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Steam & Excursion > Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2


Date: 08/11/19 23:12
Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

We had to start our eastward trek back to Nevada the day after riding the Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific as covered in Part 1, but we decided to ride the Roaring Camp & Big Tree's first train of the day before clearing out of the area.  As I relayed in Part 1, Norman Clark in the 1950s leased 180 acres next to Felton, California, which consisted of low meadow land up through one of the last stands of privately owned old growth redwood on the adjacent hillside.  Clark had ambitious plans to build a recreated town and narrow gauge railroad, and the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad operated its first trains in April 1963.  The railroad gradually extended its line farther up the hill, reaching the summit at Grizzly Flats about 1966.  The stipulations of the lease included provisions that the railroad had to minimize the numbers of old growth redwoods removed, which has resulted in a very twisty and steep railroad.

In this first set of photos we see the RC&BT's logo, the caboose on semi-permanent display near the entrance to Roaring Camp, and the covered bridge through which people walk heading from the parking area towards the depot, store, and other buildings that make up Roaring Camp.  

To be continued. 








Date: 08/11/19 23:28
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

I walked down to the railroad's small shop before the trip, where I found the crew getting today's power ready.  Clark found this two truck Shay in Dixiana, Virginia, in 1962, which is how it got its name, and it's been the mainstay of the Roaring Camp & Big Trees ever since.  The Dixiana is one of four active steam locomotives on the property, the others being two-truck Hesiler #2 (former West Side Lumber Company #3); three-truck Shay #7 (former West Side Lumber Company #7); and 0-4-2T #3 (formerly Kahuku Sugar from Hawaii).  Two more out of service steam locomotives, RC&BT #5 (2-truck Climax) and #6 (another two-truck Shay), rest behind the shop with several freight cars and a lot of parts.  Both of these worked in the mining and logging industries in the east and will need major restoration and conversion to 36-inch gauge before they can be used on the road.  

To be continued.     



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/19 23:29 by JDLX.








Date: 08/11/19 23:33
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

Most to all of the benches around Roaring Camp are inscribed in memory of someone associated with the operation, including this one for the founder, Normal Clark; Mr. Clark died in 1985 of pnemonia he contracted while supervising the rebuilding of the Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific down through the San Lorenzo River canyon.  The Dixiana shoves the train back towards the depot shortly before the 11 a.m. departure time, then is seen next to the water tower. 

To be continued. 








Date: 08/11/19 23:45
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

The RC&BT is an impressive piece of railroad, with grades up over 8% in some places and one short stretch approaching 10%, which gives the geared steam locomotives a workout.  The line as originally constructed included three sizeable trestles, one over "Indian Creek" a short distance out of Roaring Camp and then two trestles, one built over the top of the other, at Spring Canyon farther up the hill.  Unfortunately thw two trestles as Spring Canyon burned in 1976, and the railroad promptly bypassed them with two switchbacks that includes the nearly 10% grade. In this series of photos we see the Roaring Camp depot from the departing train, a shot of the Dixiana at the top of the meadow leaving Roaring Camp, and then some idea of the steepness of the grade as the train is backing up the steepest grade on the line between the two switchbacks.  

To be continued.   








Date: 08/11/19 23:49
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

The trains pause at Bear Mountain at the top of the hill for about twenty minutes or so, which gives people time to wander through the redwoods or look at the locomotive.  One lucky passenger got a tour of the cab, and got to blow the four whistles telling the riders to come back to the train. 

To be continued. 








Date: 08/11/19 23:54
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

Last three photos from the trip....the conductor giving the train a quick visual inspection before climbing on board as it leaves Bear Mountain, then looking back at the Indian Creek trestle, and finally one of the boiler blow downs the crew performed over the duck pond shortly before arriving back at the Roaring Camp depot. 

The line is definately worth your time if you find yourself in the area, and the sights and sounds of those geared steam locomotives on those grades is spectacular. 

Thanks for looking!

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV








Date: 08/12/19 11:22
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: mcfflyer

Jeff, any talk of them rebuilding that one trestle?  Probably not since it's been over 40 years of using the switchback. 

