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.


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.


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 "Railtown 1897" as a tourist attraction. In 1979, The Crocker Association, which was the sole owner of the railroad at that time, closed Railtown and put both the Sierra Railroad and the Railtown complex with equipment up for sale separately. In 1980, the Sierra Railroad was sold to Silverfoot Inc., and in 1982, California State Parks purchased Railtown 1897 and reopened it 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 4-4-0 Unknown Unknown Sold
2(1st) Unknown 4-4-0 Unknown Unknown Sold
2(2nd) New York 0-6-0 1889 Northern Pacific Sold to Lassen Lumber & Box, scrapped in 1940
3 Rodgers 4-6-0 1891 Prescott & Arizona Central Donated to Railtown 1897, In Service Sierra's most famous locomotive.
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 (rebuilt as 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 into a stationary boiler and scrapped in 1937
7 Baldwin 4-4-0 1882 Northern Pacific #93 Sold Fate after Sierra ownership is unknown.
9 Heisler Heisler 2-Truck 1899 New Sold to Pickering Lumber as #8, resold to West Side Lumber, scrapped in 1947 Built for work on the Angels Branch.
10 Lima Shay 2-Truck 1902 New Sold to Hofius Stell & Equipment, resold to Walville Lumber then to Diamond Match Co. scrapped in 1942
11 Lima Shay 2-Truck 1903 New Sold to Pickering Lumber Company, resold to Verdi Lumber then to Clover Valley Lumber, scrapped in 1952
12 Lima Shay 3-Truck 1903 New Sold to Pickering Lumber, now owned by the Pacific Locomotive Association, stored inoperable Sierra's only 3-Truck Shay.
18 Baldwin 2-8-0 1906 New Sold to private owner, now stored in Merrill, OR Tender was sold to Tidewater Southern in 1952 for use with their #132 (former Sierra #32) and scrapped 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 Lumber as #1, resold to Grant Rock & Gravel, Stillwater Lumber, Zimmerman, Wells, Brown,Sigardson & Bartholomew Logging and finally Jamestown-Oregon Lumber. 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, 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 Railroad as #6 (rebuilt as 2-6-2T), now owned by the Pacific Locomotive Association, undergoing major rebuild back to 2-6-2 configuration Used nearly exclusively on the Angels Branch.
32 Baldwin 2-6-2 1923 New Sold to Tidewater Southern as #132, scrapped in 1955 Original tender replaced with the one off #18 in 1952.
34 Baldwin 2-8-2 1925 New Sold to private owner, stored inoperable at Railtown 1897
36 ALCO 2-8-2 1930 New Sold to White Mountain Scenic Railroad, now privately owned in Merrill, OR Sierra's last new steam locomotive.
38 Baldwin 2-6-6-2 1934 Weyerhauser #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 To Sierra Northern, 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 To Sierra Northern, in service
46 EMD GP9E 1957 Southern Pacific #5731 To Sierra Northern, in service
47 EMD GP7 1952 Reading Company #607 To Sierra Northern, in service
48 EMD GP20 1961 AT&SF #1162 To Sierra Northern, in service
50 EMD GP20 1961 AT&SF #1130 To Sierra Northern, in service

See also[edit]

External links[edit]