Skip to main content

San Juan Pacific Railway

This past month I stopped in San Juan Bautista of San Benito County to view a historic plaque detailing the history of the San Juan Pacific Railway.


The San Juan Pacific Railway historic plaque is located on former Legislative Route 22/Old San Juan-Hollister Road just east of The Alameda in the City of San Juan Bautista.  The San Juan Pacific Railway plaque is located atop it's former grade.




As noted above the San Juan Pacific Railway ("SJPR") incorporated in 1907 but it only briefs the story of the line.  The San Juan Pacific Railway was standard gauge line built to connect from the Southern Pacific Railroad in Chittenden of Santa Cruz County 7.94 miles southeast to a concrete processing facility in San Juan Canyon near San Juan Bautista.  Said Portland Cement processing facility in San Juan Canyon was originally owned by the San Juan Cement Company which began operations in 1907.

The San Juan Cement Company was not successful and shuttered operations in late November of 1907.  The assets of the San Juan Cement Company were eventually taken over by the Old Mission Cement Company in May of 1912.  The Old Mission Cement Company rebranded the SJPR into the Central California Railroad.  The Old Mission Cement Company built a narrow gauge quarry line east of the processing facility deeper into San Juan Canyon.  The first cement shipments began rolling from San Juan Canyon in 1916 but it wasn't until 1918 that the Old Mission Cement Plant was complete.

The Old Mission Cement Plant extended it's quarry line another 1.5 miles to two new quarries in 1921.  The Old Mission Cement Plant sold out to the Pacific Portland Cement Company in 1927.  The Pacific Portland Cement Company announced it intended to add three additional miles of quarry line in 1929.  The Pacific Portland Cement Company shuttered operations in 1930 due to the economic conditions of the Great Depression.  In 1937-1938 (sources conflict) the standard gauge rails of the Central California Railroad were removed.  The cement processing facility reopened in 1941 under the banner of Ideal Cement which operated to the 1970s when the cement plant was dismantled.

Note; much of the above information on the history of the SJPR was sourced from an article on PacificNG.org on the Old Mission Portland Cement Company.

A limited number of maps show the SJPR.  One such map was the 1920 Denny's Pocket Map of San Benito County which shows the SJPR line ending in San Juan Canyon.


The SJPR also appears on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of San Benito County.


The alignment of the SJPR is sketched onto the two maps (in brown) below which I drew to show historic transportation corridors around San Juan Bautista.



There is still some existing evidence of the SJPR which can be seen along County Route G1.  I took the below photo in 2017 which shows the grade of the SJPR to the left of County Route G1 on San Juan Canyon Road.


As County Route G1 transitions onto Mission Vineyard Road a set of embedded rails can be seen in the roadway.


In early 2020 I returned to County Route G1 on Mission Vineyard Road to get better photos of the embedded rails.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del

Siuslaw River Bridge - US 101 in Florence, Oregon

  As the Oregon Coast Highway (US 101) was being completed across the State of Oregon during the 1930s, a number of bridges needed to be built to cross some of the state's finest rivers. In Florence, Oregon , the Siuslaw River Bridge was designed and constructed to help fill in the gaps between different coastal communities. Built in 1936, the Siuslaw River Bridge is a bascule bridge flanked by two reinforced concrete arches that spans across the Siuslaw River. The bridge and the river get their names from the Siuslaw tribal people who make their home along the river valleys of this part of the Oregon Coast. Today, the bridge provides a vital link connecting US 101 and the Central Oregon Coast to points north and south. The total length of the Siuslaw River Bridge is 1,568 feet, stretching across the river. But more specifically, the bridge is made up of a north approach with eight spans of reinforced concrete deck girder totaling 478 feet in length. There is a main span in three