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Nostalgia & History > SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's


Date: 02/12/06 16:01
SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: drew1946

May 1970, SP GP-9's 3006 and 3007 leaving San Jose with train #98, The Daylight, about to cross Auzerais St. The first car behind the baggage car is one of SP's beloved "automat" cars so revered by the travelling public.




Date: 02/12/06 16:14
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: grande473

What is an automat car? Is it a snack-bat car with vending machines?



Date: 02/12/06 16:49
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: WAF

Correct. SP had 16 of them built from sleeping cars they didn't need. Built at the urging of DJ Russell in 1961-62. Patterned after the famed NYC automats



Date: 02/12/06 16:49
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: drew1946

Yes that is eactly what they were. I am not sure of the exact date but I think in the early 60's the SP converted several older coaches into automat cars. Essentially just a snack car, some tables and chairs along with a few vending machines. They also had an earlyday microwave in them. Once these were in service, dining cars on both the Coast and San Joaquin Daylights vanished as well as the City of San Franciscco. I am not sure about the Sunset or Cascade.

The machines had the vending food of the day, usually stale. There were no change machines in the car and, as I recall, the machines required exact change. The SP had an attendant in each car to make change, as well as grab food out of your hand, pop it in the microwave and expect a tip.

It seems to me, the ICC or State of California PUC, at one point required the SP to return dining car service to some trains, but by May 1st of 1971, it didn't matter.



Date: 02/12/06 19:02
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: WAF

All SP trains except the Del Monte and the Redwood had automats at one time or another



Date: 02/12/06 20:01
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: the_expediter

A trapped boxcar? how rude!



Date: 02/12/06 20:17
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: drew1946

I am not sure the boxcar had even appeared at OSH in 1970. Al Smith (the founder) had an SP caboose in there for a while but it was later moved out to his property on Winchester Blvd. in Los Gatos and used as an office. I am quite sure that OSH was getting shipment by rail at this time and did so until the main warehouse was moved over to 7th St.

The Winchester Blvd. property was later sold and developed, and I am not sure where the caboose went. It may have gone over to Swanton where he had a live steam set up (19" gauge) which was later donated to Cal-Poly.



Date: 02/12/06 21:39
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: ProAmtrak

I think SP did that on puropose about the quality of the food since NYC must of knew if they were gonna do that, they had to make sure the food was worth the money. It sucks SP had that attitude for passengers in the 1ST place!



Date: 02/13/06 06:53
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: WAF

Strictly economics.



Date: 02/13/06 08:29
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: Edwardjb

Invent a dispensing machine that fits in airplane seatbacks and you'll be a millionaire.

Ed



Date: 02/13/06 10:47
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: Vasona

Al Smith's caboose was moved to the Swanton Pacific Ranch after his death. CalPoly still uses the property for its school of agriculture and volunteers continue to run the railroad. The annual "Al Smith Day" run is next month.



Date: 02/13/06 12:03
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: drew1946

Not long after Al moved the caboose to Los Gatos, his personal accountant purchased a 3 drawer lateral file from my employer to be put inside. I was still doing delivery work back then as it was 1980. Getting that damn file up the steps, turned, an in the door was not easy to say the least. As it turned out, in doing that little job, I gave myself a hernia on my left side. I still have a scar that reminds me of that damn caboose!



Date: 02/13/06 19:23
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: DNRY122

Sunday night in LA, KLCS (Ch. 58) ran a video about "The Daylight, Most Beautiful Train in the World". The program started in the Thirties, with the original "concept", included lots of movies of the glory days, and in the last few minutes covered the Sad Sixties, including the "Russelmat" Automatic Buffet cars. I encountered them on the San Joaquin Daylight; it was my first experience with microwave ovens, which in those days were big industrial units, probably requiring 230 volt circuits. The idea of buying one for the home (and for less than $100) was inconceiveable.
Also--the motive power, a far cry from the Daylight 4-8-4's or the streamlined diesels usually associated with a Daylight.



Date: 11/29/12 20:07
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: wpdude

As a kid i had the joy of eating at an Automat in New York ( my parents thought it was the coolest space age invention), and it was actually OK. Then I ate from the automat car on the SP, keeping in mind I was a train fan even when I was a little kid. :-((( Luckily, I also got to ride the Zephyr and San Francisco Chief :-)))



Date: 11/30/12 10:02
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: RLcabin

Drew1946 wrote: "Once these were in service, dining cars on both the Coast and San Joaquin Daylights vanished as well as the City of San Franciscco. I am not sure about the Sunset or Cascade."

On the Cascade and City of San Francisco, the automat cars always supplemented the regular diner. Diners survived on these trains until the end of SP's pre-Amtrak passenger service in 1971, though the service was downgraded to "coffee shop" standards (no tablecloths, abreviated menus, etc.) in 1966. The Sunset got its diner back in 1970 after the ICC ordered the train's service upgraded in return for going to triweekly operation.

The Coast and Shasta Daylights were assigned coffee shop cars in place of or in addition to the automat cars in the peak summer and Christmas seasons. But automats were the only meal service cars on the San Joaquin Daylight after about 1965.

Hopefully my memory is correct here.

Richard Tower
SP Reservation Bureau, San Francisco, 1965-66



Date: 11/30/12 10:13
Re: SP #98 leaving San Jose May 1970 with GP-9's
Author: WAF

Automats supplemented the diners on the Cascade and COSF until 1969. Coffee shop service on the Coast Daylight ended after 1968.



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