The Mountain Messenger

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum


The Western Pacific Railroad (WPR) Museum held a media day on May 18 at the railroad museum in Portola. A presentation was given by Eugene Vicknair, one of the board of directors and board of secretaries for the museum.

The exciting presentation was held in a California Zephyr diner car, built in 1948, and is the only intact diner car from the California Zephyr. They recently received a $6,000 grant to redo the tables and chairs in the car and renovate the car with paint, electrical updates, and more to "return it to a showpiece."

The presentation began with the history of the WPR, whichstarted in 1903. At the time, the Southern Pacific Railroad (SPR) dominated California. Chairman of UPR and president of Southern Pacific Railroad (SPR), Edward H. Harriman, threatened the life of George Gould if WPR were to be constructed.

George J. Gould (son of Jay Gould, a reputable financier) controlled the eastern railroads. He partnered with Walter Bartnett, who had a coal-hauling railroad in the ba...