The only diesel locomotives on the Redwood Coast belonged to the California Western Railroad (CWR). At the time the diesel roster in the Western Railroader in August 1965 was compiled the CWR had three diesel locomotives – see below.
In 1952 CWR acquired a Baldwin S-12 which was numbered #54.
Three California Western diesels were wrecked in 1970. Website visitor Isaac Kuster wrote and asked if we had any information about a wreck involving CWR diesels #’s 51, 52 and 54. With the aid of club member Chuck Whitlock we were able to offer some modest help to Isaac who managed to dig up the whole story and took some new photographs of what is left of the wreck.
Isaac dug up from the files of the Ukiah Daily Journal the report on the wreck – see below.
Chuck, who as well as being a club member, is an engineer on the Skunk Line told Isaac that pieces of #53 and #54 were still lying beside the line where the wreck occurred. According to Chuck they fell off when the NorthWestern Pacific steam crane to salvage the diesels and clear the line. Isaac clambered up the Skunk Line from the Willits side to near the Summit and sure enough the pieces were still there – see his pictures below.
California Western Railroad (CWR) Diesel #53 still exists. According to club member Chuck Whitlock she was on yard duties in Fort Bragg when the wreck of her three companions occurred. She still exists. She lives at Roots of Motive Power in Willits where she awaits restoration.
During the years 1946 and 1949 Baldwin produced 56 of these DS4- 4-1000 diesels. Number 53 was built for the Army Corps of Engineers and she served on several bases around the Western United States until 1952 when she was sold to the CWR.
Website visitor Isaac Kuster took this photograph of her on the same day he took the photos of the remains of the wreck of her companions.
CWR Diesel #53 currently languishes in desperate need of refurbishment in the yard of Roots of Motive Power in Willits– see picture above. In the book, "Blowing Smoke Up the Noyo there is a rare picture of #53 in operation. The photo is below and as you can see there is snow on the ground. As snow is pretty rare around Fort Bragg we think the photo was taken in Willits.