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Tidewater Southern Railway Historical Society

Welcome to our Website

Please review the site and the information.  If there are any questions please feel free to contact the organization. Please advise us of any errors or when credit for info is due. We are welcome to both criticism and to praise.

The Tidewater Southern Railway Historical Society was incorporated in the State of California on August 4, 1992, as a nonprofit public benefit corporation for charitable and public purposes.  The Society received 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service on July 27, 1992, for the purpose of collection, preservation, restoration, and archival, and the maintaining of a museum for exhibiting, of Tidewater Southern Railway artifacts, memorabilia, historical data and information, and railway equipment.  Also, exhibiting for educational purposes of historical data, artifacts, memorabilia, and railway equipment of the Tidewater Southern Railway, and the advancement of railroad preservation in general. 

Although the historical society was officially established in mid-1992, the originating organization was established in the mid-1970s as the Manteca Model Railroad Club.  The parent organization was formed from a group of railroad buffs that were brought together by a mail delivery fluke that took place in 1975, an interesting story in its own right.  The US Postal Service delivered a bundle of Model Railroader magazines to the home of Robert Heady in Manteca, California.  The bundle of magazines had arrived at the local post office but were not separated, instead the bundle was delivered to the mailing label address visible to the mail carrier.  After untying the bundle and determining that a good number of model railroaders resided in Manteca, Robert decided to see if there was community interest in organizing a local club.  He went to the local newspaper, which published an article about the mishap, and announced that a meeting was scheduled to discuss organizing a model railroad club in Manteca.  

A model railroad club was formed and resided in the old Manteca city hall building for about eight years.  When the building was sold, the club moved to a warehouse in Stockton, where the club started a new layout.  It was forced to move once again after six months because the building was sold.  The club then moved to an old barn on the outskirts of Manteca, where it stayed for about ten years.  The club then transformed into a modular railroad club format, with members constructing and maintaining modular sections comprising an overall 12-foot by 30-foot layout.  The club displayed the modular layout at numerous local and distant events, including the 1991 Railfair event in Sacramento.  In mid-1990 contact was made with the San Joaquin County Fairground in Stockton to investigate whether they would be receptive to a permanent railroad display and museum on the fairground.  Fairground management was amenable to our proposal, and the organization was subsequently allocated a 2,400 square foot alcove area in Building No. 1.  We started remodel of the alcove area in 1991 and were open to the public during the County Fair by utilizing the modular layout as a display.  We were not open to the public during the 1992 County Fair because the permanent layout was under construction, but we were up and running for the county fair in 1993.  We have been open to the public for each county fair since that time.

We are dedicated to preserving and disseminating the historical record of the Tidewater Southern Railway.
Our museum houses artifacts and information of the TS, and a railroad display that depicts many of the sites along the Tidewater Southern.  Since 1992, the organization has been expanding and transforming the railroad display and the collection and display of historical artifacts. 

The photo below depicts the railroad display and musuem area as it appeared in 2008.  From 2009 through 2010 the control system for the railroad display has been under conversion from conventional DC (Direct Current) power supplies to a Digital Command Control (DCC) system with infrared control.


Visitors are always welcome, and membership to the society is always open. The Society meets every Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Building #1 of the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton California.  Work sessions are scheduled for at least two weekends per month.