Southern Pacific's Bayshore Yard
Bayshore Yard

The decline in freight traffic in the late 1970s found reduced activity at Bayshore yard. In the spring of 1979 Bayshore yard was phased out and by November of 1988 all yard activity had been moved to South San Francisco. Today, only the old roundhouse, a few out buildings and a large expanse of bare land, mark where this huge yard once was.

Bayshore Shops: Setting The Stage

To maintain service and repair its fleet of steam locomotives, SP built several major shops at strategic locations around the system. Steam locomotives were then assigned to each of these divisions, depending upon need. Each division had its own shop for maintaining their assigned steam locomotives.

Sacramento was designated as the heavy rebuild and maintenance center for the Pacific Lines, and between 1870 and 1930 the Sacramento shops erected a total of 197 new steam engines. There was only one other major shop on the system and that was at Houston, Texas covering for the Texas and Louisiana lines, also known as the Texas & New Orleans (T&NO). Between 1921 and 1930, Houston turned out 24 steam locomotives.

Bayshore Roundhouse on March 26, 1975. By this time the Train Masters were gone and mostly GP9s, SD9s and switchers called the venerable roundhouse home.  (Ken Rattenne)

Southern Pacific's Coast Division ran from San Francisco south to (but not including) Santa Barbara, with major branch lines to Santa Cruz (via Los Gatos and Watsonville), Hollister, Pacific Grove and Lompoc-White Hills. The original backshop for this division was located at 16th Street in downtown San Francisco, with car repair and roundhouse facilities at Mariposa Street, on the old line into San Francisco. 

With the opening of the Bayshore Cutoff , these facilities were deemed unacceptable, so SP decided instead to build a new major shop facility and freight yard on the west end (geographical north) of the Cutoff, in order to repair cars and locomotives assigned to the Coast Division.

Bayshore Roundhouse

And so it was that Bayshore Roundhouse was built in 1910 with the car repair shops and heavy locomotive shop built about 1920. The Mission Bay roundhouse, in San Francisco proper was built about 1906 at Potrero. This roundhouse was the major steam locomotive service facility for locomotives assigned to the Peninsula commute service and the through San Francisco-Los Angeles passenger trains. This meant that Bayshore Roundhouse could concentrate on servicing the freight locomotives assigned to switching service, local and through freights. The Bayshore Locomotive Shop performed all of the division's heavy repair and overhaul work for steam locomotives., giving the San Francisco Bay Area the distinction of rostering the last steam engines on the SP system

By 1954 Southern Pacific was well on its way to complete dieselization. What little steam power remained active was assigned to the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley. In May of 1954 all heavy repair of steam locomotives ceased at Bayshore and the shops were closed for good. For several years after its official closing Bayshore shops were kept busy cutting up the large number of steam engines that had accumulated during dieselization.

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