In 1909 the city of Modesto was served only by the Southern Pacific Railroad (since merged into Union Pacific). The Santa Fe Railway (now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe) paralleled the Southern Pacific through the San Joaquin Valley, but the closest it came to Modesto was at Empire, 5 miles to the east. The residents of Modesto desired competitive rail service; therefore, on March 23, 1909, Modesto Interurban Railway was organized to construct the same 5 miles of main line that connects Modesto and Empire today. For a brief period in 1911, the Tidewater Southern Railway (which later became part of the Union Pacific) operated a motor passenger car over the Modesto Interurban Railway, but regular service by the Tidewater Southern was never established.
It was on October 7, 1911, that Modesto and Empire Traction Company was incorporated to become the operating company for the Modesto Interurban Railway. On November 1, 1911, scheduled passenger service between Modesto and Empire began. Initially, passenger service was the backbone of M&ET's business; however, freight business became increasingly important and in 1917 passenger service was discontinued. By 1922, rail interchanges had been connected with the Southern Pacific and the Tidewater Southern in addition to the interchange with Santa Fe. An industrial zone was formed, and M&ET's freight business grew with the development of the food processing and agricultural industry in Modesto.
M&ET serves its customers with a fleet consisting of eight Railpower GenSet 2000Hp. We do not own any rolling stock (or cabooses). The corporate office of M&ET is still located at the site of the original depot constructed in 1911... 530 Eleventh Street, Modesto, California.