This railroad was constructed to transport stone from a quarry located eastward from Santurce. It dates to 1917-1918 when materials were need to build the Bartolome de Las Casas military encampment, located northward of the end the Rexach railway, on land owned by the Rexach family. Rock from the quarry located in the area that is now referred to as Cantera, was previously hauled by barge on the Martin Pena canal. The quarry is said to have operated for nearly 50 years, utililizing trucks near the end of operations. The railroad followed what is now known as Calle Sofia Rexach, a straight tangent most of the distance from Santurce eastward to that quarry. One map in my collection shows the track splitting like a “Y” at the quarry end of the railway. The general area of the military encampment would later become the site of the Hipodromo Las Casas horse racing track.
The Rexach company operated a crusher in the area of Santurce called “Barrio Obrero”. Stone from this operation was also used for fill of some parts of Santurce that were low.
Two maps dated 1918 and 1926 show the tracks ending near Avenida Ponce de Leon, where there appears to be several buildings on the earliest map. One of the buildings extends over the track, possibly indicating this may have been an unloading point to a crusher owned by the Rexach company.
If the Rexach railway ever connected with either the Porto Rico Railway, Light & Power Co. trolley line or the mainline of the American Railroad, it is not shown on the currently-available maps in my possession. Yet there is evidence that Rexach had a large stone processing plant further south past the Martin Pena Canal, in Hato Rey.
Because there is no record of equipment sent to this railway, and the franchises for its
construction and operation have not yet been found, it is impossible to determine whether this was an isolated system, or a railway that had a connection onto or across one or both of the two nearby railroads. While the maps do not show any extension past the plant or crossing any of the Santurce roadways and the two railroads, mention is made in research by Fernando Silva Caraballo of a crusher located in the vicinity of the new Tren Urbano’s Sagrado Corazon station. His research also mentions another facility in Hato Rey, south, across the Martin Pena Canal.
A search of all the Public Service Commission of Puerto Rico franchise records up to 1931,
does not reveal the granting of franchises for the Rexach railway to cross any roadways,
or the trolley and or train tracks. Likewise, Annual Reports of the American Railroad Co.
Of Porto Rico do not show a switch or crossover in that part of Santurce, and no mention of any switches or sidings on the ARR in Hato Rey. The same would also apply to records of the Porto Rico Railway Light & Power Co. through that area.
There are no mentions of equipment or locomotives sent to this railway by any of the many manufacturers. Hence, equipment used on the railway may have been secondhand from on or off of the Island of Puerto Rico, or perhaps it may have been purchased through an agent, and the manufacturer failed to annotate the name of the customer for the company records, to indicate who was the actual recipient of that equipment.
June 25, 2013