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1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Feb 7, 2016

darrylmanzer0215Watched a biplane crop duster this morning. Nearby orchards were being sprayed. The pilot had to fly the plane under some high-voltage electric lines. You know – those lines with the big steel towers. It was a great show.

As the sunrise awakened the upper Central Valley, a low fog hugged the ground waiting to be dispersed by the warming rays. Glorious morning. Near cloudless sky. Hot cup of coffee in hand. Fantastic.

The same scene could have unfolded in the southern part of the valley, only instead of a slow-moving biplane and warming sun, a train moving nearly 200 mph speeds past with folks on it who can’t notice the beauty around them.

They don’t notice that the land they travel over once was a productive farm or maybe a shop that employed folks who had lost a job because of the train.

My excursion to the north of our little Santa Clara River Valley has shown that in the rush to have a high-speed rail system just like Japan or Europe, it has been forgotten that we are not in those countries. It has been forgotten that maybe we don’t want to be like those places.

I have found a few folks living north of Sacramento who think high-speed rail would be good. Mostly in the 20 to 30 age range. Of course, this is nearly 100 miles north of the currently planned tracks. They stated it would cut traffic and pollution, and after saying that, they drove away in large pickups.

When talking about a water supply to Southern California, you’d best be prepared to hear a lot about water wasting and green lawns in the desert.

You know, I have to agree with them. I didn’t tell them about the community of Bridgeport in Valencia. That would have endangered me a little too much. Yes, the folks around here live in the Feather River basin. A lot of Feather River water heads south.

I remember sometime in 1959, watching an old Western movie with a plot that reminds me of the water situation we now have. Someone upstream in a creek or river had water and wouldn’t send it downstream. Well, that is what is happening here. They don’t want to send it because they know what Los Angeles did to the Owens Valley. They see all of the vast lawns the folks in the Southland have, and they don’t want water wasted.

Of course, I write this after a drive through mud holes and small ponds to get to my RV site. The Jeep likes it, I think.

When the California High Speed Rail Authority was established in 1992 or so, Gov. Pete Wilson (yes, a Republican), thought it was a pretty good idea. The main route was to follow the I-5 using property already owned, for the most part, by the state.

Now, all these years later, we have another governor getting credit for the idea when in fact it is something different altogether.

I would venture a guess that fully 50 percent of the folks here still think the California High-Speed Rail is going to follow I-5. They seem unaware of the path it is now taking. They, like many others, are amazed that things have changed so much.

I guess if you run a multi-million-dollar campaign to say how great the train is going to be, many folks will believe it.

But then again, didn’t folks from that old fairy tale remark how wonderful the emperor looked in his new clothes?

When told the truth and shown reality, most folks here agree … the emperor is naked.

 

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

 

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