Arcata and Mad River Railroad
|Arcata and Mad River Railroad|
|Locale||Northern California's Redwood Empire from Arcata - Korbel|
|Dates of operation||December 15, 1854–1983|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge), originally 3 ft 9 1⁄2 in (1,156 mm)|
The Arcata and Mad River Railroad (reporting mark AMR) is the oldest line on the North Coast. It began as a plank road in 1854, later a horse-drawn railroad, finally with locomotives until the track was finally closed by landslides in 1994.
The Arcata and Mad River Railroad was affectionately known as the "Annie and Mary," due to its initial letters. AMR's predecessor, the Union Plank Walk, Rail Track, and Wharf Company, was incorporated on December 15, 1854, to provide access over the mud flats near the town of Union (later Arcata) to ocean going shipping for a distance of 2.7 miles (4.3 km). The track was built on wooden rails overlaid with strap iron. It was a horse-powered railroad from the town to the end of a wharf in Humboldt Bay.
On June 14, 1875, the Arcata Transportation Company was incorporated and took over the line and converted to steam.
On July 29, 1881, the Arcata & Mad River Railroad was incorporated. By 1882 the wooden rails were replaced with 35-pound-per-yard (17.4 kg/m) iron rails. In the 1890s the railroad's principal commodities were lumber, shingles, and potatoes.
The first president of the AMR in 1881 was listed as Francis Korbel. The town Korbel was also the name of the terminus of the AMR. Passenger service was offered on the AMR but ended on June 6, 1931.
The railroad was eventually extended 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from Arcata to the Northern Redwood Company mill at Korbel. The Northern Redwood Company was owned by the Charles Nelson Steamship Company. It was over 10 years after the arrival of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP) in Arcata in 1914 that the steamship company allowed an interchange between the AMR and the NWP at Korblex. During the lumber boom of the 1950s, the Annie and Mary served fifteen shippers on its 7.5-mile (12.1 km) railroad. The average daily car loadings were enough to place the road among the highest paying railroad properties per mile in the United States. At the time of its closure, AMR ran 4 General Electric 44-tonner diesel-electric locomotives and one Whitcomb 80DE-7b 80 ton diesel-electric locomotive.
Landmark status 
End of the Line 
Service on the AMR was discontinued in 1983, and the line was abandoned on May 24, 1985. In September 1988 the Eureka Southern Railroad purchased the AMR from Simpson Timber Company for $300,000. The AMR had been closed for the two-year period (1986-1988) prior to its purchase by the Eureka Southern. Service was briefly resumed in 1994 by the North Coast Railroad. Soon afterwards, landslides in the Eel River canyon closed the line, and no rail service has existed since that time. Tracks were torn up with the hopes of rebuilding the line with heavier gauge rail- Derailments were common, and in the last years of its life, the railroad had to use shorter than standard length cars. However, due to the money bleeding operations of the North Coast railroad, the line was never rebuilt. The final series of washouts in 1997 sealed the doomed fate of the A&MR RR, and the northern end of the NWP.
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See also 
- "Arcata and Mad River Railroad Company". Office of Historical Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- Robertson, Donald B. (1998). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume IV - California. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers. pp. 72–73. ISBN 0-87004-385-4.
- Lewis, Edward A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide (5th Edition ed.). Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. p. 354. ISBN 0-89024-290-9.