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Nostalgia & History > Los Gatos

Date: 03/13/05 02:37
Los Gatos
Author: OnTrackEd

Nice monument to commemorate railroad history in Los Gatos' recently-remodeled Town Plaza, former site of the South Pacific Coast (and later SP) depot until the early-60s. A bit of rail, with plaques at each end of the rows of bricks (to represent ties) commemorating a part of town history in relation to the railroad. Now if only local publications would take a hiatus from their reluctance to ever mention the BJWRR these days, or god forbid some mention that the locomotive loved by those who grew up in this town (myself included) for more than 60 years hits the 100 mark this year...

Date: 03/13/05 02:39
Los Gatos--Then
Author: OnTrackEd

The 2476 at the old depot in Los Gatos with Train 168 from San Francisco, by way of Mayfield, Los Altos, Loyola, Monta Vista, Congress Junction, Quito, and Vasona...as well as a whole bunch of stations in between that are stuck in a mental block right now. Now the site of the Town Plaza and, to the far end, the post office.

Date: 03/13/05 02:42
ex-VMR #2 in Los Gatos
Author: OnTrackEd

Our beloved "2-spot" at the shops of the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, Los Gatos, CA.

Was nice to be back in my hometown after a couple of years, and also to see the progress at the railroad. I was once myself a volunteer. Bill Ulleseit has outdone himself with this restoration; she looks spectacular. There's still quite a bit of running gear work which needs to be done, but will not interfere with plans to have the locomotive in service this summer. I understand it will be a 'winter project', similar to those that occured in the early-90s when the railroad didn't operate from November-March since no alternative motive power was on hand. That alternative motive power arrived in 1992, and has been the only motive power for the past 11 years.

The 2-spot was built in 1905 for the Venice Railway at Venice Beach, CA; designed by civil engineer John J. Coit, and constructed at the Johnson Machine Works. Delivered in early 1906. She last operated in 1994.

Date: 03/13/05 02:47
Diesels in Los Gatos
Author: OnTrackEd

For those wondering what that alternate motive power was, here it is. Everyone who knew or was involved with the railroad previous to its arrival has a strong distaste for it, myself included. Took 13 years after its arrival before I even considered taking a picture of it! I remember when the locomotive arrived back in 1992. I was present when she double-headed with the 2-spot on a final day's run, after both locomotives ran a two-train operation in the afternoon. I don't believe that feat has ever been repeated on the BJWRR. The stall in the enginehouse used for the 2502 today was previously used for the 2-spot while in regular service; and the other track held a Homestake Gold Mine air trammer (Porter-built) which is now in the collection of the California State Railroad Museum. I remember it being moved off as well; probably '91, or early '92 if I recall.

Date: 03/13/05 02:50
Crossing LG Creek Trail
Author: OnTrackEd

Scale Products Co-built signals installed at some point after I left to protect the crossing of the busy Los Gatos Creek Trail, which runs south to Lexington Reservoir, and north through Campbell and into San Jose. The crossing was previously guarded by an old crossbuck with a bell perched atop it. The bell was at Billy Jones' ranch as well, though I don't know the story behind it. We had some real issues with earphone-sporting joggers and dog-walkers running beneath the manually-lowered crossing adjacent to the depot; I can still remember the lunacy of patrons that went on down there...

Date: 03/13/05 02:59
Vasona Branch
Author: OnTrackEd

Old SP Vasona Line at Wedgewood Ave. in Los Gatos. Lived here for many years, even grew up in a house not far from here and used to watch the trains roll past near this point. The noisy highway in the background, and the gaudy and little-functioning soundwall, weren't there back then...and I'm sure the neighborhood wishes it stayed that way. If I remember correctly, this crossing wasn't there either; there was one a ways on Pollard Rd, which now goes under the railroad and highway which are carried over it on a bridge. Talk about a drastic change in scenery!

The biggest surprise of them all was to see Al Smith's old property at the actual site of the old wye developed into a back-to-back housing development...typical. He sure had a nice piece of property there. I remember when Al had the old caboose on his property lettered up as "Orchard Supply Short Line". The caboose is now at Swanton. I also remember at some point the old siding to the Maxim Medical latex glove factory across the street, skirting the edges of the also-gone A to Z Nursery, which had some sort of streamlined coach on it from time to time. I never got the story straight on that one.

Date: 03/14/05 21:42
Re: Vasona Branch
Author: wwdrkid

Another stop name was Azule, at Saratoga-Sunnyvale road. Sometimes we walked there from Granddad's ranch to watch the commuter train pull in right at 5:15 PM. It always stopped and let a few people off.

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