tourists from all over the world, through 281 curves
and over eight miles before reaching the summit of
Mount Tam, then coasting down into Muir Woods.
In 1903, many rail lines were electrified, and Marin
pioneered the concept of an interurban commuter
electric rail system connecting (and helping to
develop) Marin’s cities and towns.
So where did it all go? What still remains of those
freewheeling railroad times in today’s traffic-clogged
Marin County? Where are the reminders? A look at
Marin’s three rail systems reveals some answers.
STEAM-POWERED RAIL SYSTEM
Starting in early 1869, Marin’s first railway ran
about three miles between Point San Quentin and
San Rafael. But by the mid-1880s, the primary terminals for steam-powered trains were Tiburon and
Sausalito, because these were port cities where ferries could then take freight and passengers on to
San Francisco. All rail lines originating in Marin
Picnic cars being
pulled by engine 13
in 1900; interurban
Sausalito in 1914;
the gravity car and
brakeman are ready
for action in 1914.