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Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops: Incubator of Innovation (Revised Edition 2014)
Robert A. Pecotich
Signature Press
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2014-10-15 00:00:00
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Untitled Document

Due Oct. 15, preorders accepted

Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops

Incubator of Innovation

By Robert A. Pecotich.

Cloth with dust jacket, 8.5x11, 496 pages, 604 photos, 21 maps and drawings, bibliography, index, 2010.

"The largest and oldest of SP's General Shops, Sacramento built or rebuilt hundreds of steam and diesel locomotives, and thousands of freight and passenger cars, along with extensive work on passenger and official cars, in its history from 1868 to 1990. This was one of the largest and most productive railroad shops in North America.

"In the 19th century, many new locomotives for Central Pacific and Southern Pacific were produced at the Shops, along with much rolling stock. From 1890 until the 1920s, SP turned primarily to commercial builders for rolling stock and locomotives, but an outgrowth of assembling a few locomotives during the USRA period was a new spurt of locomotive building, until 1937.

"After the end of steam, the Shops were reconfigured for diesel locomotive repair, and in 1969 an immense rebuilding program commenced which was to renew during the 1970s and 1980s more than 500 diesels for further service. Closure of the Shops came in 1990.

"The author has extensively researched the Shops and many of its products, particularly locomotives and official cars, as well as the story of the many thousands of craftsmen who worked there through the decades. The result of thorough study, this is a complete, detailed and well-illustrated history, with many previously unpublished images of work in the Shops and of the many locomotives and rolling stock which the Shops produced, repaired, or rebuilt.

"Coverage in this book ranges from the earliest days, before the driving of the Gold Spike at Promontory, through most of SP's history, to the final closure.

"The dust jacket image (at left) is a 1930s image of the Erecting Hall at the Shops. The book will be especially appreciated by SP fans, but those who like railroad rolling stock will enjoy the many construction views, and both steam and diesel enthusiasts will find much information about the extensive construction record of Shops locomotives.

"A native San Franciscan and 60-year Bay Area resident, Robert A. (Bob) Pecotich first became interested in steam locomotives through trackside visits with his parents and cab rides from friendly crews. A heightened interest in vanishing steam power, Southern Pacific and Sacramento Shops came as the result of a vacation by train in 1953, and visits to SP shops guided by several shops employees who were family friends. As a teenager, he photographed the last four years of SP steam, and has been photographing ever since. Business travel associated with a 40-year electronics career in Silicon Valley enabled him to photograph throughout the SP system. With Guy and Don Dunscomb, he co-authored the two-volume Southern Pacific Steam Pictorial. Besides research and writing, Bob is a member of the Sacramento Model Railroad Historical Society. He and his wife Donna make their home in Folsom, California, close to the California State Railroad Museum and its Library.

Table of Contents

  • Preface 5
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Chapter 1, Beginnings: From the Shack on the Levee 11
  • Chapter 2, From the Gold Spike to 1900 31
  • Chapter 3, Harriman and The Common Standard 117
  • Chapter 4, The Shops Spread Out 147
  • Chapter 5, USRA and ''Let's Do It Ourselves'' 163
  • Chapter 6, Roaring in the 1920s 185
  • Chapter 7, Malaise and Resurgence 255
  • Chapter 8, The Shops' ''Finest Hour'' 305
  • Chapter 9, Transition Years for Motive Power and Passengers 341
  • Chapter 10, The Rebuild Years 421
  • Chapter 11, A New Beginning 459
  • Appendix 1, Patents Issued to Selected Craftsmen 463
  • Appendix 2, Roster, Shops-built Locomotives 1873-1937 465
  • Appendix 3, George Stoddard's Notebook 477
  • Appendix 4, Records and Images 479
  • Bibliography 488
  • Index 491