1906 Ocean Shore RR founders bringing the World a new Wonder

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John (benloudman@sbcglobal.net)

Note: You may find some of the words hard to read–but you can make it out.)

Newspaper:    The San Francisco Call
Date: January 7, 1906
Content Type:    Article


CONQUEST OF THE PENINSULA ..’California, greatest of. fill. States, in wenery unsurpassed by any nation on the face of iv;e gU.be. is constructing within her borders to-day a commercial railway which is soon to be liv the famous tourists of the world as he most beautiful scenic route In existence anywhere. Travel this continent rom end to end, then cross the water and jxplore the heralded regions of Europe ‘nd the Orient; nowhere will you be able ‘.. ;ind a railway which will surpass In he niagnilicence of its panorama, of natiral beauty this California line now in the \u25a0ourse of construction. The railway which is to be so wonderful is the Ocean Shore, running from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, close to the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean all the way. It will be * marvel of natural beauty from its very ‘tart in San Francisco until it reaches rs terminal in the little seaport town; a narine view along every niile of the track. Its construction will’ be completed within i year and it will be then ready to carry he globe trotter or the Californian. On he day of its opening a new qu*en of railways will be crowned. On that day those routes which have hitherto been \u25a0^reeminent as the scenic lines of the evnrld will be forced to recognize the new ailway whose beauties pf natural scenery iurpaf* their own. IX is true enough, there is no scaling of i towering mountain peak by the Ocean Shore, as does the wheezy line up the nighty Jungfrau of the Alps; there is no nonstcr tunnel like the St. Gothard, built >y herculean <-ffoits and at a cost of many hillions of dollars; there is no great bridge :kV ihat which spans the famous Vicoria Pall? uJ Africa, nor yet like that isr.jring bridge <.n the route of the Den. .\u25a0:\u25a0 anil Kio Grande in our own country; nere :* n<> ‘JiancJ Canyon of the Arizona ilong its line, a magnificent spectacle of iia::tnn«; colors. These are the great vonders of the world to-day and they •xist thousands of miles apart. No line \u25a0an boast in its guide book that it 6hows aoreithan <.>ne of them to the traveler. A SIAUXIKICKXT PANORAMA. But t!ic Ocean Shore will take the globe rotter along a smooth line which will how him a panorama of natures beau;.* which combines the essentials of all, hese wonders of the earth and it will •omplete his journey in a little over two iourF. It will show him scenery of a ari^d grandeur so wonderful that it ‘will aiisfy his most ; it will take him close lo giant sejuoias rising majestically from gTeat for\u25a0s:f; it will carry him by peaceful valleys, where there are growing crops and icnls of cattle grazing and mineral de-»n<=iis in plain sight on the surface of the rmund; and finally it will deposit him vithin the beautiful city of Santa Cruz. with its bathing beaches and Its noted lioiei?. All of these things the globe trotter will see from the windows of electric cars of standard gauge and luxurious equipment. It will take him a little over two hours to ‘-. make the trip. Nowhere a cogwheel incline to jolt him, into_ a feverish temper and ruin his pleasure; nowhere a series of smoke-choked tunnels to,’irritate his lungs; . nowhere a long, tedious wait’ on the Ocean Shore; everything Is speedy and . comfortable, the . magnificent viev nowhere hidden . from the .sight of the k tourist. Is ; It any wonder that -the traveler of next year will say to himself OverJebme : by thQirieers in itne Construction of Ocean Shore J Road after he has made his journey- over, this wonderful line, ‘ ‘Yes, there are individual scenes in the world more inspiring, but nowhere have I ever found a railway, which shows to its passengers such ‘ a magnificent. panorama of the beauties of nature in so many, diversified forms. No line can equal it. . ‘.” It is pre-eminent.” FEATS OF CONSTRUCTION. Such is the line of the ‘- Ocean Shore which is now under the course of construction. “It is backed by San Franciscans. It means much to San ‘ Francisco.” Not only will’ it . open up a scenlo route unsurpassed anywhere ” in the world. ; but It .will; tap’ a. fertile stretch; of country whose resources will be augmented to the millions by this entrance to a market, i But ‘ the story ! of the Ocean Shore Railway. Is not merely one of enriched ‘ lands and ; beautiful, marine’ scenery. ,There, Is the . story of its building; a story’ of how engineers and contractors fought a country so rugged that to build a double track broad ‘ gauge ; railway over its” surface seemed \u25a0 impossible. They have been successful in the battle. These same wonders of, nature, these crags and precipices – and gulches.’ the solid granite .formation \u25a0, of mountains, the great sea pounding below—all producing an unsurpassed ‘ panorama of beauty— these “presented engineering .problems most difficult “to men. No wonder that the •„ project of .”opening -this railway was* so long “delayed. Few capitalists ‘ would ‘have dared sink their money in the venture;, few contractors could haye \ been found who were able to carry the work of tearing away and building up; to a successful completion. , The p*ublic will-never realize the wonder of the engineering, feats nor the amount of money in the development in this hitherto declared impossible project. ABLE \VORK OF C. E. LOSS. The man who stands pre-eminent In the conquestof rugged nature and the build- Ing of the road is C. E. Loss, a man of world-wide experience in the construction :of railways. No, not to one man alone should the credit be given, but to this man and his able lieutenant, 11. F. Wells,’ together .with a staff of able assistants. t They have done all the construction work on the new road; they will leave the line ready ‘ for the introduction of . the rolling stock, \u25a0a . line whose safety and solidity is unquestioned and which will stand for centuries as a testimonial of their engineering and contracting ability. Think for a moment of . the difficulties which confronted Mr. . Loss and his assistants at the beginning of their work. They : must- grade eighty-three miles of volcanic formed country twisted and upheaved ~ into : crags and * chasms by a subsequent earthquake. The roadbed must be made safe as a peaceful’ valley route. The ; mountains must be crossed without producing steep grades. : This contractor accepted the task from John-. B. Rogers,’ chief ‘ engineer of the Ocean Shore, and assured him that he would \u25a0 complete .the work satisfactorily. The work Is not yet ‘completed, but every official of the Ocean Shore and every engineer who has Inspected the line will enthusiastically testify that the work has progressed with such marvelous ‘rapidity that -there Is no longer any doubt aa to its speedy and successful completion. SUSPEND MEN” IX .MIDAIR. Mr. Loss began his operations with the energetic Intensity of purpose which has marked ” his engineering and contracting career. There were places where he was forced to lower men down the sides of precipices with ropes so that they, suspended In midair, the sky above- them and the sea below, might drill holes into which powder might be inserted. to blast out; a- foothold , for the graders. Such an accomplishment – meant ; days of slow and dangerous work,’ yet it was ; successfully carried out and a little pathway mads in . the solid granite – ledge along which the graders might form the roadbed. Tons of powder were ‘ used : to ‘ blow . off tops of crags. -,; An army of men and horses followed the blasters, to widen out the pathway • into \u25a0a * roadbed. Steam shovels of tremendous strength gathered up the tons of loose rock and dumped them into the sea to form . an \u25a0′: embankment. Valleys were filled from the waste of . the moun- v tarn- cuts.: Great chutes were erected to, facilitate the work of filling In. Trains of \ diminutive • dirt cars were employed. Everyjmeans known, to modern engineering .was – used iCo \u25a0 accomplish the* \u25a0 great work.’ • The – result \ is > evident. Although i the – contract – the excavating and ‘ fi
ll- ing- was only, signed last September, today, the most difficult and dangerous pieces of the work are rapidly nearingr completion. The final success \u2666La assured. CONTRACTORS ARE EFFICIENT. Is It any wonder that he has completed j?reat contracts in Europe, the . United States. Canada, Mexico and South America? Such accomplishments have given Air. Loss a reputation not only of being a successful contractor, but have given him a place in the confidence of the capitalists of the world -as a man of unswerving loyalty and faithfulness. A secret’of the success of Mr. Loss Is -the devotion of his employes to” htm- Is It- any wondar. then, that the late George M. Pullman wired J. B. Haggin, when tfie latter was about to build with Marcus Daly a railway line In Mexico which presented unusual difficulties, “Grve ‘ C. .E. Loss your work. He has just completed a $3,000,000 contract for our company to our ‘entire satisfaction.” Such a reputation comes only to one who accomplishes. Curiously enough, the hardest tasks which confronted the contractors in build- Ins the line were right in San Francisco and Just below Colma. The main freight depots of the Ocean Shore wCI be at Army street, near Illinois and Kentucky . streets. Here there was a great swamp. Into this waste the contractors are pour’ ing thousands of tons of disintegrated rock from the cuts In the mountains below. The work was very hard. . The footing was insecure and the haul was long. Solid ground has been made where for centuries a waste swamp proved a hindrance to progress. HARDSHIPS AT SAX PEDRO. It has been along the steep sides of San Pedro Mountain where the most spectacular work 13 being done. San Pedro Mountain lies abor . fourteen miles south of Colma and Its great granite nose juts out Into the waters of the Pacific, forming a sheer cliff 1000 f*et high. Here Is where the men were hwered by ropes and suspended in midair until^they could drill blast holes for the powder.