Railroads of California

Railroads of California Railroads of California Established in 1982, CTRC, the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Trolley Barn Location History Park at Kelley Park 635 Phelan Ave San Jose, California 95112 The California Trolley and Railroad Corporation hours of operation are generally Saturdays and Sundays between 11:30 am and 3:30 pm (fair weather only) and service does not run on a set schedule.

Trolley rides are by donation and entrance to the park is free or subject to special event day fees. Typically only one trolley will be in operation. The 1912 "California Car" #124, built by the American Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri for the San Jose Railroad or the 1922 Birney Safety Car #143, built by the St. Louis Car Co. The Trolley Barn is often open for visitors most weekends from 11 am to 4 pm. Inside there are interactive displays, numerous restored vehicles such as the 1927 Kleiber Oil Truck, 1863 San Francisco Horse Drawn Street Car #7, "Little Buttercup" a 1899 Baldwin Locomotive Works steam engine and a 1916 Detroit Electric Touring Car. Also on display outside on the park grounds are a 1921 Port Huron Traction Engine and Southern Pacific Railroad's 0-6-0 steam locomotive #1215 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1913. Since 1989, volunteers have been restoring the Southern Pacific 2479. Work continues at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, California. Its future home will be the San Jose Railroad Museum, which is currently looking for a location.

Operating as usual

ATSF 24190-4-0t

ATSF 2419

Locomotives of the Southern Pacific company, by G.M. BestAuthor: Railway & Locomotive Historical SocietyPublished: Bosto...

Locomotives of the Southern Pacific company,
by G.M. Best

Author: Railway & Locomotive Historical Society
Published: Boston, Mass., The Railway and locomotive historical society, Baker library, Harvard business school, 1941.


Shay Geared Locomotive. Fig. 133. A locomotive for climbing steep grades which utilizes the entire weight of engine and ...

Shay Geared Locomotive. Fig. 133.

A locomotive for climbing steep grades which utilizes the entire weight of engine and tender for adhesion. A three-cylinder vertical engine is mounted on one side just in front of the firebox. It drives a horizontal shaft made in sections and joined with flexible couplings, which extends the entire length of the engine and tender and drives all the axles by means of bevel gears on the shaft and wheels. The wheels are grouped in four-wheel swiveling trucks to enable the locomotive to round sharp curves.

Locomotive Dictionary
Geoge L. Fowler, 1906

One Hundred Years of the Locomotive, 1815-1915 : a book of old prints and unusual photographs gotten together with espec...

One Hundred Years of the Locomotive, 1815-1915 : a book of old prints and unusual photographs gotten together with especial reference to the development of the locomotive in America and issued by the Erie Railroad Company. 1915


Injector. An instrument for forcing water into a steam boiler in which a jet of steam imparts its velocity to the water ...

Injector. An instrument for forcing water into a steam boiler in which a jet of steam imparts its velocity to the water and thus forces it into the boiler against the boiler pressure. The injector was first reduced to practical form by Henri Giffard, an eminent French engineer, in the year 1858, and was introduced in this country by William Sellers & Co., Inc., in I860.

Locomotive Dictionary
Geoge L. Fowler, 1906

Locomotive Dictionary; an illustrated vocabulary of terms which designate American Railroad locomotives, their parts, at...

Locomotive Dictionary; an illustrated vocabulary of terms which designate American Railroad locomotives, their parts, attachments and details of construction, with definations and illustrations of typical British locomotive practice; five thousand one hundred and forty-eight illustrations.

Geoge L. Fowler, 1906


West Side LumberHeisler Locomotive #3Stearns Manufacturing Company, Erie PennsylvaniaConstruction Number: 1041Built: 190...

West Side Lumber
Heisler Locomotive #3
Stearns Manufacturing Company, Erie Pennsylvania
Construction Number: 1041
Built: 1900
Drivers: 36"
Cylinders: 15 x 12
Engine Weight: 74,000 lbs (37 tons)
Boiler Pressure: 160 psi
Tractive Effort: 14,000

Last of the 3 Foot Loggers
The Westside Lumber Company
By Allan Kreig

West Side Lumber #3 is still in operation at Roaring Camp Railroads

Derail on the Sierra Lumber Company Trestle near Lyonsville California, Circa 1895.Northeastern California Historical Ph...

