San Joaquin Valley Railroad

The San Joaquin Valley Railroad (reporting mark SJVR) is one of several short line railroad companies and is part of the Pacific Region Division of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. It operates about 297 miles (478 km)[1] of track primarily on several lines in California's Central Valley/San Joaquin Valley outside Fresno, California and Bakersfield, California. The SJVR has trackage rights over Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) from Fresno - Goshen Jct - Famoso - Bakersfield - Algoso. The SJVR also operates for the Tulare Valley Railroad (TVRR) from Calwa to Corcoran and Famoso.

San Joaquin Valley Railroad
San Joaquin Valley Railroad logo.png
HeadquartersExeter, California
Reporting markSJVR
LocaleFresno, California and Bakersfield, California area
Dates of operationJanuary 2, 1992–present
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length297 miles (478 km)[1]

There were two former San Joaquin Valley Railroads. One was owned by Leland Stanford in 1870 to build an 11.3-mile (18.2 km) line from Lathrop, California to the Stanislaus River and was consolidated into the Central Pacific Railroad. The second San Joaquin Valley Railroad operated from 1892–1893 between Fresno and Friant over 24.1 miles (38.8 km) of track and was sold at foreclosure to the Southern Pacific.

In 1991, the SJVR operated the entire former SP line from Fresno to Famoso, but a portion north of Famoso was later abandoned.

SJVR interchanges with the BNSF Railway at Fresno and Bakersfield and with the Union Pacific at Fresno and Goshen Junction.

SJVR was originally owned by Kyle Railways. In 1992, the SJVR was created[1] to obtain and operate several branch lines from the Southern Pacific. From 1992–1997, the SJVR was owned by Kyle Railways. In 1997, SJVR's parent, Kyle Railways, was sold to States Rail. In 2002 SJVR's new parent, States Rail, was purchased by RailAmerica.[1] Genesee & Wyoming Inc. controlled RailAmerica in December 2012. Today the SJVR remains a shortline within the Genesee & Wyoming family of railroads.

Lines operated by SJVREdit

Line names taken from CPUC data.[2]
  • Fresno - Exeter - Strathmore (Exeter Subdivision; former SP)
  • Exeter - Goshen Jct. (Goshen Subdivision; former SP)
  • Goshen Jct. - Hanford - Huron (Hanford Subdivision; former SP)
  • Burrel - Helm - Tranquility - Ingle (Riverdale Branch; former SP)
  • Oxalis - Mendota - Ingle - Kerman - Fresno (West Side Subdivision; former SP)
  • Fresno - Clovis (Clovis Subdivision; former AT&SF and SP)
  • Famoso - Hollis (North Joint Subdivision; former SP)
  • Maltha - Oil Jct. (Oil City Subdivision; former AT&SF/SP)
  • Oil Jct. - Landco (Landco Subdivision; former AT&SF)
  • Bakersfield - Gosford - Buttonwillow (Buttonwillow Subdivision; former SP)
  • Gosford - Millux (Sunset Subdivision; former Sunset Railway)
  • Algoso - Arvin (Arvin Subdivision; former AT&SF/SP)
  • Trackage rights over UP from Fresno - Algoso (near Bakersfield) via Goshen Jct. (former SP)


West Side LineEdit

This mainline route was formerly known as Southern Pacific's "West Side Line" and at one time extended from Tracy, California and then south through the West side of the San Joaquin Valley (I-5 corridor) via Patterson, Gustine, Newman, Los Banos, Oxalis and then east to Fresno via Ingle and Kerman. California Northern Railroad now operates the northern section of the line from Tracy - Los Banos. SJVR operates the southern section of the line from Oxalis to Fresno and was at one time owned by Port Railroads, Inc. (PRI; also a Kyle subsidiary) and operated by the SJVR. On April 24, 1996 the PRI was merged into the SJVR. Both the PRI and SJVR were already Kyle Railway subsidiaries. The section of track between Los Banos and Oxalis was abandoned by Southern Pacific in 1993 and the tracks were removed soon after.

The Southern Pacific constructed the track from Tracy to Newman (37 miles) and from Los Banos to Armona (near Fresno) in 1891. Southern Pacific's overnight Owl passenger train (#57/58) operated over this line between San Francisco and Los Angeles into 1965.

Exeter SubdivisionEdit

In 2008, the Surface Transportation Board approved the abandonment of the section of track between Strathmore and Jovista. This left the communities of Strathmore, Porterville, Terra Bella, Ducor, and Richgrove without any rail service. Tulare County has recently broken off negotiations with the SJVR to purchase this section of track to preserve it for future use and possible reactivation. However, beginning in September 2010, the tracks were being removed by the SJVR and the job was completed with the entire line having been pulled up in mid November. The future of this line is very much in doubt and with the rails having now been removed, it's extremely unlikely that trains will ever traverse that corridor again. As of March 2015, the SJVR has embargoed the line with the rails spiked at the south end of Exeter with some crossing signals south already having been partially dismantled. This section of track, which runs approximately 8 miles to Lindsay is now pending formal abandonment whereupon the rails are expected to be immediately pulled up upon STB approval. The sections from Exeter to Dinuba along with former ATSF track between Lindsay and Exeter is expected to follow given their poor condition and lack of use.


The railroad's main traffic sources are petroleum gas and agricultural products. In 2008, the SJVR hauled around 39,000 carloads.[1]

Rolling StockEdit

The railroad operates GP15-1's, GP40-2's, GP28's, GP20's, GP38's, GP38-2's, BL20-2's, and SE24B's.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "RailAmerica's Empire". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing. June 2010.
  2. ^ California Public Utilities Commission, Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory Archived 2014-08-26 at the Wayback Machine (XLS file), accessed August 2014
  3. ^
  • Edward A. Lewis, American Shortline Railway Guide 5th ed. (Kalmbach Publishing, 1996)
  • Mike Walker, SPV's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America - California/Nevada Post Merger Edition, (Steam Powered Publishing & SPV, 1997) Ownership and detail of rail lines.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Winchester and Western Railroad
Short Line Railroad of the Year
Succeeded by
Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad