Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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The (Redwood) Empire Strikes Back

Alright guys, so I have a friend who works for a software development company that produces performance engines for video games, in addition they also make add-ons for various train simulators. A potential new project is tentatively titled "The (Redwood) Empire Strikes Back". It will be modeling a modern day NWP in an alternate reality in which the lumber industry is booming and the deepwater Port of Humboldt Bay provides the NWP with many trains carrying goods for import and export. Smart is in full swing and the line south of Headsburg is Two Main Track CTC. Although the Tiburon line is abandoned, the line still extends south to Sausalito and the Sebastopol, Sonoma, and the extreme northern end of the SP Santa Rosa Branch are all still in service.

The CFNR exists, but has no presence in the bay area, as it is confined to its West Side and West Valley lines in the valley. The NWP interchanges directly with the UP in Lombard/American Canyon, where the NWP has a large yard and locomotive service facility simply call "Lombard Yard". BNSF interchanges directly with the NWP as well, via trackage rights over the UP from Stockton.

Now that I've told you a little bit about the project, let inform abut my (and possibly your) involvement. Working in the railroad industry currently, my friend has asked my to consult on operations. I'm sure many of you on this site know much more about the NWP than I do, so I've been asked to seek help from you. Keep in mind that this is a freeware (nonprofit) project, and any contributions you make will not be financially compensated. I've been asked not to give any details on the company prior to an official announcement, if the project ever makes it that far, so all ideas and contributions will be confined to this site for the time being. Remember, the project will only go forward if there is sufficient interest, and is only in the planning stages.

Starting off:

Do you currently play any train simulators? If so, name them.

Do you know anyone who plays train simulators?

If you do not play train simulators, would you if this project see's the light of day?

As for the actual project itself:

What paint scheme would you like this NWP to wear?

What types of locomotives would you like to see on the roster?

Keep in mind that the NWP is going to be modeled as a modern, well-off regional, so exotic locomotives like Alco's, F-units, etc will not be considered. We're actually on the fence about whether or not there should be any older 567-powered EMD's (i.e. SD9's) on the roster, given the recent purging of the aging products on many real life regionals and shortlines. The popular plan is to have a predominately EMD 645-powered roster, perhaps with a small number of 710 powered six axles, like MRL, FEC, NYSW, ARR, or maybe some GE's, like Iowa Interstate. The point is, we're modeling a modern railroad here, and the roster should reflect that.

That said, here are the figures:

Samoa Autorack Ramp: 1 four axle

Arcata: 3 four axle

Eureka: 1 four axle, 3 four axle RCL

Scotia: 4 four axle, 3 four axle RCL

Willits: 3 four axle, 4 six axle

Ukiah: 4 four axle

Santa Rosa: 2 four axle, 1 four axle RCL

Petaluma: 6 four axle, 1 four axle RCL

Lombard/American Canyon: 2 four axle, 1 four axle RCL, 10 six axle, 2 six axle RCL

That's 26 four axle units, 9 four axle RCL units, 14 six axle units, and 2 six axle RCL units. That's 51 locomotives needed for daily operation, plus a sufficient number of spares.

The Port of Humboldt will have a container port, plus an aggregate export facility for either coal, iron ore, or both. Samoa will have a ramp for autoracks for imports. Cause, you know, we gotta have them Honda's.

I'll have more info later and will be happy to answer any questions. If you haven't already, be sure and check out part of the timetable:

I'll see if I can get a hold of more later. Thanks, and looking forward to everyone's ideas!

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Comment by Christopher Palomarez on August 16, 2013 at 3:32pm

Who me?!

Comment by Don Underwood on August 16, 2013 at 12:57am

Paint Scheme:

Black Widow with NWP logo (maybe you could get Chris P to modernize it with slanted speed lettering, or something similar).

Comment by Mike Davis on August 15, 2013 at 11:24pm

where do you reside now?

Comment by jbriogrande on August 15, 2013 at 11:20pm

Hey Mike,  ...the list is as follows:  SP 1967-1971  worked out of Bayshore Yards and Third Street (Mission Bay).  Started as brakeman, then transferred to engine service on the Western Division out of Oakland in '71'.  Went back to Colorado to get my BA, ...then worked for D&RGW out of North Yard in Denver '95-96' on Moffat, engine service hostling.  In '77' I went back to Oregon and worked for the Oregon, California and Eastern as a brakeman, then over to the BN as the same out of Klamath Falls.  Came back to California for more work post grad at Chico State, then to work in the wineries.  Finished up as a short time Conductor for the 'new' NWP out of Willits in 97.....and that was a bad way to finish, but I got to see first hand the damage that the Eel drainage had done over the years.  We could barely call it a railroad at that was a mess....all over.  Pulled the pin on railroading after some close calls, and called it finished....Thanks for asking.....Railroading runs somewhat in the second cousin Rudy Widmann was division engineer for the Espee out of Los Angeles East, and a section of his work was on the SD&AE which was his territory....

