Historic Packing Houses, Packing Sheds and Other Industrial Structures
in Central and Northern California

Eastside Lines: Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and Visalia Electric

Copyright 2006, 2007 by James E. Lancaster, Ph.D.

Contributing Photographers:
Paul Ayers, Bob Chaparro, Keith Jordan, Jim Lancaster, Bill Messecar,
Cliff Prather, Carl Rodolf, Randy Sunada  and John Signor.

Web Page Created June 2, 2004
Last Updated February 1, 2007

Contents

The web page is organized geographically by location from south to north. Contributing photographers are identified in the captions or in parentheses for each photo or set of photos. Some photos are viewable in a separate browser window by clicking on PhotoLink. All images remain the property of the individual photographers and may not be used without permission.

Eastside Branches

The Eastside Lines consisted of Southern Pacific and Santa Fe branches plus the Visalia Electric (VE). The Southern Pacific Eastside Lines consisted primarily of the Exeter and Visalia Branches listed in the employee timetables shown below.


1967 Southern Pacific Employee Timetable for the 
Exeter and Richgrove Branches, LA Division,
Bakersfield Subdivision


1967 Southern Pacific Employee Timetable for the 
Visalia and Oil City Branches, LA Division,
Bakersfield Subdivision

The Santa Fe Eastside Lines were comprised of the Visalia, Porterville-Orosi and Wahtoke Districts listed in the employee timetables shown below. The Porterville-Orosi District was also know as the Minkler Southern Railroad.


Santa Fe Employee Timetable for the Visalia, Porterville-Orosi and Wahtoke Districts of the Valley Division.

The Visalia Electric served the area east and north of Exeter with a southward branch toward Strathmore.


1955 Official Guide Listing for the Visalia Electric

Today the only remaining rail service is provided by the San Joaquin Valley Railroad operating over mostly former SP tracks including most of the Exeter Branch and the line from Goshen Jct. through Visalia to Exeter.

For more information on passenger and freight operations on the Eastside Branches, click here.

Richgrove (SP, ATSF)

Additional photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

richgrove1
Richgrove, CA, July 10, 2006. Jim Lancaster Photo.

Ducor (SP, ATSF)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Terra Bella (SP)

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Ultra (ATSF)

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Magnolia (ATSF, SP)

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Sunland (ATSF)

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Porterville Junction (ATSF, SP)

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Porterville (SP)

Additional photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

  • Baird-Neece Packing Corporation, still active in February 2004 (William Messecar photo) PhotoLink
  • San Antonio Growers, still active in February 2004 (William Messecar photo) PhotoLink

Euclid (ATSF)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Strathmore (SP)

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Strathmore (ATSF)

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Lindsay (SP)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Lindsay (ATSF)

Additional photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

  • Cal-Citrus, November 1996 (Carl Rodolf photos) PhotoLink1 | PhotoLink2
    The Cal-Citrus packing house is on the ex-SP at the corner of Honolulu and Mt. Vernon. For more on the history of Cal-Citrus, visit their web site.
  • Cal-Citrus, October 2003 (John Signor photo) PhotoLink
    This was the Lindsay District Orange Cos packing house on the 1945 Sanborn Map.
  • LoBue Bros. - East, November 1996 (Carl Rodolf photo) PhotoLink
    The LoBue Bros. - East packing house was formerly Lindsay Groves, Inc.
  • Suntreat Growers and Shippers, November 1996 (Carl Rodolf photos) PhotoLink1 | PhotoLink2
  • Sierra Citrus Association, November 1996 (Carl Rodolf photos) PhotoLink1 | PhotoLink2
    This was the Lindsay Citrus Growers Assn packing house on the 1945 Sanborn map.

Neil (ATSF)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Exeter (ATSF)

  • Exeter Fruit Association, still active in February 2004 (William Messecar photo) PhotoLink

Exeter (SP)

Visalia  (SP, ATSF) 

Additional photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

  • Warehouse, May 1995 (Bob Chaparro photo) PhotoLink
  • Visalia Citrus Packers/Visalia Fruit Exchange, May 1995 (Bob Chaparro photo) PhotoLink
  • Visalia Pipe and Supply, May 1995 (Bob Chaparro photo) PhotoLink
  • Warehouse, May 1995 (Bob Chaparro photos) PhotoLink1 | PhotoLink2

Woodlake/Sequoia (VE)

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Hillmaid/East Redbanks (ATSF)

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Redbanks (ATSF, VE)

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Cutler (ATSF)

Cutler was on the Visalia district of the Santa Fe with a short connecting track to Wyeth on the Porterville-Orosi district (see the USGS Cutler-Wyeth map provided  by Randy Sunada). Prior to building the connecting track the Visalia district and the Porterville-Orosi district were separate and distinct, because the Porterville-Orosi district was originally the Minkler Southern Railroad. 