Derail on the Sierra Lumber Company Trestle near Lyonsville California, Circa 1895.

Northeastern California Historical Photograph Collection

Locomotive #2, "Antelope", H.K. Porter & Co. 1883

Stirling City Bank Robbers Escape by RailOn Saturday, June 11th, 1911, burglars broke into the Stirling City Bank in Cal...

Stirling City Bank Robbers Escape by Rail

On Saturday, June 11th, 1911, burglars broke into the Stirling City Bank in California and dynamited the safe, escaping with nine thousand dollars on the Butte County Railroad. The railcar was later found ditched in Chico (Image).

In 1912, Frank McNamera confessed to the robbery and described where a portion of the loot was hidden, but it could never be found.

The Stirling City Bank was one of the various businesses of the Diamond Match Company that established the city in 1903 and milled the local trees for their products.


Railroads of CaliforniaThe crew of Train Number 122 poses in the early 1920's after arrival in Santa Cruz California.Pho...

Railroads of California

The crew of Train Number 122 poses in the early 1920's after arrival in Santa Cruz California.

Photographer: James G. Walker, SP Engineer

Built in 1903 by the American Car Company for the Los Gatos Interurban Railway as #4 and later renumbered to  Peninsular...

Built in 1903 by the American Car Company for the Los Gatos Interurban Railway as #4 and later renumbered to Peninsular Railway #52, the Interurban car still operates at the Western Railway Musuem.

Preserved and in operation at the Western Railway Musuem, Peninsular Railway #52 "Slim 50" was built in 1903 by the Amer...

Preserved and in operation at the Western Railway Musuem, Peninsular Railway #52 "Slim 50" was built in 1903 by the American Car Company for the Los Gatos Interurban Railway as #4.


The Battle of Sebastopol Road, March 1, 1905 between the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad (SF&NP) and the Petalu...

The Battle of Sebastopol Road, March 1, 1905 between the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad (SF&NP) and the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway (P&SR) was a legendary fight to establish a crossing on the outskirts of Santa Rosa. The SF&NP was in a rate war with the new electric rail line over the poultry, eggs and fruit business when the P&SR applied for a grade crossing over the SF&NP track near the Santa Rosa depot. The SF&NP declined permission for a grade crossing and demanded that the new railroad tunnel under or build an overpass. Both options were, of course, far too expensive to be taken seriously.

Santa Rosa's merchants were outraged and signed a document threatening to boycott the SF&NP. In response the SF&NP positioned two steam locomotives to shoot steam at any attempt to construct the crossing. The P&SR laid tracks to the edge of the SF&NP line and built a grade crossing in their shops and loaded it on a flat car. When the flat car arrived at the crossing site and men began sawing through the steam line's rails the SF&NP engines began spraying steam and boiling water at the workers who ran for their lives.

The following day the P&SR interurban car #57 arrived secretly carrying the construction crew. The workers jumped out and built two barriers across the tracks to keep the steam engines at bay and laid a temporary track across and over the steam rails and a team of horses pulled the trolley #57 across. But that was only the first skirmish. To get to the street railway tracks, the trolley had to cross another SF&NP line, a spur track which served Grace Brothers Brewery. The SF&NP went to court and got an injunction forbidding the trolley to cross. For two months, the car sat idle between the SF&NP tracks.

When the injunction expired on the first of March, 1905 the SF&NP had cars full of dirt and men with shovels who covered the electric line's tracks to block the P&SR. A crowd gathered, mostly to cheer the P&SR in what turned into a giant mud fight. Steam, dirt, rocks and insults were flying in all direction. The P&SR had parked wagons on the tracks to keep the steam engines back but the engines crashed through them, showering the crowd with splinters and wagon parts.

The battle waged all through the day, until a telegram arrived at 5 p.m. saying that a San Francisco court had ruled in favor of the P&SR. The police finally intervened and the shovel brigade was ordered to cease and desist. The electric line crews worked through the night and shortly before sunrise the stranded trolley car rolled smoothly over the new grade crossing and all the way to the courthouse.

