North Pacific Coast RR – San Rafael – 0-4-4T


The San Rafael – Engine Number 2 of the North Pacific Coast Railroad.  Pushing an inspection at Millwood in 1890.Source – “Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods” – Graves – p73Click picture for a larger image.


Dolled up for the 4th of July at Millwood, July 1901.Source – “Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods” – p27Click picture for a larger imag


She was damaged in a fire in 1905 along with the Bully Boy.  She was rebuilt, then scrapped in 1912.This photo, from 1892 shows the San Rafael on its way to Mill Valley from the train shed in Sauselito.  Source – “Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods” – p74Click picture for a larger image.


This photo shows her new cab after the rebuild in work train duty at Cazadero.Source – “Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods” – p110Click picture for a larger image.


 Another post-rebuild shot at the San Quentin ferry landing in 1906. Source – “The Northwestern Pacific Railroad” – Stindt – p34.Click photograph for a larger image.




Name San Rafael Number 2
Works No 537 Type 0-4-4T
Date 1874 Drivers 3’6″
Cylinders 12×16 Weight
Gauge 3’0″
Later RR Northwestern Pacific

Known Facts: This is the San Rafael of the North Pacific Coast railroad.  She was referred to on the railroad as The Jackrabbit (Graves & others).  She was sold to the NPC by Mason in 1874 (Abbott list).  She went through a number of cab and equipment upgrades in her tenure on the NPC and its successor lines.  She was used extensively as the Mill Valley Local because of the fact she could run in either direction.  There was no turntable at the end of the line in Mill Valley (Graves).  She was damaged in the engine house fire in Tomales along with the Bully Boy in 1905.  Unlike the Bully Boy, she was rebuilt (Graves).

According to Graves and Stindt, both the San Rafael and the Bully Boy had a tendency to jump tracks.  The San Rafael ended up on her roof in Tomales Bay in 1875.  There is also a photo of her laying on her side on the NPC Masons in Action page as a result of a 1903 derailment.  As a result of their experience with Mason Bogie derailments, use of the two Mason Bogies was restricted to local service wherever possible (Graves).

Speculation:  According to Graves, some old timers interviewed in preparation of his book claimed that she was one of two double headed engines that pulled the formal NPC opening train on January 7, 1875 along with Number 1, the Sausalito.  Others claim that the second engine was not the San Rafael but was Number 4, the Olema.

While engine No 1, the Sausalito was the first engine delivered to the NPC it is not clear whether the San Rafael was the second, although its engine number suggests that it may have been.  The NPC also took delivery of No 4 and No 6, Baldwin 4-4-0s in 1874.

The Graves book shows her with an initial engine number of 2 and a later engine number of 89 (beginning in 1908) on the Northwestern Pacific railroad after takeover of the North Shore (successor to the NPC) in 1907.  Stindt indicates that while the number of 89 was tentatively assigned to the San Rafael, she was never re-stenciled.  No photos have surfaced of the San Rafael in Northwestern Pacific colors.  Graves indicates that she was scrapped in 1912.  Use of the San Rafael on the NWP is unknown.  Did she continue to work on the road after 1908?  Or did she sit in the bone yard until scrapped in 1912?

The San Rafael may be the only Mason Bogie to have run all three fuel types.  She was originally a wood burner as most of the above photos show.  The NPC ran a brief experiment with coal with some of its engines in the early 1890s, converting them back to wood upon change in management in 1893 (Graves).  While no photos have surfaced showing the San Rafael with a coal load, one of the Bully Boy photos in the archive shows it with a coal load.  Because coal needed to be shipped in, it is likely that the coal burners operated out of Sausalito.  the San Rafael was operating out of Sausalito as the Mill Valley local at that time.   When the NPC was taken over by the North Shore in 1905, they began converting all their engines to oil burners.  The 1906 photo of the San Rafael at San Quentin shows her with what appears to be an oil tank in her tender.  It is likely this conversion happened as part of her rebuild after the 1905 Tomales engine house fire.

Hopefully a NPC or NWP historian can help us resolve these issues.


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