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Timeline for Rails and Timber

 

LEGEND

ECR

Empire City Railway

HH

Hetch Hetchy Water & Power Co.

HHR

Hetch Hetchy Railroad

PLC

Pickering Lumber Co.

PLCR

Pickering Lumber Co. Railroad (Sugar Pine & West Side Lumber Railroad)

SF

Santa Fe Railroad

SJSN

San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada Railroad

SLC

Standard Lumber Co.

SP

Southern Pacific Railroad

SPLC

Sugar Pine Lumber Co.

SR

Sierra Railway

SRR

Sierra Railroad

WR

Women's Railroad (Stockton Tuolumne Railroad)

WSL

West Side Flume & Lumber Co. (West Side Lumber Co.)

WSLR

West Side Flume & Lumber Co. Railroad (Hetch Hetchy & Yosemite Valley Railroad)

YLC

Yosemite Lumber Co.

YSL

Yosemite Short Line Railway

YVR

Yosemite Valley Railroad

 

More Rails and Timber Information | Railroads | Lumber

West Side Flume and Lumber Company

Name

Date

Start-

End

Event

SJSN

1882

S

F. Birdsall promotes the construction of the San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada RR in Lodi, California heading to Calaveras Big Trees

SJSN

1885

E

F. Birdsall passes away after completing narrow gauge line from Lodi to Valley Springs-acquired by So. Pacific Co.

SP

1890

 

So. Pacific builds a rail terminus at Milton in Calaveras County and Oakdale where stages and teamsters enter into Southern Mother Lode mining areas in Tuolumne County

 

1895

 

T. Bullock arrives in the West looking to find a place to use his rails and equipment from the Prescott-Arizona Central RR, which went out of business due to Santa Fe competition

 

1895

 

T. Bullock attempts to promote a railroad from Stockton in San Joaquin County to the Central Mother Lode mines, but fails because of prohibitive costs of right-of-way

SF

1896

 

Santa Fe completes rail line to Riverbank in Stanislaus County, 6 miles west of Oakdale with possibility of continuing to Southern Mother Lode mining areas

 

1896

 

T. Bullock considers selling his rails to prospective Yosemite Valley RR contractors, but goes on tour of Calaveras & Tuolumne counties and decides to build a more southerly route into the southern mines after considering joining So. Pacific and using San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada RR

SR

Feb. 1, 1897

S

Sierra Rwy incorporated by Thomas Bullock, William Crocker, Prince Andre Poniatowski ($5M) – (standard gauge)

WR

Dec. 1897

S

Stockton Tuolumne RR (aka Women’s RR) incorporated by Annie Kline Rikert (standard gauge)

SR

Mar. 24, 1897

 

Construction begins on Sierra Rwy from Oakdale to Jamestown (original terminus at 41 miles)

SR

Jun. 21, 1897

 

Sierra Rwy completed to Cooperstown at milepost 20 & opens for business with a timetable.

SR

Nov. 10, 1897

 

First Sierra Rwy train arrives in Jamestown from Oakdale;

SR

Mar. 1898

 

Sierra Rwy's general offices moved from Oakdale to Jamestown; site of freight depot, roundhouse, turntable and maintenance shops

SR

Apr. 1898

 

Nevills Hotel opens next to Jamestown General Office; built by Bullock and Capt. Nevills, owner of Rawhide Mine

WR

Mar. 1898

 

Women’s RR begins construction from Stockton & raises money from city of Sonora investors (mostly women)

WR

Aug. 1898

E

Women's RR, after grading only 12 miles, is stopped; graders leave for work on Sierra Rwy; leave for lack of back pay & leans are put on Women’s RR

SR

Feb. 1899

 

First Sierra Rwy train arrives at outskirts of City of Sonora depot, pushing on later  to Tuolumne to reach the timber investments of Bullock & the Crockers.

Sonora rejects Sierra Rwy plan to operate down Washington St. to reach Columbia marble quarry; Sierra Rwy owners consider spur to Columbia off the future line to Angels Camp

WSL

May 31, 1899

S

West Side Flume & Lumber Co. incorporated by T. Bullock William & Henry Crocker in Carters/Summersville

SR 1899  

Sierra Railway builds depot near site of West Side Lumber & Flume Co. in Carter/Summersville, creating a new terminus at 57 miles (later officially named Tuolumne in 1909)

SR Feb. 1, 1900   First Sierra Rwy train arrives in town of Tuolumne at new depot.