Sonoma County Library

San Francisco and San Jose Railroad #11"Menlo Park" 4-4-0Mason Machine Works, 1870The Mason Machine Works of Taunton, Ma...

San Francisco and San Jose Railroad #11
"Menlo Park" 4-4-0
Mason Machine Works, 1870

The Mason Machine Works of Taunton, Massachusetts produced locomotives, rifles, printing presses and textile machinery between 1845 and 1944. 754 steam locomotives were built between 1853 and 1889. However, after William Mason's death in 1883, the firm would mostly concentrate on its core business of textile machinery.

Menlo Park Historical Association

San Francisco, Napa and Calistoga Railway1905 to 1938By 1931 the line operated 9 motor passenger cars with 5 unpowered t...

San Francisco, Napa and Calistoga Railway
1905 to 1938

By 1931 the line operated 9 motor passenger cars with 5 unpowered trailer passenger cars. Much of the early passenger equipment consisted of graceful wooden cars manufactured by The Niles Car and Manufacturing Company of Niles Ohio.

Promoted as the "The Electric Pullmans" with decorative trim piece at the windows, arched clerestory windows and curved car ends.


The San Francisco Call, January 29th, 1903



The Sunset Limited and a local express met in collision east of Tucson, Ariz., yesterday morning and upward of thirty lives were lost. The wreckage caught fire and the victims were burned beyond recognition. Twenty-one bodies have been recovered. Many others of the passengers were injured, and several of tham will die. Failure of an operator to deliver an order is said to have caused the disaster.


Tuson, Ariz., Jan. 28 - Two crowded passenger trains crashed into each other at 3 o'clock this morning, fifteen miles East of Tucson. Twenty charred bodies from the wreck and twenty-five injured have been brought into Tuscon, and the fire which is consuming the wrecked cars has yet subsided. A number of missing have already been reported and it is expected that at least eight or ten more will be found in the burning ruins of the coaches. The Engineers on both trains and one of the Firemen were killed outright and their bodies burned. So badly charred are the remains of the dead that but a few have been identified and there seems no way to ascertain who they are except by watches and trinkets found beside the bodies.


The two trains, which collided head on were the Sunset Limited, Westbound and the local passenger from the West, No. 8, The Limited was running behind time, having been delayed ten hours by a freight wreck somewhere in Texas.

At Vails, Conductor Parker should have received from Night Operator Oluff an order to pass No. 8 at a siding called Esmond, four miles West of Vails. The conductor claims that he never received the order, while the night operator states that he failed to give it. At any rate, the flyer left Vails going down the grade at sixty miles an hour, with No. 8 coming toward it from Tuscon on fast time, as it too was late. On a curve one mile west of Esmond and fifteen miles east of Tuscon, the two trains crashed together.


Both engineers evidently saw the approaching trains several minutes before collision, but the air brakes were applied too late and the trains came together with a terrific force. The engines rose high in the air and the coaches of both trains piled up in a heap on the wrecked engines, catching fire from the oil tanks on the tenders, which burst into flames immediately after the trains collided.

The mail clerks, baggage-masters and the passengers in the front coaches of both trains were thrown in every direction and the coaches were crushed to splinters and the baggage cars telescoped. The operator at Vails heard the crash and at once telegraphed to Tucson for assistance. A brakeman, however, was sent back from the ill-fated trains to Vails to appeal for help, but the appeal had already been sent in before his arrival there.


In just an hour from the time the wreck occurred the relief train from Tucson was on the scene with the division official and a corps of physicians and nurses. Before the day had broken and in the light of the burning coaches, the relief party set to work to care for the wounded, who had nearly all been removed to the Pullmans which had kept the track and been pushed back from the burning wreckage. No attempt was made until about 8 o'clock to rescue the bodies of the dead from the fire. When the relief train arrived some of those who had been caught in the wreckage were Still alive and their dying moans could still be heard. The relief party was, however, helpless to I save them and the fire was so hot that the rescuers could not approach the wreck. Some time after daylight a wreck train arrived with its crew and an attempt was then made to secure the bodies before they were burned beyond recognition, but it was of no avail.


