Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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Jack Encell
  • Male
  • Lancaster, CA
  • United States

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Luketherailfan commented on Jack Encell's photo

NWP Eureka Yard Aerial

"where did those boxcars go?"
May 13

Profile Information

How did you learn about the NWPRR Network?
I read a book about a serial killer (Donald Kueck) that was at Santa Rosa HS and was trying to find him in a yearbook I noticed an old friend, Greg Stras, was in the yearbook and Googled his name and found this website.

My connection to NWPRR

My father was a Maintenance of Way employee from about 1955 until the late 1970's.  My brother was a Maintenance of Way employee in the 1960's.  My father started in Santa Rosa and in 1961 moved to Eureka. 

In the summer of 1961 his "outfit car" was parked in Bell Springs and I spent the summer swimming and tanning myself in the Eel River listening to my transistor radio.  The Budd car stopped on it's way South and got a list of groceries and someone in Willits bought them and dropped them off the next day on it's way North. 

I was always comfortable being alone and that was my most memorable and enjoyable summer as a teenager.  When I needed company, there was an old lady that worked as Post Mistress at the Bell Springs Post Office.  For a short time, my brother and sister-in-law were in walking distance at something or other Rock. 

I do have a few photos, most of them around the yard in Eureka.  I have a copy of the Times Standard Special Edition from the early 1960s flood that has a few photos of rail washout near Scotia. 

My own career was in Radio and TV in Eureka, Medford, Sacramento, and Hollywood. 

Jack Encell's Photos

Jack Encell's Blog

"Daylighting" tunnels (for old timers)

My brother and I were watching an old movie that brought up the subject of NWPRR.  In our discussion of my father's time on the  NWP, it came up that he spent a lot of time along the Eel River around Bell Springs "daylighting" tunnels, which is cutting the top off a mountain so that it's no longer a tunnel.  This was in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

On one of those jobs he had a Cat DC6 on a mountain that was so high and so steep the DC6 could not make it up to the top on it's…


Posted on June 9, 2018 at 6:00pm — 5 Comments

Historical Information Please?

Does anyone have information about a derailment that happened in Willits, sometime between 1958-1960?

According to my brother, someone left a switch unlocked and two ten year old kids threw the switch while a train was going over it at about 50 MPH.  It was a huge wreck that took out a massive amount of track and communication wires, and it came close to taking out the depot as well.  I have been unable to unearth any trace of this on the internet.  (But, I did learn that you can buy…


Posted on June 17, 2016 at 8:54pm — 4 Comments

Something for "old timers"

My brother, now nearing age 76, worked for NWP in 1958 & 1959 and probably part of 1960.  We were watching a 1930's movie about a runaway train that had been sabotaged and it reminded him of an incident at the Island Mountain Tunnel and the trestle at the South entrance.  Perhaps another old timer will recall the incident.  

It was another case of the Eel River raging out of control and Charlie Neal was on the scene.  He feared the river was going to wash out the trestle and he…


Posted on June 15, 2016 at 10:11am — 8 Comments

NWP Eel River Canyon 1958 & 1959

My brother as well as my father worked for NWP and we recently had a discussion about his time with NWP.  He was Maintenance of Way in the Electrical Department.  He did some work on crossings, but the majority of the time he worked on phone and teletype lines.  

He said that he was at Fort Seward during most of 1958 and 1959 and worked as far South as Bell Springs. 

I asked him about the Island Mountain Tunnel, but most of what he talked about was the trestle on the South…


Posted on May 15, 2013 at 6:19pm — 2 Comments

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At 1:50pm on October 23, 2012, Mark Drury said…

Wonderful photos, Jack!  Thank you very much for sharing these, and I would love to see any other images or remembrances you may have.  Regards,

Mark D.

At 11:03am on October 23, 2012, Robert Cozad said…

Jack, thanks for posting these great pictures. Some of my family lived at Bell Springs and others stayed in outfit cars.

At 10:18am on October 23, 2012, Devin said…

Thanks for the great photos...I would love to see some more.

At 9:34am on October 22, 2012, Mark Drury said…

Welcome to the NWPRR Network, Jack! Please take a look around and let me know if you have any questions or comments. We're adding content daily and actively recruiting new members -- please feel free to invite your own friends if you think they may be interested. Regards,

Mark Drury

P.S.  You have the added distinction of being our 600th member!


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