Escalon to South Modesto, CA

This line started out at the turn of the 20th Century as the Tidewater Southern Railroad, an electric interurban that ran from Stockton southwards through Modesto and into Turlock. After the railroad was acquired by Western Pacific and the traffic declined, passenger service ceased.

A few interesting notes of the Tidewater Southern's presence within Modesto. Once passenger service stopped, electric wires along the route were taken down, except for in Modesto proper, which did not allow steam locomotives within city limits. This required the Tidewater Southern to maintain a small fleet of electric locomotives around Modesto, which would then pull entire trains (along with the steam locomotives) through town. This practice was observed long after electric freight trains fell out of favor in the rest of the US, up until diesels starting seeing use in the mid 1940s. In addition, the mainline through Modesto ran right down the middle of 9th Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare through the center of town. As city traffic increased, the street running was looked upon more and more as a nuisance, as can be expected.

The tracks last saw service in 1999, and in 2000, after the nearby interchange with the UP was completed, the 9th Avenue tracks were paved over, bringing to an end almost 90 years of street running in Modesto, CA.

—  Links to Other Websites  —

—  User Comments  —

Many years ago in my bad-boy youth, I had the opportunity to ride over these tracks on a freight train down Ninth Ave and north out of the city of Modesto, and to Stockton. Don't ask me how, but the tracks that were once here left an good memories that are hard to let go. Thanks for the info, David

David Husted
Fresno, CA

In 2004, the line through Modesto was removed and the portion that cuts through 9th St were eventually removed. The trestle south of Modesto in 2001 burned and torn down. As of 2005, the portion from Ceres to Turlock remains but terminates west the UP (former SP) main. The other end north of Modesto to Stockton remains as of 2005 but viability could be questioned. There are a few plants that are serviced but it is seasonal.

Robert Benkelman
New Jersey, NJ

I remember the line well. I grew up in Modesto that line was part of my life I use to jump from that trestle as a kid. I was on my way for a couple jumps but it was on fire

Jimmy Sanders
Modesto , CA

Escalon to North Modesto as of September 2018: Active track ends near milepost 21, about 10 carlengths south of Naraghi Farms. Mp 21 to River Road (1-1/4 mi.) the track is intact, but overgrown. River Road to Ladd Road (1-3/4 mi.) the track is completely removed, Ladd Road to Kiernan Road (1-1/2 mi.) the track is in place, but heavily overgrown, Kiernan Road to Bangs Road (1/2 mi.) the tracks are completely removed, and Bangs Road to Pelandale Road the tracks are intact, but heavily overgrown. From Pelandale Road to downtown, the rails remain in only a couple of street crossings.

Lynn Powell
Modesto, CA

I grew up in Modesto, not far the Tidewater tracks at Granger ave. I was fascinated by the large locomotives when I was young as it went by Roosevelt Park where we used to play. when we got older we even hoped a few rides now and then as they were slow trains.I still love Trains and frequent the Sierra Railroad in James Town Ca. Sacramento Rail Yards and Feather River Rail society in Portola. I have to Say Very Good memories of the Tidewater Trains !

james bryden
Modesto, CA