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California Western 45

California Western Railroad #45 is an operating 2-8-2 logging "Mikado"-type steam locomotive, located at the California Western Railroad, a.k.a. the world-famous Skunk Train, in Fort Bragg, California. The locomotive was built in 1924, by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, (Brownlee-Olds Lumber Co., later the Medford Corporation). The Medford Corporation sold #45 to the California Western Railroad in 1965. The Mendocino Railway, a subsidiary of Sierra Northern, purchased the railroad in 2003 after the California Western filed for bankruptcy.

California Western Railroad #45
CaliforniaWesternSkunkTrain.jpg
#45, seen here at the water tower in Fort Bragg, (circa 1976), prepares to depart for Willits with the "Super Skunk".
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number58045
Model12-32 1/4 E[1]
Build dateOctober 1924
Specifications
Configuration:
 • Whyte2-8-2
 • UIC1′D1′ h2
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia.44 in (1.118 m)
WheelbaseEngine: 28.50 ft (8.69 m);
Drivers: 12.08 ft (3.68 m);
Total: 50.35 ft (15.35 m)
Axle load30,000 pounds (13.6 tonnes)
Adhesive weight120,000 pounds (54.4 tonnes)
Loco weight152,000 pounds (68.9 tonnes)
Total weight236,000 pounds (107.0 tonnes)
Fuel typeOil
Fuel capacity1,500 imp gal (6,800 l; 1,800 US gal)
Water cap4,000 imp gal (18,000 l; 4,800 US gal)
Boiler pressure180 psi (1.24 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size19 in × 24 in (483 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts
Valve typePiston
Train brakesAutomatic air
Performance figures
Power output5220; plus superheater % = 6107; substitute firebox for grate area = 33275
Tractive effort30,127 lbf (134.01 kN)
Factor of adh.3.98
Career
OperatorsOwen-Oregon Lumber Co.,(Brownlee-Olds Lumber Company), Medford Corporation, California Western Railroad, Mendocino Railway, (Sierra Northern)
ClassIII
NumbersOwen-Oregon, (Brownlee-Olds), Medford Corporation #3,
California Western Railroad #45, CWR #44
Official nameCalifornia Western Railroad
NicknamesThe Skunk Train
LocaleOwen-Oregon/Medford Corporation: Southern Cascades, (Butte Falls, OR); California Western: Northwestern California Coast, (Fort Bragg, CA).
First runCalifornia Western Railroad: July 8, 1965; inaugural July 9, 1965
Retired1964 (revenue)
Current ownerMendocino Railway, (Sierra Northern)
DispositionOperational

Between 1965 and 1980, #45, along with stablemate #46, (a 2-6-6-2 Mallet), pulled the railroad's Fort Bragg - Willits summer steam excursion train, the "Super Skunk". The California Western discontinued steam service in 1981. In 1984, #46 was donated to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, as a result of high maintenance costs, and the opinion that the locomotive was too light on its feet. (#46 was a saddle-tank locomotive, before California Western added a tender, and removed the aforementioned tank.)

In 1983, after two-year operational hiatus, the locomotive briefly returned to service, and was renumbered #44 for a role in Racing with the Moon. The locomotive retained this number for several months.

In 2001, the locomotive was removed from service for an overhaul. The locomotive returned to service in May 2004, and currently operates regular "Skunk Train" service to Northspur Wednesday through Saturday, May through October. #45 began to show its age, and, as a result, the Sierra Railroad discontinued the Super Skunk service to Willits. #45 occasionally travels to Willits for special events, although a diesel helper is required for additional power and dynamic braking. In fact, there are currently no trains that traverse the entire route; passengers must transfer at Northspur.

California Western #45 on the point of a 2-car photographer's special. (2009)