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Steam & Excursion > One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!


Date: 04/04/20 04:12
One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: LoggerHogger

Much has changed both in the form or railfanning and railroading in the 83 years since Wil Whittaker took this photo in Colfax, California.  The date was May 23, 1937 and the event was the very first railfan excursion held in the west.  The first order of business was for these young men to climb all over the Nevada County Narrow Gauge locomotive #9 before departure from Colfax.

One has to wonder how did this tradition get started.  We see on other famous excursion in the late 1930's the same kind of behavior.  How did it start that sunny day in Colfax  just a few feet from the Southern Pacific depot where the excursionists had just de-trained from the SP passenger train that took them to Colfax for this trip on the NCNG bound for Grass Valley.  Did someone ask permission first before the climbed on the #9?  There was plenty of room in the passenger coaches used on the train that day for everyone to ride inside.

Since this was the first such excursion in the West, how did this tradition get started on this first trip?  We may never know, unfortunately.

Martin



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/20 08:12 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 04/04/20 04:47
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: PlyWoody

The next question is how did any railfan group ever get invited to repeat this.  I happened on the 2' Bridgeton &  Harrison, and on other short lines in New England.  Read through all the old Railroad Man Stories, or Railroad Magazine and some clues to the answer for the first question may show up.  I have the entire collection to 1931 and parts to 1915 prior to that.  The Labor unions published good magazine back in those early years with many clips of data sent in by reader and crew men.  For example, the Lively brother sent in monthly articles of all the Brothers moving about in the Telegraph craft, and other train changes on the narrow gauge. My guess, it is as early as railroading, and Golden Spike ceremony had people all over the engines.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/20 05:04 by PlyWoody.



Date: 04/04/20 06:51
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: Keystone1

I like the guy with the spectator shoes, and the belt in the back of his jacket..   For the era, that is as cool as you can get.



Date: 04/04/20 07:26
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: co614

Me thinks it's 83 years not 87 but who's counting. This must be what all the railroad casualty prevention lawyers see in their minds eye when they deny permission for any steam excursions on their railroad ??? 

   Ross Rowland 



Date: 04/04/20 08:26
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: wabash2800

Back in those days, people rode horses more than they do now.... <G>

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



Date: 04/04/20 09:26
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: mcfflyer

With everyone "dressed up", what about the grease, dirt and grime that certainly was all over the train - especially on the tender of a steam locomotive?!   I always wondered if their clothes were even cleanable!  They had to be absolutely filthy!  And where could they even wipe their hands?  A different time indeed.  

I remember riding the Rails Over Cajon trip sponsored by OETM in 1967 powered by a pair of Santa Fe PAs.  Hung out in the vestibule all the way from San Bernardino to LA, and when I got home I looked at my face in the mirror, and I was absolutely covered with greasy exhaust and dust!  (Oh to have that opportunity again!  But thanks to my folks for supporting my train interested back when I was 15.).  

Lee Hower - Sacramento  



Date: 04/04/20 10:08
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: PHall

I can only imagine what the train crew thought of these folks.



Date: 04/04/20 10:19
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: MojaveBill

And if anyone of them fell off they or their survivors would sue the railroad.

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 04/04/20 11:24
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: Elesco

The crewman standing next to the tender looks like he's had enough.



Date: 04/04/20 11:30
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: Earlk

Obviously, the tank heater is not running, or nobody would be sitting there.



Date: 04/04/20 17:45
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: TonyJ

The NCNG photo reminds me of a story told by the late Fred Stindt during one of our month Pacific Coast Chapter, RLHS meetingsin San Francisco. Part of the evening's entertainment were photos of an NCNG railfan excursion in late 1941. Just like the one shown here in 1937, the one in 1941 had railfans all over the engine and tops of the cars. It all went without a hitch. Then some photographer with Life Magazine sent photos of the excursion and it made into print. After seeing the magazine article the I.C.C. contacted the Nevada County Narrow Gauge and said, "You can't do that!!!" The I.C.C. levied a fine and said we'll shut you down if you try that again. The NCNG replied, "Go ahead! We're shutting down anyway.", which they did in May, 1942.



Date: 04/05/20 05:30
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: PlyWoody

The fans in Maine had a chance to ride the same way, and this was on the moving train over the Bridgeton & Harrison RR which was two foot gauge.  No.8 (Error- 24) was cut up after a private attempt to save it, but sister No.7 ran on the WW&F this year.
Correction edit:  Good news as both B&H #7, and engine in this photo,B&H #8 still survive, with #7 at Alna.  I was thinking of engine purchased and enclosed in an wooden shed, but later scapped which was SR&RL #24.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/20 13:17 by PlyWoody.




Date: 04/05/20 05:56
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: LoggerHogger

Things got really crazy the next year on the Caspar, South Fork & Eastern.

Martin




Date: 04/05/20 10:11
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: cewherry

Gives a whole other meaning to the term 'weight on drivers'. 
You don't suppose the engine crew tried to claim more pay for that days work, did they? Naw.

Charlie



Date: 04/05/20 10:22
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: Earlk

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The fans in Maine had a chance to ride the same
> way, and this was on the moving train over the
> Bridgeton & Harrison RR which was two foot
> gauge.  No.8 was cut up after a private attempt
> to save it, but sister No.7 ran on the WW&F this
> year.

B&SR #8 is stored at the WW&F.  Perhaps you are things of WW&F #8?



Date: 04/05/20 21:14
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: wabash2800

This was R&LHS excursion on the Wabash and NJI&I October 23, 1949. Photo was taken at Ashley, Indiana. We do see one railfan on the signal...

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/20 21:15 by wabash2800.




Date: 04/06/20 02:17
Re: One Look Here And We Can See How Much Things Have Changed!
Author: railscenes

Back when I was a teenage mutant railfan in the early 1960 era the CB&Q ran regular steam excursions with the 4960, 2-8-2 now at Grand Canyon Ry, and my favorite CB&Q 5632 the doomed 4-8-4. Like the Wabash excursion pictured above the Q occasionally ran the excursions with an open gondola car. Except for a cinder or two, I do not recall ever hearing of any injuries. Yes, I climbed up signal ladders and box cars to get above the crowd 'cause I was too short. And yes, my mother was really worried that I came home looking like I'd worked in a coal mine all day. But she knew I had to work hard to earn money on multiple paper routes and mowing yards for the train ticket and a roll of Kodachrome II film. Maybe it would be a good time to dig out those 55+ year old Kocdachromes and get them scanned. Of course everyone our age has seen tons of those photos of the same two locos. 
Steve Rippeteau



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/20 02:19 by railscenes.



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