Scramble to save Trains...Timber Heritage Assoc.

John Barnhill Nov 23, 2006

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    RAIL REVIVERS SCRAMBLING TO SAVE TRAINS

    GLENDALE, CA -– Just like the property’s steam engines of old, the pressure is cranked high in Glendale, California. The Timber Heritage Association, Humboldt’s keepers of railroad history, has mere weeks to transport tons of riveted iron giants to Samoa or potentially face the torch.

    THA President Marcus Brown is warning that unless a savior is found – and preferably one ready to wield heavy equipment – before Dec31, the area could lose over a century-and-a-half of historical machinery.

    For decades, Simpson Timber Company has granted the train enthusiasts space. It was an excellent deal for the association, and one that couldn’t last. Several months ago, Simpson called with the dreaded phone call... the Glendale yard would be sold. “Time’s up,” Brown shrugs.

    Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Chair Garth Sundberg bought the Glendale parcel. On excellent riverside viewshed, he was less interested in interring train parts and reportedly has plans to develop a truck service garage there. He gave THA time to find transport, but that comes up at the end of the year.

    Sundberg did not respond to a call prior to press time, but according to Brown, he’s ready to move forward with his plans.

    The veteran volunteers of THA are handy with wrenches and rail hammers. They can build and take apart a section of line in short order. But there’s no way they’re rebuilding the decayed, rusting standard-guage track that comprised the Annie & Mary Rail Road. They’ll need huge flatbed trucks and cranes at both ends to make the transport.

    Former Pacific Lumber owner Woody Murphy is adamant about keeping railroad history alive and has offered space at the old Hammond Line yard adjacent to the Samoa Cookhouse. And Brown is enthused about the possibility of opening up the collection to the public (he also has hopes of seeing an excursion train disembarking from Samoa for bay loops), currently not afforded at the Glendale yard. The dozen or so miles between Glendale and Samoa looms large, however.

    At risk are six locomotives and 22 logging flat cars collected by THA over the years. Of the half-dozen engines, one remains under City of Arcata ownership - the old A&MRR No. 7. Built in 1918, the 50-ton two-truck “Shay” was in service until 1956. With a little TLC, Brown says the Shay can be back on track.

    California’s first rail line was here in Arcata – the Annie and Mary Rail Road – running out to Korbel for timber, loading up with 50 tons of logs and chugging back to the Arcata Warf for shipping. That engine technology was replicated by John Dolbeer here, inventing the steam donkey that pulled timber up slopes and stopped the need for oxen teams to drag logs through creek beds.

    Lines continued spreading through the late 19th Century – running down to Scotia along the North West Pacific Rail and out to Samoa on the Hammond. Most of the area’s infrastructure became established along those lines. Until December 31, all that heritage sits in Glendale, the only such train collection comprised of strictly local equipment.

    After late-summer publicity about the collection’ predicament yielded naught, Brown has scrapped his original plan of finding a company willing to donate equipment for the move. Instead, he figures THA will have to pay for the service. “There are only a couple trucks in this whole county and there are a couple people that can pull this off,” he said. A non-profit, THA doesn’t have deep pockets. He’s turning to the public to help fund the move. He’s taking as many donations as he can collect in the next several weeks at THA, PO Box 6399, Eureka CA, 95502. More information is available at [www.timberheritage.org].

    Brown remains realistic about the heavy duty, however. “I give it about a fifty-fifty chance,” he said.

    Rail cash comes in

    Rail enthusiasts’ other tall order – that of re-establishing train services along 316-miles of retired track. received a shot in the arm on November 9 as the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved the North Coast Railroad Authority’s (NCRA) request for $43.2 million in state and federal funds to initiate repairs on 142 miles of trackway between Lombard (south of Napa) and Willits. The CTC also approved $3.9 million to initiate environmental review of the Eel River Canyon North of Willits, and allocated $3.5 million to begin the engineering phase of the restoration work between Lombard and Willits.

