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Southern Pacific Railroad
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   Author  Topic: Southern Pacific Railroad  (Read 69 times)
RedYugoBandit
TRAINing
Posts: 2
Southern Pacific Railroad
 
« on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 9:07am »
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I'm a former employee of 19 years of Southern Pacific Railroad (or technically, Southern Pacific Transportation Company SPTCo) from 1976 until merger with Union Pacific Railroad in 1995.  Hired out in Yuma, AZ. as a clerk, trained as Train Order Operator (typing Train Orders), and eventually worked all over SP Los Angeles Division from Santa Barbara, Los Angeles Taylor Yard, West Colton Classification Terminal as both a Train Order Operator and Interlocking Operator.  Now that I am 60 years old and can look back I know how fortunate I was to have worked in the railroad industry which was actually a boyhood dream.  And to have seen the technological changes that I witnessed, both good and bad (in terms of jobs).  I grew up in the late 50's and early 60's in Ontario, Calif. and my best friend and I would go down and sit in between the SP and ATSF mainline and watch trains go roaring by.  Ironically, my best friend, Ned, ended up a brakeman for Union Pacific and I ended up working at SP.  During my years working as a Train Order Operator at various remote locations I would see "railfans" that would come by and talk to me and I always knew that how lucky I was to get paid to do something that I loved and saw how much other people loved too.  What a shame it is that the SP no longer exists as a result of a merger, especially considering the historic importance of the company (previously the Central Pacific) and how it helped build and shape the western U.S.

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HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3448
Re: Southern Pacific Railroad
 
« Reply #1 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 9:30am »
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Red' -
 
W E L C O M E ! And, great to have you with us!
 
Tho I am presently resident in the Mysterious East, there were a number of years when I was in Northern California.  
Most of the time, my modest digs were adjacent, or else close to the SFO - SJO line. Along the way, absorbed quite  
the interests in Big Friendly ESPEE...
 
.........................Vern..........................


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Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
firstbelt
Historian
Posts: 714
Re: Southern Pacific Railroad
  7868A_SP_2564_2620_Colton_7-1985.jpg - 88768 Bytes
« Reply #2 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 9:25pm »
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Here's a few photos from Colton from the summer of 1985.  Don't know if they will help, but I'm sure we'd enjoy hearing some of your memories.  I drove somewhere near Cajon Pass to watch ATSF and UP, with SP off in the distance.  I believe I remember pushers and/or mid-train helpers on SP freights.
 
SP 1508 SD7R
http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1819550
 
SP 8376 SD40T-2
http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1819552
 
A couple SW1500's switching:


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/ffgeneral/7868A_SP_2564_2620_Colton_7-1985.jpg
Click Image to Resize

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RedYugoBandit
TRAINing
Posts: 2
Re: Southern Pacific Railroad
 
« Reply #3 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 6:34am »
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After over 50 years of living and working all over Southern California I moved to east to the north western corner of North Carolina (Wilkes County), mostly for financial reasons since the cost of living is so much lower here and this is where my 2nd wife (passed away Dec 2010) grew up.  I was very skeptical whether I would like it here after a lifetime in CA, but found very quickly that I not only like it, but LOVE IT and would not move back even if I could afford to do so.
Apparently the main player on the rail scene here in North Carolina is the Norfolk Southern (NS) and if I'm not mistaken there was even talk in the early 80's of a possible merger between SP and NS (also SP and CSX) that never actually materialized.  Then in the late 80's Philip Anschutz. owner of the Denver Rio Grande Western (DRGW) bought the SP in a leveraged buyout that created a situation where a small railroad actually bought a much larger railroad.  Then of course in 1995, Union Pacific Railroad bought the SP/DRGW.  Never thought that would happen since there were so many parallel lines between SP and UP that it just didn't sound like a workable pairing.  Government always shot down earlier possible mergers such as with SP and NS or SP and CSX on the grounds that creating a transcontinental rail company would be anti-competitive and unfair to other railroads.
Love the pictures posted from SP in Colton from the early 80's since that was the exact time that I worked there.  As a clerk on the GEB (Guaranteed Extra Board) I was the only one qualified as a Train Order Operator and used to get called to work open positions at Pepper Street (one of the pictures appears to be very close to the Pepper St. Train Order Office), Dike (Train Order Office located at Devore, CA. in lower Cajon pass), Hiland (Train Order Office at top of Cajon pass near Silverwood Lake), and then trained as West Colton Interlocking Operator, bringing all mainline trains into the terminal from Los Angeles (Eastbound), Yuma, AZ (Westbound) and in from "the cutoff" (Cajon pass) from Palmdale, CA.  That was the most intense job I ever worked and an 8 hour shift would go by fast since you were so busy talking to trains, locals, helpers, three different train dispatchers, etc. that before you knew it, it was time to go home!  Great memories indeed!!!!


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