North Pacific Coast Railroad

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North Pacific Coast Railroad
Monte Rio station postcard (2).jpg
Postcard view of a train at Monte Rio station
Overview
HeadquartersSausalito, California
Reporting markNPC
LocaleMarin and Sonoma Counties, California
Dates of operation1871–1907
SuccessorNorthwestern Pacific Railroad
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Previous gauge3 ft (914 mm)
Route map

84.3
Cazadero
82.1
81.x
Cazadero Redwoods
77.1
Duncan Mills
77.0
75.5
Sheridan
75.x
Mesa Grande
74.5
Cascade
73.8
Monte Rio
72.x
Tyrone
71.7
71.6
71.0
Tunnel 5
70.8
70.5
Larry Creek
69.0
Camp Meeker
68.7
Maquire Creek
67.6
Occidental
66.9
Brown Creek
65.2
63.7
Freestone
62.7
62.2
Bodega Road
61.9
Elbias Creek
59.5
Valley Ford
58.8
55.2
Fallon
54.9
53.7
Tunnel 4
53.1
Tomales
51.9
Tunnel 3
51.x
Camp Pistolesi
51.2
Keyes Creek
50.5
Keyes Creek
49.4
Hamlet
45.4
Marshall
40.5
Millerton
36.4
Point Reyes
35.6
Arroyo San Geronimo
31.2
Tocaloma
27.9
Camp Taylor
27.0
Paper Mill Creek
25.8
Bottini
25.2
Lagunitas
23.1
San Geronimo
22.0
Woodacre
21.5
Woodacre Lodge
20.7
Tunnel 2
18.8
Manor
18.3
Fairfax
16.5
San Anselmo
14.7
Kentfield
13.4
Larkspur
12.6
Corte Madera
11.7
Alto Tunnel
6.5
Sausalito
0
San Francisco

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.

Route[edit]

Portion of route along Tomales Bay
Schedule and rates for March 1887 (note the spelling for Sausalito)

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

Subsequent to abandonment, a 4-mile (6.4 km) segment around Samuel P. Taylor State Park was converted into a rail trail: the Cross Marin Trail.[2][3] It includes a segment in Tocaloma as well as the bridge over Lagunitas Creek and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

Electrification[edit]

1939 map of electric service

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.)[4] 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 for smoke abatement. The railroad established practices later used in Grand Central Terminal and the interborough subways of New York City.[5] The electric lines were expanded after 1907 as part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. Interurban services ceased on February 28, 1941.[6]

Locomotives[edit]

Number Name Builder Type Date Works number Notes[7]
1 Saucelito Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1873 3495 sold to White Lumber Company of Elk, California 1876[8]
2 San Rafael Mason Machine Works 0-4-4T 1874 537 burned at Tomales 1905 & rebuilt became NWP #89[9]
3 Tomales Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3722 became NWP #83[10]
4 Olema Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1874 3629 wrecked 1894 & rebuilt became NWP #81[11]
5 Bodega Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3703 dismantled by 1897[12]
6 Valley Ford Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1874 3664 leased to Dollar Lumber Company in 1899[13]
7 Tamalpais Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3721 [14]
8 Bully Boy Mason Machine Works 0-6-6T 1877 584 burned at Tomales 1905[15]
9 M. S. Latham Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3749 wrecked 14 January 1894 at Elim Grove trestle over Austin Creek[16]
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[17]
12 Sonoma Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1876 3843 sold 1879 Nevada Central #5 (preserved at California State Railroad Museum)[18]
13 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1883 6611 became NWP #195[19]
14 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1891 1885 became NWP #92[20]
15 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1891 1886 became NWP #90[21]
16 Brooks Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1894 2421 became NWP #91[22]
17 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1875 3749 NPC 1894 rebuild of wreck-damaged #9 wrecked again in 1900[23]
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[24]
20 NPC Sausalito shop 4-4-0 1900 1 became NWP #84[25]
21 Thomas-Stetson NPC Sausalito shop 4-4-0 1901 2 North Pacific Coast Railroad (NPC) No 21 at Howards.jpg

cab-forward rebuild of #5 scrapped 1905[26][27][28][29]

22 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1874 3664 former #6 renumbered when returned from Dollar Lumber Company in 1901[13]

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[30]
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[31]
203 North Shore shops Motor 1904 50 seats open platform wooden motor converted from narrow-gauge Pullman coach built in 1879; renumbered 309[30]
301-308 St. Louis Car Co. Motors 1902 64 to 70 seats open platform wooden motors; #303-308 built in North Shore shops[32]
350-358 St. Louis Car Co. Motors 1902 36 seats & baggage/mail/express compartment nine vestibuled wooden motors[31]
401-404 North Shore shops Trailers 1904 66 seats four unpowered open platform wooden trailers converted from narrow-gauge Pullman coaches built in 1879[30]

Remains[edit]

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, and along the shores of Tomales Bay and Keyes Estuary. Former stations remain in San Anselmo, Duncans Mills, and Point Reyes Station. The wooden water tank and a freight shed are maintained and in good condition at Freestone.

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. A flatcar, North Shore 1725, has been restored as a picnic car and operates at the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources' Railroad Museum at Ardenwood in Fremont. Several former railroad cars are located at Duncans Mills; one, a former passenger coach, was used as the Point Reyes Station library beginning in 1931.[33][34]

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 (1982) [1964]. The Northwestern Pacific Railroad: Redwood Empire Route. Dunscomb Press. Library of Congress Catalog No.64-24033.
  • Sievers, Wald & Stindt, Fred (1969). N.W.P. Narrow Gauge. The Western Railroader.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stindt (1964) pp.88-89
  2. ^ Dunham, Tracy (August 10, 2014). "Hike of the Week: Cross Marin Trail is level, shaded and ready for feet or bikes". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Cross Marin Trailhead". National Park Service. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  4. ^ Stindt (1964) p.31
  5. ^ Demoro (1986) pp.13 & 88
  6. ^ Wood, Jim. "Remnants of the Rail Era". Marin Magazine. December 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  7. ^ Dickinson (1970) pp.132-133
  8. ^ Dickinson (1974) p.27
  9. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.27,72-74,108,110 & 155
  10. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.5,63,67,136 & 150
  11. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.10,68,87 & 148
  12. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.40 & 137
  13. ^ a b Kneiss (1956) p.140
  14. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.66-67,115 & 134
  15. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.50,134 & 156
  16. ^ Dickinson (1970) pp.46 & 83-83
  17. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.88-89
  18. ^ Dickinson (1974) p.46
  19. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.55,80 & 116
  20. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.87,109.113,& 136
  21. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.76,109 & 137
  22. ^ Dickinson (1974) p.82
  23. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.70,96 & 120
  24. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.91 & 155
  25. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.2,92,107 & 114
  26. ^ Dickinson (1974) pp.93-94,115 & 156
  27. ^ Patented water tube boiler: Patent #682,765, application filed 20 June 1901, patent granted 17 September 1901.
  28. ^ Patented cab forward: Patent #35,806, application filed 25 November 1901, patent granted 11 March 1902.
  29. ^ Kyle K Wyatt: Cab Forward Locomotives, 30 November2006.
  30. ^ a b c Stindt (1964) p.214
  31. ^ a b Stindt (1964) p.220
  32. ^ Stindt (1964) p.218
  33. ^ "The Point Reyes Station Branch of the Marin County Free Library, located in a railway coach, 1931 [photograph]". Marin County Free Library. May 1931.
  34. ^ Gross, Stephen D. (November 17, 2014). "Off The Rails: Duncans Mills caboose now holds a library". Press Democrat.

External links[edit]