History Library‎ > ‎

The Battle of Sebastopol Road

posted Mar 12, 2012, 10:02 AM by Wayne Wieseler   [ updated Mar 12, 2012, 10:25 AM ]

Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad

Companies compete for service between Sebastopol & Santa Rosa

Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad

The Petaluma and Santa Rosa line followed Sebastopol Road approaching Santa Rosa from Sebastopol. The construction crew needed to cross the north-south steam railroad to reach downtown Santa Rosa. The steam railroad had operated a parallel branch line from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol since 1890, and would not consent to the crossing allowing a new competitor to offer direct service downtown. Trolley service began to the west side of the crossing on 29 November 1904. Rails were laid on the east side of the steam railroad tracks, and an electric wire was strung overhead in preparation for installing the crossing. A crossing was prefabricated in Sebastopol and loaded on a flat car pushed to the crossing location. But when the interurban crew arrived to install the crossing on 3 January 1905, they found a pair of steam locomotives on either side of the crossing fitted with steam nozzles to spray hot water on anyone approaching the crossing site. The interurban construction crew retreated

Petaluma & Santa Rosa route with Northwestern Pacific Railroad and U.S. Route 101

The following day the regularly scheduled interurban car #57 arrived secretly carrying the construction crew. Before the steam railway could respond, the crew laid a temporary track across and over the steam rails and had a team of horses pull trolley #57 across to serve downtown Santa Rosa. The steam railroad then obtained a temporary injunction from a San Francisco judge prohibiting installation of the crossing. For a few weeks, passengers from Sebastopol were required to depart their arriving trolley and walk over the steam railroad to reboard trolley #57 for the remainder of the trip.

The injunction was dissolved in late February and the interurban construction crew assembled again to install the crossing on 1 March 1905. The steam railroad appeared to be unaware of the status of their injunction, so their locomotives again discouraged the construction crew with hot water. The steam railroad also had a flat car loaded with gravel on hand for their men to fill in the excavation as soon as the interurban crew tried to dig out the crossing site. Tempers flared and several hundred Santa Rosa citizens assembled to watch the entertainment. Santa Rosa police ultimately restored order, and the crossing was installed that evening.

1800 - Petaluma and Santa Rosa  Railway car #63 on electric tracks. All of the interurban passenger cars had express compartments and carried small parcels at the rear. This car is  located in Rio Vista Railroad Museum.

1800 - Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway car #63 on electric tracks. All of the interurban passenger cars had express compartments and carried small parcels at the rear. This car is  located in Rio Vista Railroad Museum.

6858 - Freight motor 1004 of the P&SR Railroad.  These motors were used heavily during the fruit harvest season in Sonoma County.  The Overnight Freight Express ran refrigerator cars that  carried apples and berries to Petaluma and on to San Francisco via steamer ships.

6858 - Freight motor 1004 of the P&SR Railroad. These motors were used heavily during the fruit harvest season in Sonoma County. The Overnight Freight Express ran refrigerator cars that  carried apples and berries to Petaluma and on to San Francisco via steamer ships.

1824 - P&SR train  at the Bassett Station (close to Fredericks Road) south of  Sebastopol.  Engine 506 is pulling four passenger cars with many people hanging out the windows of the cars and a line of 1930's autos on the road next to the train.   Since the P&SR ended passenger service in the early 1930's, this may have been one of the final runs carrying passengers.

1824 - P&SR train  at the Bassett Station (close to Fredericks Road) south of  Sebastopol.  Engine 506 is pulling four passenger cars with many people hanging out the windows of the cars and a line of 1930's autos on the road next to the train. Since the P&SR ended passenger service in the early 1930's, this may have been one of the final runs carrying passengers.

1815 - The L-shaped  Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway Powerhouse in background, built 1903 from Stony Point Quarry rock.  The Powerhouse served as the freight depot and housed the step-down transformers for the Sebastopol substation for the P&SR electric railway.   In the left foregound is the original wooden Sebastopol depot station.  The Powerhouse was later named the Hogan Building.    Photo facing south easterly, with north and westerly facades visible.  The train tracks seen in the easterly direction comprise the  present day Joe Rodota Trail.

1815 - The L-shaped  Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railway Powerhouse in background, built 1903 from Stony Point Quarry rock. The Powerhouse served as the freight depot and housed the step-down transformers for the Sebastopol substation for the P&SR electric railway. In the left foregound is the original wooden Sebastopol depot station. The Powerhouse was later named the Hogan Building. Photo facing south easterly, with north and westerly facades visible. The train tracks seen in the easterly direction comprise the  present day Joe Rodota Trail.

1831 - Railroad workers laying rails of interurban Petaluma & Santa Rosa Electric Railway  down Main Street Sebastopol circa 1904.

1831 - Railroad workers laying rails of interurban Petaluma & Santa Rosa Electric Railway  down Main Street Sebastopol. Circa 1904.

1812 - Forestville station of P&SR electric railway with electric car No. 55.  This car and three other identical cars (Numbers 51, 53 and 57)were built in St. Louis by American Car Company.   Circa 1904.

1812 - Forestville station of P&SR electric railway with electric car No. 55. This car and three other identical cars (Numbers 51, 53 and 57) were built in St. Louis by American Car Company. Circa 1904.