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Western Railroad Discussion > Anybody know the history of Saugus to ventura Railroad


Date: 02/26/03 21:56
Anybody know the history of Saugus to ventura Railroad
Author: nonametrainfreak

What exactly was the cause of its shut down, and was it used for heavy mainline freight? Also a friend of mine told me that in the 70s all traffic was put on this line due to the damage of the santa susana tunnel? is that true?



Date: 02/26/03 22:06
Re: Anybody know the history of Saugus to ventura Railr
Author: CT97

Not Sure Of 100% History But I think One Of the Reasons For its Shutdown Was A Washout Of a Bridge In Saugus.

Not sure how Much traffic Was Used Prior To the washout But that was a final straw

More People Know Way More Than I Do

Just guessing Some
Phil



Date: 02/26/03 22:12
Re: Anybody know the history of Saugus to ventura Railr
Author: mundo

That line was the orgional main line until the current line was built from Oxnard to Burbank.



Date: 02/26/03 22:28
had 100-car trains!
Author: laddpub

My late uncle told me during WWII traffic was so heavy they had 100-car trains from Saugus to Oxnard- a lot of it sugar beets from the San Joaquin Valley. In the late 50's, during the harvest season I would see 40+-cars each on the Santa Paula and Piru Locals, returning to Oxnard Yard.

Harry Ladd



Date: 02/27/03 07:25
How this mainline became a dead-end spur (long)
Author: venturabob

As stated above, SP's original Main Line left the Coast at Ventura (Montalvo Junction) and headed up through the Santa Clara River valley to Saugus, just southeast of a spot called Castaic Junction, before continuing south to LA through the San Fernando Tunnel.

For many years, Castaic Junction and Fillmore were adjacent stops on that original mainline, but in the late 1890s, SP surveyed the "Montalvo Cutoff" which would send the main line through the farming bonanzas of Oxnard, Camarillo and Simi Valley before entering the LA basin through new tunnels in the Santa Susanna mountains.

As the 20th century aged, so did the old line from Montalvo to Saugus. Except for the occasional detour from Santa Susanna, the line was neglected and fell into greater disrepair. IIRC, the last revenue passenger service rode these rails in the late 60s or early 70s, although the track was light-weight rail and the poor roadbed kept speeds down.

Finally, in either 1969 or 1972, a rarely-torrential Santa Clara River took out the wooden trestle just east of Castaic Junction.

Diminishing orchard and lumber business kept the "Montalvo Branch" in business into the 80s and 90s only as far as Fillmore. East of there, the intermodal boom of the 80s led to a glut of obsolete boxcars which spent their last days parked in mile-long consists split only by the many unprotected farm grade crossings. IIRC these were all scrapped by the late 80s.

Urban development in the early 90s, led to the loss of the right of way and roadbed between Castaic and Piru so Hwy 126 could be widened.

Today, the branch has found new life as the home of the Fillmore and Western Railway which began in the early 80s as Short Line Enterprises, a provider of rail scenes for the film industry. Originally located on a short section of track at Castaic Junction (next to Magic Mountain amusement park), Short Line's film work included such memorable scenes as the "Mexican Train" in Billy Crystal 's dark comedy, Throw Momma From The Train, and the destruction of Michael J. Fox's DeLorean Time Machine in Back To The Future III (filmed on Ventura County Railway trackage at Port Hueneme.)

Check it out at http://www.fwry.com





Date: 02/27/03 07:39
Re: How this mainline became a dead-end spur (long)
Author: sagehen

After the 1952 earthquake closed Tehachapi for a while, all traffic had to go down the Coast Line, including some Santa Fe traffic. I've seen pictures of Santa Fe detour freights on this line.



Date: 02/27/03 10:11
Re: How this mainline became a dead-end spur (long)
Author: karldotcom

from SCVHS...

This was the Castaic train station. All of it. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company erected the siding at Castaic Junction (near today's State Route 126) in 1887. In this 1909 photograph, May McDonald and Ethel Casey are waiting patiently beside the tracks. The little siding was wiped out in the St. Francis Dam disaster of March 12-13, 1928.





Date: 02/27/03 10:17
Re: How this mainline became a dead-end spur (long)
Author: notarb

In the Santa Clara riverbed upstream of the I-5 crossing, I remember once seeing a huge old sandstone bridge abutment laying at an odd angle in the riverbed. It was just downstream of the railroad bridge. I believe it was left there by the flood from the collapse of San Francisquito Dam in 1927.



Date: 02/27/03 11:21
Re: How this mainline became a dead-end spur (long)
Author: JohnSweetser

There were a number of errors in venturabob's post.

First of all, there was never a railroad location called "Castaic Junction." To the SP, it was simply "Castaic" ("Castaic Junction" is a highway-related name).

Regarding the statement, "the last revenue passenger service rode these rails in the late 60s or early 70s," this may apply to trains temporarily detouring from the Montalvo cutoff but regular passenger service on the Santa Paula branch (Saugus-Ventura line) ended in the 1930s I believe.

The branch was severed due to a bridge washout in 1983, not "1969 or 1972." This washout did not involve the Santa Clara River (the tracks crossed the Santa Clara River on a steel bridge, not a wooden trestle).

As far as urban development and the widening of Hw. 126 leading to "the loss of the right of way and roadbed between Castaic and Piru," the old right of way is still discernable for probably most this distance.

Regarding a question about detours of Coast Line traffic on the Santa Paula branch, one period in which this happened was in February 1963 after fire damaged one of the Santa Susana Pass tunnels (see photo of a detouring freight train at Saugus on page 14 of the April 1984 Pacific News). After 1963, there could easily have been other times when Coast traffic was temporarily diverted to the Santa Paula branch.



Date: 02/27/03 15:47
Re: How this mainline became a dead-end spur (long)
Author: CPRR

I would highly recommend Signor's Coast Line book. I will tell you all that you need, concerning the Fillmore route....



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