Southern Pacific Western Division is an all-color pictorial covering the operations of the Southern Pacific Railroad in northern and central California, from Sacramento to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, north to Eureka and south to San Luis Obispo. Seven chapters present stunning color photography of the diverse geography of this part of the Golden State, from redwood forests to open farmland to scenic bayside and ocean vistas to busy urban centers. While emphasis is on operations in the 1960 through 1990 timeframe, Southern Pacific Western Division includes many historic photos from the 1940s and ’50s as well, some of which have not previously been published.
It’s all here: The multitude of fabulous paint schemes that SP used in the steam-diesel transition era, including Daylight, Black Widow, Tiger Stripes, and Gray & Scarlet, plus several experimental and special patriotic paint schemes. Many of the named passenger trains, such as the Lark, the Owl, the Cascades, the Coast, Noon, San Joaquin and Shasta Daylights, the Redwood, the Senator and even the maid-of-all-work Tehachapi are covered, as well as the coast mail trains, the Peninsula commutes and early Amtrak. SP’s diverse steam motive power is presented, with Consolidations, Mountains, GS-Class and of course the big Cab Ahead Articulated Consolidations featured. Diesels from EMD, GE, Alco, Fairbanks Morse, and the German builder Krauss-Maffei are shown in a variety of first, second, and third generation cab and hood configurations.
Salient aspects of the histories of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific are discussed in the chapter introductions and many informative photo captions, and day-to-day freight operations are presented in detail, referencing employee timetables as appropriate. The work has been reviewed by career Southern Pacific employees whose contributions are gratefully acknowledged. Although the Southern Pacific is gone, having been merged into the giant Union Pacific, the railroad lives on through these photographs, and the reader will come away with an appreciation for this once-mightiest of western roads.