Dandy, what are your reference sources for the San Diego Electric ? Is the San Diego Railroad Museum Research Library still in operation (did some volunteering there in 1996 or so) ?
In the book, Sacramento Northern, there references to the former San Diego Electric Birneys operating under Chico Electric and later, Northern Electric management.
We grew up in a good time period for a late teen/early 20 types, going to gigs by 999, The Penentrators, and the Untouchables. I was a skater during that time (a closet model railroader, it just wasn't 'cool' in high school) and was around skaters who are considered "legends" now. It was a very good time to be in San Diego.
The San Diego Electric Railway was an Spreckels entity ? I didn't know that, but, I am not surprised, if Spreckels was involved, it was with Southern Pacific's money. Just the San Diego & Arizona Eastern railroad was.
I put in a request at the local library to get a copy of the Rails of the Silver Gates book.
Yep! Spreckels really got sucked into San Diego. He was sailing his yacht down to Mexico when someone had left the refrigerator door open and spoiled the food. So he pulled into Diego to reprovision. While he was there he found a good deal on a wharf and so bought it. The warf came with a railroad to get cargo from the warehouse out to the ships and back. In order to make the warf more profitable, Spreckels needed to extend the railroad further into the city. But another railroad was already there. So he bought that! That railroad included a streetcar. In order to make that profitable he needed to extend the streetcar tracks to increase ridership. In order to that he needed to build more houses . And in order to do that he needed to bring more water into town and so built a flume from the Cuyamaca mountains. So on and so forth until he had bought all the railroads in town (except the AT&SF) and consolidated all the streetcar companies into the San Diego Electric, and all the steam roads into the SD&A. The SP was only involved with the SD&A. The SD&A was the last transcontinental railroad to be built in the US.
FYI: "Dan D Sparks" is a play on "John D Spreckels". My real name is David Lyman and I'm an animator by trade. I use the Dandy name for model railroading so that when animation headhunters google my name, they don't get a bunch of choochoo train stuff! There! My secret identity is revealed! But buried in a big block of boring text, bwahahahaaa!
Some of the people here probably don't know who John D. Spreckels was. Spreckels Sugar was the foundation of John D. Spreckels' fortune, and he used some of that fortune to build a financial empire in the San Diego area.
His influences can still be seen around San Diego, Hotel Del Coronado, Spreckels Theater, in the legacy of the railroad, and so on.