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Grier (Harold E.) Papers
MS 845  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Arrangement
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Separated Materials
  • Biographical / Historical

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
    Title: Harold E. Grier papers
    creator: Grier, Harold E., 1920-2008
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 845
    Physical Description: 18 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1938-2005
    Abstract: The majority of the collection consists of short line railroad maintenance reports as well as drafts, final copies and research for the track maintenance books that Harold Grier wrote and self-published. Files include biographical materials, correspondence relating to the development of the proposed tourist railroad, Roaring Forks Railroad as well research and correspondence relating to the development of the Napa Valley Wine Train, printed railroad related materials, and rail track photographs.
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Location: Statewide Museum Collections Center I2.208P.5 - I2.208P.11


    Within each series, materials are arranged alphabetically by type of material. Materials of the name (such as drafts for a book) are arranged in date order.

    MS 845 is arranged into six series

    • Series 1. Biographical and Personal
    • Subseries 1. World War II
    • Subseries 2. Personal Papers
    • Subseries 3. Professional Organizations
    • Subseries 4. Research
    • Series 2. Research and Manuscripts for Books written by Harold Grier
    • Series 3. Short Line Railroad Report
    • Series 4. Business Operational Files
    • Series 5. Roaring Forks Tourist Railroad
    • Series 6. Railroad Track Photography

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research by appointment. Some restrictions may apply. Please give staff one week's advance notice.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the CSRM Library & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Kevi Grier, 2018

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Harold E. Grier Papers, MS 845, California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives, Sacramento, California.

    Scope and Contents

    The majority of the collection consists of short line railroad maintenance reports as well as drafts, final copies and research for the track maintenance books that Grier wrote and self-published. Files include biographical materials, correspondence relating to the development of the proposed tourist railroad, Roaring Forks Railroad as well research and correspondence relating to the development of the Napa Valley Wine Train, printed railroad related materials, and rail track photographs. The collection is organized into 6 series;
    Series 1: Biographical and Personal Series 2: Research and Manuscripts for books written by Harold Grier Series 3: Short Line Railroad Reports Series 4: Business Operational Files Series 5: Roaring Forks Tourist Railroad Series 6: Rail track Photography
    Series 1 consists of World War II era materials related to Grier's role as a glider pilot instructor; materials relating to professional organizations he belonged to; personal papers and correspondence between Grier and family members during World War II and railroad related materials that he may have used to increase his knowledge about the industry. These themes have been divided into four sub-series; World War II: 1942-2001; Personal Papers; Professional Organizations; Research.
    Series 2 identifies track maintenance books for short line railroads written, designed and self-published by Grier. The books, available for purchase, were written to be used by short line railroad companies to evaluate their existing track maintenance programs and re-write their maintenance programs. These programs were designed by Grier to be both cost effective and keep railroad maintained at the highest standard. Grier developed a training program for maintenance personnel and supervisors that used the books he had written as well as included two different quizzes.
    In addition to the books and reports and programs written for short line railroads, Grier also wrote and edited two newsletters. These newsletters, TIPS and Practical Maintenance for Short line Railroads, would give subscribers monthly tips and information about track maintenance programs.
    Series 3 consists of Short Line Railroad Reports that Grier possibly assisted in writing while working for a consulting company; reports written by Grier through his own consulting company or reports that he possibly collected for additional research. Reports known to be written Grier are for the Amador Central Railroad, Camino Placerville & Lake Tahoe, and Port of Sacramento Railroad. This series contains the research and materials Grier collected while employed as a consultant for the Napa Valley Wine Train. Titles written in Spanish contain reports written in English.
    Series 4 identifies the materials used by Grier during the operation of his consulting business. There are materials and forms he designed for the daily operation as well as research for short line railroad consulting. The forms Grier designed assisted him with the collection of data when he was contracted to evaluate a short line railroad.
    Roaring Forks Tourist Railroad is a collection of materials pertaining to the development of a tourist railroad located on the Aspen Branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado that Grier was instrumental in developing. Grier developed the business plan as well as researched marketing plans and the equipment necessary to develop the tourist railroad. Several presentations were given to encourage others to support this railroad. This railroad never made it past the planning/development stage. In addition, there is information regarding a luxury tourist railroad that Grier was developing. This luxury tourist railroad was separate from the Roaring Forks Railroad. The luxury railroad was designed and developed to be a luxury tourist railroad that spanned across the country with stops in National Parks or linking up with motor coaches to take visitors into the parks. The railroad never became operational.
    Rail Track Photography is a collection of rail track photos that Grier took during his career. These photos are of up-close details of the track and rails, as well as wide, expansive shots to capture the environment. These photos were used to illustrate the track maintenance books and short line railroads reports that Grier wrote.
    One album of note is the "Things I've built & homes I've lived in". This seems to be an album that Grier compiled over time of photos from his life. Included is a table of contents, introduction, chapter 3 outline; listing of building and structures built by Grier, homes and places he has lived and a listing of railroads and railroad equipment. The album was photocopied to keep original order, there not any captions for the photos. There are black and white as well as color photos in this collection.
    He has compiled many photos of Amador Central Railway, as well as photos from his time contracting with the Napa Valley Wine Train.
    Whenever possible information from original sources was transferred to new folders.

