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Sierra Railway [est. 1897]

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       stock photo of Sierra Railway steam locomotive #3 nearing the Jackson water tank under full steam        short history

route & stations

equipment rosters

reading material

films & other media

image gallery



page under construction {started in early 2015}

The Sierra Railroad Corporation operates several divisions. The Sierra Northern Railway [est. 2003] hauls freight in three locations in California (73 miles from Oakdale to West Sacramento, 40 miles from Ft. Bragg to Willits, and 28 miles from Davenport to Watsonville. The Mendocino Railway [est. 1996] operates dinner trains out of Oakdale, Willitts, and West Sacramento. Sierra Energy Corp. [est. 2004] operates waste gasification & renewable energy sites; that company is based in Davis, California. The Sierra Railway itself is headquartered at the state-run Railtown 1897 State Historic Park [est. 1992] in Jamestown, California; trains run from April to October over the 53 miles of track west to Oakdale and back.

The Sierra Railway Company of California was incorporated in February 1897 by banker William H. Crocker, lumberman Thomas S. Bullock, and Prince Andre Poniatowski. Construction began in May northward from Oakdale and reached Jackson in November. An extension to Tuolomne was finished in 1900. The railway was sold at auction in 1937 and reorganized as the Sierra Rail-road Company. The company switched to diesel locomotives in 1955, but kept the old steam locomotives for lucrative movie & television work. The privately-owned Rail Town 1897 opened in 1971. The Crocker family (then sole owners) closed Rail Town in 1979 and put the Jackson facility and the railroad on sale separately. Silverfoot bought the railroad in 1980; the State of California purchased Rail Town in 1982 and quickly reopened it as a state park. Silverfoot sold the railroad to Sierra Pacific Coast Railway, which closed in 1999, then became Sierra Northern Railway in 2003.

The Rail Town operation runs steam- and diesel-powered trains from April thru October, with four round trips on Saturday and Sunday, and special excursions at other times, including December holiday dinner trains. Tours are available of the shops and roundhouse; the main station at Jackson has a museum and a gift shop (but no food).
Oakdale-based Sierra Dinner Train [est. 1999] operates the Saturday Night Dinner Train, Beer Train, Christmas Train, Champagne Brunch Train, Thanksgiving Supper Train, Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Train, and Saturday Scenic Lunch Train.

official C&TSRR websiteC&TSRR entry at Wikipedia
official C&TSRR photos websiteofficial C&TSRR equipment & shops website

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad [est. 1981, incorp. 1988]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Railway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Railway_28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_No._3 http://www.sierradinnertrain.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Northern_Railway http://www.sierranorthern.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento_RiverTrain http://www.sacramentorivertrain.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Western_Railroad http://www.skunktrain.com/ http://www.sierraenergycorp.com/ http://www.sierrarailroad.com/dinnertrain/

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park [est. 1992] in Jamestown, California

Sierra Railway of California [1897-1937] herald            b&w logo for Railtown 1897 State Historic Park [] at Jamestown, California

Sierra Railway Route and Stations
detailed map of the Sierra Railroad, circa 1920s    The Sierra Railway Company began construction in May 1897 northward from Oakdale, California and reached Jackson in November; an extension to Tuolomne (to connect with the West Side Lumber Company sawmill) was finished in 1900. The Standard to Tuolumne portion was abandoned in the 1960s (after West Side Lumber & Pickering Lumber closed down). The Southern Pacific RR abandoned the Stockton to Oakdale line in 1986; Sierra Railway purchased the B.N.S.F. right-of-way from Riverbank to Oakdale in 2008 to prevent its abandonment.

The original stations or water stops were/are (moving eastward and uphill from the grain fields): Oakdale, Occidental (now called Arnold), Paulsell, Warnerville, Cooperstown, Hetch Hetchy Junction, Keystone, Quinn Spur, Chinese Camp, and Jamestown; the extension of 1900 connected Lime Kiln, Sonora, Fassler. Standard, Black Oak, Ralph, and Tuolomne.


Riverbank, California
interchange with AT&SF north & south

Oakdale, California
interchange with Southern Pacific to the south

Occidental/Arnold, California

Paulsell, California
spur to Atlas Rock

Warnerville, California

Cooperstown, California

Hetch Hetchy Junction
interchange with the Hetch Hetchy Railroad [1917-1949]


Quinn Spur

Chinese Camp/Station, California

Hatlers Rock

Jamestown, California
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park [est. 1992] in Jamestown, California
spur to Melones

Lime Kiln, California

Sonora, California

Fassler, California

Standard, California

Black Oak, California

Ralph, California
interchange with Sugar Pine Railroad [1899-1931], later Pickering Lumber [1931-1965]

Tuolomne, California
interchange with the West Side Lumber Company [1900-1962]

Sierra Railway Equipment Rosters
Sierra Railway locomotive roster listing at Wikipedia

Sierra Railway Steam Locomotive Roster

1886 H.K. Porter 2-6-0#1ex-Prescott & Arizona Central #2; purchased in 1897sold to West Side Lumber; converted to 0-6-0 as mill switcher 'Old Betsie'; fate?
?? 4-4-0first #2purchased in 1897scrapped circa 1899
1889 New York Works 0-6-02nd #2ex-Northern Pacific RR sold to Lassen Lumber & Box; scrapped in 1940
1891 Rogers 4-6-0#3ex-Prescott & Arizona Central #3; purchased in 1897
Sierra Railway #3 entry at Wikipedia
retired in 1932; rebuilt 1948; donated to Railtown 1897 in 1982; new boiler/rebuild finished 2010; in regular use
1882 Baldwin 4-4-0#4ex-Northern Pacific RR #99sold to Pickering Lumber as #14; scrapped in 1938
1899 Schenectady 0-6-0#5purchased newsold to Hawaii Consolidated; converted to 2-6-2; scrapped in 1947
1883 Baldwin 4-4-0#6ex-Northern Pacific RR #144sold to Atlas-Olympia; stationary boiler service; scrapped in 1937
1882 Baldwin 4-4-0#7ex-Northern Pacific RR #93sold; fate unknown
-- --no engine #8?----
1899 2-truck Heisler#9purchased newsold to Standard Lumber/Pickering as #8; later West Side Lumber; scrapped in 1947
1902 Lima 2-truck Shay#10purchased newsold to Hofius Stell, to Walville Lumber Co., then to Diamond Match Co.; scrapped in 1942
1903 Lima 2-truck Shay#11purchased newsold to United Commercial Company, to Pickering Lumber, to Verdi Lumber Co., to Clover Valley Lumber Co.; scrapped in 1952
1903 Lima 3-truck Shay#12purchased newsold to Pickering Lumber Co.; now owned by the Pacific Locomotive Assn., stored serviceable at Niles Canyon Railway in California
1906 Baldwin 2-8-0#18purchased newsold to private owner, in storage at Merrill, Oregon; tender sold to Tidewater Southern in 1952, scrapped in 1955
1916 Baldwin 2-8-0#20purchased newsold to U.S. Army as #6814, resold to Kurth Lumber as #20; scrapped in 1955
1906 2-truck Climax#21purchased newsold to Sugar Pine Railway, to Grant Rock & Gravel, to Stillwater Lumber, to Zimmerman Wells, to Brown Sigardson & Bartholomew Logging, and finally to Jamestown-Oregon Lumber Co.; fate?
1920 Baldwin 2-8-0#22purchased newsold to California Western as #41; scrapped in 1950
1912 Baldwin 2-8-0#24ex-Nevada Copper Belt #3scrapped in 1955
1908 Baldwin 2-6-0#26ex-Ocean Shore Railroad [1905-1921]sold to Davis-Johnson Lumber Co.; scrapped in 1939
1922 Baldwin 2-8-0#28purchased new
Sierra Railway #28 entry at Wikipedia
donated to Railtown 1897 in 1982; undergoing restoration (2014)
1922 Baldwin 2-6-2#30purchased newsold to Howard Terminal Railway as #6 and rebuilt as 2-6-2T; now owned by Pacific Locomotive Assn. and undergoing restoration as 2-6-2 at Niles Canyon Railway shops
1923 Baldwin 2-6-2#32purchased newsold to Tidewater Southern in 1940 & renumbered 132; scrapped in 1955
1925 Baldwin 2-8-2#34purchased newsold to Reed Hatch in 1966, to Fred Kepner circa 1987; stored at Railtown 1897
1930 ALCO 2-8-2#36purchased newsold to Reed Hatch in 1966; used on White Mountain Scenic RR; now privately owned in Merrill, Oregon
1934 Baldwin 2-6-6-2#38ex-Weyerhauser Timber Company #4sold to Rayonier Inc.; now privately owned in Merrill, Oregon

