Amador Central Railroad
|Amador Central Railroad|
|Locale||Ione - Martell, California|
|Dates of operation||1908–1997|
|Successor||Amador Foothills Railroad|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
The Amador Central Railroad (reporting mark AMC) was a standard gauge railroad that operated 11.8 miles (19.0 km) between a connection with the Southern Pacific Company (SP) at Ione and Martell near the town of Jackson, California. The carrier served the Sierra Nevada Foothills gold mining communities and hauled lumber products from the El Dorado National Forest. Amador is the name of the county in which the railroad operated.
The Amador Central traces its history back to the Ione & Eastern Railroad. In 1904, the Ione & Eastern proposed to build a 14-mile (23 km) line from Ione to Sutter Creek and then an additional 13 miles (21 km) to Volcano, California. The Ione & Eastern only completed a line to Martell. The railroad survived only four years and was sold at foreclosure in 1908 and renamed the Amador Central Railroad.
- April 12, 1904 Ione & Eastern Railroad incorporated
- August 1, 1904 Grading commences
- September 19, 1904 Laying rails commences
- December 25, 1904 First trains operates
- June 15, 1905 Construction completed.
- August 22, 1908 Ione & Eastern sold at foreclosure and to terminate operations at year end
- January 1, 1909 AMC begins operation of line.
- January 1, 1946 AMC leased by Winton Lumber Company
- June 22, 1964 AMC purchased by American Forest Products
- June 1988 AMC acquired by Georgia-Pacific
- March 28, 1997 AMC's owner, Georgia-Pacific, acquired by Sierra Pacific Industries and last freight train runs.
- 1999 Sierra Pacific Industries reopens line and renames AMC the Amador Foothills Railroad
- May 10, 2004 Last train on the Amador Foothills Railroad operates.
The AMC ran from the terminus of SP's Ione Branch at Ione to Martell.
As of October, 2009, all track north and east of the Martell grade crossing of California Highway 88 has been taken up (about 1.5 miles), along with most of the ties and ballast. The main depot in Martell is abandoned and being allowed to deteriorate as it awaits demolition. The nearby locomotive shop shed is being used for storage and automotive repair.
Trackage, crossings and warning systems remain in place from Ione to the Martell Hwy 88 grade crossing, about 10 miles of rail line. The line is leased, maintained and used by a group of rail enthusiasts, who own and operate railcar speeders on this stretch of scenic track.
An industrial / business park has been laid out in the area just northeast of the Hwy 88 crossing, with underground utilities laid and streets paved, but it remains largely undeveloped. The park is named after the railroad and the streets have related names, such as "Locomotive Lane" and "Boxcar Blvd."
October 27, 2010 the Amador Central Railroad was officially transferred from Sierra Pacific Industries to both the Amador County Historical Society and Recreational Railroad Historical Society jointly at a ceremony in front of the historic 1877-built Southern Pacific Depot in Ione.The historical society bought the railroad for a stunning one dollar. The groups have met to form a Railroad Management Committee appointing Grant Vogel was unanimously voted to be the Roadmaster and Tom Correa will serve as the deputy Roadmaster. The combined board of directors of both organizations have resurrected the Ione RailFair over the Memorial Day weekend, May 28-29, 2011.
- Fickewirth, Alvin A. (1992). California railroads: an encyclopedia of cable car, common carrier, horsecar, industrial, interurban, logging, monorail, motor road, shortlines, streetcar, switching and terminal railroads in California (1851-1992). San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 0-87095-106-8.
- Stindt, Fred A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide (5th Edition ed.). Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0-89024-290-9.
- Walker, Mike (1997). Steam Powered Video's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America - California and Nevada (Post Merger Edition ed.). Kent, United Kingdom: Steam Powered Publishing. ISBN 1-874745-08-0.
- "Amador Central Railroad". Western Shortline Rosters. Trainweb.org. Retrieved November 4, 2006.
- Epling, David. "Amador Central/Amador Foothills Railroad". Central California Rails. Railfan.net. Retrieved November 4, 2006.
- "Ione Branch/Amador Central". Central California Rails. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
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