|Sacramento Northern Railway|
|Locale||Central and Northern California|
|Dates of operation||1918 (began Dec. A reporting mark is an identification assigned by the Association of American Railroads (AAR to rail carriers and other companies operating in North America. 27, 1904 under the Northern Electric brand before the rename to Sacramento Northern)–1983 (upon purchase by Union Pacific)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8½ in (1435 mm) (standard gauge)|
|Headquarters||Marysville, CA |
The Sacramento Northern Railway began as a 93 mile electric interurban railway system linking the California state capitol Sacramento with the city of Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, operating under that name between 1918 and 1983 (previously "Northern Electric" from 1904-1918). Rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the two parallel rails that make up a railway track. A foot (plural feet or foot; symbol or abbreviation ft or sometimes &prime – the prime symbol) is a non-SI unit Inches redirects here To see the Les Savy Fav album see Inches. The Millimetre ( American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is a unit of Length in the Metric system, equal to The standard gauge (also named the Stephenson gauge after George Stephenson, or Normal gauge) is a widely-used Rail gauge. In Australia "interurban" is a general term for Intercity rail. "Railroad" and "Railway" both redirect here For other uses see Railroad (disambiguation. California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. Oakland (ˈoʊklənd founded in 1852 is the eighth-largest city in the U The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city It was a subsidiary of the Western Pacific Railroad from 1921. The Western Pacific Railroad was a Class I Railroad in the United States. Passenger service ceased in 1941 and the system operated as a shortline freight-hauling railroad thereafter. Short Line is also one of the four railroads in the popular Board game Monopoly, probably named after the Shore Fast Line, an Interurban streetcar Western Pacific could generate more income by accepting or delivering freight using Sacramento Northern because of the transfer from one railroad to another. The SN name increased WP's profits when freight was shipped and transferred to WP. WP also owned a sister company to SN named Tidewater Southern which operated South of Sacramento. The Tidewater Southern Railway was a Short line railroad in Central California in the United States.
The Sacramento Northern Railway was created out of two different systems; one, the "North End", stretched north of Sacramento through the agricultural Sacramento Valley to Chico and was originally the Northern Electric Railway. The Sacramento Valley is the portion of the California Central Valley that lies to the north of the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta in the U Chico (pop 86949 is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States, with 105000 This portion reformed as the Sacramento Northern in 1918. The "South End" linked Oakland with Sacramento, and was merged into the Sacramento Northern in 1928. Oakland (ˈoʊklənd founded in 1852 is the eighth-largest city in the U It was formerly known as the San Francisco–Sacramento Railroad, and before that the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway. The merged portions used different electrical standards, and only some cars could traverse the entire route.
The line was one of the longest interurban runs in the nation, and was built and operated to very high standards. As with most interurban systems, passenger service became increasingly unprofitable, even after the rail cars entered San Francisco itself via the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from 1939. The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city Freight service was increasingly the lifeblood of the railroad, keeping it in service long after passenger service ceased.
The first portion to be known as the Sacramento Northern Railway was the Northern Division or "North End", created from the Northern Electric Railway in 1918; this portion linked the state capitol of Sacramento with the towns of the agricultural Sacramento Valley, stretching as far as Chico. The Sacramento Valley is the portion of the California Central Valley that lies to the north of the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta in the U Chico (pop 86949 is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States, with 105000 In 1921, it was purchased by the Western Pacific Railroad and operated thereafter as its subsidiary. The Western Pacific Railroad was a Class I Railroad in the United States.
In 1928, the San Francisco-Sacramento Railroad (formerly the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway, and originally the Oakland and Antioch Railway) was added as the Sacramento Northern's Southern Division or "South End".
The combined high-speed main line stretched for 185 miles between San Francisco and Chico. The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city At the southern end, the railway shared the facilities of the Key System; at first, the Key Pier facility in Oakland, and then the crossing of the Bay Bridge into San Francisco's Transbay Terminal from 1939 after the bridge's construction. The Key System (or Key Route) was a privately owned company which provided Mass transit in the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda Oakland (ˈoʊklənd founded in 1852 is the eighth-largest city in the U San Francisco Transbay Terminal, or simply Transbay Terminal, is a transportation complex in San Francisco California, USA, located roughly in the
The railway's fortunes were struck a heavy blow by the Great Depression and the rise of the automobile. Interurban passenger service was ended in 1941, while streetcar service in Chico continued until 1947.
