mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmSP IndexmmmmErnie Kiesel Collection

Railroad Genealogy:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


last addition: 7-18-23

I have always maintaine that The best part of railroading is the people. Over the century-and-a-quarter of its existence, tens-upon-tens of thousands of people worked for the Southern Pacific Lines, and even more for Pacific Motor Trucking and other subsidiaries. Now, a quarter century since the company ceased to be, our memories of names and faces are beginning to fade, as are our recollections of work itself. Here so see Wx4's humble effort to augment, perhaps enhance, our memories, and maintain our legacies, such as they are in a world that has forgotten railroads.

You will note a conspicuous bias towards the Western Division, but this is merely because I spent the majority of my career there, or on its former territory. I heartily encourage you to contribute to this memorial no matter where on SP you or your subject railroaders worked: stories, photos, rosters, whatever.

- E.O. Gibson........................................................................................................correspondence:

9-29-22: The Ernie Kiesel Collection of Southern Pacific
Photographs at History San Jose
IS HERE (finally)

9-29-2022: The Ernie Kiesel Collection of Southern Pacific Phorographs at History San Jose consists of 180+ photograpaph of Coast Division engineers and their charges, as well as those of managers other employees circa 1900-1975. It includes a List of Names + Biographical Information page. While more than 230 people have been identified in the photos so far, many more remain identified. Should you have an old friend, acquaintance or relative who worked, or may have worked on SP between San Francisco and Santa Barbara, you may find that person here. History San Jose and Wx4 are excited to have these important additions to railroad genealogy online.

San Jose Car Dept. (and a few Track Department)
Empolyees in a 1984 Video

Former San Jose car Foreman Mike Pierce has forwarded this video, shot by the late San Jose Yard Car Foreman Lou Horyza. It is probably the most extensive, and maybe only, moving picure look at the era's carmen (and a few M/W employees). Hopefully you will recognize some of the faces.

These employee, and some management, rosters span the early 1920's to the mid-1980's and cover the terrtory from the Columbia River to El Paso, Texas. Large railroads and several shortlines. are represented. These rosters will tell you the railroad division and sometimes the specific location where an individual worked,
as well as hire and promotion dates - excellent for genealogists.

People That I Have Known

Many of the stories in this section are technically about post-SP times at Caltrain, but involve ex-SP employees who decided to stay with the Commutes (alway capitalized on SP) when Amtrak began operating them in 1992. For the first few years, these men and women formed the backbone of Caltrain.

Now on Wx4!

Greg Welker's Coast Engineers' Garden Club
Banquet Photos, 1980-82

Sometime in the primordial past, San Francisco and San Jose engineers formed the Garden Club to lay out and maintain the Mission Bay Garden next to its namesake roundhouse. As things evolved, the group became a mutual beneficial and charitable society that held annual awards banquets each spring.

Greg took photos of the 1980-82 Banquets, which he placed on Flickr awhile back. I never could make the Wx4 link to Flickr work, so Greg has allowed me to place them directly on the Railroaders' Pages. The photos have been particularly helpful in identifying engineers in the Ernie Kiesel Collection (above). -


check out Greg's large collection of railroad photos on zenfolio

War Stories

Professional Concerns

4-2-23 Prominent Railroad Men of the Pacific Coast

J.R. Signor ran across this dandy little booklet in his Shasta Division Archives that contains amusing caricatures of (purportedly) real Sacramento railroad characters. No publication date is shown, but one of the drawings perfectly depicts an 1882 Western Electric wall mounted telephone. The clothes, we think, date to sometime closer to 1890, but fashion history really is not our forte'. Drop us a line should you be able to date the clothing, or better, find a relative!

(click on the image for the PDF)