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Western Railroad Discussion > Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula


Date: 06/19/24 09:14
Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

As Milepost20 and others have pointed out, there will still be diesels running on the San Francisco Peninsulaafter Caltrain cuts over to their all-electric service between San Jose and San Francisco. When the UP locals will run is something I’m curious about, however. If I understand correctly, Caltrain still plans to run 104 total trains per day, though apparently the service schedule will include more stops for express trains and two trains per hour local service in each direction all day. Given that the final operating schedule hasn’t been released, I’m trying to wrap my head around whether UP freight operations on the Peninsula will continue as they have been the past couple of years. Until just a few years ago, UP locals (Mission Bay and Broadway) ran south of South San Francisco only at night. Hopefully with the new Caltrain schedule the LSF51 local service to the Port of Redwood City and Port of San Francisco, along with the LRQ50 service to SSF, will continue to run during the day and late afternoon/early evening, respectively.

I’ve previously mentioned on this site that I’m an avid cyclist and will often work trains into my rides, either mountain or gravel biking around Donner Summit, or road or gravel biking around San Francisco and the Peninsula with trips on Caltrain, etc. Late in the morning of Tuesday, June 4, 2024, I was on a road bike ride to climb some hills in the southern part of San Francisco and northern part of San Mateo County. On a whim I changed from my planned route of Bayshore Boulevard to Alamany via Geneva, and instead headed into San Francisco via Tunnel Avenue. I knew that Golden State Lumber on Tunnel Avenue is one of a handful of remaining customers that UP’s LSF51 switches in San Francisco, and UP typically runs from South San Francisco up to the Port of San Francisco on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I pedaled past Golden State Lumber and noticed a couple of empty centerbeams, but no LSF51 in sight. Given the distance and climbing ambitions of my ride, I continued on without a second thought. I made it less than a half mile down the road before hearing a train over my shoulder. Turning back, it was the LSF51 with a tank car and a loaded centerbeam. I decided to shorten the ride a bit and watch them switch the cars out.

I only had my phone with me, and I have to say I’m impressed with the capability that current phone cameras can crank out. I don’t think I would have bothered shooting a backlit scene at midday with my digital-SLR camera of 15 years ago, and here I am hoisting an iPhone and getting decent results. Go figure.

Photos 1 and 2: The spur for Golden State Lumber cuts off of the Caltrain mainline at Bayshore Station. There are four main tracks through the station which converge to two tracks just north of the platform at CP Tunnel, appropriately named as the line immediately enters Tunnel 4. The LSF51 ran up Main 3 and then reversed onto the spur to pick up the two empty centerbeams. One of the UP crew protected the grade crossing where the spur crosses the accesses path to the Caltrain platform from the parking area, which is where I was standing. I’m assuming the tank car is probably heading for Darling International in San Francisco, but I don’t know for certain. UP 1527 apparently started its life with the B&O. I saw an assortment of Chessie and CSX geeps growing up in Southeastern Michigan near Plymouth, and I’m left to wonder if I had previously seen this engine in B&O, Chessie, or CSX livery as a kid.
Photo 3: After grabbing the two empty centerbeams, the local is pulling north to spot the empties on the main.

Continued…








Date: 06/19/24 09:16
Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

Photo 4: After pulling back onto Main 3 and then Main 1, the train is reversing on Main 1 to spot the empty centerbeam cars and tank car. Note the brakeman standing near Main 3 where the Caltrain service road crosses the tracks at the north end of the station, ready to set hand brakes and decouple the cars.
Photo 5: Having set out the empties and tank car, they’re now pulling forward again to get into position to reverse the loaded centerbeam onto the spur.
Photo 6: A wide view of the train reversing to spot the loaded centerbeam. The switch is to an abandoned spur that leads to what is now part of a Recology waste processing complex and truck yard. I don’t recall what this was previously, and when it last saw rail service.

Continued…








Date: 06/19/24 09:16
Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

Photo 7: A final look at the local backing to spot the car before I continued on with my ride.
Photos 8 and 9: My main reason for the ride was doing some climbs in southern San Francisco and Brisbane, as seen here looking towards downtown from McLaren Park and towards Sutro Tower from near the top of Carter Street on the border of Daly City and Brisbane.

