August 4, 1852 - Sacramento Valley Railroad

Below is a copy of the 1854 map of the proposed Sacramento Valley Railroad as it appeared in a local paper.

The map is difficult to read because it is oriented with West at the top.  If you rotate it so North is at the top, the lettering is sideways, but the towns are in proper perspective, i.e., Stockton is below Sacramento, etc.





Expansion goal.











San Francisco






During the first half of the nineteenth century California was known mostly for its ports and Spanish missions. But all that changed in 1848, when James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill, east of Sacramento.

On August 4, 1852, the Sacramento Valley Railroad became the first railroad in California to file papers of incorporation, although it was not until February 22, 1856, that the first train operated over the 23-miles of track that ran from Sacramento to Folsom.  The SVR's plan to expand to Marysville never materialized.

The first president of the Sacramento Valley Railroad was Commodore Corneluis Garrison and William Tecumseh Sherman, the future American Civil War General,was selected as the first vice president.

The Sacramento Valley Railroad may have been the first railroad to be incorporated in the state, the oldest working railroad in California was the Arcata and Mad River Railroad, operational since December 15, 1854. 

In 1877, the Sacramento Valley Railroad was consolidated with the Folsom and Placerville Railroad to form the Sacramento and Placerville Railroad.

The railroad eventually became a part of the Southern Pacific Railroad.