Panoramas 90-100

South Pacific Railway Panorama

By April 27, 2007 10 Comments

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).


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