White Creek RR
Cedar Creek MI
White Creek RR Part 1 White Creek RR Part 2
White Creek RR was the third stop on our 2009 summer odyssey Norm and I left Oshkosh on Friday morning and motored south past Chicago and north into Michigan to Cedar Creek. We did not have reservations anywhere having decided to "wing it" for the day. We got north of 'Grand Rapids and started looking for lodging for the night. Motels were few and far between it turned out and we were luck to find an AmericInn in Greenville which it turns out is not far from the track.
On Saturday bright and early we headed to the track and found it easily thanks to the excellent directions sent by Carl Baskin of the Illinois Live Steamers. White creek is a privately owned track and one does not just show up without invitation. It took some cell phone tag to accomplish but I received an invite from Russ Eldred the track owner to visit and he made us feel welcome as soon as we met. Russ invited Norm and I to ride his train for a tour of the track and introduced us to the beautiful grounds that are White Creek.
I don't think that I have ever visited a track where the folks were more friendly than White Creek. Everyone was most welcoming and made us feel right to home. Thanks to all who received us so graciously!
One note: WCRR is a 7.5" gage track so if you are am east coast operator and want to load up and drive to Michigan to run at this wonderful track you are probably out of luck.
Updated 14 August 2009 with NORM JONES PHOTOS
Spotted through out the track are small towns each with a water tower and several small buildings. Russ runs several card operations sessions throughout the season. On these days participating engineers pick up a load of cars in the yard and have to deliver them to various sidings around the track. They pick up cars that are on these sidings and return them to the main yard. At the same time there may be several passenger trains running and the freight haulers should not block the mainline or disrupt the passenger traffic. Sounds very neat!
Now here is something I have never seen before at any track. A pedal powered, I don't even know what to call it, but this guy sure seemed to be having fun.
Also from Tim Childs (see text below)
Norm Jones (L) and Russ Eldred
The above photos and this one were taken in Corner Town (see attached map) A station shelter and, in the small building, flush toilet make a nice picnic area that railroaders can enjoy.
These photos are in the Hidden Valley yard.
The green hopper in the background is for filling gondola cars to transport ballast around the track. I noticed that WCRR uses a pea stone sort of gravel instead of the crushed limestone common in the east.
8 August 2009 Update from Tim Childs
WCRR is a great family day out
Roy and Eddie were able to score a ride with these kids. The little girl reported that Eddie was frightened in some spots but she reassured him. I think that Ed just put on a show so she could feel needed. He is, after all, a train riding veteran.
There is an abundance of camping area available for long weekends.
Steaming bays and transfer trolley.
This young fellow is a high school student and spends his railroading whenever he can.
These photos show the engine storage barn. As you can see there are 15 tracks leading into the barn with embedded track for storage of engines and cars.
This set up demonstrates the operation of the track signaling system. When you approach a block of track the signal light is green. Tapping the switch "claims" the block and turns the light amber, the light at the other end of the block turns red and it is safe to proceed. When exiting the block tap the switch upon exiting and that releases the block for someone else to use. Very simple and functional as long as folks remember to release the block!
This track leads down from the storage barn to the main lines.
Looking down from the storage barn into part of the Hidden Valley yard.
This little guy holds his sign at the Maplewood junction.