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Nostalgia & History > Some Sunset Railway Pictures

Date: 11/05/12 20:16
Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: lamta_jay

My house in Bakersfield was 1 mile north of the Buttonwillow Branch at New Stine Road. Frequently would hear the trains on the scanner or the horns from either Santa Fe locos Leslie S-3 or SP and their Nathan P-3's.

Here are 3 pictures, the first was when I was in Taft on a sales call in Taft and heard the train coming into town. The light was fading quickly and this is the best I could get. This shot is in downtown Taft in July of 1982.
The last 2 are of a healthy train that consists mainly of repaired cars from Heritage car Repair at Levee. I think the only 2 revenue cars are the 2 tank cars ahead of the caboose. These 2 pictures were taken at the station of Del Kern which had an active spur unloading covered hopper cars.

If you go to Google Earth you will see the Sunset Railway is alive and well as far as the station of Gulf. Back when I lived in the area I rarely saw a car at this oil facility but on Google Earth I see a whole new unloading facility with lots of tank cars.


Date: 11/05/12 20:28
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: kstevens

Awesome, keep'em coming. I regret not taking more photos of the area branch line activity in the SP/ATSF days.

Posted from Android

Date: 11/05/12 20:30
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: lamta_jay

The last 3 I found of interest

SD39 and short train with the last Santa Fe caboose in Bakersfield 999805.....1992

Next and last Santa Fe train had a BN caboose......1996

SJVR train on the Buttonwillow. This is a former UP GP20 de turbo'ed and it was also Ex SD&AE. This was taken at the Junction switch at Gosford in 1994

I can't remember when but the Sunset Railway past Pentland suffered a washout about a mile from the switch into the facility where the famous Johnny Cat litter chemical was loaded (or unloaded) into hopper cars. I have pictures of the washout I took in 1991 about a mile north (west) of Pentland. I thought sure this industry was important enough they would repair the damaged track, but they never did.

Thanks for looking


Date: 11/05/12 20:45
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: lamta_jay

Last 3 pictures are of the only SJVR shots I took after they took over the Branch.

First two with the one and only SJVR caboose to use as a shoving platform. That term was not known at the time. First @ Lyla was at one time one of the only spurs where Refers were spotted once in a while. Second Conner was the station where they staged the cars going over to Heritage Car Repair. I took this shot standing on the side of I-5 (but not on the freeway). Too fricken HOT on this day I remember trying to find some shade and my AC in my car was a joke. And finally one more at Gosford. These were all taken in 1998.

Thanks again for looking


Date: 11/05/12 21:47
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: billmeeker

It's odd to see auto racks on a branch line like this. I guess they were going to / coming from the repair facility?

Date: 11/06/12 08:05
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: CPRR

I really wish I could buy this branch. Freight in the day, dinner train at night.

Date: 11/06/12 09:32
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: Lone Star

Heritage Railcar was quite prolific in it's day, with autoracks, TOFC flats, tanks, etc. all seeing repairs there. An explosion of a tank car under repair evidently killed at least one employee and set the stage for the demise of the business. The last train to Taft (to the best of my knowledge) was in early 1988. As for service to the kitty litter plant, I am not sure. Excellent photos, by the way!


Date: 11/06/12 18:55
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: rehunn

I believe that last train was to pull a drop center heavy duty flat that had hauled a piece of refinery equipment
into Taft. The kitty litter facility I believe was served for a short time after that but not long.

Date: 11/06/12 19:55
Re: Some Sunset Railway Pictures
Author: Espee1212

I was fortune enough to photograph the last train to/from Taft picking up the empty flat from that load. Additionally look for a additional traffic on the Sunset in the not too distant future.

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