    Separated Materials

    Books from the collection were separated and cataloged with the CSRM book collection.
    Corporate ephemera from the collection were separated and interfiled with the CSRM Corporate Ephemera Collection.

    Biographical / Historical

    Harold Eugene Grier was born October 24, 1920 and passed away on April 25, 2008. A native Californian, he grew up in Pasadena and spent his adult years in Clayton, California. Harold's career include being a railroad engineer, contractor and business owner.
    In addition to being a WWII Veteran, he was a life-long member of the American Railway Engineering Association and the Glider Pilots Association. Harold earned his AA degree in pre-engineering at Chaffee Junior College in Ontario, California. He became certified as a flight instructor after he and five friends purchased their own airplane. As a Flight Officer in the US Army Air Corp, he instructed both airplane and glider pilots how to fly.
    After the war ended, he completed a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota and began his railroad career in Pomona CA with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He assisted with the building of the first SP "retarder" yard in the Taylor Yard in Los Angeles. Harold was the Chief Engineer of the Trona Railroad, and the Project Engineer for the Matissa Equipment Co. It was at the Matissa Equipment Co., where he secured the first "flash-butt" electric welding machine in the US.
    In 1953, Grier returned to California, settling in Mountain View where he worked for the Western Pacific Railroad in the maintenance-of-way division. He assisted with the design of the yard track for the Ford Motor Co. Assembly plant in Milpitas. The Griers then moved to Sacramento and later Modesto as Harold continued his career with the Sacramento Northern and the Tidewater Southern railroads. Harold then worked as the Engineer Estimator and Project Manager for the Winton Jones Contracting Co. until 1964; one of his jobs included the initial grading of the future Rossmoor site.
    Harold and his brother Bob embarked as an independent contracting company from 1964-66, constructing railroad track and working on culverts, bridges, and highways. From 1966-70, Harold managed railroad projects throughout the western US for W.A. Smith Contracting Co. His work included designing the intricate, underground track system for the BART system in SF. From 1970-74, Harold was the Senior Railroad Engineer for Morrison-Knudsen Co., Inc. (and its subsidiary, International Engineering Co., Inc.). He managed complex US projects, including the massive inventory and cost rehabilitation project for the defunct Penn-Central Railroad in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia - resulting in Weyerhauser Co. purchasing the lines. Harold also began international work during this period, designing the track layout for the iron ore railroad in Victoria, Brazil - hauling the greatest tonnage of ore worldwide at the time - and the coal haul railroad in Elk River Valley, British Columbia as well as surveying railroad routes in Algeria and Costa Rica. Harold worked with V.C. Edwards-Contractor in 1975-76 to replace the railroad track at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA and as an independent contractor, he supervised the construction of the complicated Muni street car storage yard on Geneva St., San Francisco. For the next 20 years, Harold ran his own company, T. F. Grier, Inc. His work involved primarily short-line and regional railroads, including the now famous Napa Valley Wine Train. Harold engineered the design and construction of the engine house, station platforms, and railroad track for the Napa Valley Wine Train. Also, in partnership with the Caltrans, he supervised special projects to improve Highway 29.
    During this time, Harold authored and self-published instructional manuals for railroad maintenance. Short-line and regional railroads throughout the US purchased these comprehensive and practical manuals to assist with the running of their railroads.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Air pilots, military
    Amador Central Railroad
    Gliders (Aeronautics)--pilots
    Napa Valley Wine Train
    Photography of railroads
    Port of Sacramento
    Rail travel
    Railroads--Track--Maintenance and repair
    Railroad tracks
    Short line railroads
    Tourist railroad
    Train travel