Southern Pacific Railroad began with a simple idea: to connect San Francisco and San Diego, California, by rail. A century later, Southern Pacific had become one of the largest railroads in America, with lines that stretched from coast to coast (connecting to New York via Morgan Line steamships) and from the south to the northwest. In 1959, SP moved more ton-miles of freight than any other U.S. railroad. Engines featured here reach back to the era of SP steam, and forward to the diesels of the 1980s.
Southern Pacific 2021 monthly wall calendar features: Large blocks for notes | Classic Rail Photos | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
Locomotives, locations and named trains featured in the 2021 edition include:
• Southern Pacific 702, a Class GS-1 (4-8-4) is on First #5, The Argonaut, at the San Antonio, Texas depot where mail is being unloaded on July 9, 1944. This was a class of 14 locomotives, all built in 1930 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The GS designation was for General Service: there were 85 of them in eight classes, and they were used pretty much systemwide at one time or another. All 14 of the GS-1 Class were off the roster by the end of 1956.
• Southern Pacific 2914, a Class TW-8 12-wheeler (4-8-0), is one of ten locomotives built by Schenectady (American Locomotive Company) in 1898. They were ponderous locomotives, mostly used in later years for branch-line service, primarily in the Northwest. There were 98 of them, some with entering service dates in 1882. Only 2914 was saved; it is on display at the Kern County Museum at Bakersfield, California. Here it is running a local freight on the Buttonwillow Branch west of Bakersfield on February 12, 1955.
• Southern Pacific 9090, an EMD Model SD45 and three Tunnel Motors, all EMD SD40T-2's, are lifting a heavy southbound freight around the Tehachapi Loop at Walong, California on March 9, 1980. Note that the three trailing units are all the same, and that they have a large grill area just above the frame. This is a fresh air intake. It is located lower on these units. They are specially designed to operate through tunnels and snow sheds, something of which Southern Pacific had plenty. This allowed these big motors to take in cleaner air, rather than air which was fouled with exhaust fumes and residue. Standard SD40-2's have the intake vent at the top.
• Southern Pacific went to the Lima Locomotive Works in 1939 and purchased a dozen rear-cab articulated locomotives, assigned the AC-9 Class. They were delivered as coal-burning 2-8-8-4’s. They were operated on the Tucumcari line, where there were no tunnels or snow sheds. Southern Pacific was moving along with dieselization and soon the Tucumcari line did not need the big engines. In 1950 all had been converted to burn oil. In 1953, one locomotive (3800) had been scrapped, and the other 11 were transferred to the Modoc Line in northern California, where there were no tunnels. The diesels kept coming, and by 1956 all 11 AC-9’s had been set aside. They all were scrapped shortly afterward.
• Southern Pacific 1218 and 1259 are sitting at Fresno, California, both under steam and being serviced on May 30, 1955. One of a dozen Class S-10's built and delivered by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1918, 1218 is mostly hidden by 1259, a Class S-12, one of 38 locomotives built in 1920 by SP's Sacramento Shops. These critters with their 0-6-0-wheel arrangement could be found anywhere that switching operations were needed. SP had 464 of them in 20 different classes. They were dropped from the active roster with the general retirement of steam between the late 1940s through 1957. Sixteen, mostly in California, remain on static display.
• Southern Pacific 4242 is on an eastbound freight near Likely, California on July 29, 1955. 4242 is a Class AC-11 cab-forward 4-8-8-2, one of 30 locomotives built in 1942 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The entire AC-11 Class was set aside and scrapped by early 1959. Likely is located on the now defunct Modoc Line in northern California.
• Southern Pacific #9, a narrow-gauge ten-wheeler (4-6-0), is on a five-car freight with a water car up front. Ex-baggage car 12 is serving as a caboose on this train headed south of Zurich, California, headed southbound to Keeler. It is July 26, 1959, and little Number Nine is the sole survivor of the more than 4,000 Southern Pacific steam locomotives that were used in freight service. Time is running out fast for any steam, including #9. On August 25, 1959 it would make the final steam revenue trip anywhere on the Southern Pacific. Today it is on display at the Laws Railroad Museum.
• Southern Pacific 5036, a Southern Pacific Model SP-2 (4-10-2) three-cylinder behemoth, is one of 23 engines built in 1926, at the Los Angeles, California roundhouse on August 3, 1952. More were ordered, so by 1927, Southern Pacific operated 49 of them, all in freight service. They were good engines and performed well; they were used primarily in Arizona, Texas and California. But, as the story goes, they were no match for Diesels, and all were retired in 1953. One escaped the scrapper’s torch. 5021 is on display at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds at Pomona, California.
• It is September 7, 1956 and the Bay Area Southern Pacific commuter trains are on the move from Fourth and Townsend, San Francisco with 4324 leading the pack. In charge of Train #136, 4324 will only stop at Redwood City and Palo Alto (California Avenue) before terminating its 47-mile run at San Jose. A Class MT-1 Mountain (4-8-2), 4324 is one of 28 built in 1923 and 1924 by Schenectady (American Locomotive Company). By 1930 Southern Pacific operated 93 Mountains in five classes. Most would end up in freight and commuter train service; their ranks started thinning in 1952, and by the end of 1957 all had been retired.
• Southern Pacific 6006, is a Class PA-1 diesel, newly designed and built by the American Locomotive Company and General Electric in May 1948, shown here at the Ogden, Utah engine terminal on October 4, 1958. These locomotives were assigned to many named trains, but Southern Pacific had to overcome frequent mechanical problems. The failures continued until Southern Pacific finally threw in the towel in September 1967 and sent all its remaining PA-PB locomotives to scrap. Southern Pacific had the largest fleet of PA-PB locomotives with 66 on the roster.
• Southern Pacific 621 is on Mail Train #8 at the Beaumont, Texas depot in November 1949. 621 was a Class P-6 Pacific (4-6-2) built in 1913 by the Brooks Locomotive Works, later part of Alco. Southern Pacific owned 149 Pacific-types in 13 classes. Those used in Texas were numbered in the 600 series. All of those locomotives were scrapped.
• Southern Pacific 4443, a Class GS-4 Northern (4-8-4) built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1941, is the power for a Farewell to Steam excursion train, stopped to take water at Tracy, California on March 24, 1957. It appears that they will have enough water to keep rolling.
© 2020 Tide-mark Press
© 2020 Tide-mark Press