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Valley Springs Railroad Depot

The SJ&SNRR steamed into Birdsall’s new town of Valley Spring (aka Valley Springs), the railroad’s terminus, on April 25, 1885. The depot was a canvas tent until a new structure was built later that year. In 1886, the railroad was sold to the Southern Pacific; two years later merged into its Northern Railway subsidiary; and in 1898 subsumed into the SP. In 1904, the line was widened to standard gauge. With the mid-1920s arrival of the Calaveras Cement Co. near San Andreas, the line was extended there. In 1927, a spur line was built northerly from Valley Springs to help build Pardee Dam, and in 1929 a spur south to help build Hogan Dam. In 1932, regular passenger service ended. The cement plant’s closure in 1983 marked the final regular freight run.

–Sal Manna, 2010