    Repairs would be made in three sections, with the final connection crossing the dreaded Eel River Canyon before relinking Humboldt Bay with the southern tracks. Just the first section, the 62 miles between Lombard and Willits would include trackwork, bridges, and replacement of 53 crossing signals. Brown would like to see the bay loop prioritized, in order to get that excursion train running and says that the line remains in decent shape.

    Former NCRA Executive Director and former City Manager Dan Hauser was optimistic about the $40 million. “I’m glad to see it finally. If we’d had a fraction of that money in 1998, we could have kept the line open,” he said. “This is a start to making it happen.” - Terrence McNally, The Arcata Eye (The mildly objectionable weekly newspaper for Arcata, California)
     
  2. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I read this the other day and didn't really know what to say. It's just sad to hear about.
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I always wonder about these situations. Seems like they crop up so suddenly. (Too often!) If someone is selling a property, the occupants should be made well aware of that fact, keep them up to date. Given very reasonable opportunity to move. Sometimes, none of this seems to happen.

    And, it's always truly amazing how callous people are of our history. To me, some folks must get a big kick from being destructive. Utterly pathetic. Disgraceful.

    Whatever the case here, I hope somehow these items are saved.

    :cry:

    Boxcab E50
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2006
  4. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, I hope their saved as well. I've had a trip planned to go photograph all this for awhile now but just havn't made it up there yet. I hope I don't get there to find a pile of scrap metal.
     
  5. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Another one will be closed down at the end of this year here in Texas. The Texas State Railways will no longer be funded by the State of Texas as of December 31st.

    It has operated for some years as a tourist rail line with a steam
    2-8-0 and a 4-6-2 pulling most of the trains from Rusk, Texas to Palestine, Texas and back.

    The last intact Texas & Pacific 2-10-4 #610 was run into a protective shed at Rusk under her own power, and stored awaiting money to restore the engine and its tender to meet today's specs.
    At this time I understand it is to be sold or scrapped along with everything else. I made many cab rides in this engine and others in years past, so it is especially hard on me to see her go.

    These are difficult times we live in, when almost everyone is trying to scrape together enough food stamps to make the payment on their new Cadillac, and buy the latest high end computer for their kiddies to play with. Artifacts of our history are of little importance when we can not make any money out of them.

    The news said the total money spent on Christmas shopping this year is expected to average $300.00 per person for the nation's population and yet we can't raise enough to save these old railroads and equipment?

    Anyone remember the 'March of Dimes' for polio? Everyone contributed and solved that problem eventually, because we were a close nit loving nation back then.

    We better take all the photos we can, because I think the 'ME' generation will be melting everything old to make new disposable what-zits for their own 'Place in the Sun' sooner than you realize.
     
  6. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    LUMBERING ON TRACKS

    EUREKA, CA -- It’s cold and it’s wet out on Humboldt Bay this time of year, but at this point, there is no other alternative for Timber Heritage Association’s historic railroad equipment, and it must be removed from its Glendale location by Dec. 31.

    Humboldt Bay Forest Products owner Woody Murphy came forward to offer some of his Fields Landing parcel for free temporary storage for miscellaneous equipment, flatbed cars and up to five steam locomotives, if someone can transport the latter there.

    Related photos by Katie O'Neill of the Eureka Reporter can be found here:

    [www.eurekareporter.com]

    and

    [www.eurekareporter.com]

    On Tuesday, Murphy conducted an informal walk-through of the HBFP site and an examination of the materials that have already been transported there from THA’s Glendale Storage Facility.

    The Glendale facility contains turn-of-the-20th century materials, including those locomotives, logging rail cars, cabooses, a gravel car and “speeders,” which took loggers into the woods.

    Also stored there is logging equipment, including steam donkeys — which pulled logs out of the woods — and sawmill equipment.

    THA has been renting the Simpson Timber Co.’s Glendale lot for about 21 years, but that parcel was sold to a private entity two months ago, and THA was told if all the equipment wasn’t moved by Dec. 31 it would be as good as scrap metal and would be discarded, THA President Marcus Brown said.

