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 Post subject: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:52 pm
Posts: 513
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Fellow travelers,

I was rooting about the Eureka & Arcata California area this afternoon and stumbled upon a string of what appeared to four SP Harriman-style coaches and a heavyweight car in the small community of Samoa, Calif. Samoa is directly west of Eureka, CA. A check via Google Earth revealed there are several other coaches and perhaps a box car on a spur next to what obviously is a roundhouse. Couldn't get close to them, so took a long shot.

Can anyone enlighten me/us on what the cars are, how/when they got there? Is this a branch of the Northwestern Pacific RR or perhaps the Arcata & Mad River RR? The village of Samoa was apparently a company town of a large lumber mill and is actually quite fascinating.

Observation: It's amazing how much of the Northwestern Pacific is still in place, albeit overgrown and paved over.

Thanks!


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Jim Vaitkunas
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 Post subject: Re: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 789
Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies
http://timberheritage.org/
Timber Heritage Association. These passenger cars used to sit outside the main campus of the museum at Portola. The roundhouse near the cars is full of steam locomotives but no track or turntable is in place there. As I understand it they have been trying to move forward with restoring track to Arcata and getting more control and say-so in the improvements in the grounds, but have been having difficulty on both fronts with governmental landlords. They also have a museum office in a local building in Arcata. I used to follow a blog that posted about it from time to time but have not since the Google blog bundles went away.

Hope you tried the Samoa Cookhouse up the hill. Perhaps the oldest continually operating restaurant on the west coast?


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 Post subject: Re: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:50 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:46 am
Posts: 85
Location: Elko, NV
Jim wrote:

"Fellow travelers,

I was rooting about the Eureka & Arcata California area this afternoon and stumbled upon a string of what appeared to four SP Harriman-style coaches and a heavyweight car in the small community of Samoa, Calif. Samoa is directly west of Eureka, CA. A check via Google Earth revealed there are several other coaches and perhaps a box car on a spur next to what obviously is a roundhouse. Couldn't get close to them, so took a long shot.

Can anyone enlighten me/us on what the cars are, how/when they got there? Is this a branch of the Northwestern Pacific RR or perhaps the Arcata & Mad River RR? The village of Samoa was apparently a company town of a large lumber mill and is actually quite fascinating.

Observation: It's amazing how much of the Northwestern Pacific is still in place, albeit overgrown and paved over.

Thanks!"

To add to O Anderson's response...as he said, this is the facility of the Timber Heritage Association, formerly known as the Northern Counties Logging Interpretive Association. THA started as an auxiliary organization of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the organization's goal has long been to get a logging museum similar in size and scope to the California State Railroad Museum built somewhere in the Eureka area. The group operated the state owned equipment at Fort Humboldt State Park for quite a few years- when Fort Humboldt was to close a few years ago, the state planned to move the logging displays and one of the steam locomotives to one of the other parks in southern Humboldt county, and I think THA did get the Falk locomotive at that time.

THA's recent efforts have been aimed at getting a tourist railroad established in the Humboldt Bay area. The "Harriman" cars (they are not true "Harriman" cars) were originally in the collection of the Golden Gate Railroad Museum, and they had to get rid of them when they were evicted from Hunter's Point. The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad purchased the cars at that point, and they were stored at Portola. The cars need a lot of work, far more than the V&T could perform, and when they decided to get rid of the cars THA bought them. The heavyweight is probably an old SPMW car that was a gift shop in Eureka- the last time any of the North Coast Railroad diesels in Eureka moved was in 2001 when they pushed that car up to Arcata Redwood for storage. If it is the same car, it tells me they moved it from Arcata Redwood to Samoa in recent years.

This line was the Samoa branch of the Northwestern Pacific- the Arcata & Mad River never extended that far. The A&MR interchanged with the NWP at Korblex...if you go to the Highway 101/299 interchange in Arcata and head east, Korblex lay just east of the Giuntoli Lane exit and east of the old particleboard mill that I understand is now closed. Prior to World War 2, the A&MR narrow gauge operation extended on down through the middle of downtown Arcata and then two miles out into the bay on a wharf. Anyway, there were originally two railroads running north out of Samoa- the Eureka & Klamath River built the line from Arcata down through Samoa to Fairhaven, and then the Humboldt Northern Railroad built from Samoa north to and beyond McKinleyville. As the E&KR hug the shoreline just north of Samoa, the Humboldt Northern was forced to run for quite a ways on trestlework built in the edge of the bay- many of the pilings are still visible, at least at low tide. The HN crossed the E&KR at grade just south of Manila, then the two railroad paralleled each other north to where the E&KR peeled off for the run east across the bottoms to Arcata. The E&KR was eventually folded into the NWP, while the HN operated as an independent for quite a few years, and was eventually turned into a private logging railroad by the Hammond Lumber Company, owner the town of Samoa- sawmill, cookhouse, and all. The Hammond logging railroad once extended all the way up to the Big Lagoons area, but a major forest fire about 1944 forced the railroad to scale back to Crannell, located up the Little River southeast of Trinidad. This last part of the railroad continued operating until 1961, and it involved some ocean side running down through what is now Clam Beach County Park. The roundhouse building in Samoa is the original Hammond roundhouse. THA does have its locomotive collection in the building.

To wrap up, THA hopes to use these cars one day on an excursion around Humboldt Bay. They have a long way to go on this project...all it takes is time and money. In the meantime, the group has cleared off some of the old NWP line running from Samoa north through Manila, and they periodically offer train rides using an old Arcata & Mad River speeder and a trailer on that line.

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV


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 Post subject: Re: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:56 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:46 am
Posts: 85
Location: Elko, NV
I'm going to update my previous response...

First off, Samoa...the following link should bring up an aerial photograph by a guy named Shuster of the Hammond Lumber Company mill in Samoa around maybe 1940. If you scroll over to the right side of the picture, what is now the Samoa Cookhouse is neatly framed between the sawdust (wigwam) burner and the tall smokestack, and the roundhouse is to the right of the smokestack:

http://library.humboldt.edu/humco/holdi ... 010152.jpg

I also spent some time scrolling around in Google Earth- imagery is dated August 2012 for most of the Humboldt Bay area, and at that time the old heavyweight car of which I spoke was still at the Arcata Redwood plant. If it has been moved to Samoa, that's happened within the last year.

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV


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 Post subject: Re: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:40 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1483
Location: Southern California
These are former commute cars used between San Francisco and San Jose.

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 Post subject: Re: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:08 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:52 pm
Posts: 513
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Jeff, Many thanks for the detailed information. The heavyweight car is still sitting next to the 101 and in front of the big Arcata redwood mill. Passed by it this morning on the way to the Bay area.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Passengers Cars in Samoa, California
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:36 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:29 am
Posts: 32
The four coaches in the roadside view are commuter cars. South of these cars on the Google overhead view are four more cars that were moved from the Santa Rosa NWP yard a couple of years ago.

Fruit Growers Express 56316

NWP MW 200 ex-NWP 460 Pullman coach

T&NO diner car (number ??)

NWP MW 211 ex-NWP Business Car 06 'Redwood' exx-T&NO 987 'Victoria'

Also visible in the overhead view is Pacific Lumber Company caboose 5.


Mike Manson


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