The Northwestern Pacific Rail Road

“Completion of The Northwestern Pacific Railroad”
Unspecified footage, no credtis. USA 1914

Golden Spike ceremonies and celebration for the completion of the Northwestern Pacific Rail Road, October 23-25, 1914. Filmed in Willits, Cain Rock, Arcata and Eureka, California.

“Northern California’s vast stands of giant redwood trees presented a problem – how to get them to market? Their immense size and weight did not allow for normal lumbering practices. The answer lay in the railroad. The first railroads on the western coast were built in 1854 and for the next century, railroads played a vital role in a thriving lumber industry.
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad, at its height, was an amalgamation of some sixty different companies. Its territory extended along the Pacific coast from San Francisco to California’s Humboldt County, 100 miles shy of the Oregon State line. Some of the forerunners had built extensive and substantial operating lines. Others were short lines, such as the many logging lines in the Humboldt Bay region. Nearly a third consisted of companies which incorporated but never laid a foot of track. All of them contributed, in some fashion, to the rich heritage of the NWP.
Diversity was a key word in the history of Redwood Empire railroading. Gauges varied from the Sonoma Prismoidal, an early wooden monorail, to the broad-gauged logging lines, many built to accommodate their four-legged motive power. In between lay the two foot Sonoma Magnesite Railroad, the first-class narrow gauge North Pacific Coast and, of course, the more common standard gauge lines. Power was supplied by horses, mules, oxen, steam, electricity and internal combustion engines, both gas and diesel. State of the art electric interurban and a fleet of ferries completed a transportation network in the pre-World War II years that many claim was too far ahead of its time. Rarely is so much fascinating diversity found in the origins of one company.”
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad in California

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