    Murphy’s crew has been visiting the Glendale site since October to pick up smaller items, which are put onto trailers utilizing machines like front-end loaders operated by THA volunteers.

    “There is no low-boy in Humboldt County big enough to move our locomotives,” Brown said on Monday.

    A low-boy is a flatbed truck, and the center of it between the truck and the rear wheels dips extremely low to the ground. That type of equipment is a must for the THA locomotives, due to their weight.

    Murphy said he doesn’t have this type of trailer.

    Brown said a trucking firm in Stockton has been recommended, but the cost is substantial.

    “Basically we’re looking at $30,000 just to move the locomotives,” he said. “We need to raise $30,000 ASAP if we want to move our locomotives.”

    The THA has five steam locomotives. They include the No. 15 “Big George,” which was formerly in Eureka’s Sequoia Park. It was the property of Hammond Lumber Co.

    Brown said this locomotive had been moved in two pieces, its boiler unbolted from the rest of it.

    But the 90-ton 1910 Pacific Lumber Co. No. 29 was brought onto the Glendale property by track.

    The Arcata-Mad River Shay No. 7 belongs to the city of Arcata. It came in by rail also, Brown said.

    Murphy said that in the past there were three sawmills located on his property and a rail spur was connected to it, but no more.

    A large portion of the equipment already moved from Glendale to Fields Landing is made up of railroad tracks and ties. A rail line has been assembled on Murphy’s site for lightweight rail cars to occupy, but more ties and further reinforcement would have to be added to hold the locomotives, he said.

    Also on Murphy’s site is a large pile of wheels or “trucks,” which are attached to flat rail cars.

    Much of the estimated 4 acres of THA historic equipment still remains at Glendale. Quite a bit of transporting is yet to happen, but, Murphy said, the worst thing to do is to over-analyze the situation or mar the focus by concentrating too heavily on the looming Dec. 31 deadline.

    “You just got to keep on going,” Murphy said.

    His own family dates way back in Humboldt County lumbering history, and that’s a large impetus for Murphy stepping forward to help preserve the area’s legacy.

    His great-great grandfather Simon Murphy purchased the Pacific Lumber Co. in 1903 and it was part of the Murphy family until 1986, he said.

    Murphy is on the THA board of directors.

    “The thing is that the timber historical museum does not own any property, so they don’t have the privilege of just putting (the equipment) on their property,” he said. “I told Marcus this several months ago. The first thing we got to do is move all the small stuff, which we’re doing now.”

    He said he hopes that will be complete in the next two weeks.

    “Now we need the help of the bigger players in the community,” Murphy said. “I’ve done all I can do, putting all the collection I can on my property.”

    He said it will be fine on his site for the short term, but the bay is no friend to iron.

    “This is our timber heritage, exactly what we have here,” Murphy said. “If we don’t take care of it, it’s going to be gone forever.” - Wendy Butler, The Eureka Reporter
     
  7. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    As I said in the other thread, I feel like our rail preservationists too often are more interested in saving equipment without really looking at how to educate. It would suck if this equipment were lost, but how many people were seeing it to begin with? It's only preserved if people are seeing it. It's a double edged sword, how can you educate without the preservation, but how can you maintain preservation without education?


    On the flip side, I'm genuinely curious how rail preservation compares to other commercial transportation? I feel like Air get's a lot more attention, but that rail doesn't do so bad. Seagoing has a lot of preservation, but given the centuries worth of material to preserve, they're actually probably the worst off.
     
  8. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    latest developments...

    "Dear Board Members and Supporters,

    "The Timber Heritage Association got a miracle for the holidays. On Friday
    12/22/06, I signed an agreement with the Harbor District to lease the
    roundhouse and boiler shop buildings for 1 year with a potential for a longer

    term renewal after some studies are completed. A month ago I believed
    that this was impossible, because of complicated ongoing negotiations

    regarding this site.



