Cotton Belt SD45T-2 9291 roars past the historic Laines Grocery Store in 1983 with a Los Angeles-bound freight. 

Alviso is a historic little community that, while technically part of San Jose, maintains its own unique history and atmosphere. The Southern Pacific Mulford Line bisects the village after scooting across the South Bay wetlands on its way to San Jose and the Coast Line from Oakland.

During the 1850s Alviso served as a port town that thrived on the quicksilver trade from the mines at Almaden, in the Santa Clara Valley. More money was made from a lucrative grain trade that also flourished in the valley. The roots of the SP line are embedded in the narrow gauge South Pacific Coast, which built a railroad from Newark to Felton, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Once under Espee control the railroad was standard-gauged and eventually became part of the Niles Subdivision of the Western Division.

Alviso is home to a wildlife preserve and thus the surrounding mud flats and wetlands are well-protected, offering the railfan several great vantage points for photography. 
Until the late 1980s Alviso featured a small yacht harbor. 

In February of 1983 heavy rains caused floodwaters to breach the banks of the Guadalupe River where it drained into the bay at Alviso. The town was flooded and damage to structures and the yacht harbor were extensive.

Alviso Passage
(click on photo to enlarge)

On July 13, 1981 the northbound Coast Starlight crosses the Guadalupe River.

Alviso is colorful in more than one way: This mural depicts the station of Drawbridge.
On 5/15/83 a pair of F40's dances across Alviso Slough.
GP9E 3353 rolls off the Alviso Slough and past a sandbag barrier to keep flooding Bay waters from the streets of Alviso.

Laines Grocery, one of  the oldest buildings in Alviso.

 Passing Milepost 39, the southbound Starlight approaches the old South Pacific Coast depot, seen in the background. The date is 11/19/80