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Nostalgia & History > WP switchers in San Jose


Date: 04/21/21 17:51
WP switchers in San Jose
Author: GreenFlag

On 2-20-78 caught WP GP9 731 and GP7 709 in San Jose, CA. I'm not familiar with how WP operations were in the San Jose area. Was this yard located at the end of a branch? Many customers?




Date: 04/21/21 19:19
Re: WP switchers in San Jose
Author: tomstp

Footboards on 709??



Date: 04/21/21 19:27
Re: WP switchers in San Jose
Author: TomG

3 months after this photo was the first time I got to run the 709 in Oroville yard.



Date: 04/21/21 22:25
Re: WP switchers in San Jose
Author: PHall

tomstp Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Footboards on 709??

Still has the old style cut levers too so it obviously hasn't been modified yet.



Date: 04/21/21 22:39
Re: WP switchers in San Jose
Author: zephyrus

GreenFlag Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On 2-20-78 caught WP GP9 731 and GP7 709 in San
> Jose, CA. I'm not familiar with how WP operations
> were in the San Jose area. Was this yard located
> at the end of a branch? Many customers?

There were 3 yards on the San Jose Branch.  The first one reached heading south on the branch was the Milpitas Yard, which is still in place.  It is located just south of the highway 237 overpass and east of the Great Mall, which is on the site of the former Ford Plant, which was the largest single shipper on the WP when it was operating.

The second was the Williams Street Yard and I believe that is where the photo is taken.  This yard was located south of Williams Street and north of where I280 is now.  It had a turntable and roundhouse at one point and was the main operational center of the branch for most of the WP's operation of the line.  Gradually, Milpitas took on more significance as fruit packing and other shippers waned.

The last yard was a small set of stub tracks at the end of the line at the Freight House located on The Alameda, just west of the SP Cahill Street Depot.  No engines were ever stationed there, so far as I know, but it was a set of team and loading tracks, plus spurs for the freight house and the Union Ice plant a block south.

Great photo.  WP GP9 731 survives at the WP Museum in Portola and is slated to get repainted in a few years.

Z



Date: 04/22/21 10:35
Re: WP switchers in San Jose
Author: sagehen

In the 50s and 60s, there was a LOT of traffic off the WP San Jose Branch.  Most of the traffic came from the industrial areal south of Keyes Street between South First Street and Senter Road.  Most of it was from food (fruit) processing.  Three Alco switchers were stationed in the William Street Yard to gather up all the cars.  This yard ran southwest from William Street at about 22nd Street.  Geeps started to take over from the Alcos in the late 60s.  Traffic faded in the late 60s as the Santa Clara Valley turned into Silicon Valley.  Fruit orchards were ripped out for houses and electronics campuses.  KB Homes built a housing development on the Willam Street Yard about 2000.

Stan Praisewater



Date: 04/22/21 11:30
Re: WP switchers in San Jose
Author: Chicodepot

Interesting bit of history...regarding the then brand new Zephyr consists, around 1950 or 51 (?). On display near the freighthouse on the Alameda for the public to see. How I wished for a long ride! This 5 year old was very impressed.

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