WSLR

Aug. 1900

S

West Side Flume & Lumber Co. incorporates Hetch Hetchy & Yosemite Valley RR (narrow gauge)

SLC

Sep. 30, 1901

S

Standard Lumber Co. incorporated by Steinmetz; joined by Bullock in Oct.

SR Nov. 1901-02

 

T. Bullock opens Turnback Inn in Tuolumne, new terminus of Sierra Rwy at 57 miles; burns down in Oct. 1923

SR

Sep. 15, 1902

 

First Sierra Rwy train arrives in Angels Camp overcoming complex engineering challenge and ROW issues with its Angels branch line; Angels Camp depot and turntable built

YVR

Dec. 19, 1902

S

Yosemite Valley RR (Merced & Yosemite RR) 86 miles; incorporated by Oakland & SF financiers - Frank G. Drum, Thomas Prather, William W. Gorthewaite

SPR

Feb. 1903

S

Sugar Pine Rwy incorporated by SLC – (std. gauge)

WSL  

June 1903

           

T. Bullock sells West Side Flume & Lumber Co. to Wisconsin and Michigan Investors Company; name changed to West Side Lumber Co. & joins Standard Lumber Co.

YSL

Aug. 1905

S

Yosemite Short Line Rwy incorporated (narrow gauge) by T. Bullock et al

YSL

Oct. 1905

 

Yosemite Short Line Rwy first 10 miles construction starts 2 miles south of Jamestown on Sierra Rwy-dual gauge track

YVR

Oct. 15, 1905

S

Yosemite Valley RR construction begins, reaches 6 miles by December; a requirement of contract

YVR

1906

 

Yosemite Valley RR (std. gauge) granted right-of-way into Yosemite Park by US Congress

YVR

1906

 

Yosemite Valley RR reaches Merced where main offices & depot set up; official passenger service begins

YVR

Apr. 18, 1906

 

San Francisco Earthquake-major destruction

YSL

1906

 

Yosemite Short Line Rwy is stopped by heavy rainfall & flooding

YSL

Jun. 1906

E

Yosemite Short Line Rwy financing ends as result of San Francisco Earthquake; rails & equipment eventually moved to Empire City Mill

YVR

May 1907

 

Yosemite Valley RR construction reaches Yosemite National Park boundary, 12 mi. from valley floor; railhead established & named El Portal (the Gateway); stage coach was used to complete trip to valley

SLC

1907

 

Standard Lumber Co. buys Empire City Mill

ECR

Jul. 27, 1908

S

Empire City Rwy (narrow gauge) incorporated by Bullock to provide service to South Fork, Empire & Cold Springs mills using Yosemite Short Line rails & equipment

ECR

1909

 

Empire City Rwy top section located at Lyon’s Dam; Sugar Pine Railway reached bottom of incline where transfer station using steam donkeys lowered & raised rail cars (narrow gauge)

YLC

1910

S

Yosemite Lumber Co. incorporated & plans a 7,800 foot incline railroad down to El Portal & Yosemite Valley RR mainline

YLC

1912

 

Yosemite Lumber Co. completes construction of the sawmill at Merced Falls & a 100 acre company town; closed down in 1927

ECR

1912

E

Empire City Rwy title suspended SLC assumes operation till 1917, then abandoned

SR   

May 1913

           

Sierra Railway and general offices in Jamestown burned down and immediately rebuilt; records destroyed.  Empire City Mill also burned down that year.

HH

Dec. 1913

 

Hetch Hetchy Water & Power project approved after 12 yrs of struggle with landowners & environmentalists

HHR

1913

 

City of San Francisco evaluates present & proposed RR for Hetch Hetchy & rejects in favor of best approach following Tuolumne River

HHR

1914

 

Hetch Hetchy design plan selected (std gauge) starts from connection with Sierra Rwy at Hetch Hetchy Junction 15 miles west of Jamestown at milepost 26

 

1915

 

Nevills Hotel in Jamestown burns down

HHR

Feb. 1916

S

City & County of San Francisco starts 68-mile line extending to rim of Hetch Hetchy at dam site

 

