Newly Restored Western Pacific 0-6-0 Impresses Crowds in California

Locomotive 165 is seen with WP FP7 805-A, built in 1950 for California Zephyr service, on July 2. Photo by Jeff Terry. 

Newly Restored Western Pacific 0-6-0 Impresses Crowds in California

By Jeff Terry

PORTOLA, Calif. — The Western Pacific Railroad Museum of Portola, Calif., operated their first-regularly scheduled public passenger runs with 0-6-0 165 on July 2-3. The recently-restored steam switcher will again run on September 2 and 3. 

One of only five surviving WP steam locomotives, the 0-6-0 was built by Alco’s Schenectady Works in 1919 for the United Verde Copper Company, and was acquired by WP along with three sister engines in 1927; they were numbered as WP 163-166.  The big 0-6-0s served many places on the WP system, including the yard in Portola.  

Locomotive 165 was retired in 1953 and stored in Stockton, then in 1962 was donated to the city of San Leandro, Calif., and placed on display.  In 1980 it was moved to the Alameda County fairgrounds in Pleasanton before being acquired by the Triple T Agricultural Museum in Turlock in the early 2000s.  The Feather River Rail Society (which operates the museum in Portola) traded a former UP 4-4-0 for 165 and the engine returned home to WP rails in March 2006.  It has been undergoing restoration to operation since that time and was first test fired in November 2021.  There are still a few items to complete, including the installation of some boiler and cylinder jacketing, before 165 can be considered finished, but the museum plans to run it several more times in 2022, including in September. 

For more information, visit the WPRM website

This article was posted on: July 27, 2022