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Foothills Adventures


This blog is to give you an insight to the goings on behind the scenes of my Foothill Rails website. The adventures of railfanning in Northern California and beyond for the purpose of expanding my site, the research, the inspirations and the frustrations, and the wonderful people who I get to meet. Also new ideas and any other thoughts that may arise.
Email at johnbarnhill@hotmail.com

  1. The Grand Tour (Arizona Shorts pt 4)

    During our long stint from Benson to Flagstaff yesterday, it was realized that Steve knew some guys who knew some guys and maybe we could just get in for a tour of the Grand Canyon Railway. This was on the list of stops anyhow so why not go all the way?! Turns out we got an invitation just waiting for us to show up. A few morning shots across the road and a quick chase of the local power, two GP60s, and we headed west.

    Arriving in Williams, we quickly find that the three dark ...
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  2. The First Tour (Arizona Shorts pt 3)

    After Breakfast our first stop of this day was the San Pedro & Southwestern since we arrived too late last night for any photos. We quickly rounded up the switcher and GP30 we has already sorted out. A quick trip down to the Apache plant followed to see if we could round out the SPSR roster. I had heard there were supposed to be at least one more GP30 on arriving soon. Seems we beat it on property since nothing else was found. With nothing else viewable, a stop at the Benson depot was made ...
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  3. 5 GP30s In One Day (Arizona Shorts pt 2)

    Today we finally get into Arizona! First up though is a quick trip back out to the Plaster City plant to see about getting shots of their narrow gauge. Last night we were able to see one unit outside that we just may be possible to capture. Upon arrival we pull in next to the shops and find the guy that appears to be in charge. After asking his permission, we were directed to the office. A few minutes later we were asking someone higher up about the possibility of entering the plant for a quick ...
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  4. Cajon Claims Camera! (Arizona Shorts pt 1)

    Well it was once again time for my annual westerns states railfan trip. This time, along with Jeff Black, we brought another friend Steve Houser. So it was a regular 'three amigos' type trip and Arizona was going to be graced with our presence for a week. What adventures were to come? Lets just say plenty.

    The first day of the outing consisted of blowing as much money as we could at the annual model railroad show in Roseville, CA. This being accomplished fairly quickly, we took ...
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  5. Mich-Cal Burns Pt 2

    A couple weeks ago I was finally able to get up to the Camino side of things. First up was a stop at Shingle Springs to see the completed CP & LT caboose. All she needs now is some lettering. A very nice job has been done with the restoration. A second stop at the mill confirmed some info I had gotten. The huge rough dry shed along Carson Rd has now been leveled. This just leaves the powerhouse and a couple shipping sheds near the office standing on the south side of the road. I didn't ...
    Tags: mich-cal
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  6. Sierra Angels Camp Branch

    As of late, it seems that the Angels Camp Branch of the Sierra RR had become the "in" thing to explore and document. Well lets just say, I wasn't to be left out. Taking advantage of the low water in the lakes, my girlfriend and I recently headed to New Melones Res to do some exploration of my own. I have previously visited this part of the line and built a page for the results on Foothill Rails but the drought in California has given me a unique opportunity to check out what is below ...
  7. Michigan-California Lumber Burns!

    Take Advantage of Opportunity

    That's the theme of this blog. Take advantage of opportunity.

    Once again, it's been some time since I've written a blog. For that matter it had been some time since I'd gotten out to railfan. Life, the loss of my old computer, and work updating my newest site, CLASS III Shortlines, have kept me away for a bit. No worries, the stuff I lost on that pc is totally recoverable and much will make up future Foothill Rails updates when I get ...

    Updated September 20th, 2014 at 02:40 AM by John Barnhill

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  8. 'No Hands Bridge' Becomes Landmark

    I was at and part of the dedication on Sunday the 23rd as a member of the Mountain Quarries 100th Anniversary Committee. A nice one hour presentation and unveiling of the new plaque took place as well as a group photo taken on the bridge. I also took several photos and will be posting then in an upcoming update to the Foothill Rails site.

    John Barnhill


    ‘No Hands Bridge’ becomes landmark

    ...
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  9. An Enginehouse, A New Website, and More...

    Whilst writing the latest five blogs about my recent trip to Arizona, things have not been idle. Several small excursions have taken place and I've gotten to take over the administrative duties of another website.

    A few weeks ago, my other half Rachael and I were making a trip to Chico,CA to visit family. As you know if you've been reading along, I try and take advantage of every trip and get something for my railroading hobby out of it. This trip would prove no different. Feather Falls ...
  10. Kingman or Bust! Day 5, The Final Run

    Well, there's not much left of our trip; just the jaunt home from Mojave to Sacramento. As relayed in the blog about day one, we've pretty much obliterated the entire central valley of targets to photograph. Well, except that one! That one that has plagued us ever since it got here! We will get you! I swear it! We will get you! I'll get to that in just a bit though.

    As usual, a quick breakfast and a few quick UP shots in Mojave yard, then we are off! Tehachapi pass is unusually ...
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  11. Kingman or Bust! Day 4

    The day comes where we have to turn for home. So far this trip has turned out fantastic for meeting the photographic goals in mind. Turns out that our luck will continue to hold all the way to the end. As we have nailed down just about everything, a little dilly dallying could be allowed throughout the return run.

    Leaving Kingman, we notice once again all was quiet with the railroad. As we headed back west, not a thing was stirring. Sure we saw some trains but all were parked. Now whats ...
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  12. Kingman or Bust! Day 3

    Ahhhhh, it's time to relax and just do some casual mainline fanning. But wait, what's that? Silence. Well thats not good. We should be having an endless parade. Along the way to the airport, we notice a work gang just a ways away. Ok, thats whats going on. Well the first target is out and about this morning so we make short work of capturing images of the Kingman Terminal's entire roster. Ok, it's only two switchers but hey, the day is starting out with a perfect score.

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  13. Kingman or Bust. Day 2

    Though its not pristine high desert, there is nothing like sunrise in Mojave whilst on vacation. After a quick breakfast and a couple UP photos in the yard, Jeff throws out an idea I can't refuse. Trona! I'm all in! Now we've been there just once before and I was able to get some shots but they were through the fence and using film instead of digital. Hopefully we can do better this time around.

    We head out up through, if I recall correctly, Red Rock Canyon which was simply beautiful ...
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  14. Kingman or Bust! Day 1


    The Great Central Valley Turkey Shoot

    Several of you have read of the many long railfan trips my buddy Jeff and I take once, sometimes twice, a year. You've read of many adventures and maybe some mis-adventures. Well this years trip was to Kingman,AZ for a couple days and it came off in a most excellent way.

    As always, our first leg is leaving Sacramento heading down the central valley for a nights stay in Mojave. Along the stretch of Highway 99 are a number of industrial ...
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  15. Its Been Slow, Or Has It?

    Lately I havn't been too inspired to write much. Not sure why. I don't feel I have much of interest to write about. I'm not very motivated right now. Yet when I look back over the last couple, three, months things havn't been as slow or boring as I've felt. I'm glad I can let this project sit idle and then pick it up again later. So what have I been up to lately?

    My better half is just awesome! Back in July, for my birthday, I found two tickets for the steam trip on the Virginia ...
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