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  • Topic: CP summit tunnels, sheds and walls

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    • October 8, 2019 11:14 PM EDT
      • Highland, Maryland
         
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      CP summit tunnels, sheds and walls

      Howdy folks, I'm on my annual trip out west and am having a ball so far. For the record, I grew up in Modesto CA, met a gal from Maryland back in '84, lived there ever since, had kids, etc., and have been in recent years enjoying getting back to older family and roots back west. The V&T Historical Society Conference this week, in Carson City, just happens to coincide with these trips, and it gives me a chance to go back and forth over the Sierras like I never could when I was young.

       

      I'm in Truckee now, never been here before. What a cool town! And this morning, I had a blast exploring some original Central Pacific architecture known as "China Wall" and "Summit Tunnel". Now, I know there's a lot of you who know all about these, but I'd like to share the fun as I saw it brand new. I started on Donner Pass Road, which is the old US Route 40, and saw what I thought were concrete RR retaining walls. 

       

       

      But as I got closer to my main objective, I wasn't sure what they were. Anyway, here's China Wall. It's original 1860's masonry by Chinese "coolies" working on the CP, and who also did the grading & tunnels. 

       

       

      I parked above the site, and this is looking down on the roadbed the wall supports. It also shows some big concrete structures that obviously replaced original wooden tunnel portals.

       

       

      Beneath my feet in the above shot was the long Summit Tunnel. I didn't have a flashlight, but thankfully my camera recorded more than I could see.

       

       

      Going the other direction, here's the other short tunnel (#7). It's roof is entirely concrete now.

       

       

      Past that short tunnel (#7) is another long one, #8. It begins as a tunnel, but quickly changes into a long concrete snowshed. This is what I saw from downhill earlier.

       

       

      In the above pic, that's ice in the foreground. BTW, this is at 7,000 ft elevation. Below pic is walking into that opening, showing the rock walls of the very short tunnel #8 and the snowshed beyond.

       

       

      There was an opening where I could step out and see the snowshed from the exterior. All along this structure are the wooden remains of the original sheds. 

       

       

      There's tons of info on the original snowsheds, these current structures, the line's relocation a mile south, and so on. So I won't try to go into all that. But I had a great morning exploring these ruins, and wanted to pass it on. 

       

      ===>Cliffy

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at October 12, 2019 5:47 AM EDT
    • October 9, 2019 12:08 AM EDT
      • Southern Oregon
         
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      Thanks for the pictures Cliff,

      that is a great hike isn't it?  Ive done it 2-3 times and it never gets boring.

    • October 9, 2019 6:09 AM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Thanks Cliff, I'd not heard of the China wall before.

    • October 9, 2019 7:41 AM EDT
      • Easton , Massachusetts
         
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      We need to send Ray up there next !

      Thanks Cliff !

      This post was edited by Sean McGillicuddy at October 10, 2019 11:20 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

       My u-tube  My Vimeo

      The light in the tunnel might not be an engine , but a light in the caboose of my own train on my Roundy Round Rail Road !    My empire is complete...I think...

    • October 9, 2019 8:25 AM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Neat shots Cliff!  Looks like lots of fun - I'm sure surprised they let folks poke around there, but I'm glad you could!

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • October 9, 2019 9:05 AM EDT
      • Fort Wayne, Indiana
         
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      Very cool! By chance did you bump into Dale Angle? 

       

      Jason

    • October 9, 2019 3:20 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Sean McGillicuddy said:

      We need to Ray up there next !

      Thanks Cliff !

      We had "Devoning"...now we have "Ray".   New verbs from names?   Is that a typo, or am I just going to "Bruce" it up?

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • October 9, 2019 6:12 PM EDT
      • Pleasanton, CA
         
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      Cool, Cliff! If you get to the SF Bay area, look me up...

    • October 9, 2019 11:36 PM EDT
      • Highland, Maryland
         
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      I might as well use this thread to mention my journeys today, which started with going north from Truckee and stopping to see another site ("Kyburz") having ancient petroglyphs. A big boulder, now in 3 pieces, has many round cavities in its once intact face. 

       

       

      At the same site is an interpretive walk, explaining the remains of a "station" serving wagon trains going east from CA to NV. My railroad connection: these people and goods were going to the newly-discovered Comstock Lode, which was why the V&T was built. The V&T obviated the need of this stage line (over the Henness Pass) and this station (More's).

       

       

      From there, I took pass westward down the Sierra's I'd never been through before: Henness Pass / CA Hwy 49. Saw some spectacular views, and came to Downieville. My RR connection: John Mackey (foremost of the "Bonanza Ring", honest good guy among a bunch of snakes in the field) had his mining roots here in Downieville. Mackay's Con Virginia mine surpassed them all on the Comstock, which the V&T served. 

       

       

      But, the little Downieville museum was closed for the season, as was the nearby Kentucky Mine museum. Bummer. In fact, Downieville was completely switched off due to the PGE power shutdown in CA. So instead of going back the way I came, I decided to make a longer day if the drive, and headed to Nevada City. Since this wasn't planned, I was thrilled to accidentally drive by a sign pointing to their Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.  Dang, they're closed Wednesdays! But, not seeing any signs to say not to,  and no fences at all between the parking area and the equipment, I walked around their small yard and got some pics. 

       

       

      After that came the Marshall Gold Discovery Park, something all kids in northern CA go to except for me when I was a young'n! I've always wanted to go there, and this was my chance. It's museum was open, but without any lights, you couldn't see any of the exhibits! But they have many interesting outdoor artifacts, one of which was an original Chinese store (stone walls, iron doors) which had this excellent model of river diversion / sluicing equipment. I've seen photos of such things, but didn't understand what was going on. And in this dark building, I couldn't make the model out. But somehow the camera compensated; and you see me in the reflection, and I can see the model now!