Cheers,
Sean








Date: 06/19/24 09:17
Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

Post Script:

The main camera on my smartphone uses a 24mm equivalent f/1.78 lens over a quad-pixel (four adjacent pixels of like color arranged in a larger Bayer array pattern) 1/2.8” size sensor that has 48 million photodiodes. It can output 48MP RAW, or 48MP, 24MP, or 12MP HEIC or JPG images, depending on shooting/exposure type and/or user selection. They’ve done a ton on the back-end with the image processing capabilities in the A17 Pro processor as well. Though not as capable as the main camera, the 15mm equivalent ultra-wide camera and 120mm equivalent telephoto camera with 12MP sensors are also run through the image processing pipeline with quite good results. All three of these cameras must be pulling in a ton of information in a short time to allow the processor to analyze a scene and try to prohibit clipping highlights, appropriately boost shadows, etc. Several of the shots above were captured in RAW mode and processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to good effect. The out-of-camera HEIC images are also quite good. While these sensors aren’t as good as my full-frame Sony’s, they’re not too bad and the phone is always in my pocket.



Date: 06/19/24 12:06
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: MP190

Very nice pics with your iPhone Sean!  Would like to see your bike as well. 



Date: 06/19/24 13:42
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: milepost20

I used to scoff at the idea of using phones as cameras--boy, have those times changed.
Back in the day(1966 in this instance) there were eight rail customers identified on this spur.






Date: 06/19/24 14:16
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: exhaustED

Really excelllent shots. Awesome being able to combine the 2 hobbies! Carbon road bike?...



Date: 06/19/24 14:30
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: BAB

Nice to see pictures the way they should be done dont like the slit ones when people dont turn there phone thanks much for the shots you never see posted. Boyd in Chiloquin



Date: 06/19/24 15:32
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: phthithu

Great shots! I came across them by chance there last year it was neat. Afternoon sun right into my face, still got some good pictures largely thanks to San Bruno Mountain looming over the scene. It's neat seeing them trundle up and down the Dumps lead.

 

 



Date: 06/19/24 16:11
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: PasadenaSub

Great photos from your phone!  I would put the photo quality of my iPhone 12 (standard) right up there with my DSLR in the wide-angle to normal range, perhaps better.  It doesn't really have a telephoto, just uses digital zoom to chop/crop the image so the DSLR wins there.

My wife's newer iPhone 13 Pro has tremendous zoom quality by comparison.

I too like how my phone treats shady mid-day summer sun shots.

Rich



Date: 06/19/24 16:49
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: bobk

Excellent series!!



Date: 06/19/24 20:01
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

My primary road bike is a 2018 Trek Émonda SLR-8. It was a demo bike that the local shop picked up from Trek after it was carted around to trade shows. It was half price from new, and it was built up with the hand made Aeolus 3 rims at no extra cost. It was just put to stock the day after I damaged the frame on my 2006 Madone, so I bought it on the spot. (Recommendation if you need carbon fiber frame repair that you can't do on your own. Ruckus Composites in Portland, OR, removed the damaged butted derailleur hanger on my Madone and replaced it with a machined replaceable hanger. It kept the bike out of the landfill, and I still ride it as a back up road bike and on my trainer.)

For the time being I've curtailed the N+1 bike mentality and sold some bikes, but I still have as many bikes as the rest of the family combined. (2 road, 1 gravel, 1 MTB)

The attached photo is from a different ride in the city overlooking the massive gantry crane at Hunters Point. I had read an interesting article about the trapezoidal structure that was added to the gantry. It was used to test the ejection of Polaris SLBMs for launch from submarines.
https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/naval-subjects-collection/l55-weapons/l55-15/polaris-missiles/l55-15-01-03-operation-skycatch-polaris-missile-dummy-at-testing.html

MP190 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Very nice pics with your iPhone Sean!  Would like
> to see your bike as well. 

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Really excelllent shots. Awesome being able to
> combine the 2 hobbies! Carbon road bike?...




