Choo Choo

If you go south on Del Rio Road from the five-street intersection at the southwest corner of Land Park, Del Rio will bear left after about 3/4 mile, and 27th Avenue will go right.  Straight, however, takes you through a little fence that warns “Regional Transit property.  No trespassing, loitering, etc.”  There’s no lock, so don’t worry about it.

All of a sudden you’re in a greensward that sneaks along next to the old spur rail line that used to emanate from the railyards in Old Sac.  Between Sutterville and Fruitridge is a delightful space from which you can peer into large backyards, or check out the dogs frolicking with their owners and each other.

Cross Fruitridge, and the rails are more overgrown, backing up to many cul-de-sacs (including Zoolander Court).  You can continue down past 43rd, but that’s as far as I’ve made it.

These tracks used to go and go and go, on past Stone Lakes (where they tore up the steel during the war effort back in the Forties), past Hood, winding through sloughs and islands, until they ended almost where 160 meets 12 way on down in the Delta.

Take a walk along this path, and think of all the loads that must have gone by, all the hobos who hopped a freight, all the lonesome whistles puffing past the fields and cows.  Although it looks to get green and stony south of Freeport, it’s mostly beige houses and blacktop in Sacramento these days;  one hell of a candidate for Rails to Trails.

2 Comments so far

  1. wburg on January 22nd, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

    Most of the rails you are talking about belong to the Sacramento Southern, otherwise known as the Southern Pacific’s Walnut Grove Branch. At one point it ran to Isleton. The California State Railroad Museum runs its tourist line on the first three miles, but still holds title to the rest, so don’t be too eager to tear up the tracks. The plan, admittedly the long-term one, is to eventually restore service on the line all the way to Hood. The RT property signs date from the period when that part of the line was being considered as a possible route for a Light Rail route to south Sacramento, before the current right-of-way alongside the old WP mainline was selected.

    Like the current Sacramento Southern, bike/jogging paths and tourist railroads work very well together, so I wouldn’t rule out trails WITH rails.

    I doubt that the tracks were torn up for the war effort, though–Southern Pacific operated the branch until the 1970s.

  2. Eric (sac_eric) on January 22nd, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

    Next time I go down to Stone Lakes, I’ll have a chat with the guide, who mentioned multiple times that the tracks were torn up for the metal. Maybe he meant Gulf War I? Thanks for the info–you seem like quite the railroad maven!

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