South Pacific Railway Panorama

On a drive out of San Francisco, on route to the Napa Valley, we came across an abandoned train which turned out to be part of the South Pacific Coast Railroad.

Wikipedia describes the railway as –

“a 3 ft (914 mm) gauge narrow gauge steam railroad running between Santa Cruz, California and Alameda, with a ferry connection in Alameda to San Francisco. The railroad was created as the Santa Clara Valley Railroad, founded by local strawberry growers as a way to get their crops to market in San Francisco and provide an alternative to the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1876, James Graham Fair, a Comstock Lode silver baron, bought the line. He extended the line into the Santa Cruz Mountains in order to capture the significant lumber traffic coming out of the redwood forests.

In 1887, the line was acquired by the Southern Pacific and the gauge standardized. In later years, the segment running between San Jose and Santa Cruz was used by SP’s “Suntan Special” which came down the San Francisco Peninsula and took passengers right to the beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Service was disrupted by the 1906 Earthquake[1]. The tracks through the Santa Cruz Mountains suffered major damage during a storm in the winter of 1940, and the line was abandoned the same year.”

The panorama was captured in High Dynamic Range giving it a slightly unreal look:

We dont normally tweak our panoramas but this scene works well in sepia – providing a slighly surreal look at the old South Pacific Railroad:

You can view both the High Dynamic Range panorama (3.62Mb) in Quicktime Virtual Reality and the Sepia Version (3.31Mb).

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  1. dawid gorny - April 30, 2007

    I would like to start my own blog about my QTVR panoramas on or, but I’m wondering, can I put my qtvr files and pictures there or do I need my own hosting account? BTW cool sephia effect in this pano.

  2. Andy - April 30, 2007


    A QTVR blog would be interesting – look forward to it πŸ™‚ You need to host the QTVR’s on a server, ie not on Blogger. Pictures can be hosted direct via blogger and videos via services such as YouTube.

    Its the same with this blog – most images are now on blogger with only the QTVR files on our server.

    Hope that helps..


  3. Dan - August 22, 2007

    If you are interested in more information on the Souther Pacific Rail/Trains there is a great website with lots of books.

  4. Omar Cruz - October 6, 2007

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  5. Virtual Visit - June 9, 2008

    Nice panoramas πŸ˜‰
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  6. Anonymous - September 16, 2010

    Where is this? There is no such site on that old ROW which is mostly in the mountains and on the coast and under a reservoir. Capmbell

  7. Anonymous - September 16, 2010

    This is Schellville in Sonoma County. Never on route to Santa Cruz until 1947 to 1959 when the Suntan Special began again on a new route through Gilroy, Salinas, Watsonville, Aotos, Capitola. Never on Pacific Coast Railway route. No where near that route. The clue was lack of any mountains or ocean in picture. Most of the old route is now in populous Santa Clara County (Campbell does not look like this), under a large reservoir, abandoned on one side of mountain, tourist rail on section on other side, and street traffic near ocean

  8. Women Extenze female sexual stimulant pills - September 19, 2011

    San Francisco and provide an alternative to the Southern Pacific Railroad….

  9. Delay premature ejaculation pills review - November 23, 2011

    The tracks through the Santa Cruz Mountains suffered major damage during a storm in the winter of 1940..

  10. Provillus hair loss medicine - November 30, 2011

    Most of the old route was lack of the ocean and mountain.Southern Pacific ways is the alternative route.

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