Comment by Mike Davis on August 15, 2013 at 10:19pm

Hey jb: what railroads did you work for?

Comment by jbriogrande on August 15, 2013 at 10:09pm

Hey a great project.  I can see you've spent a lot of time in thought, and knowledge of former NWP operations.  Very well done.  I was wondering whether part of your project defined some of the yearly problems so typical of the Eel River Canyon?  It would be interesting to include slow orders, work windows, maintenance camps and equipment, and possible temporary closures because of weather related problems.  You have really designed a great example of a busy Class I system with all of the trimmings.....Fabulous thoughts and work......and I'd buy it.  How about a ferry connection from Humboldt Bay to Fort Bragg for traffic during closures north of Willits.  That would mean bringing the California Western up to standard as well, but hey, could do that too.  I proposed that earlier in the Eel River Post.  Having been a railroader myself, I have fun with the Trainz 2010 merged with the Trainz 2012 engineers edition every once in awhile.  I liked the ideas on power from Christopher Palomarez, especially the SD-38's, which I was familiar with on the McCloud railway.  Very good traction and pull on grades with heavy tonnage.  I'm not too big on GP-38's, but I like the idea of the SD-40, and the T2's with lower power. really have the mind for putting this all together.  Keep her in 8 throttle......Way to go !!!

Comment by Bryan Carroll on August 15, 2013 at 5:02pm

I run MS Train Simulator and TS 2013 on Steam and would DEARLY LOVE me some NWP. Already have the existing NWP North Coast Route, would love something more detailed/current/speculative/etc.

I've played with the clunky MSTS route creation utility. If I fall into some dough and can retire and thus have the time and energy, I'd love to make the NPC narrow gauge route based on old track plans and photographs. Lots of bridges, deep, dark redwood groves and sparse houses. Probably not going to happen anytime soon, though. *sigh*

Comment by Jordan on July 6, 2013 at 12:32pm

Update: There has been no real progress on the project since my last posts. The project isn't even approved yet as the studio has been subcontracted to work on a bigger video game project and is currently busy with that.

That being said, I was looking at the operating plan I had for the railroad and have come to the conclusion that it would be difficult for crews to make a run from Lombard to Eureka within their 12 hours, so I have revised the operating plan. Also, the BNSF model regarding local jobs will be adopted. All locals which stay within 25 miles of their terminals will be reclassified as Road Switchers. They will also be able to come and go to/from their terminals multiple times per shift, whereas once locals return home, they're done. This will add a new dynamic to prepackaged in-game scenarios.

Back to road freights, the previous setup was for crews to be based in Lombard and Eureka, with slow trains changing crews in Willits, and fast trains running all the way through. For the purposes of the new arrangement, the NWP now has trackage rights all the way to Suisun, where UP unit trains are interchanged. Manifest traffic and BNSF unit trains are still interchanged in Lombard.

I've written the revised operating plan like an official document for the convenience of you rivet counters:


Pool Operations

Pool operations shall be run as follows:

Willits-Eureka/Samoa service shall be operated as one pool with the home terminal in Willits and the away terminal in Eureka.

Willits-Lombard service shall be operated as one pool with the home terminal in  Willits and the away terminal in Lombard/American Canyon.

Petaluma-Eureka service shall be operated as one pool with the home terminal in Petaluma and the away terminal in Eureka.

Petlaluma-Lombard/Suisun service shall be operated as one pool with the home terminal in Petaluma and dual destination away terminals in Lombard/American Canyon and Suisun.

Petaluma-Willits service shall be operated off the extra board until traffic patterns warrant the operation of a pool, at which time it shall be operated as one pool with the home terminal in Petaluma and the away terminal in Willits.

Extra Board Operations

Extra boards shall be run as follows:

A) Eureka

A regional extra board shall be established at Eureka to cover non-yard assignments at Eureka, Arcata, and Scotia. A separate yard board shall be established to cover yard assignments at Eureka/Samoa and Scotia.

B) Willits

A regional combination extra board shall be established at Willits to cover all assignments at Willits and Ukiah.

C) Petaluma

A regional extra board shall be established at Petaluma to cover non-yard assignments at Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Lombard. A separate yard board shall be established to cover yard assignments at Petaluma.

D) Lombard

A yard board shall be established to cover yard assignments at Lombard.

Comment by Jordan on April 28, 2013 at 2:13pm

The Smart runs I posted here were too hard to read. Just look at the real thing and factor in a Sausalito stop.



NWP operates all Smart trains with a "P" symbol followed by the train number. For example, NWP refers to Smart train 114 as "P114"

Comment by Jordan on April 27, 2013 at 7:11pm

Manifest traffic is fed to the NWP from the TSTOSTO, BNSF local out of Stockton and the LRJ90, a UP local out of Roseville.

Fun fact, all traffic to and from the real NWP rides the real LRJ90, which runs between Lombard and Roseville, but with a CFNR crew between Lombard and Suisun. Our own D Kosdrosky caught it in American Canyon last year:

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