Western Pacific 707

1952 EMD GP7

 

Model:  GP7

Prime Mover:  EMD 567B - 16 Cylinder

Builder:  Electro-Motive Division

Horsepower:  1500

Built:  October 1952

Operating Weight:  251,700 lbs.

Builder #:  17031

Length:  56 ft. 2 in.

Status:  Operational

Maximum Speed:  65 MPH

 

 

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.  The "Ditch 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 conform with 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 night.