Freight service continued and was heavy during the years of World War II. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including In 1944, the railroad received its first diesel locomotives, which began the process of de-electrification. A Diesel locomotive is a type of Railroad Locomotive in which the prime mover is a Diesel engine. All electric operation ceased in 1965, after which the railway operated as a minor freight subsidiary of the Western Pacific. Much trackage was abandoned over the years, especially that which duplicated routes on other railroads. The Sacramento Northern ceased to exist with the WP's acquisition by the Union Pacific in 1983. However, SN's seniority list continued and is still in use by the Union Pacific today, although it is doubtful many former WP/SN employees are left 23 years after the merger.
The SN rail line connecting the California towns of Montezuma, Dozier, and Canon is now owned and operated by the Western Railway Museum as a heritage railway. The Western Railway Museum, in Solano County California is located on Highway 12 between Rio Vista and Suisun. A heritage railway ( United Kingdom) preserved railway ( United Kingdom) or tourist railroad ( United States and Canada) is a Much of the SN's equipment is part of the museum's permanent collection.
Although the Oakland Yard of the Sacramento Northern was the end of the railroad's own right-of-way, its trains continued west along 40th St. on the tracks of the Key System and on to the Key System's "mole". The Key System (or Key Route) was a privately owned company which provided Mass transit in the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda A mole is a massive structure usually of stone, used as a Pier, breakwater, or junction between places separated by water In later years, the trains ran over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge which was built near the site of the pier, to San Francisco's Transbay Terminal, connecting by way of the Key's tracks on Yerba Buena Ave. San Francisco Transbay Terminal, or simply Transbay Terminal, is a transportation complex in San Francisco California, USA, located roughly in the and 40th Street. This service ended with the railroad's passenger service in 1941, but freight interchange with the Key System continued until that system's demise.
The terminus of the railroad's right of way in Oakland was a compact yard on the corner of 40th Street and Shafter Avenue. The main line ran north up narrow Shafter in a residential area. At the end of Shafter, the tracks started a long, climbing curve up into the Berkeley Hills in the Rockridge district of Oakland. The Berkeley Hills are a range of the Pacific Coast Ranges which overlook the northeast side of the Valley in which San Francisco Bay Rockridge is a residential Neighborhood and commercial district in Oakland California. It then skirted Lake Temescal on its eastern shore and ran southeast through the Montclair district of Oakland. Lake Temescal is a small lake in the northeastern hills section of Oakland California. Montclair (also known as the Montclair District) is a Neighborhood of Oakland California.
It crossed into Montclair over a trestle at Moraga Ave. and Thornhill Dr. , then ran along a high berm between Montclair Recreation Center and Montclair Elementary School, before crossing Mountain Blvd. and Snake Road via trestle. High above the northwest side of Shepherd Canyon, the line followed parallel to that road heading east, then made a sharp turn northeast as it passed through a major cut in the hill, and then up the canyon to a station called "Havens" at Paso Robles Dr. , named for real estate developer Frank C. Havens, one-time partner of the Key System's "Borax" Smith who was trying to encourage sales in Shepherd Canyon. Frank Colton Havens was a lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area from the late 19th to early 20th centuries who also was a major developer of real estate in the East Bay
At a spot directly below Saroni Drive, the tracks entered a long single-track tunnel through the Berkeley Hills. The Berkeley Hills are a range of the Pacific Coast Ranges which overlook the northeast side of the Valley in which San Francisco Bay The tunnel itself is still intact, but sealed at both ends. In 1994, home developers filled in the approach to this tunnel and constructed residential homes on this fill and on top of the tunnel. The upper one foot of the top of the tunnel portal was above ground in the back yard of one of the homes. A home further east was constructed on top of the unlined tunnel, and by altering drainage in the area caused the tunnel below to subside. The home shifted and dropped and had to be removed. The tracks exited the northeast end of the tunnel at Pinehurst Road near Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, and immediately entered a sharp curve to run southeastward through Redwood Canyon. Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve is a Regional park located in Oakland CA that is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system Although technically oriented to the northeast (perpendicular to the axis of the hills), the railroad designated a station just outside the portal "Eastport. " The portal is no longer visible, largely as a result of a landslide which occurred during the El Niño rains of the early 1980s. It was located along an extant fire trail west of the spot where Pinehurst Road makes a sharp u-turn. This fire trail was previously known as Winding Way on some maps, and was originally an old 19th century logging road built by Hiram Thorn, for bringing redwood logs out of the Moraga Redwoods and to his mill, and then over the mountain into Oakland. Even earlier, the route up the canyon to what is now Huckleberry preserve was a cattle trail for the Spanish and Mexican ranchers, en route to a landing at the mouth of Temescal Creek on San Francisco Bay. Temescal Creek is one of the principal watercourses in the city of Oakland California, United States.
