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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!


Date: 11/04/20 08:37
Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: czuleget

From Altamont Press, Vince is not doing so well. I had seen him at several SPH&TS meets and what a great guy. What a story teller. I pray he get better.  



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/20 08:39 by czuleget.



Date: 11/04/20 11:39
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: CPCoyote

Sorry to hear about Vince. A great guy. I relieved him many times at SLO on the old Spirit of California in the middle of the night.



Date: 11/04/20 14:36
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: HardYellow

Talked with Vince many times in Bakersfield. I was working the Palmdale Cutoff, on an LA Turn, and Vince was on the Long Haul out of Taylor Yard.



Date: 11/05/20 15:00
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: walstib

He passed away this morning.

There's a very well-written obituary on the Southern Pacific Railroad Group Facebook page.



Date: 11/05/20 15:55
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: DocJones

Maybe you could find a way to post the obituary for those of us who are not on Facebook.

Thanks, RIP Vince,
Bruce "Doc" Jones Sierra Madre CA

walstib Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He passed away this morning.
>
> There's a very well-written obituary on the
> Southern Pacific Railroad Group Facebook page.



Date: 11/05/20 18:00
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: HardYellow

Here's a photo of Vince at the California RR Museum




Date: 11/06/20 08:35
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: spider1319

I am saddened to hear this.He was our pilot on the Santa Barbara runs on the Amtrak takeover of operating crews in 1986.He was always full of great stories and provided a wealth of information.Bill Webb



Date: 11/06/20 14:07
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: HardYellow

Rick Parsely, retired LA engineer sent me this ....

Final Highball - "The Godfather"

It is with a heavy heart to report the passing of a legend in the Southern Pacific Community. Vincent C. “The Godfather” Cipolla passed away this morning at age 93, setting the air “one more time” as he would often say. Vince worked diligently preserving the living history of the Southern Pacific, and he also best represented the pride of the railroad’s former employees. His effort was the embodiment of the spirit of all the men and women who dedicated their careers to the Southern Pacific Company.=18ptFew men employed by any railroad can claim to firing and operating steam power over their division which weighed in excess of one million pounds. Vince was one such individual who experienced the thrill of commanding the mighty cab aheads over the Tehachapi Mountains of California, and dedicated his life to the preservation of the beloved “mallets,” as crews so fondly named them.=18ptVince hired out with the Southern Pacific during the depths of World War II on May 9, 1943 and served his first assignment as a store keeper at the oil house located within SP’s Los Angeles General Shops. He worked distributing heavy grease lubricant known as “pin dope” to the roundhouse and servicing facilities on the Los Angeles Division. In February 1944, he was transferred to the Mission Road Coach Yard where he worked as an electrician’s assistant on baggage and RPO equipment. He was frequently sent from the coach yard to the relatively new Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal to service lamps and electric lights on passenger cars.=18ptDuring the remainder of the war and until December 1945, he bid a job working at the Taylor Roundhouse in Los Angeles. There, he was an apprentice electrician and performed minor wiring repairs, bulb replacements, and made servicing inspections of motive power.=18ptHowever, his next assignment would begin his legacy of more than 40 continuous years of train and engine service as a member of Southern Pacific’s Operating Department.=18ptFollowing several weeks of unpaid training runs, he became a certified locomotive fireman on January 2, 1946 on the San Joaquin Division operating between Los Angeles and Bakersfield California. This section of the Southern Pacific was dominated by large locomotives, and cab forwards ruled on the San Joaquin over Tehachapi. His experience as a fireman would lend opportunities in both freight and passenger service, and he quickly learned to shadow the best and most knowledgeable engineers that operated steam locomotives.=18ptIn June of 1951, his dream of becoming an engineer for the Southern Pacific was fulfilled when he graduated from the very last steam class offered by the railroad. Vince was the last living qualified steam locomotive engineer from the San Joaquin Division, and was perhaps the last of any on the Southern Pacific.=18ptThis great man never forgot his experiences on steam, and made an effort to preserve his operational knowledge of these machines through numerous contributions. These include editing of publications for historical accuracy, organizing oral history panels for the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society, and through a starring role in an interpretive DVD titled Southern Pacific 4294, The Last Cab Forward. He also co-authored a book titled "Cab Forward 4294, Southern Pacific Railroad's Signature Locomotive" which is available from Amazon.=18ptAt the time of his retirement in September, 1989, he was the highest seniority locomotive engineer on the San Joaquin Division, fulfilling a 46 year career on the Southern Pacific. Vince, in many ways, was the Grand Ole Southern Pacific, and we will miss him dearly.

“One more time.”

Photo by Boyd Reyes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/20 14:08 by HardYellow.



Date: 11/06/20 20:26
Re: Vince Cipolla (retired SP engineer) The God Father!
Author: Searat

I met Vince when he worked the SP Coast Division, LA to San Luis Obispo after the pools was merged to operate through Santa Barbara instead of turning there.  He was definitely a character who loved to spin a yarn in the changeroom.  As a Coast engineer, I never had the opportunity to work with him, but you couldn't help knowing you were in the presence of a real character when you talked to him in the register room. 

Thank you for posting the message and photo. 
Adios, Vince.
Mike



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