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Great Railroad Stations - Santa Barbara, CA

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Great Railroad Stations 

by John C. Dahl

Santa Barbara, California

"Queen of the Missions" is Santa Barbara's claim to fame. Here is located one of the largest and best examples of the many Spanish missions that once spread along the California coastline before it became a part of the United States.  The Southern Pacific railroad, mindful of the historic significance of Santa Barbara, constructed a new station in 1905 to serve the expanding city and winter spas.  Opened on New Year's Day, 1906, the station served what remains today as one of the most pleasant cities of the Golden State.  The station grounds still retain a huge fig tree, and at one time featured elaborate formal gardens.

Southern Pacific's Coastline route which passes through Santa Barbara is perhaps one of the top ten scenic lines in North America. The tracks pass beaches and dunes, mountain cliffs and rolling surf for more than one hundred miles.  Because of its excellent California climate, and scenic location, Santa Barbara was an important and wealthy community.  Agricultural products from the surrounding rich farmland area provided SP with numerous carloadings.

During steam days, the famous Coast Daylight service pulled by Lima's streamlined 4-8-4's traveled the line.  Introduced in 1937, the Daylight service quickly assumed the title to being the premier way to travel north and south in California.  The red, orange and black trimmed locomotives were mated to an all new consist in matching colors. Today Amtrak's Coast Starlight service through Santa Barbara with Superliner equipment provides rail passengers with a great way to see California.

Santa Barbara California November 1987. Photo by John C. Dahl

 

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This page was last updated Thursday, December 06, 2001

2001 Jim Dent - Page created by Jim Dent
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