    "On a suggestion from Connie Stewert at Patty Berg's office, I
    had lunch with Brain Morrisey from Security National and asked him about
    the site. He said all of their plans were on hold, so "go ahead." The deal
    we put together with the District is to pay the $40,000 annual rent with
    volunteers re-roofing the buildings. The repair work is estimated at
    $120,000. We have the opportunity to put together a fantastic community
    volunteer project. I invite you to come to the Harbor District board
    meeting, this Thursday night, 12/28/06 at 7pm, Woodley Island, next to
    Cafe Marina. You could enjoy dinner with a view at the cafe before the
    meeting. The Harbor District board will vote on this short-term lease

    at the meeting and should sign it.

    "The plan is to move the steam locomotives to their historic home, the
    roundhouse, and allow the public access to them for the first time in 30
    years. We must bring in a special lowboy truck trailer from Stockton to
    accomplish this move. We must raise $30,000 ASAP to do this. Please help
    get out the word on this. We also need help getting auction items for our
    Fundraising Dinner and Auction, on 2/3/07.

    "Thankfully, we have a hand shake agreement with the property owner at Glendale.
    As long as we keep moving forward with removing our collection from the
    site, the deadline has been extended until at least next spring. Things
    have taken a turn for the better. Out of crisis has come opportunity."



    Marcus Brown

    President

    Timber Heritage Association
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Seems like good news! Let's hope so....

    Boxcab E50
     
  10. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    another news blurb...

    KEEPING DREAMS ALIVE

    We may not have an operating train in Humboldt County (CA), but we could have the remnants of what used to be a bustling railroad hub here.

    The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District will consider leasing historic buildings in Samoa to the Timber Heritage Association, potentially creating a home for the steam locomotives that once operated there in the heyday of the redwood logging industry.

    The old roundhouse behind the Samoa Cookhouse would be leased for the year in exchange for reroofing the structure. That should cost about $40,000 for a year, and a total of $120,000.

    The association will have to rely on donations of time, materials and money, and work could begin this spring or summer.

    The old Hammond Lumber Co. No. 15 -- nicknamed Big George -- and the No. 33 steam engine date back to the 1890s, when the roundhouse was built. The dream is to move these behemoths to Samoa -- a task that would require two massive low-boy trailers from Stockton that can safely move the extremely heavy and tall machines from their current location in Glendale. A fund-raising effort to pay for the moving project is under way.

    The trains are an integral part of Humboldt history and deserve a permanent home where they can be viewed by young and old, students and educators, home-grown and tourist. - Editorial Opinion, The Eureka Times-Standard
     
  11. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    update...my trip! :D

    Got back today from a photo trip to the greater Eureka area. My friend Jeff and I started out with a visit to Scotia to photograph the Pacific Lmbr Co shay on display. Next we hit the yard in Eureka for the NWP GPs still there. Then the plan was to find the Timber Heritage Association collection.

    First we headed to the roundhouse in Samoa. It is situated behind the old lumber company cookhouse which has become a touristy restaraunt/museum. Didn't go in and check it out. No access was available and we couldn't see whether any activity of the move had taken place. Well, so without knowing what to expect, we decided to head to the other end at Glendale where the THA was origionally storing their steamers.

    As we exited Hwy 299 it was raining pretty good. A few minutes later we both spotted a steamer behind some brush off to our right! Excellent!! At the end of the property, was a gate and it was open!! Of course we didn't want to tresspass but we had to get pics. Hopefully we could get permission from someone there. Turns out a fella who was watching the property was there and he graciously yet reluctanly gave us the run of the place. The rain let up a little and we were able to shoot the entire collection as none has moved yet.

    Most of the steamers looked to be in really good cosmetic condition. Paint was pretty sharp for the most part. The only loco that looked poor was the Bear Harbor 0-4-0T #1. Lots of rusted out sheet metal. Also not sure where the Arcata & Mad River 44tonner is. Last I heard she was under restoration by the THA. Perhaps she is back on display in Arcata. I guess we missed it.

