|1913 USGS Map showing Lapis and its long spur.|
The mine was originally operated by Egbert Barker and Andrew Lysander Stone beginning in 1906 to help the reconstruction projects in San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. Lapis has always been and is still a sand mine. The railroad associated itself with Lapis two years after the mine was established, although it may have operated earlier albeit unregistered. The long spur to the beach wrapped southward in a gentle arc. Originally, there was a siding that ran much of its length and a second siding near its terminus. The spur forked at the end with one spur turning back into the plant. A freight platform was only installed much later. The property changed hands multiple times over the years and by the 1940s, it was being mined by Pacific Coast Aggregates as their Number 10 plant. It was an extensive operation with support tracks that measured over a mile in length from its switch off the Monterey Branch beside State Route 1 (now Lapis Road). The new arrangements of he tracks saw them branching three times, with one spur operating off of a switchback at the beach. The siding along the gentle curve of the track remained in place.
|1948 USGS Map showing Lapis Siding and the Pacific Coast Aggregates|
Company plant (#10) at the end of a spur track.
|CEMEX Sand Quarry as seen from above. (Google Maps)|
Official Railroad Information:
The station first appeared in 1908 under the name "Stone". The Agency Book for that year records no facilities at the stop. In 1909 it was renamed "Lapis" and was classified as a C-type freight stop with no platform or other services. A platform was finally installed at some point in the 1920s.
Lapis was registered as permanent flag-stop on the Monterey Branch in 1937. It was located 114.8 miles from San Francisco via Castroville, Gilroy, and San José, and 13.5 miles from Lake Majella. It had a 23-carlength spur (~1,150 feet) and no other freight services. The station was downgraded to an additional stop by 1940. The spur was greatly lengthened in the late 1940s to 115-carlengths (~5,750), likely representing an expansion of the spur into multiple branches, as shown on the 1948 map above. Passenger service to the stop was discontinued at this time. The station remained on timetables as an "Additional Station" into the 1990s and probably until the abandonment of the branch by the Union Railroad in 1999. Lapis's spur length in 1974 was recorded as 5,635 feet and this seems to closely match the tracks still present on the spur today.
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
The site of the Lapis switch as well as the entirety of the spur is owned by CEMEX. No trespassing is allowed. The switch can be viewed from Lapis Road just north of the CEMEX plant turn-off.
|Lapis switch today as seen from Lapis Road. (Google StreetView)|
- Berner, Andrew D. 'Sand Mining on the Monterey Bay', Sierra Club: Ventana Chapter. September 2008.
- Pohl, Alyssum, and Lisa Johnston. 'Lapis Sand Dollars: An Economic Analysis of Non-Market Impacts of Lapis Sand Mine in Southern Monterey Bay'. August 2012.