South Pacific Coast Railroad - Origins


SPC was incorporated in 1876 to purchase the unfinished Santa Clara Valley Company railroad at Dumbarton Point. Dumbarton Point was then a landing to transfer agricultural produce from the Santa Clara Valley onto sailboats for transport to San Francisco. Railway shops were built in Newark and a narrow gauge line to San Jose was completed in 1876. The SPC ferry Newark offered connecting service from Newark to San Francisco in 1877. In 1878 the SPC was extended from San Jose to Los Gatos; and the subsidiary Bay and Coast Railroad completed a line of trestles and fill along the eastern edge of San Francisco Bay from Newark to Alameda. The ferry connection to San Francisco shifted to Alameda as SPC ferrys Bay City and Garden City increased the frequency and reliability of connecting service.

Two years and eight tunnels were required to extend the SPC through the Santa Cruz Mountains from Los Gatos to California's third busiest seaport at Santa Cruz in 1880. SPC leased the San Lorenzo Flume and Transportation Company to acquire their subsidiary Santa Cruz and Felton Railroad as a route through the city to Santa Cruz municipal pier. The big lumber transport flume was replaced by a 7 miles (11 km) logging branch in 1883. In 1886 another branch line was built to the New Almaden mercury mine; and the SPC main line was extended from Alameda to Oakland. Commuter trains fed the San Francisco ferries from east bay communities, two daily trains served Santa Cruz, and four daily locals served the logging branch to Boulder Creek. Excursion trains ran from the ferries to resorts of the south bay and Santa Cruz Mountains. Freight trains carried redwood lumber, mercury, sacked lime, gunpowder from the California Powder Works, and local agricultural produce.

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