|Old Mission Portland Cement Company map showing route of track south of San Juan Junction. [QuarriesandBeyond.org]|
|USGS Map showing the cement plant line, 1917.|
This new private railroad run by the cement plant included at least seventeen wagons and a steam locomotive, the latter of which operated out of an engine house located immediately beside the cement plant where it shared space with the California Central's single standard-gauged locomotive. The railroad crews generally worked the narrow-gauged lines but were cross-trained to shuttle the standard-gauge locomotive to the Southern Pacific tracks at Chittenden when necessary. Unlike the standard-gauged track, which forked twice around and between the cement plant structures, the narrow-gauged track terminated just once beside the eastern-most towers where its engine house was located.
The railroad continued in use when the Portland Cement Company took over in 1927, but, like the rest of the cement plant, all operations halted in 1929 when the Great Depression killed the cement industry along the Central Coast. By the time the plant reopened in 1941, all the narrow-gauged track was gone, likely removed alongside the rest of the California Central line in 1938. Trucks ran along the old right-of-way and continued to do so well into the 1970s. Traces of this road still exist today, now used by farming vehicles and restless cattle wandering the old cement company grounds.
Permission to access this old route is only with permission by the owner. However, one short section of track is available at the Gibilan School where the old route passes over San Juan Canyon Road (G1) about three miles south of the track that is still visible in the road at San Juan Junction and The Alameda.
Citations & Credits:
- Hamman, Rick. California Central Coast Railways. Second Edition. Santa Cruz, CA: Otter B Books, 2002.