Wrights Tunnel, Northern Portal - Santa Clara County, CA
Posted by: DougK
N 37° 08.239 W 121° 56.899
10S E 593407 N 4110623
Quick Description: Wright's Tunnel was one of four main railroad tunnels on the Los Gatos to Santa Cruz line.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 10/21/2009 8:44:41 AM
Waymark Code: WM7G0W
Wright's Tunnel was one of four main railroad tunnels on the Los Gatos to Santa Cruz line. Wright's Tunnel was also known as the Summit Tunnel. It was 6,208 feet long, crossing under a summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It stretched from this northern portal at Wright's Station
to the southern portal at Burns Creek, near Laurel. The tunnel was opened in 1880 and blocked off in 1942. It was closed for two years after the San Francisco earthquake of April, 1906 because of a 6-foot lateral shift where the San Andreas fault runs under the tunnel, near this north portal.
Wright's was named after Reverend James Richard Wright. He settled here in 1869 on 48 acres of land he was given as a repayment of a debt. The Railroad came through in 1879 and by 1882 Wrights became a major shipping center. Local farmers would bring their fruits in to be shipped back east and parts in between. Soon a railroad maintenance station, a school a fruit packing plant and a hotel were located here. In 1936 the San Jose Water works bought the land as part of their watershed. The town was abandoned in 1940.
The tunnel entrance can be found by taking Morrill Road off of Summit Road. Morrill Road intersects Summit Road in two places and the eastern crossing is the shorter access route. From Morrill Road, take the Wrights Station Road down the mountain side. There's a flat parking area at N37 08.286 W121 56.857, which used to be the site of the Wright's Station. Nearby is an old bridge over Los Gatos Creek.
The southern portal at Burns Creek is said to be harder to access.