On Jan. 10, a huge Pacific system loaded with moisture barreled into the Sierra. The storm slammed the mountains and then stalled. The blizzard it spawned raged for seven days. By the second day, nearly three feet of new snow in Tahoe City had boosted the snowpack there to 9 feet. U.S. Route 40, the only year-round trans-Sierra highway, was closed for 30 days when an avalanche buried several vehicles just west of Donner Lake. Despite the violent weather, Southern Pacific trains continued to run through the wooden snowsheds and long granite tunnels that made safe passage possible. The heroic fight was lost on Sunday, Jan. 13, when SP’s finest and most powerful streamliner train rammed a deep snowslide east of Yuba Gap. Pride of the fleet, this beautiful passenger train was known as the City of San Francisco. Three 2,250-horsepower engines powered the 15-car train, but engineers could not back out of the slide. Even so, passengers and crew didn’t expect to be there very long. The marooned passengers’ laissez-faire attitude turned angry when they were still snowbound on Monday . . .
(Excerpt from Tahoe Daily Tribune)

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