|Locale||Marin and Sonoma Counties, California|
|Dates of operation||1871–1907|
|Successor||Northwestern Pacific Railroad|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Previous gauge||3 ft (914 mm)|
The North Pacific Coast Railroad (NPC) was a common carrier 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge steam railroad begun in 1874 and sold in 1902 to new owners who renamed it the North Shore Railroad (California) (NSR) and which rebuilt the southern section into a standard-gauge electric railway.
The NPC operated in the northern California counties of Marin and Sonoma that carried redwood lumber, local dairy and agricultural products, express and passengers. The NPC operated almost 93 mi (150 km) of track that extended from a pier at Sausalito (which connected the line via ferry to San Francisco) and operated northwest to Duncans Mills and Cazadero (also known as Ingrams). The NPC became the North Shore Railroad (California) (NSR) on March 7, 1902. In 1907 the North Shore Railroad became part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP). Southern portions of the line were standard gauged and electrified by the North Shore for suburban passenger service, though tracks north of Point Reyes Station remained 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge until abandonment in the late 1930s.
All of the NPC trackage has been abandoned either by the NPC or the NWP. Some of the original right of way can be seen at the Samuel P. Taylor State Park near Fairfax, along the shore of Tomales Bay and Keyes Estuary and passenger depots remain in San Anselmo, Duncans Mills and Point Reyes Station. One NPC steam locomotive, No.12 the "Sonoma," remains as a restored static exhibit in its circa 1870s appearance at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, while Duncans Mills hosts some decaying cars that are not being restored. A flatcar, North Shore 1725, has been restored as a picnic car and operates at the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources' Railroad Museum at Ardenwood in Fremont. The wooden water tank and a freight shed are maintained and in good condition at Freestone.
Mileposts conform to Southern Pacific Railroad convention of distance from San Francisco:
|1||Saucelito||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-0||1873||3495||sold to White Lumber Company of Elk, California 1876|
|2||San Rafael||Mason Machine Works||0-4-4 T||1874||537||burned at Tomales 1905 & rebuilt became NWP #89|
|3||Tomales||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1875||3722||became NWP #83|
|4||Olema||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1874||3629||wrecked 1894 & rebuilt became NWP #81|
|5||Bodega||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1875||3703||dismantled by 1897|
|6||Valley Ford||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1874||3664||leased to Dollar Lumber Company in 1899|
|7||Tamalpais||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1875||3721|
|8||Bully Boy||Mason Machine Works||0-6-6 T||1877||584||burned at Tomales 1905|
|9||M. S. Latham||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1875||3749||wrecked 14 January 1894 at Elim Grove trestle over Austin Creek|
|10||Bloomfield||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1876||3840||sold 1895 Guatemala Western #1|
|11||Marin||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1876||3842||became NWP #82|
|12||Sonoma||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1876||3843||sold 1879 Nevada Central #5 (preserved at California State Railroad Museum)|
|13||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-0||1883||6611||became NWP #195|
|14||Brooks Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1891||1885||became NWP #92|
|15||Brooks Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1891||1886||became NWP #90|
|16||Brooks Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1894||2421||became NWP #91|
|17||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1875||3749||NPC 1894 rebuild of wreck-damaged #9 wrecked again in 1900|
|18||Brooks Locomotive Works||4-6-0||1899||3418||reputedly the largest 3 ft (914 mm) gauge locomotive in the world when built became NWP #145 then #95|
|20||NPC Sausalito shop||4-4-0||1900||1||became NWP #84|
|21||Thomas-Stetson||NPC Sausalito shop||4-4-0||1901||2|
cab-forward rebuild of #5 scrapped 1905
|22||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1874||3664||former #6 renumbered when returned from Dollar Lumber Company in 1901|
The NSR was operated by John Martin and Eugene de Sabla Jr., pioneers in the electric railroad business. The southern 23 miles (37 km) of line were modernized to allow operation of standard-gauge electric passenger cars in addition to narrow-gauge steam-powered freight trains. Electric cars sometimes shared dual-gauge tracks with the steam trains, while at other locations a separate track for the electric cars was constructed parallel to the narrow-gauge route. The line was ultimately double tracked from Sausalito to San Anselmo except for the tunnel at Alto. A power house was built at Alto and power was also purchased at San Rafael. Direct current electrical power was transmitted to the trains at 600 volts by a third rail (which was actually a fourth rail on the dual-gauge segments.) Service started to Mill Valley on August 20, 1903, and to San Rafael on October 17, 1903. It was the first United States steam railroad electrified for operational efficiency rather than for smoke abatement. The railroad established practices later used in Grand Central Terminal and the interborough subways of New York City. The electric lines were expanded after 1907 as part of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. Interurban services ceased on February 28, 1941.