Date: 06/19/24 20:04
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

Thanks for this. I've ridden around Brisbane and South City where there are a ton of old abandoned railroad grades and spurs. It would have been interesting to see the activity 50 to 60 years ago in those areas. Fremont, Milpitas, San Jose, much of the East Bay and Peninsula, etc., were all similar.

milepost20 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I used to scoff at the idea of using phones as
> cameras--boy, have those times changed.
> Back in the day(1966 in this instance) there were
> eight rail customers identified on this spur.



Date: 06/19/24 22:25
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: weather

Amazing catch , great photos and commentary.   I suspect you are a lot younger than I am.  I lived in SF on Potrero Hill for 20 years and rode my Raliegh Grand Prix all over getting pics on an Cannon AE-1. in the late 60's and 70's. I am 78 now and still riding everyday for 90 to 120 mins a day on an old Mtn Bike.  ( I have a Trek). Most4ly shooting in the North Bay  Always enjoy your shooting and stories.



Date: 06/19/24 23:38
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: phthithu

Talking on the history of the Dumps lead back in olden times-there was an elevated ramp type situation at Mission Bay for garbage trucks to load gons. Reference for that comes from a single source--John Signor's Southern Pacific In San Francisco. You can see the ramp in some old photos such as the attached 1938 Harrison Ryker aerial mosaic from Google Earth. Meanwhile, down at the county line across the main lines from Bayshore yard you had the dump and Dumps lead which appears to have been a kind of balloon track that was moved south as the landfill accumulated. See the detail from a 1941 aerial from UCSB's Framefinder (https://mil.library.ucsb.edu/ap_images/c-6660/c-6660_73.tif)

Also this view from 1948 showing the upper end of the balloon. Looks like by this time they might have stopped dumping using rail as the ramp at Mission Bay was gone and they appear to have stored cars on the trackage going into the landfill. 
 








Date: 06/19/24 23:53
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: phthithu

I tracked down a shot I remembered seeing but didn't have on hard drive. This is the 1946 aerial--a version is at Framefinder but it's not as good as the one at usgs.earthexplorer.gov as seen here. Much sharper. This shows where the SP spotted cars for unloading at the dump--assuming it was the SP who did this. I haven't seen anything on this operation aside from the very brief reference in Signor's book, which didn't even mention the SP's Mission Bay slip and the very busy car ferry operations there. 






Date: 06/20/24 04:36
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: exhaustED

Thanks for the bike info. My first ‘really nice’ bike was a trek 5500 oclv, one of the first ever full carbon bikes… I haven’t ridden a better bike than that. I still have the frame in the garage… but I have a Scott Addict now, also a very nice bike I got half price a few years ago.
Thanks again, great post.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/20/24 07:19
Re: Pedal Powered Foam: San Francisco Peninsula
Author: broken_link

I think my 2006 Madone OCLV is a fantastic bike. There are a lot of little things on the 2018 Émonda that are incrementally better, however, and it makes the whole that much better of a machine.

Compared to the older Madone, the Émonda is lighter while being stiffer through the bottom bracket and lower stays / drive line and simultaneously more vertically compliant and comfortable through the seat tube and upper stays. It has hydraulic disc brakes and lighter carbon rims that have a good deal less rotational inertia. It has 12mm thru axles that increase stiffness and provide for more precise steering. The fork and stays will easily accommodate 28mm tires compared to the max of 23mm or 25mm (I've had some 25s that rub) on the Madone. I don't like the proprietary BB90 bottom bracket that forced me to buy a bearing press to service my bike and offers a limited number of bearing providers, and the same can be said for the headset. Little else to complain about with that bike, however. I used carbon fiber and epoxy to self repair a chunk I took out of the bottom bracket shell with a hard chain drop a few thousand miles ago, and it's all good. Over 18k miles on it now, and my main concern is figuring out the point that the California Sun has done enough UV damage to the frame's epoxy to warrant retirement.

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the bike info. My first ‘really
> nice’ bike was a trek 5500 oclv, one of the
> first ever full carbon bikes… I haven’t ridden
> a better bike than that. I still have the frame in
> the garage… but I have a Scott Addict now, also
> a very nice bike I got half price a few years
> ago.
> Thanks again, great post.
>
> Posted from iPhone



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