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Nostalgia & History > Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993

Date: 04/16/17 12:50
Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: ATSF5964

In the summer of 1993, the word had come down that the SP was planning to spin off some of it's branch lines, including the West Valley line between Davis and Tehama. One fine morning in August I set out to capture at least a taste of action on this branch. I don't remember if I caught the SP sugar beet train depicted based on prior knowledge or just good fortune, but the smart money is on blind luck. As befitting a branch line job, nothing was done in a hurry, and there was a lengthy meal stop in Woodland after the trainload of beets was delivered to Spreckels Sugar, a few miles north of town on the remnants of the old Knight's Landing branch. Back in Davis, the Woodland local was waiting for the beet empties and immediately headed up the line when they cleared. In less than a month all this would change forever when the local operations such as this were spun off to the California Northern.

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Date: 04/16/17 13:52
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: exhaustED

Absolutely fabulous - thanks for sharing!

Date: 04/16/17 14:05
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: callum_out

Excellent video, the shots of the sugar plant unit and that last bit with the three GP9s was just icing on the cake. That
rail operation with the beets held on for a few more years but not like that.


Date: 04/16/17 15:24
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: DynamicBrake

Nice video. Thanks for sharing a memorable look back.  I sure do miss seeing the "wood racks" rolling over Cuesta though.

Kent in CArmel Valley

Date: 04/16/17 18:55
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: atsf121

Now that's the SP I remember.


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Date: 04/16/17 19:02
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: SPDRGWfan

I lived in north Davis during my Jr High and High School years in the 1970s and remember the sugar beat trains traveling north toward Woodland. Is the Spreckles plant where they were headed? There was talk of my class going on a field trip to Spreckles but it never happened to my class unfortunately.

Cheers Jim Fitch

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Date: 04/17/17 00:23
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: Fizzboy7

Certainly DVD worthy material!   Fantastic!   Didn't know how good we had it back then.


Date: 04/17/17 03:56
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: sparky52t

Some fine work from a wonderful time in railroading on the good ol' Southern Pacific. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 04/17/17 06:33
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: Chooch

I suppose the old sugar beet trains have disappeared over time. I use to love watching them when I would visit West Colton and see them rumbling through those interchanges. I assume they have gone the same route as the old oil can trains that use to fight the heavy grades through Tehachapi. I think the bean counters call it "progress" I call it a shame to see history turn into what we have today. I sure do miss my days when I visited California and wandered around all the nice foaming locations to photograph trains. I think the best part were the wonderful people I would meet when chasing trains.
Have a nice day all!

Hatboro, PA

Date: 04/17/17 07:07
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: Cliffs619

Excellent video.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and some of the history of the sugar beet train.  I always appreciate those who captured the Southern Pacific the way it was in the 90s.  Thanks again. 

Date: 04/17/17 07:40
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: WAF

More like economics did away with the beet trains. One one factory in Brawley still operating. Value of land, lack of water, more profitable crops to grow, world sugar prices

Date: 04/17/17 11:53
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: spsniper

Excellent Video footage of a rarely seen line. Charles Smiley's DVD "SP HALL OF FAME", has a terrific segment on the beets on the West Valley line and Knight Landing(Sugar Beet Plant and spur). It also features the Davis area for those of you interested in operations when it was under the SP in the final days. 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/17 11:54 by spsniper.

Date: 04/17/17 14:57
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: DFWJIM

LOL...my wife came over and asked me to turn down the volume while I was watching this awesome video!

Date: 04/17/17 16:54
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: ProAmtrak

Great video man!

Date: 04/17/17 18:32
Re: Sugar Beets to Woodland- 1993
Author: RailRat

Great Video!..funny how the area and trackage layout (plus the little switcher engine) looks a lot like the Sugar Beet plant in Twin Falls,Idaho. Will have to post my vids of that sometime, after processing/posting all this UP Steam stuff.

Jim Baker
Riverside, CA

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