At one time considered to be the most expensive to operate in the world, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad traversed the seismically active unstable slopes of the wild and scenic Eel River on its route paralleling the San Andreas fault to the heart of redwood country in far northwestern California.
The NWP opened in 1914 when the Southern Pacific Railroad and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway combined 42 railroads upon realising there would be only one route through the Eel River canyon. SP took full ownership in 1929 and moved freight and passengers along the 271-mile line. But steep slopes constantly eroded trackbase and slid debris onto the tracks. Maintenance and operating costs skyrocketed. At times men would have to walk the track in front of the locomotives to insure it was safe to pass.
By 1969 passenger service ended. Before the end of the century nature prevailed and landslides doomed the friable northern 200 miles of the line, leaving abandoned equipment and failing infrastructure, some 20 years after its demise.
Today these ageing relics are trapped, unwanted, and succumbing to entropy, yet exuding character as they mark the passage of time.
Words & pics Doug Wallance aka instagrammer la-vida_rhombi
Do check out his page to see some great street art around his native area - San Francisco/California area.
Enjoy model trains? Well, you're going to enjoy this video. The guys at TSG Multimedia US a-things-trains-cannel have put together a great collection of run-bys. What's your favourite?
Issue 3 Autumn goes with a flash!
In our next issue (autumn) we're going to take a look at early electric locomotives on both sides of the Atlantic - we profile Italy's E.626s and the US Pennsylvania Railway's GGs1. Do they have any similarities and which lasted the longest? Clue take a read of the caption below!
E.626 TFT (Trasporto Ferroviario Toscano S.p.A., regional Tuscan railway) locos are both ready to leave Bibbiena station, hauling freight trains to Arezzo. These locomotives, Nnumbers 223 and 311, are the only ones in the whole E.626 group that have remained in regular service (Bibbiena, 22/08/2015). Photo Andrea Sosio
Pic of GG1 by instagrammer vefa_nuri
It's looking like we will have an interview with Tony Thompson, the great railroad author and authority all things, Southern Pacific and we also have a contribution from a young railfanner (we love it when young guys and girls) send us in material. NS8104 on insta has some cracking shots of preserved steam locos running right by where he lives! He tells us about, for example, Reading Blue Mountain and Northern's Light Pacific number 425. We can't wait, can you?
And don't forget to check out our current issue - link in header.
Just watched the latest Chasing Trains (Donner Pass) from the TSG Guys, or should they now be called the Fantastic 5 Train Guys... ? Each supertrain hero has a pseudonym (as do all er super heroes)... there's "Mary" and "Bainter".... we'll let you find out the others names by watching this highly entertaining train fest.
Can the Fantastic 5 film the trains and avoid getting in trouble (stuck in railing or arrested for trespassing)?
We're working on pulling together the next issue of Off the Tracks. So far confirmed for the issue are: an interview with renowned railroad writer and historian Tony Thompson. Tony is an expert on the Southern Pacific - a now "fallen flag" US railroad. (Do check Tony out at http://modelingthesp.blogspot.co.uk/)
We also have a train journey (we'll keep you in suspense as to which one) from UK railway blogger "That Railway Girl" (Do check out her blog at https://thatrailwaygirl.wordpress.com/)
And to keep all railway modellers happy we go to Germany to look at MarlinO's creation. There's an image from this great layout in this post.
There will be lots more more railway related articles, including art and poetry in the autumn issue. Off the Tracks is the train mag with a difference...
Do take a look - it's free, it's created by social media train fans - link to issue in website header image.