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A Summary of Central California Narrow Gauge Railroads

With "Central California" being defined as the area from Santa Barbara County through the San Francisco area, George W. Hilton's America's Narrow Gauge Railroads (1990) identifies these Central California narrow gauge railroads. The data shown here was pulled primarily from Westcott and Johnson's The Pacific Coast Railway (1998). This latter book is a must for modelers of the PCRy as it contains a plethora of photographs, diagrams, schematics, and maps (as well as being a wonderful history of the PCRy).

Railroad Mainline Track Mileage Start Operations End Operations Notes
Pacific Coast Railway (PCRy) 76 As PCRy: 1882
Harford's horse-drawn RR: 1873
Pacific Coast Railroad (PCRR): 1882
1942 Truly a "common carrier": lumber, gravel, ore, oil, grain, sugar beets, passengers, mail, etc.
Pacific Coast Railroad (PCRR)   April, 1882 September, 1882 Merged with the SLO&SMVRR (Oregon Improvement Company) to become the PCRy
Monterey and Salinas Valley Railway <20 September, 1874 1880 Some info from the Monterey County Historical Society
San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SLO&SMVRR) 64 August, 1876 1881 Merged with the PCRR to become the PCRy
Santa Cruz Railroad 21.5 1874   Mainly a lumber carrier. Sold to the Southern Pacific RR
140 Years of Railroading in Santa Cruz County
South Pacific Coast Railroad 75.3 1876 1908 The South Pacific Coast Railroad
Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite Valley Railroad 70 1899 1960 Lumber carrier exclusively after 1910.
The Yosemite Valley Railroad
Bodie and Benton Railroad 32 1881 1890 Lumber.
The Bodie and Benton
San Joaquin and Sierra Nevada Railroad 40 1882 1904  
Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad   1890 1928 Some info from the Monterey County Historical Society
Patterson and Western Railroad 23.6 1916 1920 Ore carrier.
San Luis Obispo Railway Company       Incorporated in 1873, the SLORy Co intended to run from San Luis Obispo to the San Luis Bay. It folded in 1875 without laying any track; and the right-of-way was sold to the SLO&SMVRR.
San Luis and San Joaquin Railroad       An 1891 pamphlet proclaimed this line would run from San Luis Obispo east and north to Bakersfield, Visalia, and Fresno. It never materialized.
Sinton and Brown Railroad 7.5 1934   Distributed sugar silage from the Union Sugar mill at Betteravia to the nextdoor feedlot cattle. 42".

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