Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad

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The Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad Station in downtown Santa Rosa.
Restored P&SR Car at the Western Railway Museum, Rio Vista, CA

The Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad was a 600 volt DC electric interurban railway[1] in Sonoma County, California, United States. It operated between the cities of Petaluma, Sebastopol, Forestville, and Santa Rosa. A company-owned steamboat provided service between Petaluma and San Francisco.

Portions of the original right-of-way have been acquired by the County for the West County Trail, a facility managed by the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department.[2] A portion of the original right-of-way can be found along the waterfront in Petaluma. There are plans to re-activate this line to become a trolley line once again.

Timeline[edit]

  • 1888-1891: Predecessor horsecar lines built in Petaluma and Santa Rosa.
  • 1903: Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway incorporated.
  • 1903: Paddle-wheel steamer Gold purchased.
  • 1904: Railway built and opened between Petaluma, Sebastopol, and Santa Rosa.
  • 1910: Steamer Resolute purchased and renamed Petaluma.
  • 1913: Branch opened to Two Rock.
  • 1914: Steamer Petaluma burns, is rebuilt.
  • 1920: Steamer Gold burns.
  • 1925: Passenger service discontinued on the Two Rock Branch.[3]
  • 1927: New passenger and freight depot built in Santa Rosa.[4]
  • 1928: Petaluma & Santa Rosa purchased by Northwestern Pacific Railroad.
  • 1931: Santa Rosa line dismantled from McDonald Avenue to Olive Street.[5]
  • 1933: All trolley passenger service discontinued.
  • 1935: Steamer ferry passenger service discontinued.[5]
  • 1946: Santa Rosa line dismantled from Olive Street to Stop 45 junction with Northwestern Pacific Railroad.[5]
  • 1946-1947: Electric locomotives replaced by diesels.
  • 1947: Santa Rosa line dismantled from Stop 45 to Leddy junction with Northwestern Pacific Railroad.[6]
  • 1950: Steamer Petaluma sold.
  • 1952: Two Rock branch dismantled.
  • 1961: Forestville line shortened by 1-mile (1.6 km) to Ross.[7]
  • 1962-1966: Southern Pacific Railroad diesel locomotives replace the last Petaluma and Santa Rosa locomotive.[7]
  • 1969: Forestville line shortened by another mile to Sagu.[7]
  • 1973: Eight miles of track abandoned between Denman and Turner.[7]
  • 1978: Four more miles of track abandoned between Turner and Alten.[7]
  • 1984-1989: Line from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol abandoned. County supervisors direct the parks department to acquire portions of the abandoned right-of-way. Northwestern Pacific Railroad continued using the southern end of the line to serve local industries in Petaluma.[7]

Route[edit]

Petaluma & Santa Rosa route with Northwestern Pacific Railroad and U.S. Route 101 shown for reference.

From south to north:

  • Milepost 0 - Petaluma
  • Milepost 3.6 - Denman
  • Milepost 5.1 - Liberty - branch west to: Cherry (MP 7.7) and Two Rock (MP 10.4)
  • Milepost 7.9 - Stony Point
  • Milepost 9.4 - Roblar
  • Milepost 9.6 - Quarry
  • Milepost 10.9 - Orchard
  • Milepost 11.3 - Turner
  • Milepost 13.2 - Cunningham
  • Milepost 14.9 - Alten
  • Milepost 16.7 - Sebastopol - branch east to: Leddy (MP 20.2), Stop 45 (MP 22.6), and Santa Rosa (MP 23.4)
  • Milepost 20.9 - Graton
  • Milepost 23.8 - Forestville

The Battle of Sebastopol Road[edit]

See also: frog war

The Petaluma and Santa Rosa line followed Sebastopol Road approaching Santa Rosa from Sebastopol. The construction crew needed to cross the north-south steam railroad to reach downtown Santa Rosa. The steam railroad had operated a parallel branch line from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol since 1890, and would not consent to the crossing allowing a new competitor to offer direct service downtown. Trolley service began to the west side of the crossing on 29 November 1904. Rails were laid on the east side of the steam railroad tracks, and an electric wire was strung overhead in preparation for installing the crossing. A crossing was prefabricated in Sebastopol and loaded on a flat car pushed to the crossing location. But when the interurban crew arrived to install the crossing on 3 January 1905, they found a pair of steam locomotives on either side of the crossing fitted with steam nozzles to spray hot water on anyone approaching the crossing site. The interurban construction crew retreated.

The following day the regularly scheduled interurban car #57 arrived secretly carrying the construction crew. Before the steam railway could respond, the crew laid a temporary track across and over the steam rails and had a team of horses pull trolley #57 across to serve downtown Santa Rosa. The steam railroad then obtained a temporary injunction from a San Francisco judge prohibiting installation of the crossing. For a few weeks, passengers from Sebastopol were required to depart their arriving trolley and walk over the steam railroad to reboard trolley #57 for the remainder of the trip.

