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Jul 30

Transportation growing pains, World War II week by week

July 30, 1941 Telegram-Tribune

Most of us take the four lane 101 Highway for granted today but as World War II was approaching California had a narrow two lane system. Military bases were expanding and road traffic was increasing leading local politicians to ask the state highway commission for a better road. The top headline July 25, 1941 and the first three columns were reserved for stories about the need for the expanded "Mission Trails." Real expansion would not take root until after the war under President Eisenhower.
A few days later the July 30 paper contained a story about the pending sale of the Pacific Coast Railroad company to new owners. The Port San Luis Transportation company was touted as a $1,000,000 railroad, steamship and dock corporation. The owners had big dreams. They expected to carry troops, munitions, mail passengers and freight. They hoped to expand the narrow gauge line between Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo. No mention was made of the difficult hard rock labor Chinese crews made to created what began as a horse drawn railway in 1869.
Oil pipeline, pier extension, highway expansion were all part of the ambitious plan. It was hoped that soon ocean liners would be making calls at Port San Luis. The railroad would continue the plan to abandon the line south of San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria/Guadalupe but maintain the connection with Southern Pacific.
In war news Japanese bombs fell close to a gunboat and the United States embassy in China causing Congress to make speeches.

The Panama Canal was closed for "repairs" isolating Japanese shipping.

Russia was still engaged in desperate fighting, losing whole armies of hundreds of thousands of men as Nazi forces advanced. On July 30, 1941 Hermann G

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