Great photos and glad you enjoyed it, although it put your return to Nevada through horrible Friday Bay Area traffic!

Lee Hower - Sacramento



Date: 08/12/19 13:53
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the interesting pics...



Date: 08/12/19 14:19
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: callum_out

The trestle rebuild used to be $300K probably double now, not much chance but when it was in operation
it was pretty neat.

Out



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 16:55 by callum_out.



Date: 08/12/19 15:05
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: CPRR

The place is a must for any steamhead. First, the entire redwood forest the train goes through is a park, with many hiking trails through it. Lots of ferns, and cool areas to find the train "off the beaten track" for photographs, if you can do the hike.

Years ago, when riding the train, told the enegineer it was my birthday, and he let me ride down the hill in the cab. Got very dirty pants sitting on something with oil on it, but I did not care.



Date: 08/12/19 15:11
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: KMiddlebrook

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The trestle rebuild used to be $300K porbably
> double now, not much chance but when it was in
> operation
> it was pretty neat.
>
> Out

As I recall, a public entiity required a steel trestle as a replacement which would alter the appearance of the line.  The owner chose to stick with the switchback.   



Date: 08/12/19 16:56
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: callum_out

I seem to remember something like that also for any chance of insurance.

Out 



Date: 08/12/19 17:42
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

I’ve read in a couple places that Norman Clark was determined to rebuild the trestles immediately after the fire, but the insurance carrier would only cover steel replacement structures, and so the “temporary” replacement switchbacks are still in use 43 years after the fire.

Thanks for the comments!

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/12/19 19:52
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: atsf121

Great series, my son and I loved looking through both sets of photos.  I told him about watching an SP freight roll by while I was playing volleball on the beach with friends.  Probably missed the ball in the process.  I still have yet to ride either railroad, need to do that one of these days.

Nathan



Date: 08/12/19 20:45
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: wabash2800

Thanks for sharing a great series. So, does  steam get to run down the street trackage and along the beach too?

Victor A Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/19 15:45 by wabash2800.



Date: 08/12/19 22:02
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: JDLX

On the steam question, no.  The Santa Cruz, Big Trees & Pacific talked in the early years about finding steam locomotives but seemed to drop that idea after a few years.  That being said, back in July 2014 Roaring Camp welcomed the "Chiggen" (Porter 0-4-0T, originally built for the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company) onto the line for a weekend.  Chiggen is owned by Stathi Pappas, who worked for Roaring Camp for a few years early in his career.  It operated several excursions on the SCBG, plus at least one public trip up to Wilder Ranch on the old SP branch north of Santa Cruz.  There are numerous videos on YouTube of the event; I couldn't find one of the locomotive on Beach Street shot from the ground, but there;s at least one video of it on Chesnut Street passing one of the wig wags, and TreeFrogFlag Production's video titled "Roaring Camp RR#87 Chiggen Steam to Santa Cruz Part 2" opens with a split screen shot of one excursion leaving the Boardwalk and going up Beach Street shot from the train. 

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV
 



Date: 08/12/19 23:41
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: TS735

Thanks for the wonderful photos of a really neat operation. As a side note, that Climax has been in that same spot in pieces for over 30 years from when I first saw it. Time and money, yes, but how awesome would it be to have the West Coast version of Cass Scenic with an operational Shay, Heisler, AND a Climax locomotive? I’m a patient kind of foamer ;)

Ryan Barber
Stockton, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 23:47 by TS735.



Date: 08/13/19 02:46
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: KMiddlebrook

The Climax has received VERY recent work on her trucks.  Also, the engines were run on air.    Don't give up hope on seeing CASS of the west!



Date: 08/13/19 08:47
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: E25

Nice operation.  On a smaller scale, it sort of reminds me of the former Portland Zoo Railway that ran between the Zoo and the Rose Garden.

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ



Date: 08/14/19 22:56
Re: Two Days at Roaring Camp- Part 2
Author: ktm-450

Nice photos. I live about 7 minutes from here. Ride my bike and watch the steam trane. Pretty impressive



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