1916

E

Harvard, Shawmut, & Melones Mines were closing down

HHR

1917

 

Hetch Hetchy RR completed to dam site (O’Shaughnessy) at cost of $2M

SR

May 26, 1919

 

First silent movie shot on Sierra Rwy “The Red Glove”

 

1920

 

T. Bullock passed away

 

1921

S

Prohibition starts

PLC

1921

S

W. R. Pickering acquires Standard Lumber Co. and its Sugar Pine Rwy

SR

Jul. 1921

 

Sierra Rwy 8 mile spur completed to Don Pedro Dam site

HHR

Apr. 1923

 

O’Shaughnessy Dam construction completed with support of Hetch Hetchy RR and Sierra Railway; Turnback Inn at Tuolumne burns down

SR

1924

 

Don Pedro Dam construction completed with support of Sierra Rwy

SR

1925

 

Sierra Rwy spur started to reach Melones Dam site

HHR

Feb. 15, 1925

 

Hetch Hetchy RR now ceases operations as common carrier after 19-mile mountain tunnel project & Moccasin Power House completed

PLC

1925

 

W. R. Pickering acquires West Side Lumber Co. and its West Side Lumber RR

 

1926

 

Frog Jump competition starts in Calaveras County

PLC

1926

S

W. R. Pickering incorporates the Pickering Lumber Co.

SR

1927-1929

 

Melones Dam and power house completed supported by Sierra Rwy

HHR

1929

 

Hetch Hetchy Water & Power Foothill Tunnel westward from Moccasin was completed with support of Hetch Hetchy RR

SPLC

1929

E

Sugar Pine Lumber Co. of Pinedale purchases Yosemite Lumber Co. assets and reopens Merced Fall sawmill; hit by Great Depression, but survived until 1933 and closes all operations

PLC

1930

 

Beginning of Great Depression; Pickering Lumber Co. closes West Side Lumber Co. mill & logging operations

PLC  

1931

E

Pickering Lumber Co. goes into bankruptcy; closes all mills & logging operations

SR

1932

          

Sierra Rwy forced into receivership by bondholders

 

1933

E

Repeal of Prohibition

WSL

1934

 

Pickering Lumber Co. defaults on loans and  West Side Lumber Co. reverts to original owners and mill reopens

SR

May 1935

E

Sierra Rwy contracts to operate Hetch Hetchy RR supporting enlargement of O’Shaughnessy Dam (completed in 1938)

SR

1935

E

Sierra Rwy ceases operation of Angels branch line after 33 years of operation –  rails and turntable removed, depot and property returned to Tryon family

YSPL

1935

S

Assets of Yosemite Lumber Co. & Sugar Pine Lumber Co. were consolidated

YSPL

1935

E

Yosemite Sugar Pine Lumber Co. closed due to pressure to end logging operations in Yosemite Park by the Sec. of Interior Harold Ickes

PLC

1937

S

Pickering Lumber Co. reopens its sawmill & logging operations with aid of government reconstruction loan

SR

Mar. 31, 1937

S

Sierra Rwy emerges from receivership after being sold at auction to Crocker Assoc; renamed Sierra Railroad

SRR

Aug. 31, 1938

E

Sierra RR last regular passenger service in Tuolumne County ending 41 years of passenger operations

SF, SP

1939

E

Santa Fe & Southern Pacific end passenger service into Oakdale; freight service continues into Oakdale

 

1942

E

U. S. government suspends all gold mining to redirect efforts to war related materials

YVR

Aug. 24, 1945

E

Yosemite Valley RR last scheduled run ending 39 years of operation

SR 1946 E Sonora Passenger Depot burns down – only freight house remains in service.

HHR

1949-1950

E

Hetch Hetchy RR tracks taken up & sold as scrap ending 32 years of operation

SRR 1954   Sierra RR enters the diesel power era ordering two S-12 diesel engines and begins operations at new engine house built at Oakdale in March 1955.

SRR

1955-1957

 

Sierra RR supports Tri-Dam project-Donnell, Beardsley, Tulloch (dams, power houses and reservoirs).

