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Part 8: Engineer Billy Jones

Updated: 8-22

Additions, corrections, questions
? Contact us at: sprr.coast@gmail.com

xxxOrder of page images: 141-143
click on images for larger versions

Other images:

  • Pt. 4 pg. 1, 071?
  • Pt. 4 pg. 3, 136
  • Pt. 4 pg. 4, 217, 218, 221, 222, 224, 227, 232-34
  • Pt. 4 pg. 5, 239, 243

William "Billy" Jones was the Coast Division's best known engineer, largely due to his Wildcat Railroad, a miniature live steam railroad that he began building at his ranch on Daves Avenue in Los Gatos during World War II. It attracted live steam fans from far and wide, including Walt Disney, who became a friend. After Billy's death in 1968, his miniature railroad was removed to nearby Vasona Lake Park, where it continues to delight new generations of riders.

Billy railroad tenure began at age 13 in 1897 as an engine wiper at narrow gauge South Pacific Coast's Boulder Creek enginehouse (for service dates discussion, see
Index & Biographical Information. In 1901, he was promoted to fireman, and in 1906 he was busy preparing his locomotive at Newark for a work train (participating in a planned conversion of SPC to standard gauge) when the San Francisco Earthquake hit. He may have been promoted to engineer prior to January, 1907,when he transferred to Southern Pacific. As SPC's narrow gauge gradually withered and was replaced with standard gauge tracks, SPC engineers were given the opportunity to transfer to SP. He retired in 1949 as one of a very few Coast Division engineers that achieved more than 50 years service.

The Internet holds abundant further information about him, including:
Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad website
Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad illustrated history
William "Billy" Jones on Wikipedia
1960's video of Wildcat Railroad on YouTube

1978-152-3-141

date: 7-14-1935

location: Big Trees, Felton

photographer:

print: 2" x 4" portrait b&w

obverse data:

reverse data:
"Wm Jones - ENGR Of SP"

comments:
Sitting in background is W. J. Baumeister, dressed in the attire that he wore to the 1935 picnic at Big Trees. See image 090, Part 4, page 1

Engineer W. Jones hawking raffle tickets


1978-152-3-142

date: circa 1950

location: Wildcat Railroad, Jones Ranch, Daves Ave., Los Gatos

photographer:

print: 6" x 7.25" portrait b&w

obverse data:
"Jones, Wildcat Railroad"

reverse data:


comments:

Billy Jones with Wildcat Railroad locomotive


1978-152-3-143

date: circa 1950

location: Wildcat Railroad, Jones Ranch, Daves Ave., Los Gatos

photographer:

print: 8" x 10" framed landscape b&w

obverse data:

reverse data:


comments:
Possibly recorded the same day as image 1978-152-3-142, above. The group appears to be mostly pensioned engineers.

Engineer W. Jones with dignitaries and Wildcat Railroad locomotive