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Date: 01/16/12 15:36
Castro Point Question
Author: whistlepig

I hope you'll forgive an old Southern California codger for this, but could one of you possibly tell me where the Castro Point railroad was and where it went? Thank you in advance for any answers.



Date: 01/16/12 17:47
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: sgerken

whistlepig Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hope you'll forgive an old Southern California
> codger for this, but could one of you possibly
> tell me where the Castro Point railroad was and
> where it went? Thank you in advance for any
> answers.

The PLA move lost their use of the tracks/land and moved all their equipment to Niles Canyon which runs between Fremont, Californis and Sunol. Their website is http://www.ncry.org/.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/12 17:48 by sgerken.



Date: 01/16/12 17:50
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: sp5623

whistlepig Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hope you'll forgive an old Southern California
> codger for this, but could one of you possibly
> tell me where the Castro Point railroad was and
> where it went? Thank you in advance for any
> answers.

The CPRY was located on the west end of the Richmond Belt Line and included trackage that once belonged to the Blake Brothers Quarry Company. The west end of the CPRY was located under the toll plaza of the Richmond San Rafael bridge on San Francisco Bay. The attached map was scanned from a small brochure written in 1975 by Ted Benson and C.G. Heimerdinger, Jr. and published by the Pacific Locomotive Assn. At the top of the Google Earth image is a cleared area which was a barrel storage on the U.S. Navy's Point Molate Fuel Depot. We leased this area from the Navy for a period of about 10 years where we stored and worked on equipment. There were 2 tracks that connected to the trackage along the bay. The storage area was switched by the Belt Line which was jointly owned by the Sante Fe and Southern Pacific and was operated by each railroad at five year alternating intervals.

Howard






Date: 01/16/12 18:17
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: whistlepig

Thank you again. Much appreciated.



Date: 01/16/12 19:50
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: speeder3

whistlepig Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hope you'll forgive an old Southern California
> codger for this, but could one of you possibly
> tell me where the Castro Point railroad was and
> where it went? Thank you in advance for any
> answers.

The Pacific Locomotive Association's "Castro Point Railway" was in Richmond, California, along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, and was approximately 1-1/2 miles long. The trackage was originally constructed in 1925-26 by the Southern Pacific Railroad to form a connection with the Blake Bros. Company quarry operation (later to be the site of the eastern end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge). Blake Bros. operated their small portion of this line (about 1/10th of a mile) as the "Castro Point Railway and Terminal Company." Some of this trackage was also under catenary so that the trolleys of the East Shore & Suburban Railway could access the ferry boat terminal at Point Castro.

The history of the line actually goes way back to 1903-04 when a man named Colonel H.D. Pillsbury decided to build a railroad to serve the Pacific Coast Oil Company's refinery (built in 1901-02, and later acquired by Standard Oil Co. in 1906) at the settlement of East Yards (later the town of Point Richmond). The railroad was actually built by the S.P., and interchanged with both the SP and the Santa Fe in Richmond. In December, 1905, the RBRy entered into a lease arrangement with both the SP and ATSF after which those two railroads operated the line alternately each year (later changed to 5-years each). In September, 1932, the entire operation was conveyed by indenture to the SP and ATSF, in equal shares. That arrangement existed until January 1, 1990 when the line was leased to Chevron, USA (who then hired a contract operator). Over the years, the Richmond Belt Railway (aka Richmond Belt Line) served fish canning plants, the last whaling station on the west coast, a molasses plant owned by Ferdinand Marcos, and the largest winery on the west coast in addition to the Standard Oil refinery and the Blake Bros. quarry. The railroad is truly deserving of its own book.

