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

Former California State Route 24 through the Kennedy Tunnel and Old Tunnel Road

 Near the eastern City Limit of Oakland high in the Berkeley Hills one can be find the ruins of the Kennedy Tunnel at the intersection of Old Tunnel Road and Skyline Boulevard.  The Kennedy Tunnel opened in 1903 and was the first semi-modern automotive corridor which crossed the Alameda County-Contra Costa County Line.  The Kennedy Tunnel even saw service briefly as part of California State Route 24 before the first two bores of the Caldecott Tunnel opened in 1937.   Part 1; the history of the Kennedy Tunnel The genesis point for California State Route 24 ("CA 24") being extended into the San Francisco Bay Area begins a couple years before the Sign State Routes were announced when Legislative Route Number 75 ("LRN 75") was added by 1931 Legislative Chapter 82.  According to cahighways.org the original definition of LRN 75 was as simply "Walnut Creek to Oakland."  The instigator for the adoption of LRN 75 was construct a replacement route for the Ken

The original alignment of California State Route 1 in San Francisco

In 2019 the Gribblenation Blog Series covered the history of the Hyde Street Pier and the original surface alignment of US Route 101 in San Francisco.  Given the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic in May of 1937 coupled with the fact that the Sign State Routes had been announced in August of 1934 there were still some open questions regarding the original highway alignments in San Francisco.  Namely the question of this blog is; where was California State Route 1 prior to the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge?  Thanks the to the discovery of a 1936 Shell Highway Map of San Francisco and the California Highways & Public Works the answer can be conveyed clearly.     Part 1; the history of early California State Route 1 in San Francisco The genesis point for California State Route 1 ("CA 1") in San Francisco dates to 1933.  1933 was significant due to the State Legislature allowing the Division of Highways to assume maintenance of highways in Cities for the first time. 

Santa Clara County Route G8 and the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine

Santa Clara County Route G8 is a 29.38 mile County Sign Route which is part of the San Francisco Bay Area transportation corridor.  Santa Clara County Route G8 begins at California State Route 152 near the outskirts of Gilroy and terminates at former US Route 101 at 1st Street/Monterey Road near downtown San Jose.  Santa Clara County Route G8 incorporates the notable Almaden Expressway and is historically tied to the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine.   (Santa Clara County Route G8 map image courtesy CAhighways.org) Part 1; the history of Santa Clara County Route G8, the Almaden Road corridor and New Almaden Mine The present corridor of Santa Clara County Route G8 ("G8") began to take shape with the emergence of the Almaden Expressway.  According to the October 1960 California Highways & Public Works Unit 1 of the Almaden Expressway opened in November of 1959 between Alma Avenue near downtown San Jose south to the Guadalupe River as part of a Federal Highway Aid Secondary pro