Vintage train pulls into town " on a flatbed
The 80-ton locomotive slowly rumbled over Donner Pass and into Truckee Wednesday afternoon ” but not on its own power over the Union Pacific track.
Instead, the 1953 diesel locomotive was tethered to the back of a flat-bed truck that carried the vintage railroad engine on Interstate 80 from the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
The load was so heavy that a second truck was employed to help push the flat-bed trailer up the western slope of the Sierra.
The arrival of the black-and-orange locomotive marked a major milestone, the first piece of rolling stock acquired for the proposed Truckee Railroad Museum. The engine was a gift from the Sacramento museum.
“This is a really big thing for us ” for the town,” said Misty Young, secretary of the Truckee Donner Railroad Society.
A small crowd of rail enthusiasts gathered at the old Truckee railyard Thursday morning to watch as a crew with Taylor Heavy Hauling connected the short piece of rail the engine sat on to an unused stretch of tracks, and rolled the locomotive off the flatbed.
The crowd greeted the successful operation with a round of applause.
Teichert Aggregates helped subsidize the cost of the relocation.
The center-cab engine most recently served as part of the Sacramento museum’s “Operation Lifesaver” exhibit, a campaign to educate the public about safety around train tracks.
The locomotive is the first of three donations by the Sacramento facility, said Nelson Van Gundy, a historian for the Truckee rail society. In the next few months, a Pullman Sleeper Car and a rotary snow plow should also arrive, Young said.
“The piece de resistance is the snow plow ” that has major history here,” she said.
Once they arrive, the Truckee group will work with Rick Holliday, developer of the Railyard site, to figure out where the train cars will be stored, said Bob Bell, president of the railroad society.
“We hope to have the pieces open to the public next summer for special events, like the Historical Society opening the jail [museum] every weekend,” Bell said.
As the Railyard development grows, extending Truckee’s downtown core to the east, Bell said he hopes to round out the museum by acquiring three baggage cars to host photos, displays and a gift shop.
“Think of the economic impact to our town by bringing in visitors,” Young said. “It will encourage people to stop in our town and get to know it.”
Bell said the rail museum is also important because of its recognition of a crucial period in Truckee’s history.
“Truckee is really here because of the railroad. Off of this came the logging industry, then the ice industry, the railroad was intertwined with all of Truckee’s economy 100 to 150 years ago,” Bell said. “And the railroad will continue to impact us for the foreseeable future.”