Thursday, April 14, 2005

SP Left-hand Running

"As an occasional traveler on the Capitols to Sacramento I also noticed the left-hand operation. It apparently had to do with which track the train would arrive on at the Sacramento station. Also of interest, the last single track on the old SP line between Emeryville and Sacramento was finally replaced just last year. I write "replaced" because the double-track trestle across the Yolo Causeway just west of Sacramento had been single tracked by the SP, as was portions of the line over Donner Summit. SP had been provided with funds to upgrade this line between Emeryville and Sacramento by the State of California but did a very slow job. I was surprised at how long the joined rail lasted long after the funding began. As for the Auburn Amtrak stop, it is on a single track portion of the double track over Donner summit, which also features left-hand running as far east as Weso, NV [east of Winnemuca] where the SP and WP ended their shared trackage in a huge crossover. So the Auburn station is approached eastbound and westbound on the same track by Amtrak, and in only one direction by freight trains.

Incidentally, the Oakland, Emeryille and Martinez stations on this Capitol line are modern works of art. The Sacramento station is the former SP station and while not a work of art is a classical brick station still worth saving. And it is fortunately within walking distance of the California State Railroad Museum; so a visitor to San Francisco can enjoy not only a great train ride to Sacramento but also a visit to one of the premier railroad museums in the US. ...

Vern Waight"

[From R&LHS Newsgroup]