The Monterey Peninsula Toy Box

The Del Monte Club Car

"Dude, where's our train?"

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PLEASE NOTE: This section of the Toy Box is no longer being maintained. It was originally intended to promote the revival of the Del Monte Express passenger rail service between Monterey and San Francisco. In the early 2000s the Transportation Agency for Monterey County estimated that the service would be up and running by 2006. That, of course, never happened. Lack of funding and cold feet on the part of local city governments effectively killed this long-sought-after project. We're keeping the Del Monte Club Car online for archival reference and research purposes only. For current information on Monterey County's rail programs please see TAMC's Rail Program page.

“You get a real
feeling of this country
and the people in it
when you are on a train.”

-Harry S. Truman


Show your support for the
Del Monte's revival.
Get this bumper sticker, shirts, and more in the
Del Monte Club Car
Gift Shop


The moving train graphics in the Del Monte Club Car were provided through the courtesy of
Dan's Depot


Operation Lifesaver

America's passenger railroads played a vital role in the development of this country including the Monterey Peninsula. The first passenger trains came to Monterey around 1880 and sparked the local tourism industry, a vital part of our local economy. Other trains hauled shipments of sardines from Cannery Row and sand from Spanish Bay. For much of our history, trains were a routine sight in Monterey, but the last one departed in 1971. Ever since, efforts have been made to bring them back.

Regrettably, most people today don't know the first thing about train travel. Many express the desire to travel by train, but they are often not aware of the options that are available. Others are under the mistaken impression that passenger trains are simply quaint relics from the past, outmoded by today's modern airliners and freeways.

But many people, including Mr. Toy, see rail service as an efficient and environmentally sound way to relieve our clogged transportation networks and provide the public with a greater variety of travel options. Unfortunately, U.S. transportation planners have ignored the passenger train's potential, leaving our nation's rail technology a good forty years behind the rest of the industrialized world.

At one time the railroads ran scores of passenger trains connecting big cities with small towns all across the country. After WWII the airliner and automobile began luring passengers away. To aid the downfall of the great trains, our government began pouring billions of dollars into the construction of publicly owned airports and freeways - a process which continues to this day. As a result these services grew at an explosive rate. The railroads had no such government funding so their services were at a competitive disadvantage. By the mid 1960s, as Japan introduced the world's first high-speed "bullet train," most of America's passenger railroads were ready to give up.

Train 14, Amtrak's northbound Coast Starlight, pulls into the Salinas depot.

In 1971 Amtrak took over most of the nation's passenger services, and it continues to operate the only regularly-scheduled interstate rail service. Amtrak's route structure is but a mere skeleton compared to the lines that existed a half century ago, but it still provides a valuable service. Although trains are not currently seen on the shores of Monterey Bay, Amtrak's popular Coast Starlight, which runs between Los Angeles and Seattle, stops daily in Salinas. A dedicated Amtrak Thruway bus connection serves travelers to and from Monterey and Carmel.

Monterey-Salinas Transit also provides Thruway bus connections from downtown Monterey and Sand City to the San Jose Amtrak station where you can catch Capitol Corridor trains to east bay cities and Sacramento, or Caltrain service up the peninsula to San Francisco.

Within the pages of the Del Monte Club Car you will find information on existing and proposed rail services in Monterey County. For your amusement, Mr. Toy has also included some of his rail travelogues, some videos, and links to other rail sites.

To The Trains

"One thing about trains. It doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on."
-Tom Hanks as
the conductor
Polar Express


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"Dude, where's our train?"

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