Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading

  • Currently 0/5 stars.

Views: 353


You need to be a member of Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network to add comments!

Join Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Comment by Steve Atnip on July 17, 2018 at 11:13am

Lets not forget Camgros!

Comment by Dave S. on July 17, 2018 at 6:16am

Richard:  McPhail's was (still is, I think) a general contracting/construction company based in San Rafael, but they were in to all kinds of stuff.  They had a concrete batch plant at the corner of Irwin & Francisco Blvd. W. where the parking lot for the Staples & Sprouts stores is now.  They also sold and delivered propane.  I think they had a few other concrete batch plants around Marin also.  For example the one at Hanna Ranch Rd. in Novato upon which there is an application to build commercial offices (possibly breaking ground this month).  That site had an NWP connection but it was removed long before the San Rafael plant shut down.

402 page environmental report on the Hanna Ranch Road site here:

Another distinctive fact about McPhail's was the way their construction vehicles were painted up until the mid 1980's, or so.  They used a paint scheme similar to the Partridge Family Bus (look it up!).  However, McPail's used more black and no white in the poly-chromatic scheme, as I recall.  [My next-door neighbor worked for McPahil's while I was a teenager, and his truck sat on the street whenever he was home.]  Actually, there are a few photos on this site of the McPahil's trucks during the post-hippy heyday.

At some point Shamrock purchased the McPhail's concrete business, then developed the site in San Rafael.  This explains the confusion which resulted when the former McPahil's site came to be known today as Shamrock Center.  Now Shamrock is owned by Vulcan:

Comment by Richard C. Brand on July 16, 2018 at 7:58pm


This is a wonderful set of pictures showing the work in detail and all taken within 90 mins. 
Thank you and really appreciate the effort.

Now I have used up my 20 questions.

Comment by Richard C. Brand on July 16, 2018 at 7:51pm

What was McPhail's business?

Comment by Dave S. on July 16, 2018 at 6:07pm

I believe that McPhail's maintained a connection to the NWP until the bitter end.  Switching McPhail's meant crossing Irwin Street.  Bits of that turnout are still visible in this aerial photo:

Comment by Dave S. on July 16, 2018 at 1:01pm

Until late 2017, this is the remnant of the Shamrock spur.  My recollection from walking the RoW in the 1970's is that this spur was long severed prior to SP's imposition of $2000.00 per carload surcharge.

Comment by Richard C. Brand on July 16, 2018 at 12:37pm

I assume you mean that Shamrock has "not used it", means the batch plant.

Good old SP sure knew how to manage customer relations.  UP still delivers MANY carloads of aggregate to the plant here in Redwood City.

Comment by David L ILLICH on July 16, 2018 at 12:29pm

they have not used it since sp nwp days 1980 's stopped running to San Rafael when they started charging a $1000.00 a car just to deliver it 

Comment by Richard C. Brand on July 16, 2018 at 10:28am

No freight service for Shamrock.

© 2019   Created by Mark Drury.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service