Del Monte (train)

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The Del Monte at Monterey in 1970.
c. February, 1971
San Francisco
22nd Street
Paul Avenue
San Bruno
San Carlos
Palo Alto
Mountain View
Santa Clara
San Jose Diridon
Watsonville Junction

The Del Monte was a passenger train run by the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and Monterey, California.[1] It ran from 1889 to 1971.


19th century[edit]

Southern Pacific asserts that the named Del Monte service began in 1889, first appearing on an timetable as the Del Monte Limited. It replaced an apparently unnamed service (maybe known colloquially as The Daisy) which had operated on a similar schedule when Southern Pacific opened their Hotel Del Monte in 1880.[2] The 1889 schedule showed train number 13 leaving San Francisco at 2:30 PM and reaching Monterey at 5:30. The return trip train number 12 left Monterey at 8 AM to reach San Francisco at 11:15.[citation needed]

20th century[edit]

Early records of Del Monte service may have been lost in the 1906 San Francisco fire.[2]

Trains were rerouted to the Bayshore Cutoff some time after its completion in 1907.

A sleeping car operated briefly over the 125-mile (201 km) route beginning in 1926.[3]

After World War II a P-6 class 4-6-2 pulled a mail car, three or four coaches, a news-agent coach serving light snacks, and a parlor car. The parlor car was named Oliver Millet in 1947 when Millet retired after working 32 years as the Del Monte parlor car attendant. He was the only Southern Pacific employee recognized by a car name. Train number 78 left San Francisco daily at 4 PM, stopped at San Jose an hour later, and arrived in Monterey to unload mail at 7 PM. The locomotive and cars waited overnight at the Pacific Grove terminal to return as train number 77 leaving Monterey at 7:30 AM and reaching San Francisco at 10:30.[3]

In 1948, the Del Monte Express fatally struck Ed Ricketts, a friend of John Steinbeck, while he was driving across the railroad tracks at Drake Avenue in Monterey.[1][4][5]


The Del Monte in San Jose in April 1971, just before it was discontinued

The Del Monte ran until April 30, 1971, the day before Amtrak took over intercity passenger train service.[1] The tracks were removed in the 1980s in Pacific Grove and Monterey and the former right-of-way is now the Monterey Bay Recreation Trail.[6]

Since the train's demise, many groups have tried to reestablish rail service to the Monterey Bay area.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Palmer, Mike ... c.; Carr, Paul; Hambleton, Dave. "Abandoned Rails: The Monterey Branch". Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  2. ^ a b Spradling, David. "The Del Monte Passenger Train". Monterey Public Library. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b Gibson, Jack (1953). "Del Monte Limited". The Western Railroader. Francis A. Guido. 17 (169): 5–8.
  4. ^ Robison, Bruce (November–December 2004). "Mavericks on Cannery Row". American Scientist. 92 (6). p. 1.
  5. ^ Childs, Marquis (June 1985). "A Novel Aquarium Depicts the Story of Monterey Bay". Smithsonian. 16 (6). p. 95.
  6. ^ "Monterey County California - Things to Do - Outdoor Activities, Animals & Wildlife, Arts & Culture, Historic Sites, Wine: Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail". Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  7. ^ "TAMC: Monterey Peninsula Fixed Guideway Service". Archived from the original on 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2012-12-01.

External links[edit]

Media related to Del Monte (train) at Wikimedia Commons