|1914 USGS map showing Nuga deep in the sloughs of Watsonville.|
The stop became "Laguna" at some point in the 1890s. By this time, a 1,528-foot-long siding had been installed on the south side of the mainline track and running most of the length of the property. The station is recorded in timetables as having full passenger and freight service in the early 1900s, though the station became a flag-stop after 1909, retaining scheduled freight service. The station was located 3.7 miles north of Pajaro Junction (later Watsonville Junction) and 103.8 miles from San Francisco. After the completion of the Mayfield Cut-Off in 1909, the distance to San Francisco was reduced to only 95.6 miles. In that year, Laguna received a strange name change: the name was inverted and the first and last letters dropped, creating the station name "Nuga". It retained this name the the remainder of its existence.
Nuga had its siding extended to 2,065 feet in 1911 and 2,553 feet the next year. By 1913, it was capable of holding 39 freight cars on its track, which is not an insignificant trackage. A platform was added for the station as well in 1912, though no other services were installed at the site. Over the following twenty years, the siding shrunk down slightly to support only 33 cars and its status was demoted to that of a passing track, suggesting that by June 1941, the location no longer required regular freight service. Considering the high concentration of agricultural produce in the area, it can be supposed that Nuga was simply an agricultural freight stop, but its original status as a passenger station suggests that it may have had another function originally as well, possibly as an early jump-off point for streetcars running to Watsonville's pier and Camp Goodall at the beach, or for students of the nearby Beach School. Alternatively, one newspaper in October 1909 suggests that it was an aggregate collection site.
One interesting note about Nuga is that it was the lowest point on the entire Southern Pacific branch line, being only 8 feet above sea level. The tracks often flooded here from ocean swelling as well as the sloughs, which brought in debris from the hills. Whenever the Santa Cruz Branch sustained storm damage, Nuga was one of the places worst hit, with the tracks often flooded under feet of water.
Nuga was abandoned by the Southern Pacific Railroad in March 1957. No photographs of this station have been forthcoming. The location of the station was along the tracks at the last curve before entering the Watsonville freight yard from the north. The nearest road is W. Beach Street but the original access road to the station has since been turned into agricultural fields.
- Clark, Donald. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2007.