San Joaquin Short Line

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The SJSL represents a branch line set in the southern San Joaquin Valley during World War II.  It closely parallels Southern Pacific and Santa Fe operations in that area.

It’s founding occurred during the branch line boom of the early-1900s.  City Fathers saw such “vast potential” in their area that they decided to build a railroad.  As happened with most of these little lines, funds ran out before completion, and the hoped-for traffic didn’t materialize.  So, the line was sold at a Sheriff’s Auction.  The Santa Fe and Southern Pacific bought it and built it out.

Not that long after completion, traffic began to materialize.  The primary outbound traffic is fruits and vegetables, both fresh and canned. A quarry generates traffic for both on- and off-line customers. The SJSL receives cut lumber and box shook from a lumber mill at the end of the line.

Reefer operations are primary.  Each different crop loaded at the 8 packing houses follows actual car handling procedures.  More, traffic follows seasonal patterns, with packing houses shut down during off seasons. Both Santa Fe and Pacific Fruit Express reefers are used due to a wartime ruling that disallowed exclusive use of reefers to any one railroad.

Line schematic:

Valley Springs  ►►  Aurora ►► Bend  ►►  Cojones  ►►  Damascus Jct.

The following trains run six days per week:

3rd Street Switch – runs without stopping to Cojones and serves the 5 major shippers located on 3rd Street in Cojones. 

Cojones Local – runs to Cojones and switches non-agricultural industries. 

Aurora & Bend (A-B) Local – switches all non-agricultural industries in these two towns. 

Cojones Reefers – runs twice daily to serve packing houses in Cojones.

Aurora Reefers - runs twice daily to serve packing houses in Aurora.

Dam Train – runs from Damascus Junction to Valley Springs and return.  It handles all traffic for the Friant Dam project.

Sugar Pine Turn – runs daily to service the Sugar Pine Lumber Company mill in Damascus Junction.

#s 2 and 1 – the daily local passenger trains between Cojones and Valley Springs.

Wasco Turn – serves all industries in the town of Wasco.

Superintendent Bill Jolitz
Division or Location: Southern San Joaquin Valley of California
Interchange Railroads: Santa Fe, Southern Pacific
Size of Railroad: 16 x 25 ft
Scale: HO
Era: 1943
Control System: Lenz DCC
Scale Clock Speed: 4:1
Length of Session: 3 actual hours
Number of Crew: 1 footboard Yardmaster and 2 road crews
Train Control: Smoke orders and verbal authority
Are Radios Required: No
Listed Jobs: 8 for Road Conductor-Engineers
Accessibility: Stairs
Distance from hotel: 26 miles
Estimated travel time from hotel: 30 minutes
Web Site: {None...yet}
Pets: None

Layout photos coming soon!


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