Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2 “The Chiggen” steams around a curve above seaside Capitola, CA and New Brighton State Beach on July 14, 2014. This was an unplanned run down the former Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and now Santa Cruz County owned Santa Cruz Branch to MP 10 in order to load the 1909 HK Porter 0-4-0 onto a trailer. The truck driver determined the load would not clear obstructions between Felton and Watsonville.
Santa Cruz Big Trees & Pacific’s former Santa Fe CF7 2600 and several cars trail the SCPC 2, along with a hirail backhoe that will assist in the loading.
This was the first time a steam locomotive had traversed these rails since the late 1950s; the first time ever for The Chiggen; the first time Big Trees SCBG 2600 traversed this segment of the line since its mid 1980s delivery in ATSF yellow bonnet colors or in service; and and the first train of any kind since December of 2012. A truly historic day on many fronts!
The train is on a high cliff above Monterey Bay leaving Capitola and is about to enter a eucalyptus forest as it charges uphill into Tannery Gulch on its way to Aptos. People were running out their front doors and smashing noses to windows all along the line when they heard the whistle, proving a steam engine is a delight for everybody. A motorcade of vehicles had also started to form by this point as local commuters ran across the train while on their way home.
Discover more about this great little locomotive’s history, restoration, and future at http://www.scpc2.com/