Tag Archive: Railroad

Jun 07

San Luis Obispo train station in the early morning, waiting for the Lark

San Luis Obispo train station in the early hours of Feb. 20, 1968. Few customers for the Lark, a Southern Pacific overnight between San Francsico and San Luis Obispo.
©The Tribune/Jim Vestal

Waiting for the Lark. It takes a lot of time to match up photos and articles from the file, and some weeks I don’t have a lot of time. I want to keep the blog fresh with new images and often some would be fun to share don’t need a lot of extra writing. I …

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Feb 12

Avila truss bridge collapses, vestage of the Pacific Coast Railway

The 98-year-old Pacific Coast Railway bridge near Port San Luis collapsed on its own weight in San Luis Creek.
©Wayne Nicholls/Telegram-Tribune

You may have wondered about the mysterious henge looming beside San Luis Creek in Avila Beach. It is one of the last remaining monuments to the dawn of modern Central Coast transportation, the Pacific Coast Railway. The concrete plinth was an underpinning to Bridge No. 5. The narrow gauge rails were in use for 66 …

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Jan 12

Save a life with a knife, New Southern Pacific station, World War II week by week

The Telegram-Tribune of January 9, 1943 had an unusually high number of war related local stories.

Sixteen stories were jammed onto the front page January 9, 1943. The new railroad station in San Luis Obispo was scheduled to start construction January 11. The new building was estimated to be $50,000 and a total cost of $96,000 to move the old wood frame building and tracks. A centralized traffic control system had …

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Sep 08

End of the line for the Pacific Coast Railway Company, World War II week by week

Herbert Lawrence Block better known as Herblock was beginning his career as a cartoonist with the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He would win a Pulitzer Prize in 1942 and later be the Washinton Post's editorial cartoonist.

America needed steel to build tanks, trucks, landing craft, ships, aircraft, and machine guns. Not only was the nation gearing up to fight a war on two fronts but it was also filling the arsenals of Great Britain and the Soviet Union. The Axis powers had several years head start and some key raw materials …

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May 02

The last sunset for the Southern Pacific

View from Southern Pacific caboose departing San Luis Obispo northbound. ©Ken Chen/Telegram-Tribune

One of the Southern Pacific’s last major routes constructed was on the Coast Line between Ellwood and Santa Margarita. The railroad, founded as the Central Pacific in 1861 did not arrive in San Luis Obispo until 1894 and did not complete a San Francisco to Los Angeles Coast route until 1901. Further construction revised the …

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Feb 27

Reflections on Southern Pacific Engine 4449, star of the Pacific Daylight route

An aging Beauty stops to visit. Southern Pacific's 45-year-old Engine 4449 gathers steam early Sunday morning at San Luis Obispo's train depot. The 432-ton steam engine spent the night thee before pulling out at 7:15 a.m. en route to Walt Disney studios in Southern California. About 200 people showed up to see the locomotive off. 'It was just gorgeous,' a dispatcher said of 4449. See story 5/A

This photo is a thing of wonder and beauty on two levels. To start, anytime an old steam engine rides out of history into the present traffic stops. Railfans come from all over with their cameras to record the event. Southern Pacific 4449 was built in 1941 and is the last operable streamlined Art Deco …

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Jan 03

Newt Gingrich campaigns in California, fiscal conservatives ride Amtrack

Newt Gingrich signs autographs at a whistle stop in San Luis Obispo, California. ©Jaimie Trueblood/Telegram-Tribune

Why would a modern day candidate ride the rails? Two words, fund raising. In 1996 you could ride in a train car with Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole for a contribution of $5,000. The Speaker of the House at the time, Newt Gingrich was a more modest contribution of $1,500. Dole withdrew from the event …

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Dec 05

Southern Pacific builds Stenner Creek Bridge, Cuesta Grade construction on the Coast Line

Illustration from the Tribune's Souvenir Edition from May 1894 showing construction of the Stenner Creek Bridge on the Coast Line of the Southern Pacific.

The Thompson Bridge Company of San Fransisco was  at Stenner Creek, building a structure that caused sense of wonder in the little cow county. People would drive out from San Luis Obispo in their horse and buggy or walk from town to see the magnificent structure take shape. They would see steel being lifted into …

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Dec 01

Finding the lost bridge: Building the Stenner Creek Bridge part 1

The traveller hoists steel to build the Stenner Creek Bridge as the Southern Pacific railroad came down Cuesta Grade and approached San Luis Obispo. photo was shared by Mrs. A.C. Bolton. ©The Tribune

They had to find the bridge before they could build it. After the tunnels had been carved into the Santa Lucia the Southern Pacific railroad snaked down the Grade to the foot of the mountain range where it makes a 180 degree turn known as the horseshoe. To maintain elevation the railroad had to span …

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Nov 17

Kids playing with guns

It is a bit of a tossup, kids today are presented with difficult choices but end of the 19th century had it’s share of danger.  Morning Tribune editor Benjamin Brooks was surveying the railroad construction on Cuesta Grade when he came across this story. The story begins, as it often does, with boys looking for …

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