North Pacific Coast Railroad

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North Pacific Coast Railroad
Reporting mark NPC
Locale Marin and Sonoma Counties, California
Dates of operation 1871–1907
Successor Northwestern Pacific Railroad
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge ; originally 3 ft (914 mm)
Headquarters Sausalito, California

The North Pacific Coast Railroad (NPC) was a common carrier 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge steam railroad begun in 1874 and sold in 1902 to new owners who renamed it the North Shore Railroad (California) (NSR) and which rebuilt the southern section into a standard gauge electric railway.

The NPC operated in the northern California counties of Marin and Sonoma that carried redwood lumber, local dairy and agricultural products, express and passengers. The NPC operated almost 93 mi (150 km) of track that extended from a pier at Sausalito (which connected the line via ferry to San Francisco) and operated northwest to Duncans Mills and Cazadero (also known as Ingrams). The NPC became the North Shore Railroad (California) (NSR) on March 7, 1902. In 1907 the North Shore Railroad became part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP). Southern portions of the line were standard gauged and electrified by the North Shore for suburban passenger service, though tracks north of Point Reyes Station remained 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge until abandonment in the late 1930s.

All of the NPC trackage has been abandoned either by the NPC or the NWP. Some of the original right of way can be seen at the Samuel P. Taylor State Park near Fairfax, along the shore of Tomales Bay and Keyes Estuary and passenger depots remain in San Anselmo and Duncans Mills. One NPC steam locomotive, No.12 the "Sonoma," remains as a restored static exhibit in its circa 1870s appearance at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, while Duncans Mills hosts some decaying cars that are not being restored.

North Pacific Coast Railroad tunnel near Keys Creek

Route[edit]

Inside the tunnel
Bridge over Keys Estuary viewed from California State Route 1.
Former railroad grade adjacent to Tomales Bay viewed from California State Route 1.

Mileposts conform to Southern Pacific Railroad convention of distance from San Francisco[1]

Locomotives[edit]

Number Name Builder Type Date Works number Notes[2]
1 Saucelito Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1873 3495 sold to White Lumber Company of Elk, California 1876[3]
2 San Rafael Mason Machine Works 0-4-4T 1874 537 burned at Tomales 1905 & rebuilt became NWP #89[4]
3 Tomales Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3722 became NWP #83[5]
4 Olema Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1874 3629 wrecked 1894 & rebuilt became NWP #81[6]
5 Bodega Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3703 dismantled by 1897[7]
6 Valley Ford Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1874 3664 leased to Dollar Lumber Company in 1899[8]
7 Tamalpais Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3721 [9]
8 Bully Boy Mason Machine Works 0-6-6T 1877 584 burned at Tomales 1905[10]
9 M. S. Latham Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3749 wrecked 14 January 1894 at Elim Grove trestle over Austin Creek[11]
10 Bloomfield Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1876 3840 sold 1895 Guatemala Western #1
11 Marin Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1876 3842 became NWP #82[12]
12 Sonoma Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1876 3843 sold 1879 Nevada Central #5 (preserved at California State Railroad Museum)[13]
13 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1883 6611 became NWP #195[14]
14 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1891 1885 became NWP #92[15]
15 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1891 1886 became NWP #90[16]
16 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1894 2421 became NWP #91[17]
17 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3749 NPC 1894 rebuild of wreck-damaged #9 wrecked again in 1900[18]
18 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1899 3418 reputedly the largest 3 ft (914 mm) gauge locomotive in the world when built became NWP #145 then #95[19]
20 NPC Sausalito shop 4-4-0 1900 1 became NWP #84[20]
21 Thomas-Stetson NPC Sausalito shop 4-4-0 1901 2 cab-forward rebuild of #5 scrapped 1905[21]
22 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1874 3664 former #6 renumbered when returned from Dollar Lumber Company in 1901[8]

Electrification[edit]

