South Shasta Lines – ‘A visit in 1960’

You may never know the lasting impression you have on someone.

As a child, I have this most vivid memory of going down into a farmhouse basement. What awaited made a lasting impression that would effect my life, and indirectly, yours.

We lived in Chico, California, and I was in kindergarten. My parents drove my brother, my grandma, and me to the Southern Pacific station in Gerber where she boarded the Shasta Daylight for her return trip to Portland. The only photos we have of the event were in View-Master, and as such, are difficult to copy. Right now, they are hard for me to find, as well.

I think it was that trip that we visited the Humann Farm and the annual Open House of the South Shasta Lines, an O Scale railroad that was being built by Godfrey Humann. The story of his South Shasta Lines is told in several issues of Model RailRoader and at least one in Rail Model Craftsman.  (Godfrey Humann, a farmer from the small town of Gerber just south of Red Bluff.

The big model trains ran from town-to-town over bridges and through tunnels. As a five-year old, it was like a dream. I think that was the day I fell in love with trains. I have never been the same.

What if that open house had never been? What if Mom and Dad did not make the effort to go and see? That lasting forever memory is still with me. What impact will you have on a young life? You won’t know unless you try.

Burned into my mind, in the evening light, is the red-tail light of the ‘Shasta Daylight’. It’s gyrations telling this five-year old good-bye from his grandma. I remember the tears.


See the 2023 Concept Car, South Shasta Lines, here.

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Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more

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