Sierra Railroad 1955

Modeling the Sierra Railroad in Twain Harte, CA

Sierra Prototype Locations

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Hetch Hetchy Junction, May 2, 1937. Photo by Guy Dunscomb. The roof on the water tank has seen better days. That’s the Sierra #20.

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Hetch Hetchy Jct, May 2, 1937. Guy Dunscomb photo. It’s hard to see but just to the left of the open door in building in the background is a locomotive under steam, the #20?. Some great modeling ideas in this photo.

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A one car spur in Sonora, east of the Station. Date and photographer unknown. Prior to seeing this photo I was aware of Standard Oil spur west of the Station and the Associated Oil spur that can be seen in the background of this photo. From the Conductors book that I have for the fall of 1952 there were several Shell Oil cars delivered to Sonora so I assumed that the car in the photo was a Shell Oil car. But upon closer inspection the car is a Union Oil Company of California car. UOCX cars were delivered to Standard and Jamestown in 1952 but not to Sonora. Was this spur a team track for tank cars, another words not a dedicated spur for a specific oil company.

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Another shot in the Sonora area, this one is west of the Station and west of the Standard Oil spur. The two Blackjack rock hoppers appear to have some type of gravel. The unloading bins were either for county road maintenance or was part of Hales & Symons, I lean towards the county road maintenance explanation. The road below the unloading chutes is what is now Washington Street that meets Hwy 108 near Lime Kiln. The car to the left of the two Blackjacks appears to be a single gondola type of car. The 80 Blackjack cars were purchased in November 1925 for a total of $62,533.04.

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The Standard Oil spur and building in Sonora.  Photo taken prior to the move of Standard Lumber Co to Standard.

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The Sonora Station on May 3, 1937, photo by Guy Dunscomb. The Post Office is now at this location.

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The #28 pushing a cut of cars into Hales and Symons.

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The #28 appears to be helping a freight train eastbound out of Sonora. It appears the car in front of the caboose is a gondola with a a 3 board extension.

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The first of 3 photos of the same train. A very long passenger train in Sonora.

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The same train at the Sonora Station. Is it some type of military train or a CCC train during the 30’s.

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The third photo of the group. The triple header, #24, #36 and the #28 heading east towards Tuolumne.

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The Jamestown Depot June 1, 1938, photo from the Ken Meeker Collection. It appears that the stairs from the Freight Shed down to the Station are being repaired or replaced. There is a new stair stringer to the right of the saw horses and there appears to be no steps down to the station.

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Jamestown turntable, date and photographer unknown. What’s interesting in this photo is the use of Angels Combine #5 as a caboose. Typically the Combine was the caboose on the Hill Job, Jamestown to Tuolumne. If that is the case here and with the Combine on the west end of the train my guess is that the train is ready to depart Jamestown. Running westbound it will back out of Jamestown pass the water tank and then will head east up the hill towards Lime Kiln.

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The Jamestown water tank. The date on the back of the photo is December 29, 1967. Photographer is unknown. The structure behind the tank is the remains of the fuel bunker that was used in the 20’s.

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The Sierra #38 leaving Tuolumne . Date and photographer unknown.

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Brian Curnow took this photo on Jan 14, 1965.  In his own words  ” . . . Sierra 40 &42 descending Chinese Hill, eastbound, with five”Black Jacks”, loaded with rock ballast.  These cars were bound for Lyons Dam, and track work being done on Pickering Lumber Corp Railroad. I ditched school (Sonora High School) that day in order to take photos of the train. I was later caught by school Administrator, Jerry Keith, and it turned into a very bad experience for me when my father learned of my mis-deeds! I had no prior knowledge of the Blackjacks in the train. It was just a chance happening. I was at the right place at the right time…. “

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The Sierra Seminar is normally held the 3rd weekend in April, the Sunday after the West Side Loggers Convention, in Sonora, CA. For information on this year's Seminar please contact me at jzach@hrblock.com

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