The California Western Rail Road, aka, the Skunk Train

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In 1991 we bought a new 18' travel trailer. Our first trip was up the California coast. We stopped in Willets to camp overnight and ride the Skunk Train. The California Western RR got it nickname from the "skunk" gas railcars that it used to run after it's days in logging were over. The Skunk was the most practical means of transport for Ft. Bragg (on the CA coast) to anywhere else as it connected with the SP at Willets. For many years, the traffic wasn't high enough to justify full up trains so they ran the "skunk" cars to Ft. Bragg and back. These cars were also the lifeline for the folks that lived along the route as there were NO roads at the time.

This video were shot on an old Sony 8 mm analog camcorder and eventually transcribed into DV format with the use of a newer Sony mini-DV camcorder in analog pass through mode. The video was saved as an iMovie project and then exported to .mov files in h.264 format. The original camera didn't have a lot of video resolution so that 320x240 videos show about all the detail that there is to see on the original videos.

You'll have to pardon the shaky video in spots, the cameraman was often distracted by his small children moving about.

The Californina Western RR (aka "The Skunk Train")
Title Size
A Ride on the Skunk 72.5 1991

The movie files are stored in Apple's QuickTime video h.264 format. If your computer can't handle QuickTime or h.264 now, you can get it for most versions of Windows or the MacOS at:

Get QuickTime

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© 2009 George Schreyer
Created May 1, 2009
Last Updated May 1, 2009