Fremont Heisler ~ Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Nathan and I spent Sunday in the Niles district of Fremont.
Niles is notable for several rail-related reasons; it's the western end of the Niles Canyon Railway, which we didn't visit today, but which is running a Train of Lights this time of year, which is pretty cool. It also has a city plaza anchored by a restored depot, which is now the home to a train museum and model railroad, which we did visit.
You also can't hang out very long without seeing a Capitol Corridor and/or UP freight train go by.
(The Caboose is part of the depot museum; the heavyweight passenger car is the chamber of commerce).
We took a meandering route home to try to track down something we'd seen once from the window of a Capitol Corridor train--an old Heisler parked on a random siding. We found it, but it's hard to get a good view without trespassing, which we didn't.
You can see it a bit better on Google Maps (click satellite view). Note the tender sitting 20 or so feet to the left. Click here, or search for "Copa de Oro Drive, Fremont, CA".
On the way, we passed a few interesting things, such as this Historic Farmhouse, now a museum, and fenced-off equipment yard containing a touristy trolley (obviously not extremely historic but it looks like it legitimately ran on tracks) probably from some defunct park,
which is still at least providing some shelter for one occupant;
and nearby is a Plymouth "critter".
The Heisler is probably Pickering Lumber #1 or #5, both property of the Niles Canyon Railway but not stored at the main museum site (probably #1, considering that #5 has been run in recent history, and the engine we saw is pretty rusty).
When we told Wini about our adventures, she thought it sounded like a "Thomas" story. Indeed... Rusty the Heisler was shy and hid on an out-of-the way siding behind a tree where nobody could see how rusty he was. But one Christmas nobody in the Island of Sodor had a Christmas tree because none of the engines could make it to the top of the mountain where the Christmas Tree farm was--because only a geared steam engine could make it up the grade. It ends with Rusty getting a new coat of paint and being the most fabulous engine of all...
Fremont is really a web of tracks. Here's an excerpt from a Historical Rail Atlas.
Merry Christmas!direct link