Monday, August 29, 2005

Question: Sacramento Valley RR - SP Placerville Branch History?

From: "Bill Anderson"

I'm forwarding this message, which relates to the Placerville Branch of the Old Southern Pacific line from Folsom, CA to Placerville.

----- Original Message -----
Do you know of any sources, especially on the web, that chronicle the history of the line? I am especially interested in the post WWII to the end of service era. I lived in Folsom from 1975 to 1978 and was fascinated with the old, and then still active right-of way area and still remember walking home from Theodore Judah School hearing, but not seeing, the trains as they rumbled on their way up the hill to Placerville. I recall very clearly that it was very loud.

—Charles Evans, Las Vegas NV


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

I'm not aware of anything – on the web or in print – detailing the final years of the P-ville branch. Frankly, from WWI on it is a history of station closings, service curtailments, and abandonments.

That is until Sacramento light rail! Now you can take the train from Sacramento to Folsom. Maybe someday we can go farther.


8/29/2005 7:48 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin"

I know precious little although my dad grew up in old Folsom near Folsom Jct., but left there in 1940 because of entry into the US Navy. I do know that the Folsom Branch retained daily service into at least the end of the 1970s, but as far as trains actually going past the Junction into Folsom proper, I think this ended somewhat earlier. The concrete trailer loading ramp just northeast of the Junction and before the curve leading to the depot yard, was pretty much the only place I saw a rare freight car after the late 1960s.
CA State RR Museum Library & Archives has a pretty solid set of SP employee timetables which should have some basic Special Instructions in the back of each issue which should offer additional insights as to operating restrictions in and around Folsom and the Junction. There would be a limited amount of daily information on Sacramento Division dispatchers' train sheets, but these are few and far between. CSRML&A has some Sacramento Division train sheets in its collections but I seriously doubt they have been sorted or catalogued yet, and hence may not be available to researchers.
The bulk of operations past Folsom centered on trains running through to Placerville, and finally, after the section between P'ville and Diamond Springs was embargoed, only as far as Diamond. Even then, and at that late date, trains hardly ran daily and maybe not even weekly. When CSRM acquired the worn-out SP 2-6-0 1771 from The City of P'ville – I've already forgotten what year, and I was there filming much of the action –  trains had not ventured into the city yard limits area in quite awhile, so caused a big sensation when the diesel(s) coupled onto the Mogul after the Cats dragged it down to trackage below the downtown street crossings on its return journey to Sacramento.
BTW: it has been documented that this 2-6-0 never worked the Placerville Branch in anything close to recent years ... and maybe not at all. It had come from the Sacramento scrap line in the late 1950s where it had been mostly cannibalized for all working appliances to keep things like the SP rotary snowplows alive until they were finally electrified. The 1771 was a basket case with a lot of shiny paint when SP deeded it to P'ville and the D.A.R. Hangtown Chapter; the piston rods had already been torched to make the engine non-operable and to make it easier to move as a scrap-yard-bound hulk; the pistons and piston valves had been removed and scrapped; the flues (and the fluesheets?) were gone, too. The tender still did have bunker oil in  the fuel tank. The boiler shell was a disaster even in the '50s since the loco's "flue time" had been pushed to the max without major shopping during the late 1950s service in and around Indio, CA, the last known haunts of the 1771 and its heavy 2-6-0 sisters.

8/30/2005 3:04 AM  

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