A peek inside National City’s Historic Railcar Plaza.

National City's unique Historic Railcar Plaza. One can peek inside the barn and see a few exhibits that recall 19th century rail service in San Diego's South Bay.
National City’s unique Historic Railcar Plaza. One can peek inside the barn and see a few exhibits that recall 19th century rail service in San Diego’s South Bay.

During my excursion last weekend to National City, I saw several very cool sights. Here’s one!

Those interested in San Diego’s rich history of trains and streetcars should visit the Historic Railcar Plaza, which is located at the intersection of Bay Marina Boulevard and Harrison Avenue. (It’s right across from National City’s awesome Old Depot museum, which I’ll blog about as soon as my photos are ready!)

In addition to several displays dedicated to past railroads that serviced San Diego’s South Bay, the Historic Railcar Plaza features the fantastic, restored Passenger Coach No. 1. The old coach can be rolled outside of a small train barn on special occasions. Passenger Coach No. 1 was originally built in 1887 and carried passengers up and down the National City and Otay Railway (NC&O) until 1914. The beautiful open railcar used to seat up to 58 passengers in varnished redwood splendor.

The Historic Railcar Plaza’s small barn was built in 2000. The day I peeked through the windows it was padlocked shut. The windows were rather dirty and a few of the displays within had toppled over, which seems to indicate a degree of neglect. Apparently the cool car is rolled outside on the short track from time to time. I hope to see that one day!

Many of my photos were through those dirty windows. I did my best to adjust the images for clarity.

Mysterious stretch of train track emerges from the barn's door. A very cool bit of history can be rolled outdoors during special occasions..
Mysterious stretch of train track emerges from the barn’s door. A very cool bit of history can be rolled outdoors during special occasions.
That bit of history is the restored Passenger Coach No. 1, of the long-defunct National City and Otay Railway.
That bit of history is the restored Passenger Coach No. 1, of the long-defunct National City and Otay Railway.
The restored coach features outdoor bench seating and beautiful woodwork. Passengers could ride this car from San Diego through National City and Chula Vista to the Mexican border.
The restored coach features outdoor bench seating and beautiful woodwork. Passengers could ride this car from San Diego through National City and Chula Vista to the Mexican border.
A mannequin inside the Historic Railcar Plaza of The Millionaire Hobo, J.B. King, Esq. His one burning ambition was to write his name on every car of every train in the country!
A mannequin inside the Historic Railcar Plaza depicts the legendary Millionaire Hobo, J.B. King, Esq. His one burning ambition was to write his name on every car of every train in the country!
A century ago, a ticket for the sixty mile round trip on the National City and Otay Railway could be purchased for just one dollar!
A century ago, a ticket for the sixty mile round trip on the National City and Otay Railway could be purchased for just one dollar.
Two old photographs. On the left, the old Coronado Railroad went through Imperial Beach and up the Silver Strand to Tent City in Coronado. One can see the Hotel del Coronado!
Two old photographs. On the left, the old Coronado Railroad traveled through Imperial Beach and up the Silver Strand to Tent City in Coronado. One can see the splendid Hotel del Coronado in the distance!
Map inside the Historic Railcar Plaza shows the various railways that once serviced San Diego, when transportation by train was very popular.
Map inside the Historic Railcar Plaza shows the various railways that once serviced San Diego, when transportation by train was extremely popular.
A key to the above map includes evolving railroads. The California Southern, the National City and Otay, the Coronado, the San Diego Southern, the San Diego and Southeastern. the San Diego and Arizona.
Key to the above map includes the region’s evolving railroads: the California Southern, the National City and Otay, the Coronado, the San Diego Southern, the San Diego and Southeastern. and the San Diego and Arizona.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click on a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to enjoy!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s