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Sacramento Southern Railroad 4/4/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose rested at the Best Western Inn in Roseville. After checking out, we drove to the Black Bear Diner for breakfast but found they were not open until 8:00. We then decided to go and take pictures then have breakfast.

Southern Pacific rotary snowplough maintenance-of-way 7221 built in 1922.

Southern Pacific 4-6-0 2252 built in 1897 and donated to the City of Roseville in 1957. There were three very informative plaques here but since the lettering was silver on a silver background, it was very hard to read and photograph. From here we drove to the north side in historic Roseville to get the replica Southern Pacific station.

The Southern Pacific replica station. We then went to IHOP for breakfast. After a delicious meal, we drove into Sacramento to the former Western Pacific station, now an Old Spaghetti Factory.

The Western Pacific station built in 1910. Our next destination was Old Sacramento so we parked in the parking structure across the California State Railroad Museum.

Sacramento Southern Railroad History

The Sacramento Southern Railroad is a heritage railroad owned by the California State Railroad Museum which operates excursion trains on it. The railroad extends from the museum property located in Old Sacramento south along the east bank of the Sacramento River levee. The original Sacramento Southern Railroad ran south 24.3 miles to Walnut Grove, California via Freeport and was a non-operating subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company incorporated in 1903. The line was constructed between 1906 and 1912, and the first train began operating over the line in 1909. It was merged in 1912 with the Central Pacific Railroad upon completion of the line to Walnut Grove. The line was extended to Isleton by 1929. In 1931, a 3-mile extension of the branch reached the Mokelumne River. The railroad later became a part of the SP system who filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the line, and did so on October 10, 1978. Around that time the California State Railroad Museum started acquiring the rail property, and started excursions in 1982. Recent years have seen a resurgence in the road's freight business, serving a number of local industries via an interchange with the Union Pacific Railroad. Future plans call for expanding operations southward into the Sacramento River Delta area.

Our Trip

We walked over to the Central Pacific Railroad station but they were not open yet so we walked around.

Virginia and Truckee 4-4-0 12 "Genoa" built 1873.

A unique piece of equipment.

Southern Pacific 4-6-2 2467 built in 1921.

The power for our train, United States Air Force 80 ton switcher 1655 built in 1952.

Our train with the consist of USAF 1655, Southern Pacific coach 2170, Western Pacific gondola 6102, Missouri-Kansas-Texas coach 642, Western Pacific gondola 6108R and Southern Pacific coach 2175.

My beautiful maskless (for this photograph only) wife Elizabeth eager to have her first trip on the Sacramento Southern. At 10:00 AM, the train started to move.

Santa Fe 2-10-4 5021.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 2925. Now sit back and enjoy the trip aboard the Sacramento Southern Railroad.

The journey from Old Sacramento to Baths.

The Baths station sign.

The engine running around the train. We were invited back to the rear platform to watch the engine couple onto the train.

United States Air Force 1655 coupled up to the opposite end of the train for what we thought was the return trip. Little did we know the crew had other plans for our train. We discovered this when the train started to move south down the tracks then the conductor's commentary continued, so enjoy the trip down to Sutterville Road.

The trip to Sutterville Road. I got some new mileage from my previous trips here and Elizabeth got it on her first trip here. The train then reversed and headed back to the loading area in Old Sacramento.

The spring scene along the Sacramento River.

The most wonderful Elizabeth following all COVID-19 guidelines while aboard the train.

Looking down the street, you can see the California State Capital building before we arrived back at the station. We said goodbye to our crew members and then detrained, walking over to the California State Railroad Museum store acquiring two pins to commemorate our visit and ride. We then paid the parking fee and drove down to Galt for an early lunch at Subway. I would like the Sacramento Southern Railroad for having both myself and Elizabeth here today to ride their train. The entire train crew and station agent are all volunteers and do an outstanding job working with the general public and railfans alike. It was indeed a special trip.