|The Pacific Coast Aggregates quarry in the 1970s, with three chains|
of hopper cars parked on various spurs and an aggregate loader
visible in the background. (Bruce MacGregor)
The PCA quarry was the smaller of the two operations, although it expanded over the years. It also had the more extensive freight yard. At least five spurs led to various locations in the quarry, with the two primary spurs terminating at aggregate towers and a third spur ending beneath a smaller aggregate loader. Track space was in high demand here since there was no siding at the facility. A concrete freight-loading platform sat beside the mainline across from the company's local office, a low-quality shed demolished in 2012.
Kaiser switched to shipping its aggregates via truck prior to 1968 when Hanson Aggregates took over the firm. Hanson ceased operating at the quarry in 2003 after which it sold the property to the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. PCA continued using the quarry until 2002, by which time it had been purchased by Lone Star Cement Corporation (in 1965) and then RMC Pacific Materials (in 1988). Lone Star stopped using the railroad following a terrible storm in 1982 that severely damaged the tracks and prompted the Southern Pacific to sell the right of way to Roaring Camp Railroads. Lone Star switched to using trucks thereafter. RMC closed the quarry in 2002 and was purchased by CEMEX in 2005. CEMEX still owns the quarry but has not reopened it. The quarry is currently undergoing environmental rehabilitation under advisement by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.
All of the original tracks in this area still survive, some visible and some buried beneath sand and debris. Two aggregate bunkers can still be seen when walking along the tracks, while numerous switches and other railroad artifacts can be seen in the area.
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
Kaiser Pavement Company Quarry: 37˚N 4' 16.446", 122˚W 3' 17.087"
Pacific Coast Aggregates Quarry: 37˚N 3' 44.585", 122˚W 3' 19.481"
All of the right-of-way is owned by Roaring Camp Railroad and trespassing is discouraged, although locals are often found using the track for recreation. The Kaiser quarry now has a public nature trail operated by the San Lorenzo Valley Water District that loops above it, offering excellent views of the former quarry grounds, although the quarry itself is closed. The former PCA quarry is fenced off and closed to the public. Trespassing is discouraged.
Citations & Credits:
- Hubbard, Henry G. "Mines and Mineral Resoruces of Santa Cruz County," California Journal of Mines and Geology, January 1943, pages 50-52 <http://www.santacruzpl.org/history/articles/12>
- Whaley, Derek. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA: 2015: 108-110.