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A Brief History of Kern County Railroads


logo-sp.gif (6027 bytes)    The Southern Pacific Railroad     

Southern Pacific was the original railroad built through the Bakersfield area.  The actual location of the SP station and yard in East Bakersfield was originally called Sumner, and was located a few miles northeast of Downtown Bakersfield.   A streetcar line connected Bakersfield and Sumner in the early days, until Sumner was absorbed into Bakersfield in the early 1900's.

The Southern Pacific Railroad and its subsidiaries are now part of the Union Pacific Railroad. logo-up.gif (6761 bytes)

logo-atsf.GIF (6980 bytes)    The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway

The Santa Fe Railroad gained access to the Bakersfield by the acquisition of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad, which connected Bakersfield and the San Francisco Bay area near Oakland.  As the SF&SJVRR was isolated from the Santa Fe system, trackage rights were obtained over the SP between Mojave and Bakersfield over Tehachapi Pass.

The AT&SF Railway and its subsidiaries are now part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad logo-bnsf.GIF (8329 bytes)

logo-sjvr.GIF (9913 bytes)    The San Joaquin Valley Railroad
   (operator of ex-SP and ATSF Branch Lines in the Bakersfield Area):

In 1992, Kyle Railways obtained the operating lease on several ex-SP and Santa Fe Branch lines in the Southern San Joaquin Valley of California.   The original branches taken over included the SP Exeter and Coalinga Branches, the Santa Fe Porterville Sub and Visalia-Tulare lines.  This railroad was operated as The San Joaquin Valley Railroad (a paper subsidiary is known as the Tulare Valley Railroad) and was operated by midwest regional operator Kyle Railways.   On December 8, 1992, the SJVR took over operation of two branch lines in the Bakersfield Area.  These were the Arvin, and Oil City Branches.  Additionally, SJVR operates a 3 mile line connecting the UP and BNSF mainlines in Bakersfield known as the Landco Sub.   At a later date (I believe 1994 or 1995), SJVR also took over operation of the ex-SP Buttonwillow Branch.  Currently, the SJVR operates these branches, along with the once jointly SP-Santa Fe owned Sunset Railroad.  The SJVR is currently operated by RailAmerica, which purchaced the SJVR along with several other Kyle shortlines (including the namesake Kyle Railroad) from previous operator StatesRail in early 2002.

If anyone has some more specific information I could include on this page, please forward the information to me.  Upon request, I will gladly credit the added information to the contributor.   Otherwise, detailed information will have to wait for spare research time (between family and household projects, such time is hard to come by).