Even in the early 20th century, there was still much untapped virgin timber in the Sierra. To better access this timber, another route heading east from Sacramento, south of the Southern Pacific’s Overland Route and north of Southern Pacific’s Placerville branch line, was conceived.
As reported in The San Francisco Call, the Sacramento and Sierra Railroad filed incorporation paperwork on Saturday April 24th. 1909. The railroad was to be built to Lake Tahoe via Fair Oaks, Georgetown and Jackson’s Springs. By this date, nearly $130,000 out of $1,000,000 shares of stock had been sold to investors, the route survey had been completed and the railroad purchased land on the Sacramento river front near SP’s yard for its own factories, yards and shops. Construction was predicted to commence in a few months on the 127 mile railroad as estimated by The Locomotive Fireman’s Magazine.
By May 28th of that same year, the same newspaper reported that many pieces of property for right of way had been acquired by the railroad and men were already at work grading the line from Orangevale to Sacramento. The route was also to include a branch line to Rosedale.
The Arcade Park development produced a flyer advertising their land for sale around this time. The Southern Pacific bordered the North side of the development and the Sacramento and Sierra was to cut through the middle. (See advertisement.)
The Amador Ledger reported on June 4, 1909 that articles of incorporation were filed in Amador county and named all five men residing on the railroad’s board of directors. Each share of stock had a pare value of $1,000.
The Call printed on August 14, 1909 that there was speculation the railroad would not be constructed past a location named Virner. If it were built, it would need to climb 7,700 feet of construct a tunnel a mile and a half long. The general consensus at the time was that if the line made it that far, it would likely become another transcontinental route.
On November 9th, The Call reported that grading of the line was proeceding from Orangevale to Fair Oaks and that right of way had been purchased to Georgetown. Company management explained that they are pushing to have to route completed as soon as possible.
By the 20th of November, the line had been surveyed 20 miles above Georgetown and the remaining survey to Lake Tahoe was to be completed in the spring.
May 29th, 1910 reported renewed requests from the citizens of Georgetown to have the El Dorado County seat transferred to their town from Placerville. Since Placerville had been long since forgotten as a part of the transcontinental railroad, perhaps Georgetown felt that the new Sacramento and Sierra Railroad would bring their town the transcontinental glory Placerville never achieved, making it the most important town in the county.
Unfortunately, the railroad never actually laid any rail that I can determine. The whole company, though it had many miles of graded right of way, never hauled one train across its line and must have run out of money and shut down.