountains
Color view of road-switcher diesel locomotives with freight train

1960s freight out of Salt Lake City

Four second-generation GPs led by Western Pacific GP35 3515 depart Salt Lake City with freight for the Bay Area in May 1967.

J. David Ingles

Color view of road-switcher diesel locomotives with freight train
Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train crossing bridge over another railroad and a highway.

Westbound freight on Altamont Pass 

Western Pacific 2-8-2 308 climbs the east side of California’s Altamont Pass with an Oroville–Oakland freight in the late 1940s. Today WP’s line here is busy with Union Pacific freights and Altamont Commuter Express trains, while the Southern Pacific line below is abandoned. 

Black-and-white view of steam locomotive with freight train crossing bridge over another railroad and a highway.

All through August, Classic Trains editors are celebrating the grit, the glory, and the grandeur that was the Western Pacific Railroad. Please enjoy this photo gallery of images selected from Kalmbach Media’s David P. Morgan Library.

Only from Classic Trains!

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