|Harvey West giving the final swing on the|
golden spike, 1968. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]
In April 1968, notice was given to the city council that a man named Dan J. Hurt was being solicited to install his still-under-construction miniature railroad to the park. Hurt, a friend of West as well as a former US Navy admiral and a local model railroader, proposed a 170-foot-long loop track that would initially operate with a single locomotive and two passenger cars, which would be installed with accompanying authentic railroad sounds. The locomotive was modelled after a 1860s wood-burning engine, although it operated off of a diesel engine. The gauge of the track was to be 18 inches. Hurt was required as part of the lease agreement to erect an enclosed station house and ticket office to protect the rolling stock when the train was not operating. It was intended to operate daily in the summer and on weekends for the remainder of the year. Hurt planned to charge 10¢ per passenger per ride and called his enterprise the Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad.
|One of the first rides of the Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad, July 1968. [SC Sentinel]|
|Retired Admiral Dan J. Hurt in a press|
photo from 1973. [SC Sentinel]
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was not a lot of demand for a miniature railroad linked to a public space. As part of the concession, the railroad included a snack bar and hamburger stand, both of which operated out of the ticket station. Hurt listed the train and its accoutrements for $11,000, although its final sale price is unknown.
|The station booth and snack shack, c. 1970s.|
[Doris Emerick Correll]
|The Sierra Nevada & Golden West Railroad parked on the tracks, c. 1970s [Doris Emerick Correll]|
|A real estate advertisement for the railroad, 1975. [SC Sentinel]|
Citations & Credits:
- Donald A. Clark, Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2007).
- Gary Parsons, personal correspondence.
- Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1959 – 1992.