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Visalia Electric Railroad

Visalia Electric Railroad
Locale Tulare County, California
Dates of operation 1904–1992
Successor Southern Pacific Railroad
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 68 miles[1]
Headquarters Visalia, California

The Visalia Electric Railroad, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP), began as an electric interurban railroad in Tulare County, in the U.S. State of California.[2] The railroad was incorporated on April 22, 1904.[3] Passenger service was discontinued in 1924, and the electrification was removed in 1944. Subsequent operation was by diesel locomotive. The railroad was closed in 1992.

File:Visalia Electric Railway 502, GE 44-ton Diesel Yard Switcher.jpg
Visalia Electric #502 GE 44 ton diesel electric switcher
The Visalia Electric used the unusual choice of 15 Hz AC at 3,300 Volts[4] carried by overhead wire, with pantographs on the cars for pickup. Parent SP intended this as a testbed for main line, long distance electrification of its own lines in the area, a project that never came to fruition.[citation needed] At one time[when?] the Visalia Electric briefly interchanged with the ATSF. The ATSF was seen by the SP as a rival, so for most of the life of the Visalia Electric only interchanged with its parent SP.


  1. ^ Demoro, Harre W. (1986). California's Electric Railways. Glendale, California: Interurban Press. p. 201. ISBN 0-916374-74-2. 
  2. ^ Hilton, George W.; Due, John F. (2000) [1960]. The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4014-3. 
  3. ^ Railroad Commission of California (1921). Report of the Railroad Commission of California from July 1, 1920 to June 30, 1921. Sacramento: California State Printing Office. 
  4. ^ Demoro, Harre W. (1986). California's Electric Railways. Glendale, California: Interurban Press. p. 15. ISBN 0-916374-74-2.