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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

San Lorenzo Lumber Spur

Image of the ProBuild Spur from Google Maps.
Spur at left, Roaring Camp narrow-gauge roundhouse at right.
Immediately across from Felton Station, the ProBuild Spur, also known briefly from 2004 to 2006 as the Lumbermens Spur and, more historically, the San Lorenzo Lumber Spur, was built to enable the transport of finished lumber to and from the San Lorenzo Lumber Company's Felton property. Today, it is one of the shortest spurs on the historic Mountain Route but is also still in use making it the oldest operating spur on the line. The spur is used infrequently for hauling finished lumber into ProBuild's Felton property located immediately off of Graham Hill Road before the incline to Santa Cruz. However, it has also been leased to and used by Roaring Camp Railroads to park one of their two diesel standard-gauge engines during periods when the main line and all three sidings are in use. Roaring Camp has expressed interest in converting the large shed located just beyond the end of the spur into a full-scale roundhouse for the amusement park's standard-gauge engines, but thus far the property remains in ProBuild's hands.

The first Big Tree's freight haul, 1989.
(Rick Hamman)
The spur was originally created for and by the San Lorenzo Lumber Company, which was founded in 1936 as a lumber aggregate supplier for the San Lorenzo Valley. The railroad spur probably dates to this time and may have briefly operated on the Mountain Route prior to the winter of 1939-1940 when the line shut down. Lumber trains were not uncommon in the years after 1940, alternating with the weekly cement trains that operated at the sand pit at Olympia. Beginning in 1989, Roaring Camp directly took over most hauling operations for SLLC, picking up the lumber at Watsonville and delivering it to the lumber yard. While these operations are now very infrequent due to ProBuild's ownership of the lumber yard since 2006, it is not entirely unusual today to see an engine or rolling stock sitting on the spur beside Roaring Camp.

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1 comment:

  1. In around 1949 the Santa Cruz Lumber Co. built the Mill & Kiln operations in Felton. It was a better mill site than one they ran up at Waterman Gap, near the top of highway 9.

    In 1986 they sold to Mike & Bob Butcher, who owned San Lorenzo Lumber, but kept the Felton Property. Today the Ley family AKA:( Red Tree Properties ) leases the property to Pro Build.

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