The injunction was dissolved in late February and the interurban construction crew assembled again to install the crossing on 1 March 1905. The steam railroad appeared to be unaware of the status of their injunction, so their locomotives again discouraged the construction crew with hot water. The steam railroad also had a flat car loaded with gravel on hand for their men to fill in the excavation as soon as the interurban crew tried to dig out the crossing site. Tempers flared and several hundred Santa Rosa citizens assembled to watch the entertainment. Santa Rosa police ultimately restored order, and the crossing was installed that evening.[8][9]

Roster of passenger rolling stock[edit]

Number Builder Type Date Length Notes
51 American Car Company Motor 1904 47'9" retired 1933[10][11]
53 American Car Company Motor 1904 47'9" retired 1933[12][13]
55 American Car Company Motor 1904 47'9" became inspection car in 1932 retired 1941[14][15]
57 American Car Company Motor 1904 47'9" became inspection car in 1932 retired 1941[16][17]
59 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 44' retired 1932[18]
61 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 44' retired 1932[19]
63 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 44' retired 1932 preserved Western Railway Museum[20]
65 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 44' retired 1932[21]
67 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 44' retired 1932[11][22]
69 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 44' converted to express trailer in 1919 retired 1932[15][23]
71 W. L. Holman Car Company Trailer 1905 44' retired 1929
73 W. L. Holman Car Company Trailer 1905 44' retired 1929
01 W. L. Holman Car Company Express Trailer 1916 built as #8 express motor demotorized 1917 designated express trailer 1920 retired 1933[20][24]

Roster of freight motors[edit]

Number Builder Type Date Works Number Notes
8 W. L. Holman Car Company Express Motor 1916 demotorized as line car #4 in 1917 redesignated express trailer #01 in 1920[25]
100 Baldwin Locomotive Works Motor 1912 leased from Southern Pacific Railroad Company 1933-1941[24][26]
502 American Car Company Motor 1917 purchased from Kansas City - Kays Valley Railroad 1920 retired 1946[27][28]
504 Ocean Shore Railroad Motor 1917 purchased from Ocean Shore Railroad 1921 retired 1947[29][30]
506 Petaluma & Santa Rosa RR Motor 1923 built from Sacramento Northern Railroad frame #1000 with motors from Ocean Shore Railroad retired 1947[28][31]
1002 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 rebuilt as steeple cab in 1920 and as cabless multiple unit slave #1004B in 1928 retired 1947
1004 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 rebuilt as steeple cab in 1920 and renumbered 1004A with multiple unit controls in 1928 retired 1947[32][33]
1006 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 rebuilt as steeple cab in 1920 and as cabless multiple unit slave #1008B in 1929 retired 1947[32]
1008 W. L. Holman Car Company Motor 1904 rebuilt as steeple cab in 1920 and renumbered #1008A with multiple unit controls in 1929 retired 1947[32][33]
1010 Petaluma & Santa Rosa R.R. Motor 1917 Flat car rebuilt with motors from Express Motor #8 sold to City of San Francisco 1921 repurchased 1930 retired 1947[32][33]
1 General Electric 44-ton diesel electric 1946 28338 became Southern Pacific Railroad Company #1904 in 1958[34]
2 General Electric 44-ton diesel electric 1942 15034 ex-Lehigh Valley Railroad #61 then Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railroad #10 acquired 1946 became Southern Pacific Railroad #1905 in 1958[24][34]
3 General Electric 44-ton diesel electric 1943 17928 ex-Southern Pacific Railroad Company #206 acquired 1958 retired 1964
4 General Electric 44-ton diesel electric 1945 27817 ex-Southern Pacific Railroad Company #1903 acquired 1958 retired 1966

The company roster included 89 conventional freight cars (unpowered trailers) in 1931.[35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Demoro (1986) p.15
  2. ^ "West County and Joe Rodota Trails". Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  3. ^ Borden 1960 p.24
  4. ^ Borden 1960 p.25
  5. ^ a b c Borden 1960 p.26
  6. ^ Borden 1960 pp.26 & 31
  7. ^ a b c d e f Stindt 1985 p.129
  8. ^ Borden 1960 pp.11-12
  9. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.105 & 108
  10. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.109-110 & 114
  11. ^ a b Borden 1960 p.19
  12. ^ Stindt 1985 p.110
  13. ^ Borden 1960 p.17
  14. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.107 & 119
  15. ^ a b Borden 1960 p.20
  16. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.104,111 & 119
  17. ^ Borden 1960 pp.20-21
  18. ^ Stindt 1985 p.111
  19. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.109 & 111
  20. ^ a b Stindt 1985 p.118
  21. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.105 & 111
  22. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.113 & 118
  23. ^ Stindt 1985 p.122
  24. ^ a b c Borden 1960 p.27
  25. ^ Stindt 1985 p.116
  26. ^ Stindt 1985 p.124
  27. ^ Stindt 1985 p.125
  28. ^ a b Borden 1960 p.22 & 29
  29. ^ Stindt 1985 pp.120-122 & 125
  30. ^ Borden 1960 p.29
  31. ^ Stindt 1985 p.117,122 & 125
  32. ^ a b c d Stindt 1985 p.126
  33. ^ a b c Borden 1960 p.28
  34. ^ a b Stindt 1985 p.127
  35. ^ Demoro (1986) p.201
  36. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers (1921). Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers (Public domain ed.). American Society of Civil Engineers. pp. 820–. 

External links[edit]