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Boynton (James E.) Collection
MS 850  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Arrangement
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
    Title: Boynton (James E.) collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 850
    Physical Description: 6.709 Linear Feet 1-half manuscript box, 13-"shoebox" style negative boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1909-1992
    Physical Location: SMCC I2.210.N10 (Series 1-2) Big 4 (Series 3)


    James Boynton was born in Oakland, California on October 3, 1921 and passed away on March 4, 1992 in Plumas, California. After high school he attended the University of Idaho and Oregon State University in Corvallis and studied mechanical engineering. Boynton enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 as an ordnance man and became an aerial gunnery instructor for B-17 and B-29 bombardment aircraft. According to his book jacket biography, he invented a run-away gun eliminator for use on remote control turrets of B-29 aircraft. He received a commendation from the Air Corps for his invention.
    Mr. Boynton worked for nearly 32 years with the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific railroads as a locomotive engineer running trains from Keddie to Bieber and back. He authored the popular book, Three Barrels of Steam, about the 4-10-2 steam locomotive. He was a charter member of the old Golden State Railroad Historical Society and was an associate member of the Pacific Locomotive Association.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], James E. Boynton Collection, MS 850, California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives, Sacramento, California.

    Scope and Contents

    This Boynton Collection consists of three series. Series 1. Train Orders Series 2. Publications and Series 3. Negative Collection. Series 1. Train Orders is a collection of Western Pacific Railroad train orders organized by the station and then date. These train orders used Form 17, 19, 31. Form 31 was a more restrictive order and the conductor was required to stop and sign for the order. Form 19 is not as restrictive and did not require the signature of the conductor. Form 17 is specific to the Western Pacific Railroad, replacing form 19 and Form 31 in approximately 1970.
    The train orders are used in conjunction with the Dispatch Sheets and the Employee Time Tables for specific days of the month to get an accurate record and understanding of the movements of a specific train on a specific day.
    This collection of train orders includes orders from the Oakland Yard, Carbona, Stockton Yard, Termmous Junction, Thornton, Marysville, Oroville Yard, Bloomer, Belden, Greenville, Mason, Portola, Doyle, Sand Pass, Gerlach and Sulpur.
    Series 2. Publications contains publications writen about Boynton. Love Affair with the Iron Horse: Jim Boynton's Life on the Steel Rail edited by Mary Rehwald is a oral history interivew of Jim Boynton. The interview was conducted by David Weitzman in the late Spring of 1983. The Feather River Short Line Railroad: Steam Forever: James Earle Boynton is the Offical Publication of the Feather River Short Line Railroad, dedicated to the life and memory of James Earle Boynton. It includes stories and memories from Ted Benson, Kevin Bunker, Guy L. Dunscomb and Ted Wurm.
    Series 3. Negatives is a collection of 13 "shoebox" size boxes of negatives of railroads. The series is arranged alphbetically by railroad name.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research.


    Collection is arranged in 3 series.

    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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Western Pacific Railroad Company
    Railroads--United States--Operations--Train Dispatching--Train Orders
    Railroad trains--Dispatching
    Oral histories
    Photography of railroads
    Railroads--United States--Photography
    Boynton, James E., 1921-