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At 8:03am on February 21, 2019, Fred M. Cain said…


An interesting piece of trivia on the electrics,  I read somewhere years ago that during the early design phase of the Golden Gate Bridge, they were making allowances for a second deck that would have accommodated the NWP's commuter trains.  But the SP, which owned the NWP, wanted no part of this.  They just wanted out of the commute business in Marin County - period.  So, that never happened.  However, it's fun to try and imagine what might've been.  If that'd happened the line might've survived the war and into the 1950s and '60s as traffic jams on the GGB got worse and worse.  It could've had an ending similar to the commute trains to San Jose.  But, sadly, that just never happened.

Then again, the electric commuter trains on the Bay Bridge to Oakland survived the war only to perish in the 1950s so maybe not.



At 5:54am on February 19, 2019, Fred M. Cain said…


I didn't have a picture like that so I "borrowed" it from the railroad museum at Sunol.  I sure hope they don't mind.  I guess if they do, I'll just take it back off.  I wondered if those signals are actually operational at Sunol.  The picture suggests that they really might be.

By the way, I know it's off topic from the NWP but when I was in high school in the late 1960s, we were living in the Phoenix area.  The SP's Phoenix subdivision had many, many of these semaphores.  I took a number of pictures of them which I subsequently lost over the years.  :(

The Phoenix area was a tough place to be a train fan due to the sparsity of traffic.  There were trains 1 & 2 the Sunset Limited with #2 going east at around 7:00 am and west around 11:00 pm (when it was on time) so I rarely got to see that.  There was a daily Phoenix-Tucson road freight which at that time ran up to 100 cars or more but that also usually went through at inconvenient times.

That left the two local way freights which ran at good, mid-day hours for me and I'd could sometimes catch.

I first read about the NWP electrics when I was in high school and obtained a copy of William D. Middleton's The Interurban Era.  In many regards, it wasn't really  a true interurban but was more like an electric commuter rail line like they had back east.  But some of the equipment was very interurbanish which I guess is why he included it.

I think he stated in there that the third rail was placed on redwood blocks instead of porcelain insulators.  That surprised me.  I have always wondered if they had voltage loss issues in periods of wet weather.


Fred M. Cain

At 11:41am on February 12, 2019, Fred M. Cain said…


The one from Sage is word-for-word identical.  I get spammers and phishers all the time but I have to confess, I fell for "James Pollard" this time because for some crazy reason out of wishful thinking, I thought maybe he had NEWS on the Humboldt & Eastern and/or the Eel River.

I don't think he really hacked into my e-mail 'cause I did not click on a URL but in any event I changed my password just in case.


Fred M. Cain

At 9:31am on February 12, 2019, Fred M. Cain said…


He also told me that he'd hacked my e-mail account months ago and was monitoring everything.  Well, I knew that wasn't true 'cause I didn't receive his e-mail threat until an hour after I contacted him.  He English is terrible - so bad that I just about couldn't understand some of it.  The moderator needs to delete the user code from the group since obviously he has no genuine interest in the NWPRR.

By the way, on a cheerier note, I e-mailed Bryan Whipple this morning and he responded!  So, I asked him some questions about the possible repair of the Eel River Canyon trackage.  We'll see what he says if he responds.  If he tells me that it can never be done, that will end it all for me 'cause I believe he would know for sure!


Fred M. Cain

At 8:46am on February 12, 2019, Fred M. Cain said…

Thanks, Dave.  After I asked "James Pollard" what he needed, I received a very threatening e-mail.  I tried to copy and paste it here but received an error message that I cannot send more that 5000 characters.  Suffice it to say it was threatening and demanded that I send $1000 in bitcoin OR ELSE! He will reveal all the porn videos that I watched to EVERYONE!  BUT ! I have never watched any porn videos.


Fred M. Cain

At 9:57am on February 9, 2017, Richard C. Brand said…

Hello Dave:

Karl is no longer an member so hope you will return once again to add to the group.


At 11:34am on December 23, 2016, Jennifer said…

Hi Dave,  Thanks, and happy holidays/ merry x-mas to you and yours!  :-)

At 11:24pm on November 7, 2016, Richard C. Brand said…

Dave I like your comments to issues on the site.  I'm normally not a "friender" as I've never seen you but thanks for the invite.

At 10:08pm on January 1, 2011, Mark Drury said…
Glad you're finding the site useful, Dave! And, yes, the "x" does delete a comment, and I noticed your comment was gone when I clicked the link in the email letting me know you had left one, but figured I would comment back just in case (I was pretty sure you had found the SPINS but felt a comment couldn't hurt). Regarding the SPINS, all I have are the JPEG files which were uploaded to the network, but I could pretty easily turn those into individual PDFs for easier viewing (grouping them into one PDF may be a little more work).

