Western Pacific 707 was built
in Cleveland, Ohio at the Electro Motive Division of General Motors
in October of 1952 at a cost of $170,992.00. As part of an
order of 9 locomotives numbered 701-709, the GP7's were delivered
with large "Pyle National" singe bulb headlights,
dynamic brakes, and dual controls,
so the locomotives could be operated from either side of the cab.
This eliminated the need to turn the locomotive at the end of a run
so that the short hood end was leading; now engineers could operate
from either side of the cab and still end up on the right hand side
of the track to see signals. WP ordered an additional 4 GP7
locomotives in 1953, road numbers WP 710-713, thereby fully retiring
WP's last remaining steam locomotives. This resulted in WP
becoming the first railroad in the
west to fully dieselize.
Due to the merger between the
Western Pacific and Union Pacific in December of 1982, the UP
retired older Western Pacific locomotives, selling several to
shortlines, scrapping a few and graciously donated several to the
brand new Feather River Rail Society. 707 was donated by the
UP in 1985. Restored by the membership of the FRRS, the 707
was repainted into its 1960's appearance of "as-delivered"
silver and orange
with a single white reflective "Scotchlite"
stripe on the hood ends with the large Pyle Headlights. This
is how she appeared when based out of our facility in Portola while
working the "Reno Local" on the Reno Branch of the WP.
lights" often found mounted on the ends of the pilots
are removable, powered with a simple automotive trailer plug, and
used when the locomotive travels off property on the main line to
Federal Railroad Administration regulations
concerning operation over public railroad crossings.
Today, the 707 is one of the
most popular exhibits at the museum due to its attractive paint and
the fact that it is kept polished and in mainline condition. She often leaves the property heading up special trains joined by
sister WPRM engine,
GP20 2001, on the Union Pacific's
former Western Pacific lines for display at
various railroad festivals as an ambassador to the Western Pacific
Railroad Museum and a tribute to the "Willing People" of the
Western Pacific Railroad, past & present.
WP 707 in service in Yuba City,
California during the late 1970's.
WP 707 at rest between
assignments at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in February 2009.
WP 707 enjoying
semi-retirement pulling happy guests around the grounds of the
Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California
WP 707 at rest between
assignments at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in February 2003.
WP 707 returned to its home
rails of the Western Pacific to assist
Golden Gate Railroad Museum in moving from its long time home
in San Francisco to the
Niles Canyon Railway in Sunol,
California in February 2006. The 54 year old 707 performed
flawlessly and enjoyed the limelight as she and her train were
chased by throngs of railroad enthusiasts and photographers
throughout its journey.
WP 707 returns for the first
time in 21 years to the former Western Pacific's system locomotive
shop in Stockton, California during the Golden Gate Railroad Museum
move in February of 2006 for a quick servicing and inspection with
running mates WP 2001 and WP 925-C. Former WP employees in
Stockton yard were overjoyed to see WP power return, if just for the