Thursday, September 4, 2014

Limekiln Monorail


Limekiln Monorail
Built in 1894 by J.J. Burt to carry "diamond brand" lime from Harlan Mt. to the S.P. Railroad at Tres Pinos.
The track was a single wooden rail. The locomotive was wood fueled steam operated. On its maiden voyage, the engine exploded while taking on water from Pescadero Creek thus ending the operation forever.  
So states this E Clampus Vitus plaque that stands towards the southern end of Cienega Road, which was erected on April 21, 1979 by Monterey Viejo Chapter 1846. 

Doesn't the idea of a monorail at the turn of the 19th century running all the way from Tres Pinos to Cienega Road just astound you? It does me. 

J.J. Burt was the owner of the Cienega Lime Works, which makes sense for the name of Limekiln Road off Cienega Road.

The New York Railroad Men reprinted an article about the monorail in its October 1891 issue, Vol. 5, No. 1, page 722. It begins: 
A curious little railroad train goes crawling up and down the mountain from Tres Pinos to Burt's lime kiln in the Gavilan range, San Benito county, every day. It is probably the strangest railroad that ever was seen; yet, thus far, not a word has ever been printed regarding it. The train moves on a curious single track and is drawn by an engine set low on it.
If you'd like to continue reading the article, click here. For a relatively more current article, check out this piece by David B. Simons Jr., that's posted at The Monorail Society website.


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