And the search feature has been on the network from day one, but it could definitely be a little easier to find, as you point out. Hope you had a great New Year and thanks for your contributions to our network! Regards,

Mark D.
At 4:51pm on December 31, 2010, Mark Drury said…
Hello Dave,

The NWP SPINS album may be found here:

It is not a complete set but is very interesting, all the same. Have a great New Year! Regards,

Mark D.
At 9:16pm on December 23, 2010, Bob Burns said…


      Well as anticipated the Wingo excursion got cancelled due to ....Flooding! So it will be rescheduled for the summer, possibly next spring if I get the time. Sonoma Creek is full and when the tide comes in it floods the upper end of Millerick Road. The gal where we were supposed to stay has friends that live in Wingo and she was going to make arriangments for us to go out there. Plus visit some of the Sonoma Land Company Camps, there were 8-10 I believe. Including the land on both sides of HWY 37 west of the Skaggs Island turnoff and Hwy 121, Skaggs Island itself were both Land Company Camps.  That was Tolay Creek that had the lift span at Sears Point in those photos I posted to the Forum. Hard to believe it was a navigable waterway at one time. Do you know anything about the Navy ship up the Napa River from Mare Island? Saw it once when flying from Sonoma into the Napa Airport. It was laying on it's side on the east bank of the river all rusted out, looked like it may have been a Destroyer Escort. Story I was told was it broke loose one night and floated upstream with the tide and grounded itself. Navy salvaged most of it then abandoned it. I don't know if the hulk is still there though.  Anyway I'll post on the forum when I might get back down there. If you email me direct you can use the email address i sent with the DVD.  Bob B.

At 9:09pm on December 16, 2010, Bob Burns said…


       The NWP at onetime did go past 1st Street West and crossed  Hwy 12 above where  the Maxwell Farm area. It then went north to the Boyes Hot Springs area then further north to Santa Rosa through Kenwood? I get a little hazy there. There also was a line that went up the west side of the Valley  through El Verano and Glen Ellen. I know about the NWP crossing HWY 12 as one of the family stories was about my grandfather Anton Neuman not seeing the train while driving one night across the tracks and getting hit. The result of which was he was thrown from the car and ended up in Maxwells barbed wire fence. They say he spent sometime in hospital. Also the rail line at Schellville has a branch that goes west and crossed HWY 12 there as well. Was this the branch that went up the west side of the Valley? It had been removed by the time my memory kicked in, but always remember that woop dee doo going over the old grade crossing as they never leveled it out. Quite the thrill on the way to visit cousin Anton and his blacksmith shop! Even more fun in the 60's when I finally got to drive!

Bob B.

At 8:02pm on December 15, 2010, Bob Burns said…


      Got the card, thanks! Didn't expect the money, you really didn't have to do that, but thanks! I mailed the DVD today so maybe by Sat it should be there? I also included a copy of a newspaper article done about  my cousin Anton, thought you might like to read it. The SV Historical Society got back to me with a positive on "they have quite a bit of info, re: the NWP and Schellville" They are located at the Depot Museum in Sonoma. I'm awaiting a followup email from them. I guess I didn't mention that back in 1959-early 60's the end of track for the NWP was just west of First Street West in Sonoma. They had a mechanic there that did minor maintenance, brake adjustments, etc, they also kept a tank car of fuel there for the locomotives. One day I rode my bike up there and asked him if I could "play on the engine", he said, "sure just don't move any levers or switches" I had free range on a set of old GPs. I was able to do that on several more occasions before we moved out to the counrty and it was too far to ride my bike into town.

         Ever got up to the Portola RR Museum? You can run a deisel Locomotive up there and it a "hands on place". You can climb through anything that isn't locked or in the shop. They do have a lot of stuff up there to play on! I think they reopen in Mar or APR. Google them for their website which gives you all the info.

In the note with the DVD I also included my hotmail email address if you'd like to get off the forum to exchange info. I use that email for contact and conducting business. 99.9 of any spam goes to the junk file there as opposed to my earthlink email which I ownly use sparingly. Maybe you do the same? It's good to have at least 2 email addresses to use, my thoughs anyway.

Hope you enjoy the DVD, thanks for the nice card and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Bob B.

At 9:21pm on December 13, 2010, Bob Burns said…


     Your copy is burned and waiting for you! I played it in my DVD player and it seems to play ok. The interviewer asked Anton how to open the bridge, the reply was something like, you move the lever one way or the other to get the pump going and pull the chain. I really have no idea though.

      Also do you have the VHS or DVD of "Rails to the Redwood Empire"? There is a short segment in it about an excursion train stopped at Schellville, possibly the sameone as in my still photos, I'd have to watch the DVD to see if it mentions dates though. There is a VERY brief moment that shows someone walking away from the camera, my older brother said it was Anton when he watched that video. As you watch this new DVD notice Anton's gate as he walks away from the camera, very distinctive, same gate as the guy in in the Redwood Empire Video.

He lived just to the left of where the train was stopped. First house, blacksmith shop on the east side of the tracks across from the Depot. He knew alot of the train crews and section hands. My first pocket knive a 3 blade Kabar had belonged to one of the engineers and Anton sold it to me of 2 cents, which being only 5 years old I had to "borrow" from his uncle, my grandfather. Still have the knife, it's right here in front of me!

     Anyway I'll get this DVD out to you ASAP after your address arrives.



Bob B. 