|101-112||St. Louis Car Co.||Trailers||1902||66 seats||twelve unpowered open platform wooden trailers; #102 built in North Shore shops|
|201-202||North Shore shops||Motors||1904||32 seats & baggage/mail/express compartment||two vestibuled wooden motors converted from narrow-gauge Pullman coaches built in 1879|
|203||North Shore shops||Motor||1904||50 seats||open platform wooden motor converted from narrow-gauge Pullman coach built in 1879; renumbered 309|
|301-308||St. Louis Car Co.||Motors||1902||64 to 70 seats||open platform wooden motors; #303-308 built in North Shore shops|
|350-358||St. Louis Car Co.||Motors||1902||36 seats & baggage/mail/express compartment||nine vestibuled wooden motors|
|401-404||North Shore shops||Trailers||1904||66 seats||four unpowered open platform wooden trailers converted from narrow-gauge Pullman coaches built in 1879|
Tomales Bay is a long, narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Marin County in northern California in the United States. It is approximately 15 mi (24 km) long and averages nearly 1.0 mi (1.6 km) wide, effectively separating the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mainland of Marin County. It is located approximately 30 mi (48 km) northwest of San Francisco. The bay forms the eastern boundary of Point Reyes National Seashore. Tomales Bay is recognized for protection by the California Bays and Estuaries Policy. On its northern end, it opens out onto Bodega Bay, which shelters it from the direct current of the Pacific. The bay is formed along a submerged portion of the San Andreas Fault.
Duncans Mills is an unincorporated community located in Sonoma County, California.
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad is a railroad covering the 62 mi (100 km) stretch between Schellville and Windsor with freight and Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) commuter trains. Formerly, it was a regional railroad that served the entire North Coast of California, with a main line running 271 miles (436 km) from Schellville to Eureka, along with an additional portion of the line running from the Ignacio Wye to the edge of San Rafael. The portion of the NWP main line between the Ignacio Wye in Marin County and the depot in Healdsburg is owned by SMART. The Schellville–Ignacio and Healdsburg–Eureka portions are owned by the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA). Private contractor NWPco operates freight service under NCRA lease. California's 2018 Great Redwood Trail Act repurposes the abandoned railroad right-of-way from Eureka to the San Francisco Bay in Marin County for future use as the "Great Redwood Trail" rail-trail.
The Arcata and Mad River Railroad, founded in 1854, was the oldest working railroad in California. It operated on a unique narrow gauge until the 1940s when standard gauge rails were laid. Service ceased in 1983 due to landslides. It is California Historical Landmark #842.
The Albion River is an 18.1-mile-long (29.1 km) river in Mendocino County, California. The river drains about 43 square miles (110 km2) on the Mendocino Coast and empties into the Pacific Ocean near the town of Albion, California, where California State Route 1 crosses it on the Albion River Bridge. The river's overall direction is east to west, but it moves significantly in the north-south direction. The tributaries of the river include Railroad Gulch, Pleasant Valley Creek, Duck Pond Gulch, South Fork Albion River, Tom Bell Creek, North Fork Albion River, and Marsh Creek. The river's most inland point is only 15 miles (24 km) from the coast, and its highest elevation is about 1,570 feet (480 m) above sea level. There is a large estuary at the mouth of the river, and tidal waters travel up to 5 miles (8 km) upstream. The Albion River was previously used to power a sawmill on the river mouth, but there are no major dams or reservoirs on the river. The river provides recreation, groundwater recharge and industrial water supply for the community of Albion, and wildlife habitat including cold freshwater habitat for fish migration and spawning.
