Krug to Calistoga

The Calistoga Branch

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(Forwarded from the Napa Valley Railroad)

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Picture of the Napa Valley Wine Train at Saint Helena. Photo by Mike Palmer, March 2005.

The Southern Pacific branch that served the wine-growing Napa Valley region extended north/northwest from Napa Junction, through Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and on to Calistoga. As with most branch lines, the traffic volume declined and the SP decided to abandon the line north of Napa; indeed, the rails between St. Helena and Calistoga were pulled up in the 1970s. In the 1980s, some investors purchased the line with the intent of running tourist trains to serve the lineside wineries. After some resistance from some of the wineries, the Napa Valley Wine Train was up and running, using ALCO engines and refurbished passenger cars from the 40s and 50s. The Napa Valley Wine Train still runs, though it stops at only one winery along the way. The train does not reach the northern end of the branch -- the California-Nevada SPV Atlas shows the rails extending a mile or so further north to Krug.

At Calistoga, there is an interesting collection of 1920s and 1930s SP and WP coaches, railway express and observation cars. These cars are located at what was the end of the SP branch. The cars now used as local shops, and while the interiors are modernized, the exteriors were repainted but not significantly modified. Some access doors have been cut into the sides, though. There is also a partally disassembled (possibly vandalized) crossing signal.

Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information about this route.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD
Docket Number: 25306 Date: 9/18/1968 Section: 1(18)
Applic. for auth. to aband. that portion of its Calistoga Branch, Western Divn., betw. M.P. 88.750, at or near Krug, and the end of the branch at M.P. 95.666, at or near Calistoga, a distance of 6.916 mi., in Napa County, Calif., together with all sidings, spur tracks and appurtenances.
Length: 6.916 miles Citation:  

The "old crossbuck relic" in picture 3 is actually a rare Griswold Company highway flasher with a rotating stop sign. The only one currently in operation here in California is in San Jose at a Union Pacific spur crossing on Bayshore Highway. It's showcased at Dan's Wigwag Site. Most of those signals were installed in the Midwest; they were incredibly rare here in the West even when they were new.

Ralph Squillace
California
2/26/2013

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/xi8
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