To supply beets to his Watsonville refinery, Claus Spreckels constructed a narrow gauge railroad from the Pajaro Valley beet fields to the factory using primarily Chinese labor. Incorporated in 1890, the Pajaro Valley Railroad extended as far south as Moro Cojo ranch in 1891, and also served the Moss Landing wharf. With construction of the new refinery, the railroad was expanded from Moro Cojo to Spreckels and the name was changed to the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad--but it was known locally as the 'Dinky Line' because of its tiny engines. Branch lines extended south over the river bridge to Buena Vista, where beets were grown, and north, passing east of Salinas near the present airport terminal, to Alisal Canyon where Spreckels obtained limestone. In 1908, a branch line of the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad was extended from Spreckels Junction into Salinas to carry passengers to and from the refinery. This was a route attempted by the Salinas Railway Company in 1897, but their operation was unsuccessful and folded in 1900. Approximately 1915 marks the heyday of the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad; its lines had reached 54 miles. It consisted of nine locomotives, six passenger cars, two baggage cars, three combination freight and passenger cars and 260 freight cars. Riding the railroad from Salinas to the Alisal end for picnics was a popular pastime. The Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad hauled an incredible 174,480 tons of freight, and in 1919 it carried a record 158,871 passengers. But by the 1920s the truck, passenger car and bus, as well as the larger Southern Pacific Railroad, were cutting into its business. Regular passenger train service was the first to go, on November 24, 1925. By 1927 the freight routes were failing, and in June of 1928 the railroad petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon all of its routes. On December 5, 1929, the entire operation--40 miles of right of way, buildings, maintenance structures, 7 locomotives, 24 boxcars, 140 gondola cars, 4 flatcars, 3 dismantled dump cars, 2 combination baggage and passenger cars and 3 coaches--excluding cash on hand, 2 standard gauge steam engines, 2 busses and tracks within the Spreckels Factory yard, were sold to the Southern Pacific Company for only $10.00!
Davenport did build diesel-electric locomotives but this locomotive, typical of many such small industrial locomotives, did not have electric traction motors or a large generator. They used a 4 speed (each direction) manual transmission driven directly off the back of the clutch by a universal joint. Davenport used their own design of manual transmission that had the rear axle running through it to power it. The transmission could move up and down if it was on uneven track. It had siderods to transmit the power from the rear axle to the unpowered front axle. Chains could also be used to power the unpowered axle, if the customer specified it. It was called a diesel-mechanical locomotive. Most of their later models had a torque converter instead of a clutch. Of course, they could use gasoline engines if the customer requested it. The D8800 engine itself weighed some 2-1/2 tons, so that helped give the locomotive some needed weight for traction. Modern replacement engines do not usually weigh this much and tend to cause these little locomotives to be "light on their feet" for traction. Starting the D8800 was by pony motor on the side of the big block or a battery operated starter in that position.
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