Monday, February 26, 2007

Snow at Portola

Portola Yard In Snow

"Thirty Ten To The Portola Yardmaster"
Way back in the early 70's I went with Paul Burmeister and his dad Bud on a winter trip to Portola CA in the Feather River Canyon. We drove in Bud's 65 Chevy El Camino. Bud was a retired Western Pacific official and he knew every nook and cranny of that railroad. He also knew about every person who worked for the WP. We stayed at the Sleepy Pines Motel. It snowed, a lot!

Portola was a busy place on the WP. This was long before the WP was taken over by the Union Pacific. We went to the railroad yard and took night photos of trains. After that we went back to the Motel. I had a radio monitor tuned to the WP radio frequency and we left it on all night. It was so cold, back in the railroad yard, the WP had a locomotive going to every switch in the Portola Yard with a torch to heat them up and melt any ice that might have accumulated there. That locomotive was the WP 3010, a GP-35. The engine constantly talked to the Portola Yardmaster, all night. Every time they did they started their radio conversation with, "Thirty Ten To The Portola Yardmaster". Listening to that and the snow falling are some of the most wonderful memories I have of my teen years.

It is snowing in Portola again. The scene above was on the webcam there. As soon as I saw it I thought to myself, "Thirty Ten To The Portola Yardmaster." Some memories never fade. Susie and I are planning to go to Portola in a couple of weeks. I wonder if there will still be snow there?

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