At 8:08pm on December 13, 2010, Bob Burns said…

I'll get another copy burned for you so it will be waiting when your card arrives.

According to the weather forcast you probably could have just walked out side and thrown it up in the air and it would have arrived tomorrow morning, "they say" we are supposed to get 110 mph winds over the summit tonight. Not a breath of air moving now and 40 degrees! That actually isn't a very good sign as it always warms up before a big storm hits Hope it just rains  here!


Bob B.

At 4:08pm on December 12, 2010, Bob Burns said…


       You can mail me your address to : Bob Burns, PO Box 7557, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 96158. Can't get anymore junk mail than I already do!

        I wonder what happened to the rest of the videos Mark was going to post, hope he is ok, that was a couple of months ago he started the project.

        I was watching the Bay Area news when I saw this tunnel had reopened.

Just got confirmation that we are invited to stay on the Millerick Ranch! My daughter and husband are driving up from Henderson, NV where she is in Med School. She has these mega tests which started Friday and will end  this Thurs. So her "reward" for surviving the first half of 2nd year Med School is this little get together.

       I've also emailed the Sonoma Valley Depot Museum to see what info they may have regarding, the NWP, Schellville, Wingo and Neuman's Auto Camp.

       Haven't heard from my Sonoma cousin, not unusual though as he's not very communicative. Maybe comes from working at Mare Island designing the Nuke Boats, which he still doesn't discuss?


Bob B.

At 7:05pm on December 11, 2010, Bob Burns said…


 Glad you found the pictures. For the video go to the Video link at the top of the webpage and click on it. Scroll down you should see "No Where in particular, Part 3 of 10" about the fifth one down in the left column that should get ya there. HOWEVER I just viewed it and it does NOT have the drawbridge segments in it! My screwup fer sure, I thought it was there. I'd be happy to mail you a copy of the DVD I sent to Mark that would have the entire video on it. No problem to burn a copy for you, let me know.  

 I just checked the 10 day forcast for Sonoma and it looks like rain or showers for the next ten days with thundershowers on the 20th which is the day I had planned on the exploring. Guess it will have to wait until better weather.

Guess I didn't mention I remember the old Black Point Drawbridge over the Petaluma river on Hwy 37. Even remember getting stopped there on the way back to Sonoma from Watsonville once while riding in the back of my grandparents 1948 Plymouth 2 door coup, wish I still had that one!


Bob B.


At 5:42pm on December 8, 2010, Bob Burns said…
The Black Point operator in the video mentions something about him losing his oars and being adrift for awhile. BB
At 5:36pm on December 8, 2010, Bob Burns said…
Dave, You are thinking of the bridge over Sonoma Creek around the Skaggs Island cutoff maybe? Yes that bridge has an arch to it. The bridge I'm refering to at Sears Point is over a slough that seems to parallel the NWP tracks. I checked and the photo is already in the photo's section of this website. I posted 3 pictures of that train, 2 of P&SR Steeple Cabs, a NWP Timetable and an old postcard featuring the NWP 112. So that photo is already here-somewhere in the photos section. Sometimes I have a little difficulty navigating through here. I'm trying to get a hold of my last remaining cousin in Sonoma to see if he knows anything about getting to Wingo. He was the one that supplied me with the video which had our cousin in it. let me know if you can't find the 3rd video segment or the photos, i'll see if I can steer you in the right direction. Bob B
At 4:11pm on December 8, 2010, Bob Burns said…
Sorry, I may have confused the issue with the Sears Point Bridge comment. It actually was a Hwy 37 lift bridge, not a Railroad bridge. I showed up in a photo of and Steam excursion train heading for Sonoma stopped at Sears Point in the 1940's. Shoot me an email address I think i can scan it and email it to you. That photo came from a now elderly gentleman Bob Searle, who photographed numerous NWP and P&SR scenes. I think Mark has been in contact with him. Mr Searle is in his 90's and Mark had talked about possibly trying to digitalize the photos as they are in an odd format.
Never heard the claim of the Mare Island Bridge area being Sears Point, that's interesting, seems too far east to me. The Sears Ranch is the land west of Sonoma Creek at the Skaggs Island cutoff towards Hwy 121. That area was always refered to as Sears Point when I was growing up.
That 3rd segment that Mark put on the site shows the bridge tender rowing out to the Black Point Swing Bridge and closing it for a train headed for Schellville. After that is the short bit about the Wingo Bridge. There is other footage prior to the bridge segments though. Alas my cousin Anton passed away in the 1990's so he can't answer any of our questions. Had I knew then what I know now I would have quizzed him. Anton was a quiet unassuming man that didn't boast nor brag about anything. He emigrated from Germany to work for his uncle, my Grandfather. He had sailed to Alaska for the Alaska Packers Association aboard the sailing ship Star of Holland, at least I knew enough to get THAT infomation out of him back in the 1970's! He also would close the blacksmith shop go down to the City and sign onto a ship for a voyage, he sailed on some of the old coastal tankers. My grandfather also sailed for the APA aboard the Star of Greenland and the Star of Alaska (Balclutha still in San Francisco) So I heard alot of those stories growing up. Bob

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