The Southern Pacific's Newhall St. Yard
San Jose / Santa Clara
SP Pages
SP San Jose

Until deregulation and recesion hit the railroads in 1980, Newhall yard was a very busy place. It dispatched locals, including the Sunnyvale, Hollister, Gilroy, and occasionally, the Perminente (which also worked out of Bayshore at times). It was a turning point for the Bayshore-San Jose turn. The Bayshore-Watsonville turn picked up cars and locomotives here. Until the Coast / Western interdivisional pool was established in the early 1970's all Oakland-Watsonville pool freight changed crews here. Heavy Tracy traffic still came/went via the Altamont Pass line. San Jose still had considerable numbers of light industries and canneries, many of which were located in what is now the high-tech Jungle of Silicon Valley, Today's UP "yard" consists of one track. The balance of the yard is gone, as is College Park Yard and the Lenzen roundhouse / engine terminal.

Elsewhere, you'll find a 1947 Newhall Yard Track Capacities map.

Newhall Tower, January 1966, looking south. That's the herder's shanty at the foot of the tower. Note the message on the tower. Cabooses 1043 & 1244.

War Story: The Leaning Tower of Newhall

Newhall Yard, the same day, looking timetable west (today's timetable north). FMH12-44 2357 (with 'ashcan" headlights.and old (built 1944) Alco S-2 1718 share the duties. The tower is behind the photographer. In the background is old (1944) Alco S-2 #1718, one of whose ranks would be severely depleted by the coming of SW-1500's in the next couple of years. Fairbanks-Morse H12-44's like the 1953-built, ashcan headlight-equipped #2357 would hang around for another ten years, or so. The FM's had touchy governors, and often when under heavy load they would put out cyclical high-to-low revs, sounding like runaway vacuum cleaners. One smart engineer figured out that if he stuck a penny(s) into the governor somewhere, the problem would cease.

Alco's six motor Century series never found favor with most railroads for a variety of reasons, including their hard riding, rigid trucks which punished the track (and crews) on curves. They suffered from dependability problems born of improper maintenance - their sophisticated (for the time) electricals were an unversed electrician's nightmare. Two years after I shot this photo of two-year-old C-630 # 7809, SP's C-628's and C-630's were leased out to Penn Central, Louisville and Nashville and Burlington Northern. Upon their return, they were sent to the SP's Alco catch-basin, the Texas and Louisiana (T&L, ex TNO) Lines. Some 630's had their electricals simplified (transition equipment removed) and were assigned to the Colton hump yard, along with a "Brake Sled" constructed from de-engined and chopped-down Fairbanks-Morse Train Master 3028.

Here we see the eastbound 7809's engineer patiently reading (company material, I'm sure!) while the car department finishes making and testing the air at the bottom (east) end of Newhall Yard. After completing the air test, the carmen will remove the blue flag underneath the hoghead's elbow. The train is sitting on yard track #1, which is now Main Track 1. For those with DSL, or patience, I've included a monster (280k) version of the photo.

Notice the Chateau Martin reefer , an ex milk car, which probably will be set out at the winery in San Martin.

The 'signal' next to the reefer is actually a Train Indicator for westbound trains approaching Santa Clara platform. If the bottom light displayed the word "clear", no eastbound train was at, or approaching Santa Clara, and it was probably safe for a westbound to stop at, or pass through Santa Clara platform. If the top "train" light was lit, the westbound train would, by rule, hold-out of the station until the eastbound had left. It and many at other locations lost their train indicators during the 1990's, much too the chagrin of us commute engineers, who heavily relied upon them.

Also, notice the hayburner on top of the switchstand in front of the NP boxcar. Within a year or two, the kerosene switch lanterns would be replaced with diamond-shaped Scotchlite-painted targets. The old round targets (foreground) were not Scotchlited. Incidentally, electrified hayburners survived on some flip-flop switches under the charge of Roseville's 245 herder (top end of yard) until at least 1986. They were securely attached to the stand.