Sierra Railroad

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For the Sierra Valley Railway, see Beckwourth Pass.
Two Sierra diesel locomotives.
SRR #3 and #8, November 1979
SRR Shay #2 with an excursion train at Montezuma, California, 1979.

The Sierra Railroad Corporation is a privately owned common carrier which has a freight division (Sierra Northern Railway) that handles all freight operations for all branches owned by the Sierra Railroad. The company's Mendocino Railway group operates the diesel- and steam-powered Sierra Railroad Dinner Train (Oakdale), the Sacramento RiverTrain (Woodland-Sacramento) and the Skunk Train (Fort Bragg-Willits). The company's Sierra Energy division is for energy projects.

History[edit]

The similarly named Sierra Railway Company of California was founded in 1897 to connect the California Central Valley to the Gold Country foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Its historic western terminus has always been in Oakdale where a junction was once formed with both the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway and the Southern Pacific. The Santa Fe's (now BNSF Railway) Oakdale Branch provided one freight outlet to the AT&SF mainline at Riverbank, California; the Southern Pacific Oakdale Branch from Stockton was abandoned in 1986 and torn out by 1990. The Sierra Railroad bought the BNSF mainline from Riverbank MP1 to Oakdale in 2008. The portion of the former Sierra Railway conveyed by the railroad's historic owners, the Crocker Family, to the California State Park System are with "Sierra Railway", which preserves the original operating name of the entire line and is headquartered at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California.

Beginnings[edit]

The Sierra Railway Company of California was incorporated on February 1st, 1897 by founders Thomas S. Bullock, Prince Andre Poniatowski, and William H. Crocker. In May, The first rails were laid in the grain fields just East of Oakdale, and the stops grew to include Occidental (Now called Arnold), Paulsell, Warnerville, Cooperstown, Chinese Camp, and finally on November 8th, 1897; Jamestown, California. The railroad owners had no intention of ending the line there, and the line was extended to Tuolumne City, some 16 miles from Jamestown. By 1900, the line had been completed, the same as it is today, with the exception of the abandonment of the Standard to Tuolumne Right-Of-Way. In 1937, the Sierra Railway was sold at a public auction to the new Sierra Railroad Company, and the debts of the original company were settled. In 1955, the railroad made the switch from steam to diesel power, but retained the steam locomotives for movie and television work for which the railroad is famous. In 1971, the Sierra Railroad used its vintage steam locomotives and facilities to its advantage, and opened "Rail Town 1897" as a tourist attraction. In 1979, The Crocker Association, which was the sole owner of the railroad at that time, closed Rail Town and put both the Sierra Railroad and the Jamestown complex with equipment up for sale separately. In 1980, the Sierra Railroad was sold to Silverfoot Inc., and in 1982 the California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the Jamestown facilities and reopened the site as Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. In 1995, Silverfoot resold the operation to the Sierra Pacific Coast Railway, and in 2003 merged with the Yolo Shortline Railway, as it exists today.

Locomotive Roster[edit]

Number Builder Type Date built Heritage Disposition Notes
A Plymouth DLC6 1925 HC Collins
1 Unknown 2-6-0 Unknown Prescott & Arizona Central #2 Sold/Transferred to West Side Lumber Company as Mill Switcher
2(1st) Unknown 4-4-0 Unknown Unknown Scrapped circa 1899
2(2nd) New York 0-6-0 1889 Northern Pacific Sold to Lassen Lumber & Box, scrapped in 1940
3 Rogers 4-6-0 1891 Prescott & Arizona Central #3 Donated to Railtown 1897, In Service
4 Baldwin 4-4-0 1882 Northern Pacific #99 Sold to Pickering Lumber as #14 and scrapped in 1938
5 Schenectady 0-6-0 1899 New Sold to Hawaii Consolidated (converted to a 2-6-2), scrapped in 1947 Sierra's first new locomotive.
6 Baldwin 4-4-0 1883 Northern Pacific #144 Sold to Atlas-Olympia, later converted to a stationary boiler and scrapped in 1937
7 Baldwin 4-4-0 1882 Northern Pacific #93 Sold disposition unknown, presumed scrapped.
9 Heisler Heisler 2-Truck 1899 New Sold to Standard Lumber Company as #8, resold to West Side Lumber Co., scrapped in 1947
10 Lima Shay 2-Truck 1902 New Sold to Hofius Stell & Equipment, resold to Walville Lumber Co. then to Diamond Match Co. scrapped in 1942
11 Lima Shay 2-Truck 1903 New Sold to United Commercial Company, resold to Pickering Lumber Co., resold to Verdi Lumber Co. then to Clover Valley Lumber Co., scrapped in 1952
12 Lima Shay 3-Truck 1903 New Sold to Pickering Lumber Co., now owned by the Pacific Locomotive Association, stored serviceable Sierra's only 3-Truck Shay.
18 Baldwin 2-8-0 1906 New Sold to private owner, now stored in Merrill, OR Tender sold to Tidewater Southern in 1952 for use with their #132 and scrapped with loco in 1955.
20 Baldwin 2-8-0 1916 New Sold to US Army as #6814, resold to Kurth Lumber as #20, scrapped in 1955
21 Climax Climax 2-Truck 1906 New Sold to Sugar Pine Railway as #1, resold to Grant Rock & Gravel, Stillwater Lumber, Zimmerman, Wells, Brown,Sigardson & Bartholomew Logging and finally Jamestown-Oregon Lumber Co. Sierra's only Climax.
22 Baldwin 2-8-0 1920 New Sold to California Western as #41, scrapped in 1950
24 Baldwin 2-8-0 1912 Nevada Copper Belt #3 Scrapped in 1955
26 Baldwin 2-6-0 1908 Ocean Shore Sold to Davis-Johnson Lumber Co., scrapped in 1939
28 Baldwin 2-8-0 1922 New Donated to Railtown 1897, Undergoing Restoration
30 Baldwin 2-6-2 1922 New Sold to Howard Terminal Railway as #6 (rebuilt as 2-6-2T), now owned by the Pacific Locomotive Association, undergoing restoration as 2-6-2 configuration as built Used exclusively on the Angels Branch
32 Baldwin 2-6-2 1923 New Sold to Tidewater Southern, April 1940, renumbered 132; scrapped in 1955 Original tender wrecked 1952, replaced with tender from Sierra #18
34 Baldwin 2-8-2 1925 New Sold to Reed Hatch 1966, resold to Fred Kepner circa 1987, stored at Railtown 1897
36 ALCO 2-8-2 1930 New Sold to Reed Hatch 1966, used on White Mountain Scenic Railroad, now privately owned in Merrill, OR Sierra's last new steam locomotive
38 Baldwin 2-6-6-2 1934 Weyerhauser Timber Company #4 Sold to Rayonier Inc., now privately owned in Merrill, OR Sierra's last and largest steam locomotive.
40 Baldwin S-12 1955 New Scrapped in 2008 Sierra's first Diesel
42 Baldwin S-12 1955 New Currently for sale Sierra's last new locomotive
44 Baldwin S-12 1951 Sharon Steel #10 Scrapped in 2008
45 EMD GP9 1954 Great Northern #667 In service
46 EMD GP9E 1957 Southern Pacific #5731 Sold
47 EMD GP7 1952 Reading Company #607 In service
48 EMD GP20 1961 AT&SF #1162 In service
50 EMD GP20 1961 AT&SF #1130 In service

See also[edit]

External links[edit]