San Francisco Bay in California has been served by ferries of all types for over 150 years. John Reed established a sailboat ferry service in 1826. Although the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge led to the decline in the importance of most ferries, some are still in use today for both commuters and tourists.
The Pacific Coast Railway was a 3 ft narrow gauge railway on the Central Coast of California. The original 10-mile (16 km) link from San Luis Obispo to Avila Beach and Port Harford was later built southward to Santa Maria and Los Olivos, with branches to Sisquoc and Guadalupe.
Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad was a 600 volt DC electric interurban railway in Sonoma County, California, United States. It operated between the cities of Petaluma, Sebastopol, Forestville, and Santa Rosa. Company-owned steamboats provided service between Petaluma and San Francisco.
Austin Creek is a 16.0-mile-long (25.7 km) southward-flowing stream in the mountains of western Sonoma County, California which empties into the Russian River about 4 miles (6 km) from the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad (SF&NP) provided the first extensive standard gauge rail service to Sonoma County and became the southern end of the regional Northwestern Pacific Railroad. Although first conceived of by Asbury Harpending, who had even obtained many of the right of ways, the SF & NP was bought and subsequently constructed by Peter Donahue, who drove the first spike on August 30, 1869.
The Mount Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway was a scenic tourist railway operating between Mill Valley and the east peak of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California, covering a distance of 8.19 miles (13.18 km), with a 2.88-mile (4.63 km) spur line to the Muir Woods. The railroad was incorporated in January 1896, and closed in the summer of 1930. Originally planned as a 4 ft 8 1⁄2 instandard gauge electric trolley line, the railroad was powered by a succession of geared steam locomotives. Billed as the "Crookedest Railroad in the World," the line was renowned for its steep and serpentine route, winding through picturesque terrain to a mountaintop tavern providing first-class hospitality and panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite its popularity, the railway met its demise following a fire in 1929, and dwindling ridership when the automobile could finally drive to Tamalpais' summit.
The Fort Bragg and Southeastern Railroad was formed by Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as a consolidation of logging railways extending inland from Albion, California on the coast of Mendocino County. The railroad and its predecessors operated from 1 August 1885 to 16 January 1930. The line was merged into the regional Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1907; but planned physical connection was never completed.
Southern Pacific Transportation Company formed the Oregon and Eureka Railroad in 1903 in an agreement to use logging railroads as part of a line connecting Humboldt County (California) sawmills with the national rail network. Northwestern Pacific Railroad offered service over the route from 1911 through 1933. The northern 6-mile (9.7 km) of the line remained in use as a Hammond Lumber Company logging branch until 1948.
Sausalito Ferry Terminal is a ferry terminal in Sausalito, California, connecting Marin County and San Francisco. The station is served by Golden Gate Ferry and Blue & Gold Fleet ferries as well as Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit bus routes.
Carter Brothers manufactured railroad cars in northern California during the late 19th century. The firm was founded in 1872 by two Irish carriage-makers who moved to California during the American Civil War. Their cars built more than a century earlier were used into the 21st century on the San Francisco cable car system and the White Pass and Yukon Route.
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad operated a network of electric interurban lines in Marin County, California from 1903 to 1941. The lines ran to Sausalito at the southern tip of the county, where connecting ferries ran to San Francisco. Trains consisted of electric multiple units powered by third rail electrification. The lines were the first third-rail electrification in California, and the first major railroad to use alternating current signals.