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Foothill Rails--Misc.--San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada
San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada RR
(Southern Pacific Kentucky House Branch)

   This line was completed as a narrow guage from Bracks Landing to Valley Springs in 1885. Three short years later the Southern Pacific took over. It remained narrow guage until 1897 with equipment supplemented from SP's other narrow guage operations. In 1926 the line was extended to a cement plant near San Andreas. This plant shut down in 1984 and the line fell into disuse except for storage at times. The rails themselves were finally taken up on the eastern end around 1998.

1. 2. 3.
1. This westward view, with Wallace,CA in the background, shows the line leaving town to begin its climb into the foothills.
2. Looking the opposite way is a shallow cut.
3. The right of way leaves the cut on a big fill, to parallel Hwy 12 again.
4. 5. 6. 7.
4. & 5. A short while later, the line crosses Hwy 12 at grade. Image 4 looks west with image 5 looking east.
6. Again looking westward, the right of way exits this cut, passes through another small one out of picture to
the right, and enters the town of Burson.
7. About two miles east, the railroad crossed over the highway on a bridge, since removed.
8. 9. 10. 11.
8. Continuing its climb, the line passes through this very large cut.
9. This view looks back from atop the cut towards the bridge site.
10. Exiting the cut, the line enters the valley in which lies Valley Springs, the original terminous.
11. Looking back from the west end of the depot at Valley Springs is the site of the turntable and the r-o-w heading west.
13. 14. 15.
13. Valley Springs,CA depot is now in use for small businesses. (repainted yellow 2008)
14. Plaque near Valley Spring depot about the San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada RR.
Valley Springs was also the base for the Pardee Dam construction railroad.
15. Shortly after leaving town the line crossed Cosgrove Creek.
16. 17. 18.
16. Another eastward view from the next grade crossing.
17. The grade snakes up this hill as it approches Toyon.
18. Looking back westward from the same spot.
19. 20. 21.
19. Viewed from Hwy 12, the line descends from Toyon into the canyon of the South Fork Calaveras River.
20. Closup of the big cut at Toyon visible in the last image.
21. From the same spot, the last sight of the line twisting into the canyon before one reaches Kentucky House.
22. 23. 24. 25.
22. What the plant once looked like on Aug. 07, 1981. (Peter Panos image)
23.- 24. Two views taken at whats left of the cement plant at Kentucky House,CA. The second shot shows the right of way heading towards the valley to the west.
Demolition of the site started in 2005. The silos finally came down in 2013.
25. South of San Andreas,CA, travelers on Hwy 49 pass under what appears to
be a railroad bridge built by the Calaveras Cement Co. Though built to railroad specifications as a proposed
extension of the SP Kentucky House Branch to a small quarry, this bridge never saw a train cross it, only trucks.

Also see my San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada roster for loco info.

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