Tuesday, January 03, 2006

SPCo.'s early day station at CASTROVILLE, California


I am looking for information on SPCo.'s early day station at CASTROVILLE, CAL. I know that at one time there was a roundhouse (4) stalls, and dining house, and iceing station ... also a coal bunker and wood lot ... any information, old photos would be most helpful ...

—Charlie Hopkins


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly" lmullaly@jeffnet.org

I can add some to the early history of Castroville. On May 22, 1870 SP Chief Engineer George E. Gray described the land offered by Juan B. Castro as “right of way about twenty acres for depot grounds and an undivided half interest in a contemplated and necessary addition to the town of Castroville of about one hundred acres in a donation to the road.” Construction of SP line from Pajaro (Watsonville Junction) south began in early July 1872 and continued across Castro’s land to Salinas where a temporary terminus was established. The line through Castroville went into service on November 1, 1872.

At Castroville a large freight house containing a passenger waiting room (similar to that still to be seen at Hollister, minus the second floor addition) was built at this time. The large structure was primarily meant to serve a a storage facility for grain that would otherwise have been shipped by sea to San Francisco through the large storehouses at nearby Moss landing. Although John Signor dates this station to 1880, Castroville is listed with other sites containing SP station houses on timetables from 1872 on.

Allowing for some slight expansion to the building that took place in later years, the Castroville depot measured 32x161 feet. The water tank at Castroville seems to have been important to locomotive operations and is mentioned several times in the 1873 Superintendent's Journal.

In 1882, as noted in that year’s Central Pacific RR Report to Stockholders, Castroville possessed a combination freight & passenger building, a section house and a tool house, one wooden turntable, a stock corral, and a coalbunker. My guess is that the turntable and coalbunker were installed when Castroville became the terminus of the SP’s newly acquired Monterey Branch in 1880.

I don’t believe is there was ever a roundhouse at Castroville (nearby Pajaro probably sufficed). I also doubt whether there was an icing dock here. A picture of the structure from about this time is found in John Signor’s Southern Pacific’s Coast Line, p.78. ...

—Larry Mullaly

1/03/2006 9:55 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker" mikadobear45@yahoo.com

... You may be able to find an early station plat for Castroville in the bound lot of SP maps given to CSRM by SP through Lynn Ferrar during the interval when SP and Santa Fe were in the process of splitting up. Lynn made sure that the circa 1880 [sic] new surveys plats were equitably distributed across the system to worthy archival repositories. The California to Utah maps went to CSRM (some Nevada maps went to Nevada Historical Society). I don't know whether any went to Stanford U Library. ...
Because of my experience examing remaining early CP & SP frame depot structures across the west, I'm going to prematurely wager that the early Castroville depot would have been smaller than the enlarged version Larry M mentioned in his reply, and that it might have been around 18 to 20 feet wide by about 30 feet long as built, which was (mostly) the company's depots footprint norm. After agencies began to show the need for greater express and freight storage capacity, SP often glommed previously standing freight depots onto often relocated passenger depots and – voila – a combination station was born. This usually meant picking up the passenger depot and carrying it across the tracks to be abutted onto the freight depot's end ... as was done at Santa Clara.
You might also double check for any materials at the California State Archives ... there may be little or nothing there, but it can't hurt to check their maps collections. They may even have some earlier linen maps which you may have to be fairly assertive to get, since they prefer to pull microform versions ... the originals (if they exist there) often show greater detail, draftsman's erasures and or corrections and so on. ...
—Kevin Bunker

1/03/2006 10:01 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Hsweetser@aol.com

In the fall of 1899, the SP began construction of a yard at Salinas, part of the upgrading of facilities on the Coast Line in anticipation of the final completion of the route (other 1899 projects included such things as a new roundhouse at San Jose). A number of structures were moved from Castroville to Salinas for the new yard. Some operations also were apparently transferred from Castroville to Salinas but the extent of such is unclear to me for now.

Here are some newspaper articles (note: passages not surrounded by quotation marks means I've paraphrased an article):

March 2, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (p.3) – fourth of the four switches that will be here completed.

March 25, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:1) – "Work is being rushed at the depot on the new division yard. It is expected that the change from Castroville to Salinas will be made by April 15th."

April 14, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:2) – resident engineer at Castroville looking for a house in Salinas. Fifteen families expected to make a home in Salinas.

April 17, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (1:6) – "Salinas is now the division headquarters of the Southern Pacific Company. Early Sunday morning four engines, all the rolling stock and considerable supplies were brought here. On that day the new timetable went into effect, while yesterday the freight trains were made up at this depot.

"The change of the headquarters from Castroville makes this already important station one of greater importance."

