Auxiliary Tender Axle Changeout of Southern Pacific #4449
San Jose RIP Track, 1984

In Spring, 1984 SP #4449's auxiliary tender arrived in San Jose with a bit of a limp in its hindquarters. On the down run from San Francisco, a tender journal developed a hot box at Mountain View, causing it be set out and later drug down to San Jose for remediation, an axle replacement by San Jose's Car Department.

Rob Sinclair recorded the process, a rather mundane exercise, except that San Jose's Car Department was not equipped to deal with the tender's massive six wheel buckeye truck. Rob relates that once the truck was rolled out from underneath the tender, a carmen attempted to raise the truck end with a rather diminuative in-house forklift, which proptly did a rear wheelie for lack of sufficient counterbalancing weight. Luckily, the Track Department's Cline boom truck was available for a rescue appearance and, the axle was changed out sans further issues.

That Rob was there to record the process came at the insistence of the late, long time afternoon San Jose Roundhouse Hostler Helper Charlie Hoyle. After Rob picked up Charlie for their usual weekend journey over the hill to work on Al Smiths's Swanton Pacific, Charlie requested that they take a sidetrip to the RIP Track to check on progress. That is Charlie in some of the photos with a flashlight stuffed in his back pocket, fussing over the truck's removal. Charlie passed due to lung cancer a couple of years later, not long after Rob photographed him in Watsonville posed with a group inspecting a prospective loco for Big Trees & Pacific.

Should you recognize anyone in these photos, please let us know.