The Sierra Railway Company was the shortline branch which supported many other railroads, bringing lumber and mining products out of the foothills, and goods in.  The Sierra Railway played a role in the building of the Hetch Hetchy, Tullock, Beardsley, Donnels, Melones and Don Pedro dams.  It hauled lumber products brought out of the Sierras by the Sugar Pine Railway, Westside Lumber Company, and others. 

At times during the history of the railroad, passengers could travel from stations in Angels Camp, Tuolumne, Sonora &  Jamestown, to Oakdale, and on to anywhere in America served by a rail line. 

 In 1938, the railroad ended regular passenger service— as with most passenger service, operational costs exceeded revenue.  However,  freight operations have been continuous throughout the railroad’s 115 year history.   Today,  modern diesel locomotives from the Sierra Northern Railway haul lumber and propane, and a different type of passenger service— excursions— run on 3 miles out of Jamestown, from the old shops and roundhouse of the railroad–preserved as Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.