Author Statement

If you have information on local railroads, photographs or railroad documents, or you feel a mistake has been made or information omitted from an article, email me at author@santacruztrains.com. This site would not be possible without your help and support. Thank you! – Derek R. Whaley

Friday, February 16, 2018

Stations: Edric

Not all of the stops along the Southern Pacific Railroad route through the Santa Cruz Mountains were there from the beginning. Indeed, some appeared quite late. One such location was Edric, located along Burns Creek just across from the Summit Tunnel's eastern portal. The location name was a reference to Frederick A. Hihn, the local property and lumber magnate who owned most of the Upper Soquel Creek basin, including Burns and Laurel creeks.

In 1899, Hihn realized that his old lumber mill on Gold Gulch near Felton had nearly run out of viable timber. At the end of the year, he began the arduous task of relocating his machinery to the confluence of Burns and Laurel creeks with the intention of opening a new mill the following year. By November 1900, the mill was in full swing, producing 45,000 board feet of lumber per day. A cable tramway was installed in August 1901 that climbed from the mill to Laurel town along the railroad right-of-way. But for some unknown reason, this wasn't enough. A second station was required along the railroad grade.

Appearing first in the January 1902 timetable and station book, Edric was little more than a waypoint along the railroad line. It may not have even served the mill, although it was certainly named after the Hihn. The most likely explanation for the stop's sudden appearance in 1902 is that it was established in anticipation of a worker camp which would be situated nearby to upgrade the eastern portal of the Summit Tunnel. Standard-gauge tracks already reached Wright by this point and plans were in place to upgrade the tunnel as soon as possible. The stop included a 134-foot-long spur that ran up the western bank of Burns Creek a short distance. A spur this size was too small for much of anything other than parking a three narrow-gauge cars. While it is possible that Hihn used the spur to load felled trees from above Burns Creek and haul them down to the mill, there is no evidence to support this idea.

Further evidence that Edric was a temporary station designed to park tunnel repair cars comes in 1906. In that year, the San Francisco Earthquake occurred, collapsing the Summit Tunnel, thereby forcing the closure of the entire route. Repairing and upgrading the tunnel became a priority for the Southern Pacific, and the Summit Tunnel was the first item on the list. The spur at Edric was expanded to 234 feet and was probably dual-gauged at this point, meaning it could hold three full-sized flatcars. But this was the station's swan song.

The site of Edric across Burns Creek from the Summit Tunnel's eastern portal, with a tunnel repair car parked on the spur,
February 29, 1940. [Bruce MacGregor]
In October 1909, Edric was erased from timetables and station books. The spur, however, remained, as evinced by a photograph taken in 1940, after the route through the mountains had been permanently disabled by the disastrous winter of that February. The photograph shows clearly that a tunnel repair car sat on the spur, probably permanently stationed there to maintain the tunnel's integrity. No similar car was stationed near the western portal, so this single car was probably responsible for making any repairs to the line.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37.126˚N, 121.964˚W

The location of Edric is on private property and trespassing is not allowed. Nothing remains of the site except a small portion of level grade, the remainder of which has been eroded by Burns Creek.

Citations & Credits:
  • Rick Hamman, California Central Coast Railways (Santa Cruz, CA: Otter B Books, 2002).
  • Southern Pacific Railroad, Officers, Agencies & Stations, 1902 to 1909.
  • Southern Pacific Railroad, Coast Division Time Tables, 1902 to 1909.
  • Whaley, Derek. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Santa Cruz, CA, 2015.
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2 comments:

  1. Derek: I want to thank you for bringing this photo forward, and by extension, Bruce MacGregor. I have never seen it before. As I may have previously mentioned I am one of the chosen few who have been to the east end of the Summit Tunnel, the first time in abt 1969 or 1970, then again about 1993. It is quite eerie, but well worth the hike.

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  2. I was privileged also to visit this tunnel portal in 1969 for the first time.
    I expected the tunnel to be sealed up but what a shock it was to find the
    portal wide open! A kind, elderly man in Laurel who owned property there
    encouraged a friend and me to continue up the trail to the tunnel. I had no
    idea there had been a station by this end of the tunnel until you were able
    to reveal this to us. Thank you Derek for the history of Edric!

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