WP Index

Western Pacific's West San Jose Branch mmmmmmmmmmmmmmLast Update: 9/21/18mm


(above) West San Jose terminal's transfer crane, August 1965; Del Monte cannery warehouses in background along Bush Street.





(above) West San Jose Freight Depot in August, 1965, looking northeast: The storage tank looming over the building is at the site of the present day San Jose Arena. The building survived WP tennancy for many years, only meeting demolition in favor of condominiums after the century's turn. - Wx4 photo


(above) Who doesn't love a parade? Here we see a gayly decorated float participating in an early 1930's Fiesta de las Rosas parade. Althought it appears to be a camouflaged light tank tearing up the pavement between the San Jose Railroads Santa Clara Street trolley tracks, the matter becomes clearer once one notices that this is a "Bathtub Exchange Club" creation. No wonder San Franciscans of the period referred to San Jose a s "Cowtown". The Del Monte cannery (now condos) looms behind the freight depot, in a spot that would have been a much better location for SP's San Jose depot than Cahill Street. Unknown photographer; Wx4 Collection

NEW 01-2018 The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) has held sveral national and regional (Pacific Coast Region) conventions in the San Jose area over the years. Both WP and SP were supportive, hosting excursions and displays. (I was a brakeman on an SP NMRA San Francisco-San Jose & return special during the 1980 NMRA national convention) In 1956, both railroads pulled out all the stops with their exhibitions for the April 28-29 PCR meet (whose "Historical Chairman" was the ageless Bill Wulf - presently the Los Gatos city historian). SP placed a long line of varied freight and passenger cars and locomotives headed by GS-4 #4446 on #1 track of its Cahill depot. Not to be outdone, WP filled its little West San Jose Yard with equipment - including GP9 #791, a bay window caboose, a "Comparmentizer" boxcar, a piggyback flat with trailers and Railway & Locomotive Historical Society's ex-Georgia Northern wooden office car "Gold Coast, once owned by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, who lived aboard it in Carson City, Nevada for a couple of years just prior to the abandonment of the host Virginia & Truckee Railway in 1950. (Beebe and Cleeg then moved on to the heavyweight steel "Virginia City", which, after Beebe died, spent much of its time sitting in SP's Mission Bay Yard in San Francisco. The Gold Coast eventually wound up at the California State Railroad Museum.

The main WP attraction, 4-6-0 #94, was "still warm" when well-known WP engineer / author / Almaden Stage Lines owner Norman Holmes used a switch engine to drag it down the branch from the main San Jose yard at William Street. Here we see her at West San Jose in all her polished glory. -
slide from Wx4 Collection, photographer unknown; my thanks to Dave Hambleton and Ken middlebrook for supplying information on the event

(above) Late evening for the SN 412: switching at Lonus Street (the I-280 enbankment is north of the engine at left) in Willow Glen, September, 1983.
Wx4 photo

(above) San Jose Turn power standing at William St. before the 918 got a facelift. Note that B-Boat 3056 is now a B-Boat-b-unit: its cab windows are plated over. The 3005 trails. 1-31-77. Gary Vielbaum photo, Wx4 Collection
(below)
Sister SJ Turn F 921 in partial redlead during rebuild at Salt Lake City, 2-1-78.

Switching at the William St. Yard, circa 1978, looking south: The roundhouse once stood out of the picture to the right. The West San Jose Branch began at the opposite end of the yard.
Wx4 photo