Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Today I am presenting a SUPER MEGA-POST, featuring photos from the wonderful California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento! We have previously "visited" this museum months ago, thanks to Ken Martinez. All of the photos and descriptions were provided by GDB reader Alex Blasingame, and wow, did he do an amazing job! I asked him for a "few notes" about the pictures, and he wrote an extensive commentary that is considerably better than anything I would have done. I admit it. Be sure to check out Alex's web page, MouseMonthly.com!
Alright, let's get started - again, all this detailed info is courtesy of Alex. He says:
These are some images from the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacrament. Built from an old train roundhouse, the museum has an amazing assortment of locomotives, train cars, models, and other exhibits. If you love taking the Grand Circle Tour on the Disneyland Railroad (DLRR), this place will definitely be worth your time.
North Pacific Coast Railroad No. 12 Sonoma (the following two photos)
The Sonoma was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia in 1876. Here are some basic stats:
Stack Design: Diamond
Track Gauge: Narrow, 3ft. (36")
Wheel Arrangement: 4-4-0
This engine should look familiar to the average Disneyland Railroad fan. It's really the direct older sister to the CK Holliday, which was built by WED in 1954 and one of the first locomotives to ride around Disneyland. Both engines have the same 4-4-0 wheel arrangement with a characteristic diamond smokestack and filigreed square-shaped headlamp.
For reference, 4-4-0 means the engine has 4 leading wheels, 4 drive wheels, and no trailing wheels. I've included a reference picture (below) of another 4-4-0 engine, the EP Ripley.
All of the locomotives on the Disneyland Railroad (other than the CK Holliday and the EP Ripley) were built by the Baldwin company after the Sonoma. Looking at this locomotive, you can see the design influences of this predecessor in these later engines.
Ward Kimball's Pacific Coast No 3 (36" gauge) N-C-O Shops 1910 Cupola:
This is a picture of a cupola caboose from Ward Kimball's Grizzly Flats Railroad, his personal backyard railroad complete with his own steam locomotives. He sold it to the California State Railroad Museum in 1979.
Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe No. 347C GM-EMD 1949 F-7A
This diesel-electric Santa Fe locomotive was probably still in service when Disneyland opened in 1955, the latest in engine technology at the time. It was donated to the museum in 1986, 12 years after Santa Fe discontinued their sponsorship of the Disneyland Railroad. Remember those Santa Fe signs that used to be on every DLRR, Viewliner, and Monorail station?
If you had a model railroad as a kid, you'll probably recognize the Super Chief war bonnet colors to which it was restored upon exhibition.
Image 9340 (below) has me (Alex Blasingame), my Dad (Kevin Blasingame), and my sleeping infant son (Jack Blasingame). It was a "guy's day out" kind of trip.
Lionel Train Exhibit
Speaking of models, upstairs at the California State Train Museum they have a gigantic Lionel train exhibit, complete with moutnains, tunnels, cities, and airplanes. And also model trains.
I knew about Walt Disney's personal love of trains, but what I didn't know what how a simple Mickey/Minnie handcar saved the Lionel Corporation from total collapse during the Great Depression. I also didn't know that Walt set up an entire Lionel train set in his office at Disney Studios before he built the Carolwood Pacific at home. There's a great article by the Walt Disney Family Museum about Disney's relationship with Lionel.
If you visit the museum in Sacramento, make sure to stop by the model train exhibit upstairs. You'll feel like a kid again.
Check out these two videos of the Lionel layout, courtesy of Alex!
Central Pacific Railroad No. 1 Gov. Stanford
The Gov. Stanford locomotive is named for Leland Stanford, former Governor of California and namesake of Stanford University. I didn't think this train had any connection to Disney, but after some digging, I found that I was wrong.
In fact, this is the engine taking on water at the same dingy depot where we meet the Tramp for the first time in "Lady and the Tramp". I'm not sure if Disney artists sketched the engine from a picture or made a trip to see the locomotive itself, but that's definitely it in the movie. One more piece of Disney ephemera in your pocket.
I included these pictures because they're pretty and seem to convey something Disney to me. I'll play a little "Kevin Bacon game" with each of them and relate each back to Disney.
Image 9344 (below) is a label for Sunkist Marvel brand oranges. The word Marvel immediately made me think about Marvel comics, which Disney now owns. Digging deeper, we can see an orange on the label. Disneyland was built from a bunch of orange groves. Deeper still, the Sunkist brand has long connections to Disneyland, wit the Sunkist Citrus House on Main Street, USA (now Gibson Girl's Ice Cream Parlor) and Sunkist, I Presume in Adventureland (now Bengal Barbecue).
Image 9356 (below) is a propaganda poster from 1885, convincing people to move to California and stake their claim. It immediately reminds me of the background story for Disney California Adventure's new-ish Buena Vista Street, where a young Walt Disney travels to CA in 1923 to make it big. The colors, artwork, and message also remind me of the Carousel of Progress.
"There's a Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow out there, and it starts in California!"
(The next image) is a stained glass sign for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It's gigantic and beautiful in person. The sign reminds me of the dainty sophistication found in the very Victorian Plaza Inn. Nowadays, we'd have a gaudy, flashing billboard instead of t his gorgeous, handcrafted piece of art.
Alex included these next two photos with no notes, so I did a little bit of research so I could include them. If there are errors, it's my fault and not Alex's!
Southern Pacific 2467
This massive engine is one of 15 heavy 4-6-2 Pacific-type steam locomotives built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1921. 2467 was retired from service in 1958. It belongs to the Pacific Locomotive Association, and is on loan to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Out of these Pacific-type locomotives, two others survive - all are in California.
Virginia and Truckee Railroad No. 13 Empire
The Empire entered service in 1873 and hauled freight for many years. At some point its number was changed to 15 because engine crews thought that 13 was unlucky! It was retired in 1918, and after years of neglect and changing ownership, it was moved to the California State Railroad Museum in 1976, where it has been beautifully restored. In this photo we get a good look at the tender, which carries fuel and water for the locomotive.
Alex sums things up by saying: I guess that's part of what attracts me to most things at both the California Railroad Museum and Disneyland; they're both handcrafted pieces of art. Each locomotive, at either location, was built intentionally and by hand; each piece thought out, forged, and implemented. Where function allows, the trains are adorned with paint applied with an almost loving hand. It reminds me of Mary Blair or Mac Davis bringing inanimate objects to life with finely shaped curves and colors.
I couldn't have said it better myself! MANY THANKS to Alex Blasingame for sharing these wonderful photos and so much awesome information from the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. And once again, please check out his site, MouseMonthly.com!