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The Riverdale Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) was a branch line serving the San Joaquin Valley's agricultural area southwest of Fresno. The 42 mile line ran from a connection with the Southern Pacific's West Side Line at Ingle, California and then ran southwest to Hardwick where it connected to the Caruthers Branch of the SP. The Riverdale Branch then ran south to Armona where it connected to SP's Coalinga Branch.
Construction of the branch line
The Riverdale Branch was built between August 1910 and July 1911 under SP's non-operating subsidiary, the Hanford and Summit Lake Railway. SP operated the line and on October 9, 1917, the line was sold to the SP. SP operated the line as the Riverdale Branch. Grading commenced to the northwest from Hardwick on August 22, 1910 and rails reached Riverdale one month later. At the other end of the line, construction began at Ingle and built southwest towards Riverdale; by February 1912 5 miles of track was completed between Ingle and Traquility. The SP then began operating on these two ends of the line. The final and middle section of track, between Tranquility and Riverdale, was completed on April 14, 1912.
The track between Hardwick and Riverdale was abandoned by the SP in 1952. SP later abandoned the track between Riverdale and Burrel. SP sold the 25.2 mile line between Ingle and Burrell to Kyle Railway's subsidiary, Port Railroads (PRI), on March 13, 1994. On April 26, 1996, the PRI was sold by Kyle Railways to the San Joaquin Valley Railroad.
The track between Hardwick and Armona was constructed during a different time period, likely before 1912.
- Ingle (Connection with SP's West Side Line)
- San Joaquin
- Hardwick (Connection with SP's Caruthers Branch)
- Armona (Connection with SP's Coalinga Branch)
- Fickewirth, Alvin A. (1992). California railroads: an encyclopedia of cable car, common carrier, horsecar, industrial, interurban, logging, monorail, motor road, shortlines, streetcar, switching and terminal railroads in California (1851-1992). San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 0-87095-106-8.
- Robertson, Donald B. (1998). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume IV - California. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers. ISBN 0-87004-385-4.
- Walker, Mike (1997). Steam Powered Video's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America - California and Nevada (Post Merger ed.). Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom: Steam Powered Publishing. ISBN 1-874745-08-0.