An engine and two coaches were at once dispatched to Tucson, carrying thirty injured who were under the care of the physicians. On their arrival here they were at once removed to St. Mary's Hospital. In the meantime another appeal assistance had bern received and ten additional coffins were sent to the scene of the wreck. Only eight had been reported killed when the first wreck train left and that many coffins had been taken out.

When darkness came on to-night twenty-one bodies had already been removed from the wreck and others could still be seen amidst the redhot iron, where they could not be reached. The charred remains of Engineer Bruce and his fireman. George McGrath, were picked up beside the wrecked cab. They were ldentifid by their watches, one of which was still running. The other watch had stopped when the collision took place. The body of Engineer R. Wilkey of train No. 8 was found under his cab and identified. It seems to be the general belief that those in charge of the westbound train disobeyed orders. It was also said that the operator at Vails permitted the train to pass without full orders. The train being late and the engineer In a hurry to make up time, the orders were evidently not scrutinized closely. It was the understanding that the westbound train phould have been side tracked at Esmond. This was not done, and as a result the trains struck each other with full force.


The engineer of No. 9 was John Bruce. He was killed, as was also his fireman, George O. McGrath. The engineer of No. 8, Robert Wilkey. was also killed, but his fireman. W. S. Gilbert, jumped and escaped with his life. Gilbert is badly injured. Three tramps riding on the engine of the westbound train were killed and also two passengers in the smoking car of the eastbound train. One of these passengers was J. M. Hilton, and was bound to Cambridge, Mass. The name of the other passpnper could not be ascertained, but he was on his way to Bisbee to visit his daughter, Mrs. William H. Cherry, who was widowed in a wreck on the El Paso and Southwestern a few days ago. These two passengers, with the train butcher and Tom Donahue of Tucson, were in the smoking car. The butcher escaped through a window and Donahue made a sensational exit from the burning car through the broken roof. Within a few minutes after the collision the two trains caught fire. The engines were entirely destroyed, one was cast, a total wreck, on the right side of the track, and the other upside down on the left. There were three Pullman cars on the eastbound and two on the westbound. One of the eastbound Pullmans, the one in the rear, was what Is known as a deadhead. Eleven cars were burned— two mail cars, two baggage cars, two smokers, two day coaches, an extra box car carrying theatrical baggage and two Pullmans, one on each train. The rear coach on the eastbound was running empty, having onlv the colored porter aboard. The passengers and train crews joined hands to save as many of the coaches as possible from the fire and to do this shoved them apart. The deadhead Pullman got a good start and rushed back to Tucson and crashed into a switch engine in the yard. The car got bunged up and the engine was disabled. The porter did not understand the brake and could not stop the car. He was not hurt. The bodies of the engineers and fireman were burned under the wrecks of their engines.


The fuel used on the engines scattered over the cars and a fierce and instantaneous fire followed. It is regarded as bordering on the miraculous that the loss of life was not greater. Both Conductor Parker of the Limited and Night Operator Oluff of Vails are prostrated and are now in Tucson staying with friends. The shoo-fly around the wreck was completed at 1 o'clock to-day and the delayed trains then passed the wreck, which was still burning. The smoke was so dense that the windows on the passing trains had to be closed tight to prevent the passengers from being suffocated. When night came the wreck was still burning and the work of rescuing the charred bodies was postponed till tomorrow. Guards have been thrown about the wreck for the night and a telegraph office has been opened there. Both of the engineers of the ill-fated trains had families in Tucson and their wives are prostrated. The entire town of Tucson is shrouded in grief, as many railroad employes live here, and the dead men were all well known. All day long the ambulances have been going back and forth from the hospitals to the relief train and all day long the dead wagons have been going on their growsome errand to the station to bring in the charred remains of the unfortu-, natc victims. Some of the dead will never be Identified, while articles have been found near the bodies of others which ought to prove a means of Identification. The body of M. P. Williard was identified by a small sterling silver knife on which his name and address were engraved. Rings, keys and other metallic pieces were found near almoFt all of the bodies except those of the tramps riding on the trucks and on top of one of the tenders.


