The Del Monte Part 3: train & Branch miscellany


Part 1, S.J. meta
Part 2, final Sat.
Part 4, timetables
SP Pages

Third & Townsend, 1968



(right) from Western Division employee timetable #12, 10-29-78
More Branch timetable scans are located at Part 4.



1915 map of the Monterey Branch & locality (click on it to open in separate window)



Click on the photo for the Castroville depot page. >



Asilomar, on the coast between Pacific Grove and Lake Majella, was originally founded in 1913 as the western conference center for the YWCA, and became part of the California State Park system in the early 1950s. The name Asilomar is derived from the Spanish words "asilo" meaning retreat or refuge, and "mar"meaning sea, hence "refuge-by-the-sea." One of the shining talents of the Arts and Crafts movement, architect Julia Morgan, designed its wonderful buildings (see example at right), which the state still rents out for conferences and retreats.

Though Alisomar saw many special trains over the years, SP apparently never scheduled regular passenger service beyond Pacific Grove. Passenger days were long gone by the time of the above 1974 photo - the station's remaining duty was to serve as a storage / runaround location for empty covered hoppers destined to be loaded with glass sand in the quarry at Lake Majella, one of branch's largest shippers at the time.

For 1884 SP timetable descriptions of two other well-known Montery Branch resorts, the Hotel Del Monte and the Pacific Grove Retreat, click here.



Even sparse coverage of the Monterey Branch such as Wx4's is not complete without reference to the Hotel Del Monte, built by Charlie Crocker's infamous Pacific Improvement Company in 1881.

The original structure burned in a massive fire seven years later, and was replaced with the structure that you see in the two views at left. The advertisement's forte wasn't exactitude - Monterey Bay is often gloomy in the summer , and the Del Monte Limited took 3' 47" to reach Del Monte station - but it didn't matter, because the hotel was a grand affair, no matter the details.

This second building was destroyed by fire in 1924 and replaced two years later by the current ediface seen in the bottom postcard view.

The Navy used the hotel as a pre-fight training school during WWII, and purchased it and its surrounding 647 acres outright in 1947. Since 1951 the venerable structure has served as the Navy Postgraduate School.

One other worthy item of note to those of you who participate in the Devil's Game - Del Monte's golf course, opened in 1897, is the oldest west of the Mississippi River.




Lovers Point, between Pacific Grove and Monterey, 1974



Monterey Local, May 29, 1967: The above photo of the local switching the west end of Monterey yard was scanned from a beat-up old Polaroid photo, but it's the only shot that Wx4 staff ever took of the train, so here it is anyway.


The oldest framed by the oldest: When Wx4 staff shot this photo at the San Jose Roundhouse on June 21, 1968, SP's oldest name train was none other than the Del Monte, seen here framed by SP's oldest FP7, the 6462, and SP's oldest remaining (at the time) freight F7A, the 6213. How about that!



It wasn't often that the Del Monte ran south of San Jose with more than one locomotive - the possible reasons are many why it had two on the head end on this foggy morning. Here we see Geep 9 #3002 in lead, still sporting ashcan headlights, rushing a fifteen-minute-late #141 along Monterey Road in south San Jose on December 30, 1966. The cherry orchard fell to housing at about the same time that the train succumbed to economics.



To accomodate commute passengers out of San Jose, #141 typically picked up two or three Subs (see Page 1), as we see here rounding the curve between San Jose Roundhouse and College Park Tower on June 19, 1968.



Club Lounge Car #2982 was assigned to the Del Monte when this photograph was taken in early 1969. One of three such cars delivered by Pullman-Standard in 1949 for service on the San Francisco Overland, the car orginally sported two-tone grey paint, a barber's chair and a shower. Pullman built hree other sister cars for the Golden State and the San Francisco Overland. The following roster info was kindly provided by Roy Willich of Rail Journeys West, which has some fine former CZ, SP and ATSF cars available for charter. Thanks Roy!


Pullman-Standard Lot 6806, Plan 7580, built December, 1949
2981-2982-2983 for San Francisco Overland
2984 and 2985 for Golden State
2986 for City of San Francisco

Dispositions:
SP 2981 to Amtrak 3500, retired 1981 to R. Hayes, Barstow, CA
2982 to Amtrk 3501, retired 1977 sold to G. Champney and Co., see below
2983 to SP 214, later SP 204
2984 to SP215 (ex-Golden View)
2985 held to SP 218 (ex-Golden Outlook)
2986 to SP 216



Car 2891, much modified but complete with barber chair, is still on the rails and available for charter from Bill Hatrickister.



Former Shasta Daylight coaches often appeared on the Del Monte in later years when extra demand for first class space outstripped the usual lounge car / ex Coast Daylight prewar coach combination. Coach 2393, seen here on #141 at San Jose on April 14, 1968, was built by Pullman-Standard for the Shasta Daylight in 1949.


For a brief time in 1968, SP equipped GP9 #3001 with rather unusual strobe warning lights, the "antennae" that you see mounted on the loco's red ocillating light housing as #141 crossed Auzerais Street (about one-quarter mile south of San Jose's Cahill St. Station) and passed the tumbleweed-overgrown track leading to Orchard Supply Hardware's ever-present (even today) "OSH Boxcar". Note that the rarely-used spur had a signal and power derail guarding entrance to the main track. The dual Geep powered local freight was either headed for Hollister or Watsonville.



At the identical spot of the previous photo, another freight waits for the Del Monte - this time #126. SSW SD45 #9056 was only three months old in this May, 1969 photo, but 14 year old 3005 (built as the 5623; rebuilt as the 3189) far outlasted her, serving on SP into 1991. Later refurbished and painted in Black Widow with her original number, she resides today at Niles Canyon. The 9056 was wrecked and scrapped in 1976.


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