Monday, November 24, 2014

Location! Location! Location!

I've been rather quiet on this update blog lately, mostly because I've been writing a whole heck of a lot. Every day I've written 2-4 pages, with a few days consisting of even more. I've been amazingly surprised by how even the shortest article can produce two pages of text and images. Every time! And I really mean that. Only a few articles have failed to span multiple pages. I expect the last section on the Dougherty Extension Railroad will be quite short with a lot of single-page articles there, but the rest of the book will be quite thorough.

One side-project that has occupied me, though, is a comprehensive Google Map for use online. The map has a link at the top of the Santa Cruz Trains website and also here (Santa Cruz Trains – Google Maps link!). It is not editable by the public but all of its facets can be viewed in detail by zooming and dragging around the map. I designed it specifically with the non-satellite map in mind since the satellite map often contrasts rather dramatically with the overview map. Thus, if you switch from the default view, I cannot guarantee that the illustrated lines will line up with the physical tracks, where they exist.

The map illustrates five independent things:
  • The South Pacific Coast Railroad Narrow-Gauge Line, which later became the Southern Pacific Narrow-Gauge Division, the Santa Cruz Division, and finally a component part of the Coast Division. This is the route that connected Santa Cruz with San José. Included in this is also the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad and the Felton & Pescadero Railroad (later the Boulder Creek Branch). 
  • The Santa Cruz Railroad Line, which rather quickly became the Southern Pacific tracks between Santa Cruz and Watsonville Junction.
  • The Coast Line Railroad and the Ocean Shore Railroad, which reached along the north coast. The Coast Line was owned by the Southern Pacific and terminated at Davenport while the Ocean Shore continued to Swanton.
  • And the numerous private stops, sidings, and spurs along all of these routes. In this section, the Tunnels are also marked in as approximate a location as can be determined.
Wherever possible, the information presented on the map is based on primary source information documenting sidings and spurs and the locations of tunnels, trestles, and station signs. It is not 100% accurate, but I'd argue that track is within 15 feet of the official routes in most places. Private spurs are more speculative in general, though some are confirmed by primary-source documents. The route north of Boulder Creek, for instances, is mostly accurate until passing Waterman Switch, at which point it becomes slightly speculative. The routes in Nicene Marks and along San Vicente Creek are less certain but based on strong observational evidence from qualified explorers such as George Pepper, Duncan Nanney, and Rick Hamman. Where possible, primary source maps have also been used here, though they are less accurate in regard to private tracks.

This map is not the same as that which will be used in my upcoming book, but in many senses it is more accurate and more helpful since it puts the historic right-of-ways in a modern context. An effort to keep the trackage accurate with new information will be maintained so long as I operate the website (or have access to My Google Maps).

Please spend time checking over the map for your own interest and for mine. If you notice anything that seems off, let me know on this thread or at the Santa Cruz Trains Facebook group. I want to get the routes as perfect as possible prior to publication of my book. Note, however, that only the lines running north out of Santa Cruz are going to be in my book. The east and west lines will have to wait for some future publication.