Western Pacific 805-A

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Western Pacific 805-A
WP 805A and train 2 Sparks NV 2004 WPRRHS Convention e.jpg
Type and origin
Power type Diesel
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Model FP7
Specifications
Configuration:
 • AAR B-B
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Career
Operators Western Pacific Railroad
Delivered January 1950
Retired 1972
Current owner Feather River Rail Society
Disposition operational, Portola, California

Western Pacific 805-A is a diesel-electric railroad locomotive built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. It was mainly used to pull passenger trains, specifically the California Zephyr (CZ), which was operated jointly by the Western Pacific, Denver and Rio Grande Western, and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroads. It later worked for several short line railroads before preservation at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California.

History[edit]

WP 805-A was purchased to power Western Pacific Railroad's portion of the California Zephyr run less than one year after the train began on March 20, 1949.[1] The 805-A was built in 1950 as part of an order by WP for 6 new passenger locomotives: 4 cab equipped A units numbered 804-A, 804-C, 805-A and 805-C, and 2 B units numbered 804-B and 805-B. These locomotives supplemented WP's existing fleet of F3 models, which were the original power for the CZ train.

This cab unit, which would be joined by two cabless B units in a typical CZ motive power set, hauled the train between Oakland, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah, from 1950 until March 22, 1970, when the CZ ended.[1] The 805-A was then placed into freight service.

This style of streamlined locomotive is commonly nicknamed "covered wagon," due to its fully enclosed, round top body, which many felt resembled an Old West settler's wagon.

In 1972, WP purchased 15 General Electric U23B locomotives and turned in the 805-A for credit toward their purchase. GE sold the unit to the Wellsville, Addison and Galeton Railroad in Pennsylvania. After that railroad was abandoned in 1977, the 805-A was transferred to the Louisiana and Northwestern Railroad in Louisiana.[1] All other CZ engines from the Western Pacific were traded in to builder EMD and scrapped.

The Feather River Rail Society (FRRS) wanted this locomotive for its Western Pacific Railroad collection as it had become the last WP California Zephyr locomotive in existence. Arrangements were made to purchase the locomotive in 1987 with the cost shared between members Steve Habeck, Larry Hanlon and John Ryczkowski. FRRS joined as the fourth partner in the purchase.

The 805-A was cosmetically restored by Bill Evans and David Dewey. With this work completed, a rededication ceremony was held on May 27, 1995.[1]

In early 2000, the FRRS launched the Zephyr Project to raise money for a complete mechanical restoration of the 805-A and restoration of the CZ dome car Silver Hostel.[1] In 2004, the locomotive returned to limited operation. The 805-A is the last, intact locomotive built specifically for the CZ.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Western Pacific 805-A". Western Pacific Railroad Museum. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 

External links[edit]