At the end of the sharp curve at Eastport, the tracks immediately crossed over the road on an overpass. The right-of-way then headed down Redwood Canyon on a ledge (which is still apparent today) just above Pinehurst Rd. southeast along the valley floor past the small community of Canyon. Canyon is a tiny unincorporated community in Contra Costa County, California situated between Oakland and Moraga in the San Francisco The line then turned north into Moraga, past St. Mary's, and thence northeasterly through Lafayette, Saranap, and the valley past Walnut Creek. Moraga is an affluent suburban incorporated town located in Contra Costa County California, The United States of America (USA in the San Francisco Bay Saint Mary's College of California is a private Coeducational College located in Moraga California, United States. Walnut Creek is a Suburban community located 16 miles east of the city of Oakland Some of the right of way through Contra Costa County is now used by the BART system. The tracks continued to a ferry landing on Suisun Bay. Suisun Bay (pronounced "soo-soon" is a shallow Tidal estuary located at in central California, USA. There, a ferry boat, the Ramon, carried the entire train across to a landing near Suisun. The line then proceeded across an extensive marshland on a long trestle. After the trestle, the tracks continued to Sacramento, entering the city by way of the "M" Street Bridge (1911), and later by way of its replacement (1935), the Tower Bridge, which is still in use. The Tower Bridge is a Vertical lift bridge crossing the Sacramento River, linking West Sacramento in Yolo County to the west with the capital
Service from Oakland to Lafayette ceased on March 1, 1957 and the tracks were removed and the tunnel sealed; the old roadbed from St. Mary's College through Lafayette was converted to the popular Lafayette-Moraga trail. The following year, service only extended from Sacramento to Walnut Creek. The Ferry "Ramon" was removed from service in 1954, thus creating a divide between Mallard and Chipps Island. To overcome this limitation, SN, through parent Western Pacific, obtained trackage rights on the Santa Fe Railway from Stockton to Pittsburg, where the SN would then enter its own tracks. When the Union Pacific took over operations, they obtained further trackage rights on the Santa Fe which extended to Port Chicago, where SN had a small yard. Thus, the trackage in Pittsburg was removed in the early 1990s.
From the SN's Sacramento depot, the line ran north, with a branch line that ran 16 miles west to Woodland (known as the Yolo Shortline RR until 2003 and now known as the Sierra Northern Railway). Woodland (formerly By Hell and Yolo City) is the County seat of Yolo County California. The Sierra Railroad Company, was founded in 1897 to connect the California Central Valley to the Gold Country foothills of the Sierra Nevada This track ran on the west side of the Sacramento River, over an elevated wooden bridge (over a flood plain), and then down Main St. in Woodland to the Opera House where the train turned around. Today's SLRR terminates at 2nd St. , several blocks East of the Opera House.
The line north ran to Marysville, Yuba City, Oroville, and terminated in Chico. Chico (pop 86949 is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States, with 105000
Another branchline ran west to Colusa from a junction northwest of Yuba City. A branch line is a secondary railway line which branches off a more important through route usually a main line.
