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Southern Pacific GP9 3438 Gets Around

July 1, 2010

As McAllen, Texas was at the end of a sleepy branch line, the same locomotive might be there for 1-2 weeks at a time.  As such, I’d photograph one side one day, the other side another day.

Engineer's side view at McAllen, TX on Jan. 15, 1978

Southern Pacific GP9 3438 drew the assignment to be the McAllen switcher in early 1978. I was able to photograph it on two consecutive days, Jan. 15 and 16.

Nose view of SP 3438 at McAllen, TX on Jan. 16, 1978

Note the non-typical numbers in the number board. They should be in the same Roman type style that’s on the cab.

I’ve seen this sans-serif style number style on several other SP locomotives over the years, but they were uncommon.

Fireman's side of the 3438, McAllen, TX on Jan. 16, 1978

In the caption above, I refer to the fireman’s side of the locomotive. That sounds funny, doesn’t it? Actually, the fireman and the head brakeman rode across from the engineer. The conductor rode in the caboose,Conductors rode in the caboose, accompanied by the rear brakeman.

That’s right.  Train crews consisted of 5 employees. It makes you wonder how contemporary two-man crews can get the work done…

SP GP9 3438 mingles with larger units at Los Angeles, CA in May, 1979.

Seventeen months later, we see that SP 3438 has exchanged the solitude of McAllen for the always crowded service tracks at Taylor Yard in Los Angeles.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Fernando Uribe permalink
    July 2, 2010 12:40 pm

    Incredible….just incredible. I hate to admit but even the station behind the GP9 looks in better shape than a few years back.

    SP opted to go with a ‘general font’ rather than paying the expense to customize in the roman font. The accurate font used would be Helvetica Neue as it was popular in the 60’s and 70’s.
    http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/helvetica-neue/helveticaneue-medium/

  2. jose luis ramos permalink
    September 29, 2010 6:40 pm

    makes me cry see those unit again the gp well sd-45 is not in the picture but too much power all right sad to hear taylor yard went down i mess my fellow workers al zermeño raul rodriguez well i better not say names cause i might foget others but i hope yiu guys are fine

  3. jose luis ramos permalink
    September 29, 2010 6:49 pm

    i didnt leave my e-mail to any body wants to contact me my name is jose luis ramos i was a machinist aprentice from 1979 to 1982 in los angeles taylor yard god bless southern pacific an all of us whom were part of this grate company long life america

  4. jose luis ramos permalink
    September 29, 2010 7:26 pm

    this is jose luis ramos again just to leave my e-mail is
    joseluismeisa@hotmail.com god bless america and southern pacific

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