In Part 2 Bill Miramontes was telling me about the rise & demise of the Ocean Shore Railroad– that the main reason for its failure was the stiff competition from cars and trucks (that could transport vegetables from Half Moon Bay to market in San Francisco faster).
Bill: The train just ran out of passengers and freight because it was so much better to buy fresh vegetables picked the same day and have [the produce] at the market the next day. If they put the vegetables on the train they had to pick it, sort it and then bring it down to the train and it would stay there one or more days on the tracks. It could be three or four days before it got to the market.
Bill: When they got solid tires, trucks were better than cars. They were slow, even 8-10 miles per hour but they’d leave at 10 and get to San Francisco at 1 or 2 in the morning.
Bill: The artichoke was a big item in those days, fresh and green. When shipped by the train artichokes would be–after you pick them–and they sit for 2, 3, 4 days–they get kind of withered and dark.
Bill: People started buying Fords or cheap cars and they’d go to San Francisco in an hour and a half. On the train it would be an all day trip. The Ocean Shore Railroad ran out of passengers and that’s why they failed.
…To be continued…