Sunday
Feb232014

December 15, 1854 - Arcata & Mad River Railroad

* In 1854, on December 15, the railroad was incorporated as the Union Plank Walk, Rail Track and Wharf Company.

* In 1855, the railroad became California's first operational railroad. With a horse drawn car, it served local lumber mills and the port of Arcata (280 miles north of San Francisco).

* In 1875, the company bought its first steam locomotive. Over the years the company changed its name several times and expanded its local service.

* In 1881, the company became Arcata & Mad River Railroad, to connect the north end of Humboldt Bay with the north fork of Mad River.  

* In 1883, F. Korbel & Bros. (Francis, Anton, and Joseph Korbel), owners of the Humboldt Lumber Mill Company at North Fork (now Korbel), purchased the railroad.

* In 1903, F. Korbel & Bros. sold all of their Northern California holdings, including the railroad, to the Northern Redwood Lumber Company. 

* The winter storms of 1982/1983 destroyed the track in many places.  Repairs were made later in the year, about the same time the railroad raised its rates on traffic to the Eureka area.

* In 1985, the Arcata & Mad River Railroad shut down as shippers found trucking was now more economical.