Sacramento Northern


Judging a book by its cover is never a good idea, certainly in the case of this book whose cover seems to show a freight train proceeding down a street on just about any American railway.

The clue that this isn’t the case is the two electric locomotives drawing power from the light catenary of one of the remaining sections of the Sacramento Northern, one of the greatest of America’s interurbans. An interurban was what resulted when you crossed a railway with a tramway and then ran ‘trains’ over it, often for considerable distances - 185 miles in this case, without changing, and with a ferry ride thrown in. Passenger trains on the SN operated on three volatges, using trolley poles, pantographs and third-rail shoes, and were often comprised of 5 coaches, including a dining car and an observation car.

Main line passenger service ended in 1941, but SN was always a freight hauler and this continued until 1965. This 352 page book covers the system and its operation and equipment in very considerable detail; the SN may not have been your average interurban, but its was certainly an interesting one.

471 photos, a few in colour, 20 maps and drawings. Hardbound and very well produced.