In the mid 1800's the citizens of Placer County wanted a
railroad connection to the Sacramento Valley RR which ran from Sacramento to Folsom. Theadore Judah wanted
to find a route over the Sierras. These two thoughts were combined into the five foot guage Sacramento, Placer & Nevada RR
proposed to run from Folsom through Auburn on to Nevada City and hence over the Sierras. Originally surveyed by
Judah and later by Sherman Day, the route proposed basically parallels the present day Folsom-Auburn/Auburn-Folsom Rd.
The Folsom end was a connection with the California Central RR at a spot called Ashland Station (basically the corner of
Greenback Lane and Folsom-Auburn Rd). The SP&N owned no rolling stock of its own. Instead, Sacramento Valley trains would
continue up the line to Auburn Station.
Construction began in 1862 and the road was open for business later that
same year. However, it had only gotten as far as Auburn Station located about six miles from Auburn itself. This location
is the corner of Auburn-Folsom Rd and Whisky Bar Rd in Loomis. Unfortunately the construction of the Central Pacific through nearby
Newcastle and into Auburn drew most of the areas traffic causing the SP&NRR to go into bankrupcy. The rails of the SP&NRR were
fought over by the Central Pacific and the Sacrmento Valley RR subsidiary, the Placerville and Sacramento Valley RR, in what
came to be called the Placer County Railroad Wars with the P&SVRR coming out the winners and pulling up the track in 1864. After
taking what they needed the leftovers may have been used on the transcontinental route of the CPRR.
Despite being one of the first railroads of California and having only ran for two
short years, much remains of this railroad. Ashland Station is still intact and part of the Folsom Railroad Block rail collection
and much of the right of way can still be found.
note: July 21, 1858 T. D. Judah, Chief Engineer of the California Central began a survey of the "Auburn Branch Railroad". A report dated
August 13, 1858, Folsom, Cal. says "The line as run commences at Auburn near the Placer Herald printing office, running thence down
and upon the easterly side of Auburn Ravine about two miles. Thence crossing over into Dutch Ravine, it runs down the same to a point
three and two thirds miles below Auburn, where the main road branches off to the Mountaineer House. Here, crossing over the divide
between Dutch and Buckeye Ravines, it runs into Buckeye Ravine, passing a few rods in teh rear of NewCastle................the only
serious difficulty on the whole line occurs on the mile immediatgely below NewCastle, the fifth mile from Auburn, which falls 240
feet, so that an 80 foot grade continued down does not strike the surface again until it reaches a point eleven and one half miles
Surveys and reconnoissasnces were made by County Surveyor S. G. Ellliott and by engineer M. M. Stangroom, then the grade was
engineered by Sherman Day. Day began his work October 11, 1859, this work was reported in the Placer Herald March 31, 1860.
The upshot of all this is the Judah work was disregarded.
See HISTORY OF PLACER COUNTY, Thompson and West, 1882, pages 273 and 274.
GJ Chris Graves
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