Randy Sunada has described how a northbound train on the Porterville-Orosi district maneuvered to head south toward Visalia after the connecting track was built (see the close-up of the Cutler-Wyeth map). 

"Trains coming [into Cutler] off the Porterville-Orosi district could not turn south and head towards Visalia. If a train wanted to come off the Porterville-Orosi district and go to Visalia, it had to first pull northward through Wyeth towards Orosi, then back down caboose first (they were equipped with backup whistles) through Wyeth, heading into Cutler in reverse. [The locomotive would] pull past the switch to the Visalia district, then pull forward to go south to Visalia. [This was] a very difficult movement that must have really tied up traffic as a busy road intersected right there and sometimes there were 100-car trains doing that."

The first image is a westward view from the summer of 1983. It shows the modest Cutler yard with the Santa Fe depot at the right. The tracks were still in place in 1983.


Cutler, CA, 1983. Randy Sunada Photo.

The next image is an eastward view, also from the summer of 1983. It shows the Wileman Bros. and Elliott packing house on the far (east) side of Highway 63 in the distance (the location is identified as simply Wileman on a Santa Fe Cutler track diagram provided by Randy Sunada). On a 1929 Sanborn Fire Insurance map (the latest year for Cutler) the location on the right was shown as the box making building for the Wileman Bros. and Elliott packing house, although the building looks like a conventional packing house in this photo. The sign at the far right reads "California Vine Ripened Tomatoes."


Cutler, CA, 1983. Randy Sunada Photo.

The third image shows the Wileman Bros. and Elliott packing house in 1989. The view is of the southwest corner. At that time the tracks stopped at Highway 63 having been removed west of the packing house.


Cutler, CA, 
August 29, 1989. Cliff Prather Photo.

The last image shows the south side of the Wileman Bros. and Elliott packing house as it looked in July 2006. 

cutler1
Cutler, CA, July 10, 2006. Jim Lancaster Photo.

Cutler is now without rail service as the tracks were taken up a number of years ago. 

Orange Cove (ATSF)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Reedley (SP, ATSF)

Reedley was on the Santa Fe Visalia district (21 miles from Calwa Yard) and on the Southern Pacific Exeter Branch (24 miles from Fresno). A USGS map of Reedley is shown in Figure 13 and Santa Fe track diagrams in Figures 14 and 15.


USGS map of Reedley, CA. Randy Sunada collection. 


Santa Fe Track Diagram of the west part of Reedley, CA. Randy Sunada collection.


Santa Fe Track Diagram of the east part of Reedley, CA. Randy Sunada collection.

Reedley was a very busy shipping center during the fifties and sixties. Both the Santa Fe and Espee served dozens of packing houses as well as other industries. During peak season SP would station a switcher there. SP S6s were common, as were S2s, S4s, GP9s, RSD-5s, and RSD-12s. Later an occasional SD40 or SW1500 would appear. Santa Fe also had a junction with the Wahtoke District. You can see that on Figures 13 and 14.

The photo with the S6 (Figure 16) was taken at the 11th street crossing near the I street intersection. Randy Sunada's parents used to shop at a market called Farmers Supply which was in walking distance of location of the photo. His family would usually go there on Saturday mornings between nine and ten. Almost certainly a train would show up from Fresno and it would almost always do some switching in Reedley. Business was about equally divided between the Santa Fe and Espee. Santa Fe dominated the eastside industries and SP the westside.

 


SP S6 works in Reedley, CA. Randy Sunada photo.

Figure x shows the Santa Fe side of the packing house behind the Espee S6 in Figure x. Figure x shows a rare daylight appearance of a northbound freight (westward in Santa Fe parlance) on a Saturday morning during the early sixties. Look carefully and you will see two back-to-back GP7s heading it up, both in big Santa Fe lettering. They will travel about a half mile further to the junction and pull on to the Wahtoke district. This was a 100 car train, all empty reefers.


Westbound 100-car Santa Fe freight train in Reedley, CA. Randy Sunada collection.

Additional photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

LacJac (SP, ATSF)

LacJac was on the Santa Fe Visalia district (18 miles from Calwa Yard) and on the Southern Pacific Exeter Branch (22 miles from Fresno). A USGS map of LacJac is shown in Figure 13 and a Santa Fe track diagram in Figure 14.


Figure 13. USGS Map of LacJac, CA.
Randy Sunada collection.


Figure 14. Santa Fe Track Diagram of LacJac, CA. Randy Sunada collection.

Parlier (ATSF)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Del Ray (ATSF)

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Mattei (ATSF)

New photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

Sanger (SP)

Additional photos coming soon.  Check back for updates.

  • Sanger Citrus Association, still active in February 2004 (William Messecar photos) PhotoLink1 | PhotoLink2


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Historic Packing Houses and Other Industrial Structures in Southern California



If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me at ljames1at (i.e., @) ix.netcom.com (no spaces).