There is nothing like the sound, the sweet sing-song timbre of a steam locomotive whistle. It is a quiet melody unlike the vulgar roar of a modern diesel. An antique vibration that hangs in the air like a bit of cool fog surrounded with the clatter of a gleaming brass bell.
Here in Fort Bragg, the new Skunk Train general manager, brought his very own 45-ton 0-4-OT old No. 2 of the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company to town. What a doll! Simply adorable, this darling (yes, to us railroad loving folks, locomotives can be cute) is a petite work horse pulling the Skunk to and fro each weekend trip through mid-September. This beauty was built in 1908 for use in the Davenport (Santa Cruz County) quarry. Although fifteen years past a century old, she operates perfectly and looks brilliant with no rust spots or wrinkles in sight.
Not to wax poetic…but I will anyway! Unlike modern diesel, steam locomotives are alive: they drink oil, breathe steam and on occasion spits a bit of water.
Enjoy the moments she is running around, because she’ll be gone before you know it.