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This website is a constant work-in-progress, with articles updated regularly throughout the site. Much of the information comes from local railroad fans such as yourselves. If you have information regarding local railroads, photographs or railroad documents, or you feel a mistake has been made or information omitted from an article, leave a comment on the appropriate page or email me at This site would not be possible without your help and support. Thank you! – Derek R. Whaley

Saturday, January 1, 2000

San Francisco & Ocean Shore Railroad

San Francisco & Ocean Shore Railroad

The Ocean Shore Electric Railroad, as it was originally called, was built in 1905 as a rival line to the Southern Pacific Railroad that spanned the inner side of the south San Francisco Bay. It was envisioned as a long, continuous route linking Santa Cruz to San Francisco via the coast, but construction delays, costs, and a recession in the late 1910s cut the dream short. Early on, the line was forced to admit defeat in electrifying the line, renaming it the San Francisco & Ocean Shore Railroad. The line was built in two divisions, in the north heading south from San Francisco, and in the south heading north from Santa Cruz. The two ends never connected. The Northern Division abandoned southward construction just south of Tunitas Creek north of Pescadero, where they had built a trestle to nowhere. The Southern Division gave up its northbound construction at Scott Creek north of Davenport. What was envisioned as a short branch line followed the contour of the creek to the village of Swanton, where the tracks ended near the Swanton Inn, which de facto served as the line's northern terminus.

Of interest to this website is the Southern Division, which had its depot near the ocean end of Bay Street in Santa Cruz. Although it was located in close proximity to the Southern Pacific Railroad depot, the two were only linked by a single stretch of track near the present-day wye. In later years, the Coast Line Railroad, a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific, would build a track slightly inland, near Mission Street, that rivaled and eventually defeated the Southern Division of the Ocean Shore Railroad. Still, the railroad survived for fifteen years before giving up to competition. The company formally closed in 1921, though the Southern Division remained in use by the Santa Cruz Lumber Company for several more years. Other portions of the track around San Francisco also remained in use for additional years.

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