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Southern Pacific San Jose Car Department (and some Track Department) 1984 Videos
shot by Car Foreman Lou Horyza

San Jose RIP track - Carman/Asst. Kline Operator "Sup" Supenchek [sp?]
The quality is not the best, but given that this VHS video dates to 1984, we are darn lucky to have it survive mostly intact, because moving film of San Jose's Car Department - and occasionally, Track Department workers - probably does not otherwise exist. The "tape", shot by Car Foreman Lou Horyza between May 8th and June 22nd, largely shows employees during slack periods and shift changes, which accounts for the apparent lack of productivity. A good part of railroading involved waiting around for some prerequisite to happen so that you could perform your job. Beyond the dozens of people in the scenes, you will note how worn out the Car Department's facilities and equipment appeared, "but we made it work," says ex San Jose Car Foreman Mike Pierce, who massaged the video and kindly forwarded it to us.

Louis Peter Horyza, 1930-2019: Lou spent many years as day shift foreman at Newhall Yard, where Mike Pierce recalls he reveled in paperwork and spent a lot of time polishing his baby, a maroon 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang. After initially hiring out with Great Northern, Lou worked for SP in Oregon, eventually transferring to Warm Springs, then San Jose. He served in Korea as a tank commander, and after the war he rose to Captain in the National Guard. Fittingly, he was in charge of securing Bradley Fighting Vehicles manufactured at the next door FMC plant to flatcars. Mike relates that Lou "could recite everything that you wanted to know about the Bradleys." Lou was 2003 Milpitas Citizen of the Year and 2013 Milpitas Veteran of the Year. Click here for his obituary. The video was his sole doing.

Mike Pierce: Mike hired out at age 21 as an apprentice carman at Bayshore Yard and also worked at the rip track and roundhouse and on the derailment crew. After becoming a car foreman, he first worked on the Commutes "downtown", then went to West Oakland and finally, San Jose, where he took over the rip track job and also worked the depot and Newhall / Santa Clara Yard. Seeing 'the direction SP was heading", Mike resigned in 1985 in favor of a job as operations manager for a stacktrain company in Chicago, a job he held for 25 years.

Unfortunately, so much time has passed that neither Mike nor I can now match many people with their names, so we encourage you to let us know who you recognize, along with the time in the video that the person appears. - EO

correspondence: wx4org@yahoo.com

Mike divided the video into three parts to ease downloading. Wx4 converted them to .MOV format to minimize file size.