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Nostalgia & History > End of a dream

Date: 11/09/12 07:27
End of a dream
Author: photobob

Hulks of some of SP's and DRGW hydraulic units sit in a scrap yard in Sacramento. I forgot what year I took these photos but it was kind of sad as I was around for some of their first runs. I kind of liked the goofy looking things. I remember jumping over a fence at the scrap yard on a Sunday morning and wandering among the ruins without a single junk yard dog attacking me. There was some cool stuff just laying around in the dirt including the seats.

Robert Morris Photography

Date: 11/09/12 07:36
Re: End of a dream
Author: britchie

Great pics. I love industrial scrapyards & what they have to see. I was raised in a logging camp & spent a lot of time with my friends playing in what was called the "boneyard". I still stop at some of these places when we are travelling & ask permission to wander through.

Bob Ritchie
MP 92.8, Shuswap Sub.,Chase, BC

Date: 11/09/12 08:49
Re: End of a dream
Author: rob_l

So a question for Notch16 and other SP experts on the list: How many years, if any, before the KM hood units were striken from the roster (1968, right?), were the KM cab units retired?

Thanks in advance,

Rob L.

Date: 11/09/12 09:10
Re: End of a dream
Author: TCnR

Thought you had a photo of the seats laying on the ground.

Date: 11/09/12 09:14
Re: End of a dream
Author: TonyJ

Nice shot of the drive lines that a few crewmembers feared would snap a few inches below their feet.

Date: 11/09/12 09:18
Re: End of a dream
Author: zephyrus

rob_l Wrote:
> How many years, if any, before the KM
> hood units were striken from the roster (1968,
> right?), were the KM cab units retired?
> Thanks in advance,
> Rob L.

IIRC, the cab units started being set aside in early 1967 and the first hood units the fall of the same year. The cab units were all or mostly retired in December 1967.

It was Feb. 1968 that SP announced the end of the hydraulic program and all ML-4000s were retired by that November.

The Alco DH-643s lasted until scrapping in 1973.


BTW: The 16 ML-4000s ordered by Estrada de Ferro Vitória a Minas of Brazil lasted into the 1980s.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/09/12 09:21 by zephyrus.

Date: 11/09/12 10:31
Re: End of a dream
Author: WAF

9100,9102,9119 retired in 1967. Balance of the fleet in 1968, the latest in October, 1968

Date: 11/09/12 11:11
Re: End of a dream
Author: SPDRGWfan

Made in Germany! It's always fascinating to see shots like that after historic old loco's were scrapped. Something similar might be shots of the remaining parts or hulks of the old D&RGW ALco PA's the once pulled the CZ, and later the Yampa Valley Mail.

Date: 11/09/12 12:57
Re: End of a dream
Author: Notch16

Nice pics, Bob. Walked around that same yard in April of 1969 in the pouring rain. My Dad and I pulled some parts from a 1964 unit that eventually have made their way back onto SP 9010's restoration in Niles Canyon.

SP 9101 was the last Prototype carbody-style unit like these to operate, and the story goes that it hung on long enough to be considered for a 1967 passenger excursion, but SP had no confidence and substituted SP 9120, a 1964 Series roadswitcher-type.

The driveshafts were big and spun very close to the floorboards. It was natural to be worried about that, and it made a pretty good excuse for closing the door behind you. But they didn't fail. One of the strongest and most reliable components, actually.

SP 9117 was actually the first KM to be torched. It was barely three-and-a-half years old when retired. The Brazilian units lasted longer, but had similar problems in service, complicated by trade embargoes that made parts and service an issue. In the end, KM didn't want to take on the project to rebuild the Brazilian units, so CVRD rebuilt two on its own. They worked well enough, just like SP's four rebuilds did, and prolonged the life. But they were retired for almost the same reasons -- oddball parts and service requirements, frustrating breakdowns, and EMD eventually had a simpler, cheaper answer that pulled just as hard.

The German technology was good enough for SP to consider it, and then invest millions. Both SP and KM were keenly interested in the results, for different reasons. And neither KM nor SP had pretensions or confusions about the challenges of making a whole other style of locomotive work in U.S. conditions. The rebuilt Series units were turning in good performance, were easier to work on, and had greatly improved reliability.

These Prototypes were always figured to be the sacrificial goats to some degree; a learning experience in the field, after which a second generation would solve most of the problems. But SP had probably soured on the whole thing long before the second batch of 15 roadswitcher units were delivered. So they joined their Daddies right here, very soon after.

It was a sad sight, after so many big hopes by so many people. Oh, and those ergonomic multi-adjustable seats were what got me out there to begin with. The word went out among SP employes that they were for sale, and the guys bought them for their bass fishing boats! I just wanted a souvenir.

~ BZ

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