PLC 1956   Pickering Lumber Company Railroad initially purchased two diesel engines; adds two more in 1959

SR

1957

 

Sierra RR steam excursion rides begin; Tri-Dam completed-dedication ceremony in June

PLC

1958

 

Pickering Lumber Co. re-acquires West Side Lumber Co. and its West Side Lumber RR Narrow Gauge

PLC

1961

E

Pickering Lumber Co. RR (old West Side Lumber RR) discontinued after 61 years of operation; replaced by trucks and new highways in Tuolumne County

PLC

Apr. 1962

E

Pickering Lumber Co. mill workers strike; August, 1962 - fire at West Side Division results in $1.5 million loss

SRR

1963

 

Sierra RR excursion train derailment causes management to end excursions

PLC

1965

E

Pickering Lumber RR abandoned after 62 years of operations (original Sugar Pine Rwy); PLC sold to Fiberboard Paper Products

SR Feb. 19, 1968   Sierra general offices in Tuolumne burn down

SR

1971

 

Crocker Assoc. opens Rail Town 1897; steam excursions reinstated with Sierra Rwy equipment

SRR Nov. 23, 1978 E Second Jamestown Sierra Depot burns down
SRR 1981   Sierra RR sold to SIlverfoot Inc. of Chicago (less Jamestown complex & steam equipment)

SR

Jul. 1982-83

S

State of California Parks & Recreation Dept. purchases 26 acre Rail Town 1897 from Crocker Assoc. & opens Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

SPI 1989   Environmental regulations about endangered species limited logging of old growth timber areas

SRR

Sep. 1995 

          

Sierra RR purchased by Coast Enterprises in March and subsequently passes to the hands of a group of creditors led by Mark Hart.

SPI Aug 1995

Fiberboard sell wood products division (includes mills at Standard and Chinese Camp) to Sierra Pacific Industries

SRR

2000

 

Sierra RR continues to haul freight and starts passenger excursion train out of Oakdale

SRR

2003

 

Sierra RR marks 106 yeas of operation; merges with Yolo Shortline excursion RR (now the Sacramento River Train)

SRR

2004

 

Sierra RR et al buys Skunk RR (formerly the California Western RR) excursion from Fort Bragg, California to Willits (redwood tree views)

SR

2007

 

Original Sierra Rwy steam engine #3 built in 1891 begins major multi-year restoration program at Rail Town 1897.   

SPI 2009   Sierra Pacific Industries closed Standard Mill in Standard, ending large scale timber/lumber industry in Tuolumne County
SPI June 2010   Sierra Pacific Industries mill closed in 2009, has a plan to re-tool the mill to accommodate smaller diameter logs and reopen in May 2011
SR July 2010  

Railtown 1897 SHP debuts the fully operational 1891 Sierra Railway Engine No. 3, “The Movie Queen,” after a three-year $1.5 million restoration.

SP1 June 2011   Sierra Pacific Mill reopened

More Rails and Timber Information

West Side Flume and Lumber Company

 

               References for Rails and Timber in Tuolumne County 

 

CHISPA, the Quarterly to the Tuolumne County Historical Society,

Vol. 9, No. 4; April – June 1970

Vol. 25, No. 3; January – March 1986

Vol. 36, No. 3; January – March 1997

Vol. 53, No. 1 & 2; January – June 2013

 

Colorful Men and Women of the Mother Lode, Janet Irene Atkinson

 

Hetch Hetchy and Its Dam Railroad, Ted Wurm

 

Railroads of the Yosemite Valley, Hank Johnston

 

Rails in the Mother Lode, Adolf Hungry Wolf

 

Sierra Railway, Dorothy Newell Deane

 

Sugar Pine Railway Memories, Manuel J. Marshall

 

The Movie Railroads, Larry Jensen

 

West Side Pictorial, Mallory Hope Ferrell

 

Mr. Lincoln’s Military Railroads, Roy Meredith & Arthur Meredith

 

Trains of the Old West, Brian Solomon

 

Westward to Promontory, Barry B. Combs

 

Makin’ Tracks, the Saga of the Transcontinental Railroad, Lynne Rhodes Mayer & Ken Vose

 

The Sugar Pine Railway, History of a Sierran Logging Railroad, Pamela Conners

Empire, Mark Steven Francis

 

Last of the 3-foot Loggers, Allen Kreig

 

West Side Narrow Gauge in the Sierras, Mallory Hope Ferrell

 

When Steam Was King, Gerald French

 

Trains to Yosemite, Jack A. Burgess

 

 

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