One of these tramps, named Dwyer, who boarded the tender at Benson, was thrown 300 feet by the force of the collision and escaped with only slight Injuries. He says that the engineer on the limited could not have seen No. 8 until he rounded the curve just past Esmond, where he should have passed the other train. It was not until he rounded the curve that he put on the air, but it was then too late to break the force of the collision, as the trains were close together. Engineer Wilkey of No. 8 evidently saw the limited before it rounded the curve, as he threw on the breaks in time to slow down some and called to his fireman, W. S. Gilbert, to jump. Gilbert succeeded in getting out cf the cab before the collision. Wilkey. however, did not desert his post, but met his death bravely. W. C. Aiken of Colton, Cal., who Is on his way to the Indian Territory, tells not only of a most miraculous escape, but relates a most authentic story of the scene in the Smoker of No. 8. He was in the front part of the car when the shock came Everybody was thrown about the car, many of them being pinioned, and the greatest confusion prevailed. There were about twenty in the car. Aiken's window happened to be open and he crawled through it. Assisted by passengers from the other cars, he pulled a man through the top of the car, which was split open. This is the only man who escaped from the car he witnessed. The passengers and train crew in the sleepers performed great services In rescuing the men and women from the day coaches and tourist sleepers. Lockwood Hibbard of Chicago, was in the sleeper Mendota on No. 8, which went up In the flames which enveloped the wreckage after the collision. There was little time to get out of his car, but the coolness of the conductor undoubtedly saved a great many lives. Hibbard believes that all of the passengers in his car escaped with only slight injuries. He lost all of his samples, consisting of five trunks.


W. C. Coley of Boston, who was in the Washington sleeper on the Limited, was one of the few who had time to get hia clothes after the shock came. Nobody In the car was killed, the most seriously injured being Thomas J. Lolliard, a banker from Elkin. N. CV- He was hurt Internally. Others in this car seriously injured were Lewis Griggs of Lancaster, Cal., and John A. Harmon of Bakersfield. It is said that Night Operator Oluff of Vails, who had charge of the orders for the Limited, a few minutes after that train had passed, discovered that Conductor Parker did not have the order which should have held him at Esmond. and knowing that No. 8 had left Tucson he realized the gravity of the situation. Rushing out of his office and, down the track a distance he saw a volume of fire and smoke rise high into the air. As he saw the two trains go together a little more than four miles away he immediately wired Tucson and a short time afterward the second westbound train arrived at Vails and was stopped. The delayed Limited was being run as a First section of No. 7 and the train which came along was the second section. The engine of. this second section was uncoupled and sent to the scene of the wreck. When it arrived there it collided with the sleepers which had been pulled out by the passengers and crew and pushed them into the fire. The diner, which was ahead, caught fire and was threatened with destruction, but the engine was finally coupled on and pulled the cars to a place of safety.
The regular engineer on No. 8's run had laid off and Wilkey was taking his place. His name is M. F. Ingham. When Wilkey agreed to take his run he jokingly told him that It would be the last run he would make for him, not knowing of the terrible accident which was about to happen to him and that Fate had decreed that it was to be his last run.


Friends of Gates M. Fowler of Phoenix are worried about his safety. He was to leave here last evening for Cananca and is now reported missing. He is a brother of M. B. Fowler of Phoenix and is prominent in mining circles. ¦ The James Bois Theatrical Company had their special "car demolished in the wreck. Their scenery, baggage and other effects were lost. The contents of the car was valued at several thousand dollars. They will have to cancel engagements,., no doubt, and return to Chicago. Several drummers had to wire their firm for new samples this morning. These outfits have no small value and their loss causes no end of trouble. The country where the wreck occurred Is not the best In the world' for fast running. There is a small curve Just this side of Esmond. An engineer can scarcely tell whether a train Is on the main track or on the siding when he dashes around the curve. The company investigation and the Coroner's inquest will be held to-morrow, when the responsibility for the wreck will be determined.


635 Phelan Ave
San Jose, CA


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