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Nostalgia & History > SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...


Date: 04/14/07 12:42
SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: SandingValve

Anybody know the date(s) the SP's Oakdale Branch was abandoned??

I've been commuting lately from Sonora to the Atwater/Merced area for my regular daytime job and have been enjoying 'sleuthing' the old SP Oakdale Branch as well as the old Yosemite Valley Railroad ROW out of Merced along Hwy 59 & J59. I'm still looking for where the Hetch Hetchy RR crossed J59 around the Don Pedro area.

Speaking about the YV, anybody know what happened to the YV depot in Snelling?? I remember reading in Hank Johnston's 'Railroads of the Yosemite Valley' that a Charles Schwartzler (Merced??) acquired the Snelling depot in the mid '40s. Is the depot still around?? If so, where is it located and can it be seen today??


SV



Date: 04/14/07 13:49
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: colehour

For the heck of it, I went to Topo Zone and did a search on Snelling. The map shows an old railroad grade. I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for.

Jerry



Date: 04/14/07 14:03
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: JohnSweetser

According to Henry Bender's draft for the section about the Yosemite Valley Railroad in his future California depots book, the Snelling depot "was sold to Charles Schwartzler of Snelling in 1945; torn down at an unknown date thereafter" (the Snelling depot was a shortened version of San Francisco & San Joaquin Valley Railway's Combination Depot No. 3, plans of which can be found at the back of Gustafson & Serpico's "Coast Lines Depots, Valley Division").



Date: 04/14/07 14:24
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: SierraRail

Highway J59 was crossed by the original Sierra Railway mainline (twice), Hetch Hetchey Railroad (just past the gate into Hetch Hetchy Junction), and by the Sierra Ry. Don Pedro branch line. All these crossings are clearly visible, especially at this time of year, with the green grass.



Date: 04/14/07 18:49
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: SandingValve

SierraRail Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Highway J59 was crossed by the original Sierra
> Railway mainline (twice)

I am familiar with these two locations Brian.

> Hetch Hetchy Railroad (just past the gate into
> Hetch Hetchy Junction)

This is the one I am looking for. There appears to be what looks like railroad grade that crossed J59 several miles past the Hwy 108/120 & J59 junction (heading towards La Grange). There is also some power lines that cross J59 near this location as well. I am thinking that this may be it or possibly left over from the construction of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct (service road) Am I close??

> and by the Sierra Ry Don Pedro branch line. All
> these crossings are clearly visible, especially at
> this time of year, with the green grass.

If you know exactly where to look Brian!! I think I know where the Don Pedro line crossed. Any landmarks I should look for??

I do know where the old YV right of way is. I will do some hunting around Snelling next week for where the depot once stood. Sad to hear that it was eventually destroyed.

I also know where the SP Oakdale Branch is located. I am curious as to when it was abandoned/removed.


SV



Date: 04/15/07 00:11
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: TonyJ

Anybody know the date(s) the SP's Oakdale Branch was abandoned??

Montpellier to Merced - rails removed in 1942

Claribel to Montpellier - abandoned 11/1/76, but last train ran on 1/27/77.

Stockton to Claribel - abandoned 1986.

Tony J.



Date: 04/15/07 10:10
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: SandingValve

TonyJ Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Montpellier to Merced - rails removed in 1942
>
> Claribel to Montpellier - abandoned 11/1/76, but
> last train ran on 1/27/77.
>
> Stockton to Claribel - abandoned 1986.
>
> Tony J.


Thanks Tony!! I figured some of it was pulled in the early '40s. I do remember some trains near Claribel as a young boy in the early '70s.

It's amazing how many branches the SP once had going into and along the foothills. Too bad they are mostly all gone now.

SV



Date: 04/15/07 10:31
Re: SP Oakdale Branch & the Yosemite Valley Railroad...
Author: JohnSweetser

SandingValve wrote:

>I do know where the old YV right of way is. I will
do some hunting around Snelling next week for where the depot once stood. Sad to hear that it was eventually destroyed.


Railroad authors, though, don't always get such things right. Since there is no hard information about the building being torn down (for example, "the depot was torn down in January 1948"), I think there does remain a possibility the building was moved to another location. If not in Snelling, then maybe to ranch in the countryside.



Date: 04/15/07 16:51
More sleuthing
Author: Westbound

I too did a little sleuthing about the long gone YV RR. Had never heard of the YV RR but back in 1963 my wife gave me a copy of the then-new "Railroads of the Yosemite Valley" book (Copy #124 signed by the author!). Shortly thereafter we took a Sunday drive as far as Merced Falls. Armed with the book and especially the map on page 96 I expected to see a lot of things there. Well, even back then there was nothing to see. Not a single structure of what was once a little town there still existed. Not one to give up too quickly, I hopped the wire fence alongside the county road and headed west into a cow pasture. Sure enough, found the circular concrete foundation for the old turntable still in place, half filled in with dirt and weeds. I'll bet it is still there today.

SandingValve Wrote.....

.... have been enjoying 'sleuthing' the old SP Oakdale
> Branch as well as the old Yosemite Valley Railroad
> ROW out of Merced along Hwy 59 & J59.



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