Monterey and Salinas Valley Railroad, the Del Monte Spur and the Del Monte Hotel. As an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad, LUCY LIED’s Matt Clancy finds himself out of favor with many of the citizens of Monterey. The Southern Pacific was unpopular as it held a monopoly on shipping grain to market and charged what farmers considered to be exorbitant freight rates.
In 1874 a narrow gauge railroad running from Salinas to the port at Monterey was opened to compete with the Southern Pacific. Undercutting the S&P freight rate by two dollars, the new Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad (MSVR) enjoyed initial success. In 1875 and again in 1876 the MSVR bridge over the Salinas River washed out. Two years of failed grain cops followed and in 1879 the line was acquired at a foreclosure sale by the Southern Pacific and dismantled
Per the plans discussed in confidence between Clancy and his boss Shaw, the Southern Pacific did build a standard gauge line from Castroville to Monterey in time to carry San Francisco passengers to the grand opening of the Del Monte Hotel in June of 1880. The passenger service, known as The Del Monte line, was extended to Pacific Grove in 1890 and ran until April of 1971. In the 1980’s, the tracks were removed and the right of way became the Monterey Bay Recreational Trail.
As a note of interest, Doc Ricketts, John Steinbeck’s friend immortalized in Cannery Row, was killed in 1948 when his car was struck by the Del Monte Express as Ricketts was crossing Drake Avenue in Monterey.