Bay Area Bike Rides by Ray Hosler

Laurel Tunnel

Laurel 2009 Train service continued for another 60 years before being derailed by the automobile and severe storms in the winter of 1940. They ripped up the tracks in the summer of 1941, and the tunnels were dynamited shut on April 4, 1942.

During the glory years between 1900 and 1925, trains crowded with passengers ran to Santa Cruz for sun and play on the beach. By the late 1930s the line was down to one through freight train a day in each direction and passenger service was losing $30,000 a year [from Jon Pullman Porter].
 
 A glorious ride it was. Trains wound through canyons sheltering tall, grand redwoods. On a warm summer day the soothing click-clack click-clack of train over track put many a happy child, and adult, into a peaceful slumber. Lovers caressed during the long, private minutes heading through the smoky Wrights and Glenwood tunnels.

 








Laurel tunnel, about 50 yards down a dirt road from
the intersection of Schulties Road and Redwood Lodge
Road, goes under Hwy 17 and emerges at Glenwood
Highway. Note the date at the top of the
concrete - 1909.

Laurel 1890s
Laurel at the turn of the century. Tunnel
entrance visible on left, so the building was
at the intersection shown left of this image.

Laurel plaque
A plaque describes what was here in the late 1800s.

Laurel today
Mile-long Laurel tunnel starts in Laurel, behind this house
to the right. May 31, 2009