Amador Rail Line

A playful Butch Huelet lays down on the railroad tracks for a photo taken around 1935. The tracks are a section of the Ione Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad extending from Galt to Ione. Sometimes called the Amador Line, SP completed the line in 1876 to service the Mother Lode gold mines and the timber industry, but also included passenger service. The Great Depression closed the gold mines, and the rail line stopped transporting passengers in 1932. With the streamlining of the trucking industry, the Amador Line became unprofitable, but the line is still in operation to service the SGI Plant in Ione. The photographer took this photo around the Herald/Clay Station area and, looking at the cattle guards he’s laying on, suggests it is next to one of the many roads that crossed the rail line.