Because of interconnection with the Key System, Sacramento Northern cars had to operate under a number of different electrical standards. The North End was electrified exclusively at 600 volts DC, which was the standard trolley and interurban voltage. Trolley wire and trolley poles were used only in urban areas; in the open country, the line used a solid, uncovered top-contact third rail. Overhead lines or overhead wires are used to transmit Electrical energy to Trams Trolleybuses or Trains at a distance from the For the weapon see Trolley pole (weapon. trolley pole is a tapered cylindrical pole of Wood or Metal, used to transfer Electricity A third rail is a method of providing Electricity to power a railway through a continuous rigid conductor alongside the railway track or between the rails Cars built originally for the North End could not operate south of Sacramento. The South End was electrified largely at 1,200 volts until 1936, after which it operated at 1,500 volts, with areas of 600 volts in Oakland and Sacramento.
The cars had to use a pantograph rather than the trolley pole on Key System rails (electrified at 600 volts) and over the Bay Bridge (electrified at 1,200 volts for the Southern Pacific); the Key System used a covered top-contact third rail over the bridge. A pantograph is a device that collects electric current from Overhead lines for electric Trains or Trams The term stems from the resemblance to pantograph Because of the Key System's third rail, cars that could traverse the whole system had to have their third rail shoes removed, since the top-contact shoes would have fouled the Key System rail's cover. They were normally added or removed in Sacramento. Such all-line cars were switchable between 600 V and 1,200 V operation; they could also operate at half speed at the 1,200 V setting on 600 V overhead.
The railway's high quality electrification used catenary rather than trolley wire over most of the road, leading to the eventual exclusive use of pantographs rather than trolley poles over the whole road. In Physics and Geometry, the catenary is the theoretical Shape of a hanging flexible Chain or Cable when supported at its ends and
The Oakland, Antioch and Eastern needed to cross Suisun Bay, and chose to do so between West Pittsburg and Chipps Island, a gap of 2,600 feet (790 m). A bridge was originally planned, but the bay saw heavy shipping traffic and thus a high-level draw bridge with long approaches was required. Construction began on the bridge in 1912; the estimated price tag was $1. 5 million and construction time was estimated as two and a half years. This would have delayed the opening of the railway, and so an alternative plan of a ferry service was implemented as a temporary measure. Construction of the bridge stopped in May 1913 after construction of the pier on the Contra Costa County side, because of a shortage of funds. The railway, not meeting revenue expectations, never did restart construction, and the "temporary" ferry service became permanent. 
Thus, the railway became one of only two interurbans to operate a car ferry, and was the longer and more ambitious of the two. See also Merchant ship A train ferry is a Ship designed to carry railway vehicles The first ferry constructed, the 186-foot (57 m) Bridgit (a pun on "Bridge It") was constructed of wood in San Francisco and launched in July 1913. The Bridgit, however, was destroyed by fire on May 17, 1914. Events 1521 - Edward Stafford 3rd Duke of Buckingham, is executed for Treason. Year 1914 ( MCMXIV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year
After unsuccessful experiments with an unpowered barge, the railroad rented car floats from other railroads in the area and commissioned a new, steel ferry from the Lanteri Shipyard in nearby Pittsburg. Pittsburg California is a city located in eastern Contra Costa County California, the outer portion of the East Bay region The new vessel, the Ramon, was constructed entirely from flat steel plate to save time, and had no curved surfaces on its hull. It was a double-ended design with a central, raised bridge in the typical carfloat style. Power was by a 600 horsepower distillate engine, one of the largest ever constructed, which was rather insufficient to counteract high winds and currents in the bay.
Three tracks were installed on the deck, all long enough to carry three passenger cars or five freight cars. All three could not be used at the same time; the central track overlapped the other two, and either the single central track or the two outside tracks could be used, depending on load. All tracks were equipped with powered trolley wire.
The Ramon was retired in 1954 after a Coast Guard inspection determined that the hull plating was no longer in a safe condition, and it was scrapped locally.