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Truckee celebrates its RR ties

JOHN A. BAYLESS, Sierra Sun

Truckee Railroad Days drew almost 8,000 visitors last weekend, event organizers said – an increase of about 3,000 over its inaugural year in 1998.

Siobhan Smart of the Truckee-Donner Railroad Societ said attendance was definitely up from the previous year.

She said counts showed 7,900 people toured the Union Pacific Engine 9709 this weekend, and around 2,900 children boarded the “Interpretive Car” from the State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

Twelve exhibits of rolling stock were on display from Union Pacific Railroad and the railroad museum, including Engine 6051 “Daylight,” Engine 9709, Business Car 103, a lounge car, a dining car, an Amtrack “California” car, two rotary plows, a spreader, a flanger, a hook and the interpretive car.

This year also marked the first appearance of the National Handcar Races in Truckee.

“When they started to race out there, the bleachers were full every time,” Smart said.

Truckee Local-Motion, a team composed of Ted Owens, Siobhan Smart and Debbie Diaz won in the mixed class, beating out two other teams with a time of 44:16. Trailing in the mixed class Coz-lo-Retz-Go with a time of 44:45, Blurred Vision with a time of 44:45, and Mizzle’s with a time of 49:05.

In the men’s Masters class, Just-Us-5 won with a time of 37:13, followed by Ballast Busters with a time of 38:67 and OSP Express with a time of 41:30.

Ballast Blasters also won the mixed Masters class, with a time of 41:45, ahead of the Foothill Fast Trax with a time of 42:36.

In the Women’s class, the Tie Breakers won handily with a time of 49:23, followed by Steel Roses with a time of 50:64 and Flamin Dames with a time of 52:14.

A team of cooks from Truckee Fire Protection District claimed the People’s Choice Award in the Firehouse Chili Cookoff.

Jim Suddjian of Meadow Vista won first place in the cookoff and Johnie Estes and Jan of “Windy Caboose Chili” won second place. Claiming the third place prize were Wyatt Troxell and Teaford’s Raiders.

Johnnie and Jan, whose clothes and booth were decorated in railroad paraphernalia, also won the “Best-Dressed Cooks’ award.

Smart said the event went well – with help from people and agencies in the Truckee community.

On Friday, a loss of power to some of the train exhibits at 5 p.m. threatened to derail the event, because the trains cannot be opened for display without power for lights and air conditioning. However, the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District came through by providing a 150-kilowatt generator to power the train cars.

“Their employees were so nice to us,” Smart said.

Smart said Kathy Neus at the PUD and Alan Harry were instrumental in getting the generator out to the railyard and keeping it there for the weekend, while PUD employee Jon Wilson spent several hours setting up cables for the generator. Wilson was also there all three days of the event to ensure the generator was running smoothly.

“The PUD only charged us for $130 of diesel,” Smart said.

Railroad Days is coordinated by the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association.


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