Sierra Railroad

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Sierra Railroad Corporation
Industrycommon carrier
Founded1897; 126 years ago (1897)
United States
HeadquartersUnited States
Gold Bond of the Sierra Railway Company of California, issued 15 September 1904
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. Its Sierra Northern Railway freight division handles all freight operations for all branches owned by the Sierra Railroad. The company's Mendocino Railway group operates the diesel- and steam-powered Sacramento RiverTrain (Woodland-Sacramento) and the Skunk Train (Fort Bragg-local). 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.


Sierra Railway route in 1931

The Sierra Railway Company of California was incorporated on February 1, 1897 by founders Thomas S. Bullock, Prince André 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, and finally on November 8, 1897; Jamestown, California. The railroad owners had no intention of ending the line there, and the line was extended to Tuolumne, some 16 miles from Jamestown. By 1900, the line had been completed, the same as it is today,[when?] 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.[when?]

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 #1 Sold/Transferred to West Side Lumber Company as Mill Switcher
2 (1st) Unknown 4-4-0 Unknown Prescott & Arizona Central #2 Scrapped circa 1899 Only used during construction of the railroad
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 State Historic Park, Operational Known as the "Movie Star Locomotive" for its roles in many films and television shows
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 Primarily assigned to passenger service.
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 Built for service on the Angels Branch.
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 Built for service on the Angels Branch.
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 Built for service on the Angels Branch.
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. Built for service on the Angels Branch.
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. Built for service on the Sugar Pine Railway.
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 Sierra's only 2-6-0 locomotive
28 Baldwin 2-8-0 1922 New Donated to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Operational
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 Mostly assigned to 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 1962, resold to Fred Kepner circa 1987, stored at Railtown 1897. Leased to and operated by Railtown between 1971 and 1980.
36 ALCO 2-8-2 1930 New Sold to Reed Hatch 1962, 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 only articulated locomotive.
40 Baldwin S-12 1955 New Scrapped in 2008 Sierra's first Diesel.
42 Baldwin S-12 1955 New Stored out of service Sierra's last completely 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 Currently leased to Napa Valley Wine Train
50 EMD GP20 1961 AT&SF #1130 In service
52 R.J. Corman/Railpower RP20DB 2014 New In service Built from ex Yolo Shortline #135.
56 R.J.


RP20GE 2007 UPY #2628 In service
131 EMD GP9 1957 SP #5759 In service From Yolo Shortline.
132 EMD GP9 1957 SSW #823 Stored, out of service From Yolo Shortline.
133 Homebuilt/Railpower RP20DB 2012 New In service Built from ex T&NO GP9 #436.
134 EMD GP7u 1952 AT&SF #2704 In service From Yolo Shortline
136 EMD GP7u 1952 AT&SF 2833 In service From Yolo Shortline
1227 Lima 0-6-0 1914 SP Restoration From Golden Gate Railroad Museum
2608 R.J. Corman/Railpower RP20GE 2006 UPY #2608 Out of service, waiting repair
2609 R.J. Corman/Railpower RP20GE 2006 UPY #2609 In service
2612 R.J. Corman/Railpower RP20GE 2006 UPY #2612 Out of service, waiting repair
2620 R.J. Corman/Railpower RP20GE 2007 UPY #2620 Out of service, waiting repair
2652 R.J. Corman/Railpower RP20GE 2007 UPY #2652 In service

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