One of our ongoing projects is looking for historical photos of WP668, the railroad caboose in our backyard where I have my office. WP668 was built in 1916 but the earliest known photos are from 1973. We keep hoping that images from 1916-1972 will be discovered. I was delighted today to find another image of our caboose on p.244 of a recently-published book John bought for me: The Western Pacific by Ken Meeker, 2011 (Publisher: White River Productions; ISBN: 1-932804-11-0). The image was taken by Dave Stanley in 1973. The caption text from p.244:
Sacramento Northern’s Holland Branch was an obscure freight-only, 16-mile-long line constructed in 1929 to tap the vast agricultural riches of the Sacramento River Delta’s Holland Tract. Diverging from the SN main line at Riverview, the line provided access to numerous on-line packing sheds. Outbound shipments of asparagus, celery, pears, molasses, and sugar made the branch a moneymaker during its earlier years. After completing daily switching chores at the Clarksburg sugar refinery on September 14, 1973, Tidewater Southern 746 departed Clarksburg Junction and headed back to West Sacramento with two cards of molasses and a classic home-built WP composite bay window caboose bringing up the rear. The distinctive grade at this location was necessary to enable the tracks to reach the top of the levee that protected the narrow waterway of Winchester Lake.
Earlier in the book, there is a photo of one of WP668’s sisters, caboose WP676, with this caption:
Hard-pressed for cabooses during World War II, Western Pacific constructed 62 composite wood and steel bay window models using 15001-16000 series outside-braced Pullman-Standard box cars originally built in 1916. The composite cars were used system wide prior to the arrival of all-steel cabooses in 1955. As steel cars arrived, the composite crummies were bumped to local and branch-line assignments. February 3, 1969 finds caboose 676 (built in 1944) trailing the westbound Reno Local at Martin, Nevada.
This is the second book in which a photo of WP88 is published. The other is Western Pacific Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Jim Eager, 2001 (Publisher: Morning Sun Books; ISBN-10: 158248063X, ISBN-13: 978-1582480633). All of the published references to our caboose are listed on WP668.org.
Our caboose was a popular location for Easter Eggs during the great backyard hunt last week:
Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson