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SP Photo Archive (1985 to 1989)

All photos by Ronald Lehmer

Copyright 1995-2004

Notice: These photos are for personal use and are not to be redistributed by electronic or other means without the express written approval of Ronald Lehmer.

Early Eighties | Late Eighties | Nineties | Postmerger

A BAAVT chugs through Alcant with an all GE lashup of B30-7's 7826 and 7816 spliced by B23-7 5112. On February 9, 1985, these GE's were pretty unusual, especially the B23-7 being in California.
Later in the afternoon, the BAAVT rolls across the big bridge just north of Fresno on its way to a crew change.
Cotton Belt SD45T-2 9404, the last one delivered to the SP, roars south through the east switch of Earlimart, CA with the PTLAT in tow on February 9, 1985. The trailing edge of a winter storm has left a perfect "Kodachrome" sky at the south of the San Joaquin Valley.
Late in the afternoon of February 9, 1985, the PTLAT charges up the north slope of Tehachapi. SSW SD45T-2 9404, UP U30C 2836 and SD40-2 3535 have 88 cars in tow as a Santa Fe train rolls down hill at Sandcut.
A westbound basks in spectacular afternoon light at Bena. This train has nine units on the point and is about to switch out the last five units into the Bena Helper Spur, which is a little unusual. Most helpers in this era were mid-train helpers, but a few westbounds would have point helpers. February 9, 1985.
Railroading SP style! An RVCIK blasts your truly out of the sleeping bag at Sandcut on the morning of February 10, 1985. Back then, the T-2 and the SD45 were king. The headend power is 8256-8569-SSW9285-9332 while 54 cars back are the helpers 8275-9105-9120-9359-8350-SSW8326.
A westbound SP train rolls down out of Caliente, CA on February 10,1985 with 7367-7345-9143-7383.
Experimentally painted SP SD44R 7399 rolls across Broadway Ave. in Jack London Square on April 13th, 1985. The power is still cold as it gives off a small cloud of grey smoke as the engineer cracks the throttle. Twenty years later, Jack London Square looks completely different; too bad the signal bridge didn't survive.
Salinas Valley vegetables, especially lettuce, were always big business for the SP. In 1980's were the last stand of the solid mechanical refeer blocks headed for the east coast. By the 1990's, refrigerated trailers had the upper hand on this business. On Saturday, April 13, 1985, commute SDP45's 3206 and 3209 have a 110 car perishable (WJRVP) in hand at Jack London Square.
April 21, 1985 finds brand new GP40-2 SSW7253 leading three beat up SD's (SSW9268, 9148, SSW9383) on a KCBAT past the King Street PG&E terminal.
CSRM's SP E9A 6051 leads a passenger special with SP SDP45's 3201 and 3207. Seen here arriving at Oakland's 16th Street Station on April 27, 1985.
American Presidents Lines was one of the SP's first big stack train customer. At Beaumont, an AXAVT train moves 280 stack containers from the Los Angeles harbor to Houston on February 7, 1987. The headend power is 8573-SSW7639-7554-8525-9357 while the helpers (8504-8990-SSW9373) can be seen through the telephone poles.
An eastbound comes around the turn at Fingal on its way to Indio on March 28th, 1987. Power is 7519-9017-7367 and has 40 flats of trailers as the SP tries to compete with the I-10 truck traffic.
Wonderful spring light warms a westbound making the climb from Whitewater to Fingal. The headend lashup is unusual; 9193-SSW7256-9090-7954-9166-1609. The slug is on its way to LA for heavy maintenance. A four unit helper is buried two-thirds of the way back of this 105 car train on March 28, 1987.
The SP's Fab Four, all of the GP40X's, were gathered back together in the late eighties for local service in the Los Angeles basin. However, on March 28th, 1987, 7200-7231-7201-7230 are in San Timeteo Canyon helper service, rolling down the east slope at Cabazon.
Going away view of the GP40X's at Cabazon on March 28, 1987.
For months after delivery, SP kept its B39-8's in consectively numbered lashups of 4 units. On September 26, 1987, 8007-8006-8005-8004 have a short 25 car, 1800 ton LAHOF well in hand as they throttle up through the Ordway Crossovers. The morning fog is still burning off down deep in the canyon.
On September 26, 1987, 8007-8006-8005-8004 have a short 25 car, 1800 ton LAHOF well in hand as they roar across the Beaumont Valley.
On September 26, 1987, 8007-8006-8005-8004 have a short 25 car, 1800 ton LAHOF well in hand as they swing through the curve at Fingal.
The super fast LAMFF comes out of the siding at Fingal with a bunch of autos on the head-end. Mount San Timeteo is the background. Power is 7664-7666-9208-8500-DRGW5387 on Saturday, September 26, 1987.
A heavy westbound grinds up past the Mons Crossovers near Cabazon. Power is SSW7961-8492-8490-8341-7352-7959 with a five unit helper cut in the middle of the train. September 26, 1987.
The LABAF works through Soledad Canyon on November 19, 1988. SP units 6817-SSW9373-9194-7511 have this train in good order at Ravenna.
SSW 7632 whips round a curve at Walnut, CA with an SD45 and 2 B30-7's in charge of a westbound. The San Gabriel Mountains have a good dusting of snow on this winter afternoon on January 16, 1989.
On a very clear January 16, 1989, the Ontario Local rolls 8 cars westbound through Walnut, CA on its way back to the City of Industry yard. SD7R's 1542 and 1503 are running long hood forward under the careful gaze of Mount Baldy.
On a very clear January 16, 1989, the Chino Local with GP9E's 3772 and 3401 has its hands full as it switches its train around in the siding at Pomona. The UP's mainline is in the foreground, while the diamond to the Chino Branch is in the background to the left.
On a cloudy January 24, 1989, the Merced Turn is leaving Fresno Yard with GP9E's 3413, 3831, and 3187 (former commute engine) and three cars. The train has just passed Biola Junction, where the old Biola Branch takes off to the right.
SP 4449 puts on a show as it blasts up to track speed through Somis, CA after being in the siding at Camarillo for Amtrak #13 on May 5, 1989.
A warm July 15, 1989 finds the All Cities Local departing West Colton. SP GP9E's 3743 and 3735 are about to go under Pepper Ave. and then head for the Balloon Track so that the train can head back west towards Kaiser and Pomona.
The Cans at Woodford! The Original Cans! SP SD45T-2R 6826 leads five engines on the point and six more buried two thirds of the way with 72 loads of oil for the Unocal refinery in Carson. On this hazy April 29th, 1989 afternoon, this was normal operating procedure for the SP. However, in a few short years, a pipeline from Bakersfield to Mojave eliminated this operation from Tehachapi.
On April 29th, 1989, there is lots of track work underway on Tehachapi. Here SD45T-2R 6843 slips downhill with a empty ribbon rail train and is about to slip into the old Woodford #2 siding.

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Document last modified March 5, 2005.

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