- The blasts were fired and a little pathway opened. Then the graders -began their work. At. some places thV. path. -was- so narrow that only one man could work at a time. A slip would have meant a terrible fall into the sea SOO feet . below. Powder and blast dug out a way. The debris was dumped over, into the ocean to form a natural bed or was hauled out in dummy cars to be used to fill the low spots. Along the aide of this great cliff the roadbed was steadily pushed. A detour could have been made on. the other side of .the mountain, but .this would have spoiled the magnificent -view. So the work went on. Seven tunnels were at first contemplated. Here is where Mr. J. B. Rogers, chief engineer, showed bin “” genius. W«il knowing: that tunnels are the most disagreeable feature of mountain favel, -he reduced this number to only on«» tunnel and that only 400 feet long, .le accomplished this by thorough, cuts. Stretches were blasted through the solid granite rock at an enormous ex.-pense. Nine tons of . black powder were u_sd at one shooting and great masses of rock were torn from the mountain and blown into the sea from the force of tho explosion. Plunge batteries were used to touch off the powder. At one point on this ‘precipice a hole was, dug Into the mountain seventy feet deep. This was cross-sectioned by a 30-foot tunnel. This tunnel was filled with powder— lt took three days to do the filling— and the whole % exploded by the plunge battery. Thirtyfive hundred tona of solid rock were blown into the Pacific This point was Saddle Cut. EMPLOYS ARMY OF MEX. The grading along Tonltas Point, a promontory section of land below Pescadero, is within a few feet of tne-very ocean. Here the soil \was fairly loose, and great Fresno scrapers, pulled by four horses each, completed the- work In hurry tim«. The top of the bluff was cut and the low places filled in order to keep the lev«l grade. ‘ Considerable blasting was done at Tonltas Point. Much grading: was oone near Halfmooa Bay. Fresnos and steam shovel* were used to great advantage at this point. A small army of men and horses were work-. i ing on this dump. Swanson’s cut proved to be another di£s- v cult piece of work.; It seemed necessary at ) this Dolnt to drive a tunnel, but Mr. J. B. Rogers, chief engineer, again solved the- problem by- going along with hl» thorough ‘ cuts. w Tne illustrations above show how this York was accomplished, and give the reader some Idea of the difficulties which it involved. The work haj not been started from one point and completed before any other point waa touched. ” Men have been working norti from” Santa Cruz and south from ~ Saa Francisco, while crews have been stationed at Half moon Bay. Tonlta* Point, Pescadero, San Gregorio < and • many other points alonz the line. : ,\u25a0 “.-.; To John B. Rogers much praise must tTJe given. As chief engineer of the Ocean ‘Shore he conceived the possibility . of the construction and did much’ to aid in its. accomplishment. ** The officials of the new railway— Walter E. Dean. – president; J. I>owney Harvey, vice president; A. Dw Bowen,- general manager, and Burke Corbet,-attorney—have been tireless- in their effort* to make-this railway a grand benafit to San Francisco. – SAN FRANCISCO GETS BENEFIT. And how will San Francisco be benefited?. By the opening up of 230.000 acres of practically virgin land for cultivation, the advancement of .a great timber, industry and the marketing of -tixe valuable mineral products of this section. .Millions of dollars will pass through San Francisco in trade each year when this road ia completed that before knew no outlet. ~\.-“The coast country -between San .Francisco and “Santa Cruz has long been rich _ in agricultural prospects, but there was no way to -market the product” once *it was raised. Small crops have been cultivated in this district, hauled many .milea over the mountains to the Southern Pacific’and then shipped to San Francisco arid ‘ Eastern points. The cost cf such handling was ‘ enormous. The grower along -the ‘coast could not compete with bis rival -nearer : the • railroad. Now this will be done away’ with. The valleys will grow rich /witn, -.crops each year, and, the grower can market them quickly and at a small, cost. The Octan Shorp has planned to’ carry all the freight that the region will offer. There are acres of great timber standing; uncut because the co3t of marketing the ‘:. product was too “”great. Mills ;.wIH spring up and make this a great industry. Grazing * and dairying . on the mountain sides will form a profitable •„ Hying .to many settlers. There are mineral resources of untold .wealth. Chalk rock and limestone abound. r: To ” the Saa Franciscan this road ‘will offer ja : delightful means of quick escape from. the smoke and dirt of the city.” In a few minutes he can’ be. ln a land where there. aVe sun and flowers and the ocean. Or he “can get Into rusg.-tt mountains, tf he so desires.’ It will ton possible for the sportsman to leave the city; in \u25a0 lh*»f inorn- – Ing. sboot his wild garnet down hoar Peak, cadero— ducks, : deer: arid fish* aboundV.^ cook * his noontlay meal -midst- forest” scenes ; of Lwildest ;” nature and then ‘ board a. train. which will, land him in San Fran^ ctsco” in : time * for ; supp«r. . Could ‘asy thins moxVU deairtd* .._ __<_


About June Morrall

1947 - 2010
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