The PLA began their tenure at Point Castro in October, 1967 with the arrival of ex-Pickering Lumber Corp. Heisler #5 and Shay #12. Steam operations began in 1969 with ex-Howard Terminal Ry. 2-6-2T #6 (nee-Sierra Railway #30). Trains were loaded at the quarry property (after the crushing/asphalt/concrete plant shut down, the property was acquired by Standard Oil and then leased to the PLA) and ran to the Molate Beach parking lot, about 1 mile. By 1974 the U.S. Navy moved out of the expansive two-track area at Pt. Molate where they stored and loaded drums of fuel oil and they leased the site to the PLA. All of the group's equipment was then relocated from the quarry site to the Pt. Molate property. The first-Sunday-of-each-month passenger operations were run from the Molate Beach "station" to a point just outside the old quarry property. In 1983, the PLA extended its excursions in the opposite direction to include trackage through Winehaven (Richmond Belt m.p. 5). Apparently this didn't sit well with the Navy, though, and the runs were quickly curtailed. The Castro Point Railway made its last runs in 1985. The PLA moved to Niles Canyon, near Fremont, and scrapped all of the track between Molate Beach and the quarry.

I've attached a copy of a Richmond Belt Railway letter dated May 15, 1906 from the RBRy to the ATSF agent in San Francisco explaining that they cannot receive a copy of the map of the railroad that accompanied the original contract because the map was destroyed. The RBRy's main office was in Oakland, but the letter reflects a small portion of the effects of the previous month's earthquake.

I've also included a couple of photos of mine as examples of the CPRy's operation. First, its July 5, 1970 and we see CPRY 2-6-2T #6 readying its consist at the old Blake Bros. quarry property. Ex-Pickering Heisler #5 sits in front of the "enginehouse" converted from the old gravel loading tipple. The second photo shows Heisler #5 and train in 1983 as it passes through the Navy's property at Winehaven en route to Molate Beach (the old California Wine Association buildings are out of shot to the right). I think I posed my '67 Mustang so that I could get a photo of my two favorite vehicles. Sure wish I still had that car!


Brian Wise



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/12 19:54 by speeder3.








Date: 01/16/12 19:52
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: speeder3

I see my dad beat me to the punch! I guess I took too long composing my message.

Brian



Date: 01/16/12 20:01
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: africansteam

A bit of Trivia.

Sometime in the late 1960's or early 70's (I have forgotten the exact time frame) Castro Point Railway ran a logo design contest. I took this challenge very seriously and won the contest with an interlocking arrangement of the letters CPRY that echoed similar designs from the 19th century.

Karl Koenig was the runner up with a wonderfully amusing cartoon of a cigar smoking Fidel Castro on a circular background with the name Castro Point Railway running in an arc from left to right above the cartoon, and the slogan "The Line of Fidelity" in second arc around the bottom of the image.

Cheers,
Jack



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/12 20:03 by africansteam.



Date: 01/16/12 20:19
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: speeder3

africansteam Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Karl Koenig was the runner up with a wonderfully
> amusing cartoon of a cigar smoking Fidel Castro on
> a circular background with the name Castro Point
> Railway running in an arc from left to right above
> the cartoon, and the slogan "The Line of Fidelity"
> in second arc around the bottom of the image.
>
> Cheers,
> Jack

I have one of the "Fidelity" t-shirts in my collection of stuff. Probably rarer than hen's teeth!

Brian



Date: 01/16/12 21:37
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: africansteam

speeder3 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I have one of the "Fidelity" t-shirts in my
> collection of stuff. Probably rarer than hen's
> teeth!
>
> Brian

After all these years that is truly amazing! You should wear it to Winterail.

Cheers,
Jack



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/12 07:51 by africansteam.



Date: 01/17/12 08:01
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: whistlepig

What a wonderful explanation and look into the history of Castro Point Railway. I'd like to say thank you again to those of you who contributed.



Date: 01/17/12 08:02
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: CPRR

Forget the train, look at that Mustang!!!!!



Date: 01/17/12 09:34
Re: Castro Point Question
Author: speeder3

whistlepig Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What a wonderful explanation and look into the
> history of Castro Point Railway. I'd like to say
> thank you again to those of you who contributed.

You're welcome! I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time to save some paperwork regarding the Richmond Belt before the building they were in was destroyed. It's nice to be able to share some of that information.

Brian



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