Steaming again after nearly 70 years! Over the Fourth of July Weekend, 2022, the Western Pacific Railroad Museum held it's first public weekend of steam operations, using the newly restored WP 165, a roughly 80-ton, Alco 0-6-0 yard switcher, built in 1919. This locomotive was originally built for the United Verde Copper Company in Jerome, AZ, and served that operation for 8 years, before being sold to the Western Pacific in 1927. She became one of three, S-34 Class Switchers to serve the WP, and they were numbered 163-166. During her lifetime, she worked the WP yards in Stockton, Sacramento and Portola, among others. The locomotive last operated in 1953, and was officially retired in 1957, after 30 years of service. In the early 1960s, she was donated to the City of San Leandro, CA and displayed for many years at the BART Station there. Later, she was displayed at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Over the years, her ownership changed hands a few times, but eventually landed in the hands of the Feather River Rail Society and came to the yards in Portola. Over the past 15 years, she's been worked on steadily by a group of capable volunteers, and in the early summer of 2022, their goal was finally realized.
The WP 165 is pictured here making a 2PM passenger run, pulling a string of cabooses past a brightly-painted WP F-unit and a retired Southern Pacific Rotary Plow. As can be seen, the locomotive is still a work in progress as she is missing her steam dome cover as well as boiler and cylinder jacketing. The museum's steam team is currently asking for donations to help with the purchase of materials needed to put the finishing touches on this very successful project.