Chico to Stirling City

Stirling City Branch

Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

Docket Number: AB-12 Sub 23 Date: 3/4/1976 Section: 1a
Application filed for authority to abandon a line of railroad from MP 189.00 near Butte Creek in a southerly direction to end of the branch at MP 215.462 near Stirling City, a distance of 26.523 miles in Butte County, California. This line includes the stations of Paradise, Optimo, Magalia, Doon and Stirling City, California.
Length: 26.523 miles Citation:  
Docket Number: AB 12 Sub 76 Date: 6/26/1984 Section: 10903
Application filed for the abandonment of a line of railroad between milepost 185.692 at or near Chico to milepost 189.000 at or near Butte Creek, a distance of 3.308 miles, in Butte County, California.
Length: 3.308 miles Citation:  

I grew up in a house located on this rail line; it was at the back end of our property. This was a stub end of the old SP branch to Stirling City but I didn't know that until recently. When I was very small trains would come through once or twice a week, probably to serve the gravel pit on Butte Creek. One of my earliest memories was sitting on the grass in the backyard with my dad, when a short train crawled by at a snail's pace, and the engineer leaned out the cab window and waved at us. This would have been around 1980 or so. When I left that house in the mid-90's there was still an old wooden mile marker, painted but just barely legible, nailed to a telephone pole along the ROW almost behind my house. I'm sure it's gone now because the area has been built up tremendously in the last 10 years. Nice to see someone else remembers these tracks. I'll see if I can get some pictures next time I'm in the area.

Seattle, WA


Walked the tracks many times as a kid in Paradise, CA in the late 40's & early 50's from Pearson Road as far as Wagstaff. Usually caught them at Elliott Road. The crews were friendly and told us stories when they were idle near Miller's Market at Pearson. A sad one was when a fireman was killed during a coal dust flash back. I've been in Alaska mostly since birth but am returning to Paradise this year (2013). I live next to the AKRR tracks in Girdwood now. The Stirling City route in Paradise has been converted to a path for people now and some of it has grown over. Fond memories!

George Hanson
Girdwood, AK


This book by Kent Stephens is the definitive work on the old Sterling City Branch RR.

Mark Kesterson
Santa Cruz, CA


Shortened Link:

Do you have any pictures or information about Stirling City Branch? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.