The 653 is an electric locomotive designed for hauling freight trains. It was used in the rich agricultural region of northernCalifornia’sSacramentoValley. It is representative of electric locomotives operated by many interurban railways in the early decades of this century. The freight service operated by these interurbans provided a connection for many farmers, manufacturers, and other shippers to main line railroads, and thus to markets across the country.
On many railroads, including the Sacramento Northern and Pacific Electric, freight service continued after money-losing passenger services were abandoned or sold off to other operators. In the case of the Sacramento Northern, the final section of electrified freight service was converted to diesel locomotives in 1965, and the 653 was donated to the Museum by parent company Western Pacific.
The 653 was repainted into its classic Sacramento Northern livery in the 1970s. It is used regularly on the Museum Railway.