       

       

      The main thing I wanted to see was the replica of Sutter's sawmill, and it was excellent. 

       

       

      Though I've seen drawings and photos of this mill, I never got how it worked until today. So simple! The undershot wheel drives the vertical beam, which moves the straight vertical saw blade up and down. There is a winch for rolling the logs up into position, and may have been additional ratcheting equipment (per the figures below) to force the log into the blade. Mills like this came and went in the early days of California logging, and the railroads that sometimes served them had routes that were often equally ephemeral.

       

       

      Driving back from Coloma to Truckee, I couldn't find an open fast food place -- they were all out of power! As were all the stoplights, stores, gas stations, everything. Yet I never felt any wind! But I was relieved to learn that, upon arriving at Truckee, their power comes from Nevada. So yay, I'm using my computer to type all this out to you, and have heat and light in my hotel room -- unlike a lot of CA visitors at this moment.  

       

      ===>Cliffy

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at October 12, 2019 5:53 AM EDT
    • October 9, 2019 11:43 PM EDT
      • Highland, Maryland
         
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      Jim Rowson said:

      Cool, Cliff! If you get to the SF Bay area, look me up...

       

      Thanks Jim! There's so much railroady & logging stuff in your region, I'd love to make a trip of it, so thanks for the invite! 

    • October 10, 2019 12:54 AM EDT
      • Highland, Maryland
         
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      Tomorrow's plan has been to visit the Western Pacific RR Museum. I'm not very knowledgeable of the WP, except that it came later than the Central Pacific and followed the Henness Beckwourth Pass.   

       

      The museum is in Portola CA, and might be subject to PGE's shutdown for CA power. So I emailed the museum a few hours ago, and I just received an email from them that they'll be open, no matter what PGE does. So I'll head up there in the morning, and post on what I see. 

       

      After that, I'll go down to Carson for the V&T conference.

       

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at October 10, 2019 8:48 PM EDT
    • October 10, 2019 5:58 AM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Thanks for the great shot's, selfie included, and safe travels to ya Buddy 

    • October 10, 2019 6:54 AM EDT
      • Easton , Massachusetts
         
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      Bruce Chandler said:
      Sean McGillicuddy said:

      We need to Ray up there next !

      Thanks Cliff !

      We had "Devoning"...now we have "Ray".   New verbs from names?   Is that a typo, or am I just going to "Bruce" it up?

       

        No exscuse .... "Send Ray " I did fixed it. .... 

       

      ____________________________________

       My u-tube  My Vimeo

      The light in the tunnel might not be an engine , but a light in the caboose of my own train on my Roundy Round Rail Road !    My empire is complete...I think...

    • October 10, 2019 11:35 AM EDT
      • Missouri, It's like Floodsburg, man
         
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      Cool stuff, Cliff. Looking forward to your report on the WP museum.

    • October 10, 2019 4:24 PM EDT
      • Denver, Colorado
         
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         Awesome stuff Cliff...I model the Rocky Mountains, but the California stuff is cool also.

       

         You sure do get around, hiking around, climbing around. No wonder you're in such good shape!

       

       

      ____________________________________

    • October 10, 2019 8:47 PM EDT
      • Highland, Maryland
         
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      Thanks John, and yeah, I was glad for the extra 50 pounds, in case I needed a bumper while rolling down that hill, haha!

       

    • October 10, 2019 8:56 PM EDT

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      All I can say is "Here we go again" !

       

    • October 12, 2019 6:07 AM EDT
      • South Devon, England
         
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      II a glad that I missed this after Cliff's original post as it allowed me to see the whole thread, that has been recorded so far, at the same time.  There is so mush that could be commented upon, but I will leave that to others.

      Some impressive and well thought out views Cliff, like every other poster I enjoyed looking at them.   Since I started garden railroading in 2005 I have tried to read about the railroads in the USA - currently reading the early days by John Moody - The Railroad Builders: A chronicle of the welding of the States.

      Recently I read The Oregon Train by Rinker Buck: one of the most interesting books I have ever read, particularity about somewhere I knew little about.  (On par with Bill Bryson )   I followed this up with the reports by Francis Parkman.   I know there were other trails and these photos impel me to make The California one the next to read about.  Who knows, I might find gold one the way!  

      This post was edited by Alan Lott at October 12, 2019 8:12 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

      regards, Alan

       Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength.  Saint Francis de Sales  French saint & bishop of Geneva (1567 - 1622) 

      https://www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk

      https://www.buckfast.org.uk/

       

    • October 12, 2019 8:37 AM EDT
      • South Devon, England
         
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      I have bookmarked some of the interesting links and I also await any WP information, as I am reading about the WP and NP presently.

      Many of the builds featured here on LSC are very interesting and I am sure give ideas and impetus for many of us.   However, for a distant large scale railroader,  I do find the articles and photos of structures, particularly those with historic connections quite rewarding.  Lack of space and age prevents me building some of them but there are still one or two in the States of VA, WVA or MD that appeal.  One 'pipe dream' - and it is a pipe dream due to its size - is the MClean House at Appomattox.  I know it was the first signing, others followed, but it is in the right area for my fictitious railroad.

      One sad note is that I see the morons with spray cans have defaced the structures.  They are lucky to live in the present era, the Old Far West would have lynched them! 

      ____________________________________

      regards, Alan

       Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength.  Saint Francis de Sales  French saint & bishop of Geneva (1567 - 1622) 

      https://www.dartmouthrailriver.co.uk

      https://www.buckfast.org.uk/

       

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