The two-wheeled carts parked outside the depot appear to be dump carts, which were used by the railroads to move earth from cuts to fills – the dump trucks of their day. They form a striking juxtaposition with the passenger train at the station. This is a fairly typical early freight depot with a cargo of hay being readied for shipment.
From Crofutt's Transcontinental Tourist's Guide, 1871:
"Elevation, 969 feet. It is but a small place, containing about 200 inhabitants. We pass on through little valleys and among low hills , with evidence of past and a little present mining.
Off to the right are the old time mining camps of Ophir, Virginia City, Gold Hill, and several others, where yet considerable placer mining is indulged in by the old settlers, who are good for nothing else. There is a miner's cabin under yonder tree, with a patch of garden, and, yes, a rose-bush in front. Look! old '49 comes to the door, pipe in mouth, a twenty years' beard sweeping his bosom, and gazes on the passing train. Look with that a deprecating gesture he admits the fact that the railroad has got ahead of his time and is sending its loads of rosy-cheeked women into the country to disturb his peace and quietness. Sadly he turns to enter his lonely cabin, when we read on the seat of his unmentionables, "Warrented 98lbs., superior quality." Poor fellow, who knows but that the next time we pass this way, we may behold another man, outwardly, but still the same. The beard will have been trimmed, the house "tidied" up, the flour-sack patched limb shoulders will have given place to "store-clothes," and a smiling, rosy face, surmounted by a waterfall, will look out of the doorway of what is now a real home. So mote it be."(Crofutt, 173)
From The Pacific Tourist, 1884:
"Newcastle, 121 miles from San Francisco, is a day telegraph station, five miles from Auburn, 956 feet oves the sea. It has a hotel and several stores, every man in the place a Good Templar, and some promising quartz mines in the vicinity. It was named after an old resident and hotel-keeper called Castle. An earnest of what may be seen in the lovely valley, that has such unlimited extent before the traveler, may be seen in a flourishing orange tree, growing in the open air, in a garden only a few yards from the railroad track."(Shearer, 257)
The angle of this modern photograph is not exact because foliage now obstructs the view.
The original depot building no longer sits alongside the tracks.