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Amador Foothills Railroad

Eighty-five years later, Central Pacific's Amador Branch Railroad is now Southern Pacific's Ione Branch, and the Ione & Eastern is the Amador Central Railroad. In the beginnings Amador Central and its short lived predecessor hauled gold ore down from the mountain mines. As the ore began to yield less and less gold, concentrates from the mines were shipped to an enormous smelter at Selby, about 20 miles north of Oakland. The huge quarries outside Ione were another source of business for the Amador, shipping out car loads of fire brick used for lining furnaces and chimneys.

Eastward traffic included mail, groceries, clothing and animal feed for the foothill towns. The towns people also moved by rail. Now, The brick plant at Firebrick uses only trucks, and the Sierra towns no longer rely on the railroad. Highway 88 has brought Martell and Ione within 15 minutes of one another.

You can see Baldwin No. !0 every once in a while when Engineer Jeff Scnultz brings it out to warm her up and check her out. What is going to happen in the future? No one really knows at this writing, but the hopes of the future are always there.

All graphics created and owned by Ray and Cheryl Herndon