Your SN story was absolutely fantastic!! Welcome to
!! We are glad you have joined this auspicious
group of those of us intrigued by the dark green color of SN passenger
cars and the delightful smell of ozone!!
The WEST portal of the SN's "Redwood Peak Tunnel", built by the Oakland
& Antioch in 1913, was below the grade level of Sheppard Canyon Road
basically at the intersection of Saroni Drive... I waded thru the
'swamp' wearing boots with another young friend, many years ago, and we
too found about two feet of the TOP of the portal mouth still showing..
Old photos show a very long steel bracing setup stretching out in front
of the portal to prevent cave-ins and slides. The tunnel was lined with
concrete but only partly. The Oakland end of the tunnel had the
greatest amount of water in the ground and the railroad had trouble with
it for years, and so did the City of Oakland many many years later. The
street and driveway of a resident was literally falling away into the
tunnel which hosted the last SN electric freight train on February 28,
On the EAST side in Contra Costa County, when Pinehurst Road winds down
the steep grade from Skyline//Grizzly Peak Blvd and gets to the bottom,
it makes a sharp right turn then straightens out on the flat and runs
toward the hamlet of "Canyon".. As you make that sharp right at the
bottom of the hill, turn right again and face backyard, as the Tunnel
Portal is directly in the back corner with Pinehurst Road climbing the
upgrade way, way above it!! For years the full majesty of the portal
was in evidence except for being cemented shut.. Then the trees and
bushes grew up big and covered it over, but if you climbed thru the
bushes you could easily find it. It had a large grate opening on the
lower left side at ground level to allow for drainage...
Some years later on again, so I was informed, a slide from above came
down and forever sealed our beloved SN tunnel at what was known as
If you want to walk thru another SN "Tunnel" in your locale, close to
your home, go down and check out the parking area at the beach of Lake
Temescal, near Junction of Hiways 13 & 24..
The SN right-of-way parallels hiway 13 on the West side of freeway and
runs by the lake parking area.. The SN tunnel crosses under the Hiway
24 freeway, on a curve, but the North portal "may" be blocked.. I think
the South portal near the parking lot is still intact.. I used to walk
There is still right-of-way on the North side of freeway heading toward
Rockridge.. But not much. There is a street that I can't remember the
name of--think it starts with an "R", that comes off Tunnel Road and
winds down a narrow path and crosses the SN at grade.. Some houses were
built on this here and there.. Get back to me and let me and the rest
of the gang know of your findings! Again, welcome to the Group..
Cheers!! "Key Route Ken"..
> I just discovered this group AND the SN. I've lived within a mile of
> the west portal in Oakland for about 5 years now, and only recently
> did I discover that there was such a history in the area.
> I became so obsessed with finding out everything I could about the SN
> and specifically the tunnel. I couldn't believe I've been driving by
> an abandoned tunnel for 5 years without knowing it!
> My first project was finding the location of the portals. It was not
> easy. I went to the history room of the Oakland library, and looked
> at several maps. It seemed like the maps all showed the portal in
> different locations (if at all). I then hiked the Shepard Canyon ROW
> (which was pretty easy to determine), and found the only location I
> could imagine the portal to be at. There are now several houses on
> the ROW in this area, and they just started building even more
> further west of the portal.
> There is one house where it looked like the portal might be. The
> house is almost below the level of the road (Shepard Canyon), so I
> assumed this was the slope going down towards the portal.
> I walked up to the house and noticed a couple people in the yard. The
> house had all kinds of railroad memorabilia and models on the outside
> (like a 1" guage track running around the outside of the house), so I
> was beginning to get real excited that maybe this WAS the location of
> the portal, and the owner was even a railbuff.
> I asked the people in the yard the question: "I know this is going to
> seem like a weird question, but do you have a tunnel in your back
> yard?". The answer was yes! They were parents of the owners of the
> house (who were away at the time). They weren't sure whether there
> was anything visible, but they offered me a look in the back yard.
> The path to the backyard was extremely wet and swamp like. I'm sure
> they must be having severe drainage problems. In the back yard, I
> couldn't see any trace of the portal though. They gave me the owners
> phone number, and suggested I call to ask them directly which I did a
> few weeks later.
> When I contacted the owner, hr told me there was a little bit still
> exposed, and invited me to take a look at it. It wasn't much. Just a
> couple of inches of exposed horizontal concrete. But it was exciting
> nonetheless. He actually had set up an outdoor model railroad, and a
> section of track was running ON the exposed portal!
> On the east end, I had no idea where the tunnel came out. I looked at
> some old maps, and it was hard to tell where it popped out. I did
> some hiking around there to try and find it. Going eastbound on
> Pinehurst, the road winds all the way down from Skyline, and then
> makes a sharp hairpin turn. After the turn, Pinehurst straightens
> right out, so it looked to me like the portal must have been at the
> end of the hairpin where there was a fire road. I hiked down that
> path several times and had a hard time figuring out where the portal
> could have been. The brush was extremely thick and high. I saw some
> signs that there may have been a building around as I saw some
> bricks, and even some electrical conduit. I was SURE that this is
> where the Eastport station might been.
> I was wrong. It wasn't until I found an old USGS map at a library
> that I found where the portal was. I went back to Pinehurst, and
> quickly found the location. All the pieces fit into place and the
> mystery was solved!
> I had a lot of fun finding the locations of this tunnel. I then
> started on other remains. I found the overpass abutments in
> Montclair, and on Broadway Terrace. But that's as far as I've gotten.
> I'm anxious to discover more! If anyone knows of others in the area,
> please let me know.
> For the best in Sacramento Northern Information, check out Garth
> Groff's SN Online: http://www.people.virginia.edu/~ggg9y/home.html.
> Also check out the SN Shared files area:
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