Southern Pacific


The Southern Pacific (SP) was always a favorite of mine during the heyday of its passenger service. Coming from the Chicagoland area it was also too far to observe until my first trip to California in 1970. By that time passenger service was a skeleton of itself with the famed "Daylight" colors gone and the actual "Daylight" a ghost of its former self. Shown below are pictures taken in 1970, 71 and 1980 of both passenger and freight serice. The Souther Pacific is now part of the Union Pacific Railroad.

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Trainmasters were a standard feature of Bay Area commuter trains on the Southern Pacific until the 1970's.  On a nice April, 1971 day two Trainmasters get ready to pass each other at the Sunnyvale station.

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It's August, 1980 and two SP units repose at the Taylor Yards near Los Angeles.

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On the very same day not too far away a large group of SP freight units sit in a yard that includes a wide variety of EMD's, GE's and a few Alco road units.  Business was not good that year.

Northbound #151 at Santa Clara with 6462 at the lead in this April, 1970 view.

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The final run of the one surviving original "Daylight" observation cars on the northbound "Daylight" no. 99, 29 April, 1971 at Sunnyvale, California.  The following day the very last "Daylight" would make its trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

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The "City of San Francisco" in the Sierras during a snow storm in April, 1970.  Even with the snow the scenery was spectacular!

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Southern Pacific's unique homebuilt dome-lounge car's interior on COSF, April, 1970.

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The surviving Parlor Observation car from the 3rd and final "Daylight"(1941) set seen at the San Jose Station on #98 - April, 1970.

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Torpedo SP GP-9 leads the "Del Monte" at Gilroy, California in this April, 1970 shot.  SP kept the unit clean back then.
SP northbound commuter 151 with Geep at Sunnyvale, April, 1971.  All of this has changed in 30 years!

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The last northbound Daylight passes through Sunnyvale. The next day: Amtrak and a new route that will not go directly to San Francisco.  The next day it was cloudy and raining. Perhaps an omen?

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The Daylight once had 18 cars regularly.  By 1970 this example with the parlor observation car was down to a mere four plus a baggage car.  Little wonder why Amtrak came into being.

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Amtrak is a little more than a week away but the Reno Train is still pristine with its matching F units at Martinez, California.  

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The San Joaquin Daylight was a couple of hours late in this April, 1971 shot at Tracy due to aftershocks from the big earthquake a few months earlier near Los Angeles.  Two F units and a nice consist was worth the wait.

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The City of San Francisco descending from the Sierras heading towards Sacramento in this April, 1970 view.  Even the "bug" added to the atmosphere!  At this time the train was tri-weekly and connected with the Zephyr service at Ogden, Utah.  

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updated : 3 July, 2012 18:36

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