Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Memories of the Train Days in the Old Santa Clara Valley

A Los Altos resident uncovered several photographs like this one of the old train station at Loyola Corners in Los Altos, California. It wasn't much of a "station" but it protected travelers from the the rare California rainy day. Photo courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum.

California is so auto-centric, it may be difficult for people to believe that what is now Silicon Valley once had among the most extensive systems of steam and electric suburban rails in the country. Long before the advent of the automobile, you could catch an electric line that took you from Palo Alto--home to Stanford University--to San Jose, the largest city in the valley--with lots of stops in between.

The electric system was long gone before I was born. But I do remember the locomotives.

There was also a Southern Pacific steam train that chugged along the California foothills, from San Francisco to Los Gatos with a stop in my hometown of Los Altos. The system was near the end of its life when I knew it as a child. Trains are the feature of my latest regional history column from this week's Los Altos Town Crier.  Click The Train Days of Los Altos for the story.

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