The Northwestern Pacific Railroad in California



Typical 1890 Railroad Schedule

Eureka & Eel River Railroad

Traveling in the 1890s was a trip, no pun intended. Like the local Greyhound Bus, the train stopped at every settlement and major road intersection; a rail journey between Fortuna and Eureka would take one and one half hours. But in 1890, the Eureka & Eel River Railroad ran south only to Alton, just past the junction of Highway 101 and Route 36. If you needed to go further, it required a transfer to the Pacific Lumber Company's train which would deliver you to Scotia. Further travel south required a horse. Railroad tracks gradually followed the Eel River to the south but it would be many years before a connection was made to the rest of the world. Not until December 1914 did the first train from San Francisco penetrate the redwood curtain.

From Alton you would also be able to travel the branch line to Carlotta on a homemade steam dummy. Carlotta, named after the mill owner's daughter, was also the location of the Carlotta Hotel, a popular summer resort. Further travel would require the stage, following the Van Duzen River to Bridgeville where it would then follow the ridge lines south.

There was no need for signaling in the railroad corridor between Eureka and Alton. Monday through Saturday, from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm the freight train owned the track. The passenger train ran early in the morning and in the late afternoon.

E&ERR passenger train, northbound in the morning:

  • 7:30 am Leave Burnell's (Alton)
  • 7:35 am Junction (Alton Depot)
  • 7:40 am Rohnerville (Kenmar)
  • 7:50 am Springville (Fortuna)
  • 8:05 am Singley's (near Fernbridge)
  • 8:10 am Swauger's (Loleta)
  • 8:20 am Salmon Creek (south of CR)
  • 8:40 am South Bay (Field's Landing)
  • 8:50 am Bucksport (near Fort Humboldt)
  • 9:00 am Arrive Eureka

E&ERR freight train, southbound in the morning:

  • 9:40 am Leave Eureka
  • 9:50 am Bucksport (near Fort Humboldt)
  • 10:10 am South Bay (Field's Landing)
  • 10:20 am Salmon Creek (south of CR)
  • 10:40 am Swauger's (Loleta)
  • 10:50 am Singley's (near Fernbridge)
  • 11:10 am Springville (Fortuna)
  • 11:20 am Rohnerville (Kenmar)
  • 11:22 am Drake's (Drake Hill Road)
  • 11:35 am Junction (Alton Depot)
  • 11:40 am Arrive Burnell's (Alton)

E&ERR freight train returned northbound in the afternoon:

  • 1:15 pm Leave Burnell's (Alton)
  • 1:25 pm Junction (Alton Depot)
  • 1:28 pm Drake's (Drake Hill Road)
  • 1:35 pm Rohnerville (Kenmar)
  • 1:45 pm Springville (Fortuna)
  • 2:05 pm Singley's (near Fernbridge)
  • 2:15 pm Swauger's (Loleta)
  • 2:30 pm Salmon Creek (south of CR)
  • 2:55 pm South Bay (Field's Landing)
  • 3:05 pm Bucksport (near Fort Humboldt)
  • 3:15 pm Arrive Eureka

E&ERR passenger train returned southbound in the afternoon:

  • 4:00 pm Leave Eureka
  • 4:10 pm Bucksport (near Fort Humboldt)
  • 4:20 pm South Bay (Field's Landing)
  • 4:30 pm Salmon Creek (south of CR)
  • 4:45 pm Swauger's (Loleta)
  • 4:50 pm Singley's (near Fernbridge)
  • 5:05 pm Springville (Fortuna)
  • 5:15 pm Rohnerville (Kenmar)
  • 5:25 pm Junction (Alton Depot)
  • 5:30 pm Arrive Burnell's (Alton)

We have a few pictures of these depots and stations  .

Heading south through a light mist, California Western "Skunk" 300 meets Eureka Southern 31 arriving with last trip of the season for "North Coast Daylight", October 28, 1989. - Ruth Rockefeller photo.

Heading south through a light mist, California Western "Skunk" 300 meets Eureka Southern 31 arriving with the last trip of the season for "North Coast Daylight", October 28, 1989. - Ruth Rockefeller photo.

 


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The Alton & Pacific Railroad was a privately owned tourist attraction located on Highway 36 in nearby Alton. It no longer exists.

 

Heralded the "City of Fortuna", this steam locomotive, originally the Hammond Lumber Company Number 16, was once located near the entrance in Rohner Park. It is now being operated as an excursion train in Washington.
More information about this ALCO 2-8-2T.

 

Three trainmen were killed in January 1953 at the Scotia Bluff, the same location as the picture to the left, when a landslide took their locomotive, the NWP184, into the icy Eel River. (Bill Bish pictures)

 

Pictures and information on local railroad depots.