What readers are saying about Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains:

Santa Cruz Trains…is the wave of the future. The story of American railroad engineering and construction and land use is now some 18 decades along, and much of what was done with the best of intentions – even in the “young” West – has been plowed under in the interest of progress. If you are interested in the trains and locomotives themselves, Santa Cruz Trains might not serve your purposes. On the other hand, if you desire direct contact with the past, here is a formula that just might work.

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Railroad History Reviewer

Derek Whaley has assembled an excellent reference to the railroads in and around Santa Cruz, primarily along the former South Pacific Railroad running North into the Santa Cruz mountains. This book is laid out in several sections, each covers the railroad spurs, depots and other features that once were and what remains. Each of these sections is excellently researched and cited, including maps illustrating the track arrangement at points along the line. This is an excellent reference to the region and the railroads it served. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

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About the Author

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Author and Historian

Derek R. Whaley, PhD, is an author and historian focused on the history of the railroading communities of Santa Cruz County, California. He has written three books – Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains (2015), Santa Cruz Trains: Reflections on the Mountain Route (2016), and SIDETRACKED: Laurel & Glenwood (2023) – and edited a three-part series of books on the history of Rancho Soquel Augmentation, originally written by Ronald G. Powell (2020-2022). He has also published studies on railroad history in Santa Cruz County History Journal 7Railroad magazine, and the Journal of New Zealand Studies, and three chapters on French medieval history in Routledge History of Monarchy (2019), Routledge Handbook of French History (2023), and The Waxing of the Middle Ages (2023). Derek hosts a monthly blog that features the history of Monterey Bay-area railroad stations, tunnels, bridges, and related items. He currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.



Derek loves to share local history with the public in whatever ways he can. He has been featured in blogs, the Press Banner, the Good Times, and the TMG Multimedia trains and history podcast, and he has worked as a consultant for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and Coastal Rail Santa Cruz.

Please send media inquires via email.


Derek has given talks for the Aptos Historical Society, the New Museum of Los Gatos, the San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society, and Santa Cruz Public Libraries. He welcomes future opportunities to speak about his expertise areas.

Please send requests for talks via email.

Talk at Felton Community Hall, 2017

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