The NSR was operated by John Martin and Eugene de Sabla, Jr., pioneers in the electric railroad business. The southern 23 miles (37 km) of line were modernized to allow operation of standard gauge electric passenger cars in addition to narrow gauge steam powered freight trains. Electric cars sometimes shared dual gauge tracks with the steam trains, while at other locations a separate track for the electric cars was constructed parallel to the narrow gauge route. The line was ultimately double tracked from Sausalito to San Anselmo except for the tunnel at Alto. A power house was built at Alto and power was also purchased at San Rafael. Direct current electrical power was transmitted to the trains at 600 volts by a third rail (which was actually a fourth rail on the dual gauge segments.)[22] Service started to Mill Valley on August 20, 1903, and to San Rafael on October 17, 1903. It was the first United States steam railroad electrified for operational efficiency rather than smoke abatement. The railroad established practices later used in Grand Central Terminal and the interborough subways of New York City.[23] The electric lines were expanded after 1907 as part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad.

Roster of electric cars[edit]

Number Builder Type Date Capacity Notes
101-112 St. Louis Car Co. Trailers 1902 66 seats twelve unpowered open platform wooden trailers; #102 built in North Shore shops[24]
201-202 North Shore shops Motors 1904 32 seats & baggage/mail/express compartment two vestibuled wooden motors converted from narrow gauge Pullman coaches built in 1879[25]
203 North Shore shops Motor 1904 50 seats open platform wooden motor converted from narrow gauge Pullman coach built in 1879; renumbered 309[24]
301-308 St. Louis Car Co. Motors 1902 64 to 70 seats open platform wooden motors; #303-308 built in North Shore shops[26]
350-358 St. Louis Car Co. Motors 1902 36 seats & baggage/mail/express compartment nine vestibuled wooden motors[25]
401-404 North Shore shops Trailers 1904 66 seats four unpowered open platform wooden trailers converted from narrow gauge Pullman coaches built in 1879[24]

References[edit]

  • Demoro, Harre W. (1983). Electric Railway Pioneer: Commuting on the Northwestern Pacific, 1903-1941. Interurban Press. ISBN 0-916374-55-6. 
  • Dickinson, A. Bray (1970). Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods. Trans-Anglo Books. ISBN 0-87046-010-2. 
  • Dickinson, A. Bray (1974). Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods. Trans-Anglo Books. ISBN 0-87046-010-2. 
  • Kneiss, Gilbert H. (1956). Redwood Railways. Berkeley, California: Howell-North. 
  • MacGregor, Bruce. Palo Alto, (2003). The Birth of California Narrow Gauge. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3550-6. 
  • Stindt, Fred (1974). Trains to the Russian River. Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. 
  • Stindt, Fred. Kelseyville and Modesto, (1964; 1982 Fourth Printing). The Northwestern Pacific Railroad: Redwood Empire Route. Dunscomb Press. Library of Congress Catalog No.64-24033.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Sievers, Wald and Stindt, Fred (1969). N.W.P. Narrow Gauge. The Western Railroader. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stindt (1964) pp.88-89
  2. ^ Dickinson (1970) pp.132-133
  3. ^ Dickinson (1974) p.27
  4. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.27,72-74,108,110 & 155
  5. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.5,63,67,136 & 150
  6. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.10,68,87 & 148
  7. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.40 & 137
  8. ^ a b Kneiss (1956) p.140
  9. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.66-67,115 & 134
  10. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.50,134 & 156
  11. ^ Dickinson (1970) pp.46 & 83-83
  12. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.88-89
  13. ^ Dickinson (1974) p.46
  14. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.55,80 & 116
  15. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.87,109.113,& 136
  16. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.76,109 & 137
  17. ^ Dickinson (1974) p.82
  18. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.70,96 & 120
  19. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.91 & 155
  20. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.2,92,107 & 114
  21. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.93-94,115 & 156
  22. ^ Stindt (1964) p.31
  23. ^ Demoro (1986) pp.13 & 88
  24. ^ a b c Stindt (1964) p.214
  25. ^ a b Stindt (1964) p.220
  26. ^ Stindt (1964) p.218

External links[edit]