Although it is not officially part of the Stockton Subdivision, Oakdale is a mere six miles away from it. This growing Sierra foothills community is served by the Union Pacific via its Oakdale Local, which runs on trackage rights between Oakdale and Riverbank on the BNSF's Riverbank Subdivision.
Confused yet? All you really need to know is that Oakdale is a good spot to watch trains if you are lucky enough to see them there. We were, on a rainy Monday in January Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 1999. We hopped in the car and started driving with no particular destination in mind. When we asked Benji where he would like to go, he promptly replied, "Oakdale!" Don't ask us why he chose that particular place, because he had only been there once or twice before and there were no trains working there then. But Oakdale did have the Hershey Chocolate Visitor Center, so the day would not be a complete loss even if there was no rail action.
As fate would have it, the Oakdale Local was just arriving as we were completing our visit to the chocolate shop. The rain was coming down in buckets, but Roni bravely grabbed her camera and umbrella and trudged through the muck of a vacant field to watch the crew do its thing. Here is one of our postcards of SSW 7260 as it backs its way onto a spur near the Hershey Visitor Center. Photo by Roni Gehlke.
The train disappeared for about 30 minutes, allowing us time to eat our picnic lunch inside Glenn's steamy car. As we finished our sandwiches, the scanner informed us the train was returning. We gathered our camera gear and umbrellas again (it had not stopped pouring) and shot the local as it approached an ungated crossing into the yard at SERA Junction. Photo by Roni Gehlke.
Another shot of the SSW 7260, a GP40-2, as it heads away from us. Photo by Roni Gehlke.
At SERA Junction, SERA 46 is getting rained on as it sits just outside the Sierra Railroad's diesel shop. This yard is the western terminus of the Sierra's 57.4-mile route that runs east to Tuolumne. This line also serves Railtown 1897, which offers steam passenger excursion trips during summer weekends. Photo by Roni Gehlke.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please send e-mail to Glenn or Roni Gehlke.
Proceed to Milepost 1147.2 on main track. Hold main track at last named point. Over.
This page was last updated Thursday, February 25, 1999 at 13:44 hrs.