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Old--Really Old--Landmark. Perfect modeler's project!

Looking out to UP's locomotive refueling rackTake a good look and cry. As of the end of September 2010, this relic is now history. Obsolete from Omaha's point of view. The seismic fault lines in the area have rendered final judgment for any unreinforced brick buildings. You would be right to protest: it's been in continuous use for some 126-years, making it THE oldest type of this kind in the Golden State, having lasted through the big ones of 1906 and 1989.

Inspection Pit with elevated walkwayHumble beginnings: Built in West Oakland in 1874 as the Central Pacific's Car Shop. Later became the Southern Pacific Car Shop. Modified in 1902 with a building addition, and again in 1942 with the removal of the elegant arched doorways to handle the famous UP-SP-CNW joint train called  "City of San Francisco Streamliner". From that time on, the facility was known appropriately as "The Streamliner Shop."  

Brick arched work over the doors, and to the right, modified opening to fit the City Streamliner train set

Tool room, a 1902 additionIt was further altered in 1949, '54, and '58, including the addition of four inspection pits, elevated service walkways, enclosed machine shop, and a Drop Pit Building -  for changing out wheel sets and electric traction motors. It served Espee's vast empire of diesel locomotives faithfully from the west end of it's Western Division. Countless mechanics, electricians, painters, and others clocked-in to fill 24 hours a day, and called it home. How many diesels like ALCo PA's, EMD SD-45's, and GP-9's were serviced here? How many gothic "SP" initials were reapplied here? How many D-77 traction motors were changed out?



Drop pit to change out wheel sets and traction motors

You can almost hear the talk of shop mechanics, the blaring of megaphones, the clanging of metal on metal, the hiss of the air being released, and the chant of two-stroke cycle of 645E3 and 567 idling impatiently, like race horses ready to go again. Can't capture that again, you might say.220 volt megaphone



Close up of brick work: don't make them like this anymoreBut look again: with a wealth of details, it's a modelers delight. Double gable-roof, arched brick doorways, 24-lite fixed sash windows in segmental-arched fenestration, pilasters carry up into the gable ends, and a loco or two with hood doors swung opened showing green inside.

Model that, and remember a way-of-life.

*All photos by Matthew Young, Sept. 24, 2010. Feel free to repost, but please credit Matthew Young and link back to Wheels of Time (Not for commercial use!)

Close view of drop pit tableElevated walkway detail

Reader Comments (1)

wow i wish i could visit this. is this the building you can see right off the 880? i guess a regular bloke like me wouldnt be able to visit this place for fun.
February 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlynn

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