A Western Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Northwaestern Pacific Railroad


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The Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP) was a regional railroad serving the Redwood Empire of Northern California. The railroad ran from the North Bay at Tiburon to Eureka, California, primarily near the U.S. Route 101 corridor (wik). The NWP Railroad, (the 'Redwood Empire Route)', played a major role in the growth of Northern California (hs). The NWP ran an electrified interurban commuter railroad in Marin County until 1941. The opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 caused commuters to shift from the train-ferry service to commuting NWP
Northwestern
Pacific
November 23, 1941
by bus and car. The NWP was merged into the Southern Pacific in 1992, only four years before the Union Pacific/Southern Pacific merger (wik). In the 30's and 40's the NWP ran two passenger trains a day from San Rafael to Eureka, California. The day train was an all stop coach train with a lunch stop of 20 to 30 minutes at Willits. The night train carrier a sleeping car, an observation lounge car, and reclining seat coaches. Breakfast and refreshments were served in the Observation lounge.
Short History of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad
1907 - The NWP was created through the consolidation of six separate picturesque railroad companies held by the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads. At its height, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad was an amalgamation of some sixty different companies. Some of the forerunners built extensive and substantial operating lines. Others, were short lines such as the many logging lines in the Humboldt Bay
region. Nearly a third consisted of companies which incorporated but never laid a foot of track. All of them contributed, in some fashion, to the rich heritage of the NWP.
1907 - Northwestern Pacific Railroad, formed by a conglomeration of six smaller railroads serving the logging industry of Northern California.
Diversity was a key word in the history of Redwood Empire railroading. Gauges varied from the Sonoma Prismoidal, an early wooden monorail, to the broad-gauged logging lines, many built to accommodate their four-legged motive power. In between lay the two foot Sonoma Magnesite RR, the first-class narrow gauge North Pacific Coast and, of course, the more common standard gauge lines. Power was supplied by horse, mules, oxen, steam, electricity, and internal combustion engines, both gas and diesel (cal)
1907 - NWP owned jointly by Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe.
1914 - After merging with the Eureka & Klamath Railroad the SP bought the Santa Fe's equal interest in the line.
1929 - The NWP, one of Northern California's historic entities, survived as a Southern Pacific wholly-owned subsidiary.
1931 - NWP operates two passenger trains a day from San Francisco to Eureka, using ferry to Sausalito. The night train carried a sleeper and observation lounge car. It also offered suburban and branch lne services San Francisco to Point Reyes, , Glen Ellen (in the Sonoma Valley), and Cazadero, as well as from Eureka north to Trinidad.
1941 - Mainline passenger trains north run only from San Rafael to Eureka. Suburban and branch line services are gone. Cazadero, Point Reyes and Trinidad branches are abandoned.
1950-55 - The day train San Rafael to Eureka is gone but the night sleeper persists.
1960 - Night train is gone, and day train reinstated with service only from Santa Rosa to Eureka. Bus service to San Francisco from Santa Rosa.
1984 - The NWP trackage from Outlet, , 4 miles north of Willits, north to Korblex [north of Arcata] was sold to a new company, the Eureka Southern Railroad, later named the North Coast RR .
1990's - Most of the traffic originated in Eureka and the surrounding area.
1992 - ES went bankrupt and sold NWP assets to the North Coast Rail Authority, which designated the North Coast Railroad to run the line. ln its first few

Timetable Map - i941
months, the North Coast Railroad leased NWP diesels, recreating the days when the Northwestern Pacific still owned the line from Willits to Eureka. The NWP interchanged with the North Coast Railroad in Willits, forwarding the train to the Southern Pacific at Suisun City. For the last few years, trains that negotiated the scenic north end of the line were run only at night.
1996 - The North Coast RR and the former "south end" of the Southern Pacific RR became the "new" Northwestern Pacific Railroad under public ownership.
1997 - The line shut down in 1997 when it was impacted by major floods and landslides.
Current - Today, the railroad is still alive but the northern end is derelict. It will require a huge rebuilding effort and tremendous sums of money if it is ever to connect with the outside world again.
Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad in California
http://www.sunnyfortuna.com/railroad/(cal)
Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society(hs)
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, November 14, 2010, revised Sept. 24, 2011