Freight trains in 1915 would normally leave Occidental in rural Sonoma County around 7:30 a.m. for the ferry terminal at Sausalito and return late afternoon. While timber had been the main cargo for the previous three decades, greed reduced the redwoods to 5% of their original growth. The final knockout was the Russian River fire of September 17, 1923, which burnt everything from Guerneville to the Pacific Ocean. With this calamity, there was a shift in merchandise.
Freight Trains after Timber:
In addition to the caboose, the locomotive would pull a coach for delivering and returning children from schools in the western part of the county. Twenty freight cars carried wine from Occidental, herring from Bodega, potatoes from Freestone, grain and milk from Fallon, oysters from Marshall, and cattle and hogs from Valley Ford. The rural businesses along the line (North Coast R.R., then North Pacific Coast R.R., then Northwestern Pacific R.R.), however, could not support the railroad. With the auto and truck creeping in, the end of the narrow gauge was just ahead. Scheduled freight was reduced and mixed with passenger cars until ceasing altogether in 1927. But if you listen carefully late at night, you can still hear the whistle from old engine No. 91.