April 20, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:3) – "The oil house at the S.P. Depot in Castroville was taken down Wednesday and loaded upon flat cars for removal to Salinas. Yesterday work was commenced to take down the round house, which will be brought here for immediate erection."

May 15, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:3) – "The S.P. Company's round house, which was formerly used at Castroville, has been torn down, loaded on flat cars and is now in the Salinas yard pending erection."

May 16, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:3) – "The S.P. Company's round house, formerly located in Castroville, but removed to this city since the change of the division, is being erected about one hundred yards northeast of the new turn table situated in the western end of the company's yards. The round house is a frame stucture, and will contain four stalls."

June 1, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:3) – "The S.P. Company's round house, which was moved to this city from Castroville recently, has been re–erected and is now about ready for use."

The April 19, 1900 Salinas Daily Index reported that the SP's eating house at Castroville was going to be moved to Salinas but this hadn't happened up to the end of October 1900, the end of the microfilm reel I was looking at.

It seems evident from the above citations plus others in the Salinas Index that switch crews were now stationed at Salinas. I don't believe Salinas was ever a "division headquarters" as the April 17 issue stated and I don't know if main line trains began changing crews there.

—John Sweetser

2/16/2006 8:33 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Mullaly, Larry" LMullaly@roguecc.edu

Thank you John. Good stuff.

I would guess that Castroville during the 1890 predates Salinas as an operating point. I suspect the areas switching yard was located here rather than an Watsonville or Salinas. This would probably also imply that train crews changed here. All conjecture, but the presence of the roundhouse and resident engineer is quite telling.


2/16/2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Hsweetser@aol.com

Two more Castroville references:

July 20, 1900 Salinas Daily Index – reported that a warehouse is being moved at Castroville so that a wye can be put in, making a turntable not needed.

August 17, 1900 Salinas Daily Index (3:2) – told of track changes at Castroville: "Instead of the Monterey track joining the main line about a quarter of a mile east of the Castroville depot as it used to, it runs on a separate track to the eating house without interfering with the through line."

—John Sweetser

2/16/2006 8:36 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: KyleWyatt@aol.com

And is it during the Harriman (or post-Harriman) improvements that the roundhouse is moved from Salinas to Pajaro (aka Watsonville Jct.)? I note the 85-foot turntable at the latter location was installed in 1916.


2/16/2006 8:41 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly" lmullaly@jeffnet.org

This may indication a shift in subdivision boundaries from Salinas to Watsonville. Watsonville, however, got a brand new house that the SP dates as 1917. This was a nine-stall unit built of concrete. (See Bruce Petty, Southern Pacific Lines, Common Standard Plans, p. 30).


2/16/2006 8:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Hsweetser@aol.com

Here is what I have on developments at Pajaro/Watsonville Junction:

June 22, 1907 The Evening Pajaronian (p.1) – Parjaro to be a division point. Parjaro yard being reconstructed and enlarged. SP to build an 11-stall roundhouse.

[Note: there may not have been a yard in the traditional sense at Pajaro at the time the above article came out. Newspapers in those days often called clusters of tracks in small towns along the way "yards"]

August 5, 1907 The Evening Pajaronian – for more than the past two months, Pajaro Junction has had a switch engine and day and night crews at work. Pajaro to be classified as a No. 2 yard. Yard limits to be extended to Watsonville. Locals to be run out of the yard, both on the Santa Cruz branch and the main line.

[I don't know what the SP considered a "No. 2 yard"]

August 16, 1907 The Evening Pajaronian (2:5) – The warehouses are in the course of removal from the east end to the west end of the yard.

[Probably referring to the railroad freight warehouses]

September 19, 1907 (p.4) – remodeling of the railroad office at Pajaro as a division train dispatchers office started today. A new telegraph office is being constructed at the eastern end of the waiting room. Now that Pajaro is a division point it will have seven dispatchers and operators.

There was no mention of actual work on a roundhouse at Pajaro in any 1907 issues of The Evening Pajaronian. I haven't looked at later years yet.

—John Sweetser

2/16/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: KyleWyatt@aol.com
Subject: Pajaro/Watsonville Jct.

... Interesting to have the earlier material, before the concrete roundhouse and associated turntable were installed in 1916-17.

As a side note, the first time I visited Watsonville Jct., SP was in the process of removing the turntable. the overhead framwork had been cut down, and earth was piled up on both sides of the turntable in the pit, ready to fill in when the table was actually removed. I took a couple of photos. Next time I visited, the table was gone and a track was laid across the old pit area toone stall of the roundhouse. Other stall were used by MofW trucks. This would have been abut 1967.


2/17/2006 12:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Recent Messages