|End of track at Eccles, where the Eccles & Eastern RR planned to begin|
their rebuilding of the Mountain Division in 1992.
By 1992, the E&E had become the Sierra Pacific Coast Railway after purchasing the Sierra Railroad and the company had gone public. A full advertising bonanza was begun in the hopes that stock sales would ensure the success of the planned mountain route. More than 100 shareholders, 10% of whom were local non-profits such as museums, supported the venture, but $50 million was the estimated cost of restoring the route. During this time, a "Santa Cruz-Los Gatos Rail Corridor Feasibility Study (PDF)" was prepared. This report took two years to complete and included a survey of the existing route, an environmental impact study, and alternative proposals for portions of the route. Regrettably, this survey was one of the factors that doomed the project. Presented in December 1994, it noted some serious problems with aspects of the existing right-of-way. Foremost among them was the passage around Lexington Reservoir and through the city of Los Gatos. A four-mile diversionary route was planned to resolve the issue with the reservoir while tracks installed in the center of State Route 17 would have diverted the route around Los Gatos until it could meet up with the mainline tracks north of Vasona Park. Unfortunately, other factors crept in too such as the fact that at least a dozen fiercly-defensive residences and businesses sat on the right-of-way and that two mile-long tunnels, one spanning the San Andreas Fault, would have to be rebuilt and realigned.
|Sierra Northern freight train at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.|