Southern Pacific Railroad History Center


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  • #3969

    Random thoughts from a Grumpy Old Switchman

    Things I remember my father talking about. Before the UPRR rebuild in Roseville, there was another rebuild in 1952 when SP opened the new Jennings Hump Yard with 49 bowl tracks and 20 receiving tracks.

    did ya know . . . prior to that 1952 rebuild, the “Speedway” was what they called the area around the yard office. The main lines came through the center of what became the departure yard, specifically tracks 58 westbound and 59 eastbound. The Number 9 running track got its name from the old West Yard tracks. Counting over from 58, it was originally West Yard #9 and the Bypass track was West Yard #10.

    did ya know . . . the RAMAC and intermodal facility was the PFE yard for many years but prior to that it was called the “Government Yard” account is was built during World War II for war time operations by the Department of War. The west end of the government yard (at Antelope) was called the HighLine. Why? I don’t know.

    did ya know . . . the old caboose supply tracks in front of the yard office were Cabtrack 12 and Cabtrack 13. How did they get their name? Well prior to the Jennings Hump Yard rebuild, they were actually part of the East Yard, specifically East Yard 12 and 13 as counting over from the #2 Mainline (59 track).

    Jack Fuller

    In 1995 I went to Roseville as a Temporary Night Dummy, to ‘help’. The one blessing of working nights was that there was no interference from HQ. It was all yours.

    So, to learn the place, I went up up the tower, introduced myself, and watched and listened.

    The swing AG, Al Kamrar, asked “What are you doing in the tower?”

    I said, “Watching and listening. I’m not gonna learn about RV looking at a CRT.”

    Al said, “But…but…but Officers never come up into tower!”


    During the time I was Assisstant Terminal Superintendent at Roseville, TOPs and the then-new terminal management software got rolled out — inventory got computerized, along with trim lists. My old head afternoon AG, Joe Carlini, swore it would never work: he trusted the pen-and-paper lists of ancient practice instead. So, a bit of patient training was in order, and not just for Joe. Well, some time went by, and the new-fangled technology turned out to wpork pretty well. So well, in fact that, when the “System” eventually failed (as all such systems eventually do) one afternoon, Carlini threw his hands up as if paralyzed, saying he “couldn’t do anything!”. Dependency had arrived. Fortunately, there were still Number 2 pencils and pads of paper to hand….


    Peter Baumhefner

    Thanks for those interesting facts about Roseville Yard. Having spent all my time on the Los Angeles Division I had little knowledge of Roseville or its surrounding area. You bring up an excellent point about naming things but not knowing why. That history is escaping us and we need to attempt to capture it and memorialize it somehow so it remains with the overall history of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Thanks for your input!

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