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Picture Gallery of
Southern Pacific Railroad Trains
on the Black Butte Subdivision in California

Southern Pacific Railroad train and signals on the Black Butte Subdivision in California

For this series we will follow Southern Pacific trackage form the north end of the Sacramento Valley in California north through Dunsmuir to Penoyar siding on the Valley and Black Butte Subdivisions.

The Southern Pacific began to expand northward in California in October 1869. The line from Marysville reached Redding in September 1872. The Oregon & California Railroad Company was building south from Portland and reached Salem in September 1870, Eugene in October 1871, and Roseburg in December 1872. Construction stopped due to financial difficulties, but resumed twelve years later. The Oregon & California Railroad Company was acquired by the SP in July 1887. The lines were finally connected at Ashland in December 1887.

To overcome the steep grades and numerous curves on the Siskiyou Line, the SP built the Natron Cut-off. This line was also started at both ends and built toward the middle. Originally the line east from Eugene was to connect with the Union Pacific near Nampa, Idaho. However, breakup of the Harriman empire stopped construction at Oakridge in 1912. The California portion had reached Klamath Falls in 1909 and stopped at Kirk in 1912. Work resumed in September 1923 and was completed in August 1926. This route was 25 miles shorter than the Siskiyou Line and reduced the maximum grade from 3.3% to 2.2%.

In 1926 SP continued work begun in 1925, installing 183 color light signals between Black Butte and Klamath Falls, OR 84 miles. In 1928, it added 165 US&S searchlight signals from Davis, CA through Woodland to Tehama 111 miles. The line had about 20 trains a day in 1928.

CTC was installed in stages. CTC was completed between Redding and Delta 30.1 miles in March 1942. The CTC was extended Dunsmuir in June 1942, and to Black Butte in November 1942. In 1958, it installed US&S interlocking at Texum to control one switch to the Modoc Branch and three signals. Later CTC was added between Black Butte and Klamath Falls in 1966. The entire route from Portland to Roseville via Klamath Falls now has CTC. SP installed one of the first microwave systems between Dunsmuir and Black Butte in 1956.

All pictures in this series are on disks 19 and 20. You can purchase a disk and printout any of the pictures for your own use to dress up your train room or add color to a house that just cries out for more train pictures.

Castle Crag
Mount Shasta
Black Butte
Grass Lake