It was a stroke of luck that I stumbled upon the original 1861 map of the Sacramento, Placer & Nevada Railroad (SPNRR) map in the California State Archives. With a digitized version of the original map, I could then compare the constructed rail line to modern roads and Folsom Lake shown on 20th century maps. While the 1861 and modern day maps don’t align perfectly, there are enough similarities to confirm suspicions of the route through the Folsom and Granite Bay areas.
I’m a typical history nerd who daydreams while driving about old trains or historical events that took place on the same road I’m driving over. The daydreams turn obsessive when I’ve read and researched about certain historical events and I can almost recreate them in my mind. A good example is the path the California Central Railroad took from Folsom to Roseville, California, in 1861. I’ve driven and walked over so much of the rail grade that is accessible, and thought about its construction and daily operations, that I finally made a video about retracing the long forgotten railroad grade.
On a warm autumn October day the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad (PSVRR) ran special short excision train trips for members of the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society. I was fortunate enough to be a guest and document the day’s activities. Just as the original railroad grade was cut by hand in the 1860’s, there are numerous volunteers that expend real physical labor to keep this historic rail line in operation. Video and photo gallery
Virtually all visible signs of two dams on the Feather River along with thousands of feet of wooden flume and rock wall canal built in the 1890’s are hidden under the waters of the succeeding water project of Thermalito Lake in Oroville. Nonetheless, I was still drawn, like any amateur historian; to retrace the route […]
Even before Folsom Lake Dam was built and the reservoir filled, the north fork of the American River was supplying water to communities, farms and ranches in south Placer and northeast Sacramento counties. I recently found aerial photography from 1952 showing a free flowing north and south fork of the American River. Finally, I can […]
The original transcontinental tunnels and snow sheds over Donner Summit were abandoned in 1993 for the tunnel under Mt. Judah. After hiking to the top of Mt. Judah you can walk the many miles of tunnels and cliffs blasted out by Chinese labor in the 1860’s. The concrete snow sheds that replaced the wooden coverings that were prone to fire from the steam engine embers, is now a canvass for graffiti art.
It was perhaps the first publicly finance railroad in California. Unfortunately, the Sacramento, Placer and Nevada Railroad was cut short by an even larger publicly financed railroad know as the Central Pacific. (Click on the photos to enlarge, full gallery of images at end of post.) Iron horse for commerce As soon as the Sacramento Valley Railroad […]
Eric Kraft has been doing some research on the CCRR and has started accumulating information, photos, data and ephemera attached to the old rail road company.
The biggest area for alternate alignments occurs in the Orangevale area where there is very little physical evidence, other that Orangevale Community Park, to discern the path of the line.