Home The Historical Society How to Join Shadi History Room How You Can Help Contact Us
  About El Cerrito
El Cerrito Timelime Photo Timeline
Historical Narratives
Walking Tour

Places of Interest
EC in Print
Board Members
Sparks from the Anvil
The Forge Newsletter
The Castro Adobe
Chung Mei Home


The California and Nevada Railroad ran from Oakland to Orinda. It had been originally chartered to run all the way to Nevada, but financial problems interfered and it stopped at Orinda. It ran through today's communities of El Cerrito, Richmond, El Sobrante and out towards Orinda. It had a depot near the Dam Road in San Pablo. This narrow-gauge railroad hauled passengers, hay and grain.

Farmers in El Cerrito would run down towards the tracks when they heard the train coming as sparks would often fly from the steam engine and start the field on fire. The farmers had barrels of water every few blocks sitting along side of the tracks in case of fire.

Coming north from Oakland the C&N ran on what is now the Santa Fe right-of-way. [Editor's note: The Santa Fe right-of-way became the BART right-of-way.] At the county line it ran through the estate of Jovita Castro and along the present Santa Fe right-of-way to a point by the present Blake Street crossing. The C&N right-of-way turned west until it ran into the east side of San Pablo Avenue at Hill Street, or about where the Builder's Emporium Lumber Company was formerly situated, now Golden Gate Lanes. The railroad ran along the east side of San Pablo Avenue to about Wall Avenue and then ran northeast in the direction of Dam Road in the town of San Pablo, through El Sobrante and ran all of the way to Orinda. The Santa Fe later ran their trains over the same route from the county line to Blake Street, but instead of turning into San Pablo Avenue, they ran their tracks straight ahead at Blake Street and turned their line due west at the northwest city limits into Richmond.

There was also a small train stop station situated at Blake Street and the tracks on the northeast corner where people could flag down the train to get transportation by rails. [Editor's Note: The Santa Fe also had a small train stop station situated at Fairmount Avenue and the tracks. Both of these two "stations" were just covered shelters that afforded some protection from the elements.]

Copyright Mervin Belfils, October 1975
Copyright El Cerrito Historical Society, June 2006