Sunday, January 9, 2011

SP Branch Lines - Holtville Interurban Railway

I am a huge fan of Southern Pacific's branch lines here in The West. They weaved a spider web around Los Angeles and took on The San Joaquin Valley. Check out this cool site: SP BRANCH LINES  The page is part of David Coscia's great SP website. From Abandoned Rails, this is a cool branch on The SP. The Holtville Branch. I am modeling just one leg of the wye in El Centro of this branch.

This line was first built in 1910 as the Holton Interurban Railway. It branched from a Southern Pacific line at El Centro and ran 11 miles eastward to the town of Holtville. Both Holtville and the Holton Interurban derive their name from W. F. Holt, an entrepreneur who developed the surrounding area of Imperial County in order to tap into the natural resources.
The line was subsequently purchased by the Southern Pacific, who continued to operate the Holton Interurban to Holtville; indeed, SP also built a line that connected with the Holton Interurban at Holtville from the north (Calipatria to Holtville).
It is not known when the Holton Interurban last saw revenue service as an interurban proper; freight-wise, the line saw significant amounts of sugar beet trains, as well as Pacific Fruit Express business. During this time, it was known as Southern Pacific's "Imperial Valley Branch".
It is not known when the line was abandoned, but tracks have been removed in various sections over the years; none of the tracks remain today.

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