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Nostalgia & History > mundo: Southwestern Holiday

Date: 02/06/17 04:37
mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

Many of the excursions organized by John Ferris for his Railway Club of Southern California were named "(something) Holiday."  The (something) was often a destination but occasionally a season or some other attribute of the route.  The "Southwestern Holiday" of January 29, 1950 got its name from its destination, the Southwestern Portland Cement Co. at Victorville, CA.  Their railroad, the Mojave Northern, ran up to quarries the hills east of Victorville to bring back the raw materials for cement making.  The railroad had three Davenport 0-6-0T's on its roster, but by 1950, GE diesel switchers had also joined the fleet and the writing was on the wall for the teakettles.  The combination of rare mileage and endangered steam made for a tempting excursion target, and the Southwestern Holiday would not be the last time SWPC would host a railfan outing. 

The flyer below is from the reprint in the book The Exploits of John Markoe Ferris.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/17 04:58 by Evan_Werkema.

Date: 02/06/17 04:38
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

One more flyer page:

Date: 02/06/17 04:44
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

Ed Von Nordeck, TO user mundo, rode the Southwestern Holiday and took black and white photos (the Ferris book is also from his collection).  The scans below are from his contact prints.  The trip started out in Los Angeles behind Santa Fe 4-8-4 #2903, an engine that would ultimately escape the torch.  It survives today at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL after being relocated from Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry in 1995:


1. The first shot shows the eastbound excursion at the San Bernardino, CA depot, where a two-unit FT helper has been added for the trip up Cajon Pass.

2-3. The flyer didn't advertise photo runbys on the Santa Fe portion of the trip, but at least one was staged on the west slope of Cajon Pass, with the diesels remaining on the point ahead of the 2903 and its 11-car train.  An article about Ferris in the July 1981 issue of Trains puts the excursion's ridership at around 300.

Date: 02/06/17 04:45
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

4. At Victorville, excursionists detrained to, as the flyer put it, "shoot the works" at the SWPC cement plant, with particular attention paid to the enginehouse.

5. MNRR engine #2 appears to be in stationary boiler service and suffering the ravages of working in the open beside a cement plant.

6. Engine #1, on the other hand, had been tapped to pull the excursion gondolas up the line and was dolled-up in a fresh coat of paint including the dreaded whitewalls.

Date: 02/06/17 04:50
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

7. A front view of the 1-spot, a Davenport product of 1915. Of the three MNR 0-6-0T's, it was the oldest and also the only one that did not survive (as far as I can determine, anyway).  The other two 0-6-0T's were ultimately donated to museums in 1966. Number 2 went to the Orange Empire Ry Musuem in Perris, CA:


The 3 went to the Pacific Southern Railroad Museum Association, and is now on display at La Mesa, CA:


8. Also on hand was three-year-old GE 70-tonner #5, "Leonardt," named after SWPC founder and first president Carl Leonardt.  The link below explains the extra long nose on this and other SWPC 70-tons as follows: "To accommodate Southwest Portland Cement's request for dynamic brakes, GE lengthened the hood on the 70-ton model and added additional louvers for improved ventilation."


According to a roster on Trainweb, this engine went on to work for the Modesto & Empire Traction as their #605. 


If so, the extra goodies were removed and a standard 70-ton hood fitted at some point, as by the 1990's, M&ET 605's hood didn't go all the way to the edge of the frame:


M&ET 605 was last reported working for Mobil Grain in Bethune, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Meanwhile, THIS roster says a different SWPC 70-ton, #4, became M&ET 605, while the 5 ultimately went to the Santa Maria Valley for parts:


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/17 05:29 by Evan_Werkema.

Date: 02/06/17 04:52
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

9. The excursionists piled into four gondolas for a ride up the line with #1 (as the flyer said, "equipment will be open cars, so dress warmly").  Along the way, they passed MNR's boneyard out behind the plant.

10. According to Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California: The Southern Roads, MNR 2-4-2T #4 was a Porter built in 1912 and acquired second-hand from the San Diego & Arizona Railway.


11. A rear view of #1 at a photo stop.

Date: 02/06/17 04:54
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

12. The 1-spot performs a runby shoving its gondolas over the Mojave River bridge at Victorville.

13. Ed also photographed the "traffic light" signal at the east end of the bridge...along with at least one other excursionist.

14. Meanwhile, Santa Fe 2903 had been turned and was waiting with the regular excursion consist in the shadow of the cement plant to take the riders back to LA.

Date: 02/06/17 04:55
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: Evan_Werkema

15-16. A character study of one of the world's largest and heaviest 4-8-4's

17. The excursion drumhead.

Thanks again to Ed for sharing these photos with us.

Date: 02/06/17 05:44
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: wigwag

What a great look back. What ever happened to John Ferris?

Didnt the Railway Club have a Tustin Holiday later that year?

Date: 02/06/17 09:20
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: SGillings

The runby in Cajon looks like Alray with the cut for Route 66 visible to the left.  Didn't Mojave Northern 2 operate at OERM back in the late '60's or early '70's before the museum received and ran Ventura County 2?


Date: 02/06/17 09:42
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Great stuff.  John Ferris pulled off some amazing trips.  

How did they load people in and out of the gons?  Did they have porta-potties on board?  

Something you'd never see today.  That's for sure.  

Date: 02/06/17 16:56
Re: mundo: Southwestern Holiday
Author: The_Chief_Way

Thanks again, Ed and Evan !

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