Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading

Hi all.

A co-worker has a book printed by the Southern California Edison Co. about the building of the whole dam system they have up at Shaver and Huntington Lake NE of Fresno. A chapter is dedicated to the SJ&E "the crookedist RR in the world" There's some nice photos too. Would any one like to see them? Since there's no map drawn, I might as well tackle that also using my Google maps,

Has anyone ever gone up in that area before? Looks like a nice hike.

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Crookedest railroad in the world? Psh no that's the MT&MWR.

Well, that's the nickname it got during its time of operation which ended in 1933. 1073 curves; the maximum was 60 degrees. The railroad had 43 wooden trestles, and 255 steep grades; the steepest grade was at Webstone with an average grade of 5.3% which isn't too shabby.

What is the MT&MWR?

MT&MWR-Mt. Tempalas & Muir Woods


Zachary M. Toler

Mount Tamalpias and Muir Woods Railroad, it was a tourist railroad that ran up Mount Tam in Marin County and lasted from the late 1800s to was nicked name as the "crookedest railroad in the world" around 1900 for its winding 8.2 miles of steep grades, never going below 3%. It's famous "bow tie knot" was a stretch of track that, from above at the taven of Tamalpias, looked like a bow tie.

I knew I spelled that wrong! Not even spell check could figure it out! Go figure.


Zachary M. Toler

Don't worry..I still can't spell half the railroads out there!

Oh yeah, the Mt Tam RR was pretty crooked all right. They have that nice film available showing it chugging up those steep tight curves. What a ride.

That book is a peculiar one...typical of those that industries did to flatter themselves. Take the "history" in it with a grain of salt. There's also the very well illustrated book on the SJ& E done in the 1960s by the late Hank Johnston. I have that, and recommend it. It's a little "light" on textual content but is otherwise well done, neatly arranged and very well printed. The SJ&E would make a very fine model railroad if someone was so inclined...if you've ever been to Jack Burgess's house and seen his Yosemite Valley Railroad layout ~ a terrific representation of that road around 1939-40 ~ you'd get the way I can best see railroads of that region rendered in  miniature.

Here's a portion of the line that I've been able to draw.


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