Western Pacific #563 has led an
interesting life, being one of only two switch engines on the system
to have been painted in all of the WP's switcher paint schemes over
the years. Delivered in 1951 in black and white paint, (like the WP
501 and 512), she has worn silver and orange, solid orange, and
being one of a few Alco's left on the WP in the 1970's, was painted
in green and orange paint.
WP 563 didn't wear the new standard "Perlman Green" scheme that she
is in now for very long, as she was quickly primered and sold to the
Central California Traction where she was repainted Cherry Red and
became their #50. What the "Traction Co." really needed though was a
road switcher, not another switch engine, so 563 didn't stat in her
new home long, being traded back to the WP for larger Tidewater
Southern RS-1 #746. WP re-sold the orphan engine to Foster Farms of
Livingston, CA where she worked until retirement as a plant
switcher, having been repainted in a caramel and black scheme with
large Foster Farms "Rooster" logo on the cab side. When Foster Farms
retired the unit in favor of remote controlled switchers in the
1990's, FRRS members stepped in and bought the 563 and brought her
to Portola to enjoy her retirement as a display piece, where she was
eventually restored and repainted by FRRS founder Norman Holmes in
the last paint scheme she wore in WP service. Currently, the 563 is
under mechanical restoration, with minor issues needing to be
addressed, such as new batteries and some work to her running gear.
It is in line to have this work done in the second half of 2011.
In the mean time, WP 563 can usually be found coupled to her old
caboose, Central California Traction #24 with a couple of ice
reefers out front, reminiscent of days when the CCT borrowed WP
diesels to keep their produce trains running between Stockton, Lodi
& Sacramento, California in the early 1970's.
WP 563 taking a spin on the
Oakland, California turntable some time in the 1960's.
WP 563 on Display at the
Western Pacific Railroad Museum