Ventura County Railroad

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Ventura County Railroad
Ventura County Railroad logo.png
Ventura County Railroad locomotive.jpg
HeadquartersPort Hueneme, California
Reporting markVCRR
LocaleOxnard, California
Dates of operation1998–
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length12 miles (19 km)[1]
WebsiteVentura County Railroad (VCRR)

The Ventura County Railroad (reporting mark VCRR) is a class III railroad subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming, connecting the Union Pacific Railroad in Oxnard to South Oxnard and Port Hueneme. It began operations in 1998 under RailAmerica, leasing its lines from the Ventura County Railway (reporting mark VCY), owner of lines first opened in about 1905 that have remained independent of larger carriers. The railroad serves industrial areas including the Port of Hueneme and Naval Facilities Expeditionary Logistics Center at Naval Base Ventura County.


Before Los Angeles port facilities were developed, Port Hueneme seemed a viable competitor; and VCRR's earliest predecessor, the Bakersfield and Ventura Railway, was incorporated in February 1903 to build a railroad from Port Hueneme to Bakersfield via Santa Paula and Piru Canyon. Construction began in 1907 with a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) main line from Port Hueneme up C Street in Oxnard, plus a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) westerly branch to Patterson Ranch and a 7.5-mile (12.1 km) easterly branch to DeBo, Petit, and Round Mountain (near the Camarillo State Hospital). It was reorganized as the Bakersfield and Ventura Railroad in June 1908 with the Oxnard line moved to A street. A railway turntable was constructed at the intersection of First and A Streets in Oxnard where gas motor cars were turned on their six to eight daily round trips[2] until passenger service was abandoned in January 1927.[3]

Passenger service[edit]

Number Builder Type Date Passengers Notes
001 Inspection car 1907 10 or 12 2-cylinder Fairbanks-Morse engine
002 4-wheel passenger motor 1908 30 open sides with six cross bench seats
003 Hall-Scott 2-truck enclosed car with passenger and baggage sections 1913 150-horsepower (110 kW) 6-cylinder engine

The company also owned two coach trailers. Car number 003 was used as a standby switching locomotive after passenger service was abandoned.[2]

Steam era[edit]

The property was again sold in June 1911 to the Ventura County Railway, which had been incorporated in May in the interests of the American Beet Sugar Company (renamed American Crystal Sugar Company in 1934), which owned a beet sugar factory at Oxnard.[4] The railroad brought carloads of beets to the factory from surrounding farms; and Port Hueneme packing houses provided 1200 carloads of lemons, 200 carloads of beans, and 75 carloads of box boards annually. World War II development of the Ventura County naval base enabled the line to avoid abandonment as trucks took over shipment of agricultural commodities.[2]


Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes[2]
1st #1 Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Company 4-6-0 1882 865 purchased from Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad in 1905 and used for construction until scrapped in 1906
2nd #1 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1/1906 27285 purchased new
2 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-2 1922 55415 ex-Cascade Timber Company #107 purchased in 1943
3 Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works 2-6-2 5/1924 65276 ex-Lamm Lumber Company #4 purchased in 1944

Diesel era[edit]

Martin V. Smith purchased the line in 1958. The Ventura County Railroad, organized by RailAmerica to lease the line, began operations in September 1998.[5][6] The Oxnard Harbor District acquired the Ventura County Railway Company LLC in 2003 with Ventura County Railroad continuing to operate the line.[7][8]


The railroad's main commodities are new automobiles, petroleum products and wood products. The VCRR hauls approximately 2,000 carloads annually.[1][9] And they ship frozen strawberries and paper products and handle navy equipment.

Motive Power[edit]


  1. ^ a b "RailAmerica's Empire". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing. June 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Best, Gerald M. (1953). "Ventura Co. Railway". The Western Railroader. Francis A. Guido. 16 (167): supplement.
  3. ^ Edward A. Lewis, American Shortline Railway Guide, 5th Edition, Kalmbach Publishing, 1996, pp. 321-322
  4. ^ Interstate Commerce Commission, 43 Val. Rep. 287 (1933): Valuation Docket No. 1126, Ventura County Railway Company
  5. ^ Railroad Retirement Board, Employer Status Determination: Ventura County Railroad Company, 1998
  6. ^ Takenouchi, Jason (September 2, 1998). "RailAmerica Inc. Buys Rail Line Connecting Port". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ City of Port Hueneme v. Oxnard Harbor District (Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6, California 2006). Text
  8. ^ "Municipal Service Review: Oxnard Harbor District" Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission (September 19, 2007)
  9. ^ "CALIFORNIA STATE RAIL PLAN" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. May 2013. p. 132.

External links[edit]