    Anyhow, the THA is still in the process of moving but no locos are at Samoa yet. The roundhouse requires re-roofing first.

    Sorry guys, no photos yet. Jeff and I are still using film. :D

    Ohhh, and as for the condition of the NWP in the area, it sucks. The rails are heavily overgrown and are even paved over in a couple spots we noticed. Gonna take huge amounts of work on the north end to ever run anything again. :(
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Interesting report. Nice of that the fellow letting you guys have access. Looking forward to some photos.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  13. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

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    John-

    Thanks for the report and update.

    When you get into your photos you will see that the steam locomotive in Scotia is a Heilser, not a Shay...this one was built for the Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods. When that road folded it came into the redwoods to work in the logging industry...it actually worked for a smaller company that PALCO gobbled up. The new owners put the locomotive on display rather than scrap it.

    The 44-tonner never went to Glendale. It is stored in Arcata, inside a warehouse.

    You were lucky to get access into the Glendale site. When my wife and I lived in the area and were active in the group any sort of public access was strictly prohibited...and group members had to sign their lives away just to be able to set foot around the collection.

    The NWP looks about what a railroad that has not operated in 9 years should look like in a coastal environment that gets roughly 350 days of fog and 120+ inches of rail each year. What got me when I saw the Eureka area back in August was the number of washouts on the Samoa branch running across the Arcata bottoms.

    I too am looking forward to pictures.

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV
     
  14. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah Jeff, youre right. I meant Heisler. :D

    We were very lucky on the Glendale stuff. The fella wasn't very happy with us for coming in the gate in the first place. He settled down after a bit since we had come straight in to him to ask first before doing anything else and also had traveled from Sacramento instead of being locals.

    After a bit of photography he came to talk to us some more and it turns out most of his frustration was with the THA and not us wanting to take some pics. He shook our hands, wished us luck on our trip and asked us to close the gate behind us.

    Thanks for the tip on the 44tonner. I wasn't sure what had happened. My original info said it had gone to THA for restoration but it obviously was missing. I assumed it was still in or back in Arcata. That and we missed the two locos at Fort Humboldt. I figured those would be put away somewhere where we couldn't shoot them anyways.

    All in all, a very excellent trip. Got pics of several locos I needed for my rosters. Just hope they turn out cause of the rain. Of course I'll post when I get the update done that includes them. :D
     
  15. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Pics developed and posted!! :D

    Alrighty, got my pics back. Here's what the current (2-10-07) situation looks like at the Timber Heritage Assoc storage yard. Note, access is not likely, we got lucky.

    First off, Arcata & Mad River #7
    [​IMG]

    Hammond Lmbr #15 and #33
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And Pacific Lumber #29
    [​IMG]

    Along with these they had a caboose, several Pacific Lumber flats, a Heisler turned diesel and the Bear Harbor loco. Additional photos available with each roster listing on my Foothill Rails site. The Bear Harbor is on a different role and also my buddy Jeff still needs to process his pics of this trip.
     
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, cosmetically, they don't look bad. I hope that's a good sign.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  17. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    NWP locos at Eureka...

    Additionally we stopped in Eureka to check out the NWP units still trapped there. Unfortunately "they" have placed a new 12foot chainlink fence around the area which made it difficult to shoot. We stood on the roof of my buddies truck cab to get some shots.

    NWP #70 (ex CCT), #2872 (still in full SP), NCR #3190, 3779, and 3857 are all still there in deplorable condition.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Heres SP #2872
    [​IMG]

    We also made a stop at Scotia to shoot the Pacific Lumber Heisler on display there.
    [​IMG]

    Again more pics available on my site and maybe some more from Jeff on the way too.
     
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sad to see. I wonder if the fencing is any sort of positive sign?

    :sad:

    Boxcab E50
     
  20. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Is it just me, the photo angle, or? But looks like the "R" is missing from the word "Lumber?" Hmmm. Looks like more than just that has peeled off?

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     

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