SALINAS, CALIF. – On Saturday, March 7, 2015, the Salinas community gathered to rededicate the historic Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) depot during the city’s inaugural Founder’s Day celebration. The family-friendly event included live music, lectures, games, food and vendors.
In 2014, the city undertook a full rehabilitation of the depot, which included repairs to the roof, cleaning and painting of the exterior and creation of office space for Greyhound and Monterey-Salinas Transit. The former has relocated to the station, thereby allowing for easy intermodal connections. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County has also been working on long-term plans to initiate a commuter rail service between Salinas and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The depot opened in 1942 and is the third to serve the city. It reflects the romantic Spanish and Mediterranean Revival architecture popular in the region at the time, but with streamlined Art Deco influences.
In the waiting room, passengers can admire dark wood beams and a mural by San Francisco artist John MacQuarrie, a painter and sculptor who created numerous works for the SP. He depicted farmers working in lush fields, men and women showing off their rodeo skills, and of course the SP’s streamlined Coast Daylight – billed as the “Most Beautiful Train in the World” – wearing its famed black, orange and red livery.
To the east of the station stands the former Railway Express Agency (REA) building, constructed in 1919. Restored in the 1990s, it houses the Monterey and Salinas Valley Model Railroad Club. Sitting close by is former SP steam locomotive No. 1237, which ran in service from 1918 until 1956 and was subsequently donated to the city.
In fiscal year 2014, more than 22,000 passengers began or ended their journey at the Salinas station, which is served twice a day by the Coast Starlight (Seattle-Los Angeles).