Beginning just south of the former Western Pacific yard in Stockton, California, is a single track line of railroad. It strikes out to the southeast, meandering its way past wineries and orchards, through little towns and forgotten junctions. It finally ends in the Central Valley town of Turlock, 48 miles away. Today, the trains that pound these rails are led by yellow and gray locomotives, sporting the name of the mighty Union Pacific. But many years ago, the scene was very different. Once, trolley wire accompanied much of the line. Locomotives were ancient 4-6-0s and rare RS-1s. Polished interurban cars sprinted to Stockton and refrigerator cars vied for space at packing sheds. Once, this was the Tidewater Southern Railway, and its rails were built on promises and dreams.

 

This is its history, the tales of the people, places, times, and things that gave it life.

"Modesto 1931" -- painting by M. F. Kotowski, presented by permission of the artist