Roster of Other Sierra Railway Motive Power

1925Plymouth DLC6 0-4-0#Aex-H.C. Collins--
1922? Sheffield model 33Motor B2-stroke, 3-cylinder engine with self-staring direct drivein storage at Railtown 1897
1925 Mikado#489todaydaily (in season)
1925 Mikado#489todaydaily (in season)
1925 Mikado#488todaydaily (in season)
1925 Mikado#489todaydaily (in season)
MW 80 is known among the engine crew as the “Great White”. A Fairmont A-8 motorcar, Sry #104 is one of the older Sierra motor cars. It is a Fairmont A5 series B-4 manufactured around 1937. SRy #106 is a sister car to the 104, it is of the same make and manufactured in 1937. It operates today, but is reserved for very special occasions. SRY #108 was painted SRR 108 back in 1978. This Fairmont A-5 was part of the original facility acquisition by California Department of Parks and Recreation in 1982. It was probably manufactured in the mid 1950’s. SRy #110 is a Fairmont M19-AA two man light inspection car. It also is a later Sierra acquisition from the Western Pacific. It was manufactured in 1955 and is operable SRY #114 motor car came from the Western Pacific originally. 114 is currently running as our primary “fire patrol” speeder. This type of motor car is a Fairmont A-5. Western Pacific S-2 speeder Western Pacific S-2T speeder SRy #8 Model T dates from around 1922. #19 “Hetch Hetchy”, circa 1920 at the San Francisco Muni shops where it was built. 1919 White Motor Company https://railtown1897.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/hetch-hetchy-railcar-19/ The 613 is a military Veteran, too!

Lima 1914 Southern Pacific RR S-11 class 0-6-0 steam switcher #1227 is owned by Golden Gate RR Museum
and stored at the Sierra Railroad yard in Oakdale.

Roster of Other Sierra Railway Equipment

Sierra Coaches #5 & #6 are original to the Sierra Railway; both were custom built in 1902 by W.L. Holman & Co. in San Francisco.

Reading Material

history of steam trains over Cumbres book by Gordon S. Chappell  "Farewell To Cumbres: A Short History of Steam Trains Over Cumbres" [1967]
by Gordon S. Chappell

Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation pb [1967] out of print/used
Colorado Railroad Museum pb reprint [1975] out of print/used

Films & TV, Other Media
location credits [130 titles, 1914-1994] for 'Sierra Railroad' at Internet Movie Database
location credits [152 titles, 1914-2012] for 'Jamestown California' at Internet Movie Database

"Dodge City" (1939) Dir: Michael Curtiz with Errol Flynn /tt0031235/

"Union Pacific" (1939) Dir: Cecil B. DeMille /tt0032080/

"My Little Chickadee" (1940) with Mae West, W.C. Fields /tt0032828/

"Duel in the Sun" (1946) Dir: King Vidor /tt0038499/

"Whispering Smith" (1948) /tt0040965/

"The Texas Rangers" (1951) /tt0044118/

"The Cimarron Kid" (1952) Dir: Budd Boetticher with Audie Murphy /tt0043408/

not done

"The Wild Wild West" (1965 TV Series) /tt0058855/

"The Sierra Number 3 Locomotive: A Star Is Reborn" (2012 Documentary) /tt2422386/

Image Gallery

double-header steam with D&RGW/C&TSRR locomotives #484 & #487 [both K-36 class, built in 1925], circa 2009

Railroad Links

official C&TSRR websiteC&TSRR entry at Wikipedia
official C&TSRR photos websiteofficial C&TSRR equipment & shops website

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad [est. 1981, incorp. 1988]

C&TSRR article at the Antonito Whistle Stop Guest House website

American Railroads Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore
Railroad Film Festival Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore
'Railroads in Fiction' Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore
Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroads in Fiction - Books For Young Railfans Page
'Non-Fiction Books About Railroads' Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore

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