The Oakdale Branch
This was once a loop branch that diverted from Southern Pacific's Central Valley main line in Stockton, served ranches in the east valley, and re-connected near Merced.
It was abandoned in stages, generally from south to north. Most of the route ran parallel to local highways. Since the topography was mostly flat, some segments of the right of way have been absorbed into the adjacent farms.
There is a short segment still in service in downtown Oakdale. UP trains reach this segment through trackage rights on the Sierra Railway, which also runs through Oakdale.
Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information.
|Southern Pacific Railroad|
|Docket: AB 12 Sub 59||6/1/1979||Section: 1a|
|Application filed for authority to abandon 2.62 miles of branch line of the Oakdale Branch from MP 127.02 at or near Claribel to MP 124.4 at or near Oakdale in Stanislaus County, California.|
|Length: 2.620 miles||Citation:|
\My question? I remember a yellow SP depot and a wooden refrigerator can when I was a child, in the 50s and later in the 60s. The engines that worked this branch, where were they station and what type were they. Was there any water towers?
The first abandonment from Merced to Montpellier was the direct result of a rather suspicious fire early in 1942 that burned the massive mile long wooden trestle across the Merced River. With the war in progress, materials to rebuild the big trestle were to costly and hard to obtain. Traffic on the line was not that great by that time and it was cheaper to abandon the track and use the rail where it was needed elsewhere. Some concrete supports for the steel section at the north end of the river canyon crossing are still visible today along with a historical marker. It must have been an impressive sight when still in service.
When I lived in Modesto I discovered the branch, what is left. That portion serves the Hershy plant but certain it is still open.