I Asked Railroad Historian John Schmale

Where did the Auto Stage pick passengers up on the Coastside?


John Schmale says:

Hi June,

The Ocean Shore Auto Stage company’s route was from Tunitas, in San Mateo County, to Swanton in Santa Cruz County. The franchise for the route was granted to them by the  State Railroad Commission to connect the railheads and bridge the 26 mile “Gap.” The buses (two 12- passenger “Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagons” with convertible tops) ran to San Francisco only when the Ocean Shore Railroad was shut down by mud slides and washouts, which was fairly often. When the two Steamers operated to San Francisco and towns other than their assigned route they were really in violation of their franchise. However, the Railroad Commission looked the other way. Beginning in about 1914 several auto jitney and bus lines began competing with the Ocean Shore Railroad including the “Coastside Transportation Company” and the “Red Star Stage Line” which operated along the coast in San Mateo County. They used  conventional gas-powered vehicles and served Moss Beach, Marine View, Salada, Vallemar, Rockaway, San Pedro, Montara, Half Moon Bay, and other towns. The Coastside Transportation Company had its northern terminal in San Francisco. The Red Star line traveled along Market Street in San Francisco and went as far as Pescadero. The Photo is the Red Star Stage Line Bus at the Moss Beach Hotel.


Railroad historians John and Kristina Schmale’s new book published by Arcadia is called The Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway.

Email John Schmale: [email protected]