|West Shore Railway survey map blueprint, 1896.|
(UC Santa Cruz Digital Map Collection)
The reasons for their failure is not entirely known. The San Francisco Call in 1894 was the first to report on the railroad, a year before incorporation. They outlined the basic route of the train, its start at Potrero Avenue and 25th Street to its initial terminus at Spanishtown. Five tunnels, including two within the city of San Francisco, were planned between the two points. While it is stated here that grading had already commenced on the railroad, this is highly unlikely. Final plans, likely after resolving disputes concerning San Francisco right-of-ways with the Southern Pacific, were in place to begin construction in late September 1895 with portions of the construction materials already in place. The northern section of the route was anticipated to pass around the bluffs at San Bruno before circling around toward Colma and then passing through a tunnel into the San Pedro Valley before entering a pair of tunnels, likely near San Pedro Point, and entering the Half Moon Bay region. The route would then continue an additional eight miles before ending at Spanishtown. The company planned to run ferries to locations throughout the bay from a depot in the Potrero District of San Francisco. Though quoted at 80 miles, the West Shore Railway anticipated cutting the route between San Francisco and Santa Cruz by ten miles, while significantly increasing the scenery of the route. Naturally, tourism was the primary concern for this line, though freight was always anticipated as the moneymaker.
Regardless of the promises, the railroad never happened. The Ocean Shore Electric Railroad followed much of the same route when it first graded around 1904 while the Coast Line Railroad, owned by the Southern Pacific, began its own attempt at the route in 1905. The last mention of the West Shore Railway is on a survey map submitted by the railway on August 24th, 1896. This has since been collected by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History with the original blueprint held by UC Santa Cruz's Map Collection. The outlined route remained little more than a dream.
- John Vonderlin, "West Shore Railway", 4 July 2009. Accessed 25 March 2014. <http://www.halfmoonbaymemories.com/?p=8743>
- West Shore Railway Company, "Articles of Incorporation", 11 July 1895, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz Count Records, Folder #235.