|Unassembled parts stored at the San Juan Portland Cement site awaiting construction, 1908.|
Construction on the San Juan Portland Cement Company refinery and kilns began in August 1907, immediately after the San Juan Pacific was opened for through traffic. Within days of completion of the railroad, carloads of machinery for the refinery were brought in and dumped beside the tracks at San Juan Junction. The track was extended an additional 0.3 miles to a gravel site south of the Junction and the material there was used for ballast along the line. At the Junction, a parallel spur was installed opposite the cement plant so that, when the plant was built, it would be straddled by tracks on either side for maximum efficiency. By September, all the machinery was in place, but nothing had been installed yet. Work had already begun on the San Juan Southern Railway right-of-way, with three miles of track placed by October. And then panic struck the stock market and all work on the cement plant and the railroad was halted. Unfortunately, most of the company's stock value plummeted since it was bound to the Ocean Shore Railroad scheme and the San Juan Pacific began its free-fall. The San Juan Portland Cement Company went bust before it had even warmed up the kilns.
|Old Mission Portland Cement Company corporate logo.|
The cement plant had a second life, however. Reopened in 1941 due to war demands, the renewed cement plant continued to operate using trucks into the 1970s. It finally closed because the owners were unable to meet new California state air pollution control requirements. The site was eventually stripped of all of its machinery and has since returned to its original owners who use it as a cattle pasture.
Official Railroad Information:
San Juan Junction was at mile marker 0.0 on the San Juan Pacific Railway line. As with the rest of the route, passenger service was offered at the station three times daily for the first year that it operated, after which all passenger service ceased. All service stopped by June 1909.
Limited freight service for the purpose of building the refinery resumed to San Juan Junction around 1914, and then formally reopened in 1916. From this point, irregular freight service from San Juan Junction continued until the refinery closed in 1930. The engine house (and presumably a turntable) was maintained at San Juan Junction until the tracks were pulled in early 1938.
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
|Last remaining tracks of the California Central, embedded|
into San Juan Canyon Road at The Alameda.
Citations & Credits:
- Clough, Charles W., and Bobbye Sisk Temple. San Juan Bautista: The Town, the Mission & the Park. Quill Driver Books, 1996.
- Hamman, Rick. California Central Coast Railways. Santa Cruz, CA: Otter B Books, 2002.
- Perazzo, Peggy B. "Stone Quarries and Beyond". Pre-captioned images above.
- Robertson, Donald B. Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History, vol. 4: California. Caxton Press, 1986