Sutro's Steam Train

Sutro's Steam Train (HMWUH)

Location: San Francisco, CA 94121 San Francisco County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 47', W 122° 30.689'

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All aboard for Lands End

In the early 1880s, three miles of sand dunes separated the developed areas of San Francisco from Lands End, where Adolph Sutro was developing popular seaside attractions - Cliff House, the gardens of Sutro Heights, the seven swimming pools at Sutro Baths. A private rail line ran out to Ocean Beach, but Sutro felt its ten-cent fare was outrageous.

To provide affordable public transit, Sutro funded the Ferries & Cliff House Railway. Beach-goers could transfer from cable cars downtown and ride the steam train to Lands End for a mere five-cents. The train's route wound along this cliff, affording unobstructed ocean views, earning a reputation as one of the most scenic short-line railroads ever built.

Illustration captions:

The Ferries & Cliff House Railway ran three and one quarter miles from the corner of California Street and Presidio Avenue to the depot across from Sutro Heights. Coming around the slope just ahead, the train traveled the same course the California Coastal Trail follows today, past the spot where you stand.Ferries & Cliff House Railway train, c. 1900

[Map of Lands End] The Ferries & Cliff House Railway route, 1897 Vivian YoungPeriodic landslides plagued the rail line. Retaining walls along parts of the track and ongoing repairs kept the train (and then the electric trolley that replaced it in 1905) running for years. However, a landslide destroyed the line once and for all in 1925.

[Three photos] 1890: California Historical Society;
1901: Bancroft Library;
February 1925 Ute Collection; 1921:
The end of the line was a wooden terminal located at the corner of 48th and Point Lobos Avenues - directly across from the entrance to Sutro Heights.
Placed ByGolden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 10:00am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10S E 543016 N 4181888
Decimal Degrees37.78333333, -122.51148333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 47', W 122° 30.689'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 46' 60.00" N, 122° 30' 41.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)415, 858
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 881-897 Coastal Trail, San Francisco CA 94121, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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