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When the Mallet Hit The Goat

By Fred Boland, Machinist 1928-1980
Bayshore Shops, Southern Pacific Railroad

During the early 1950’s my home was on San Bruno Ave, on the hill above the Southern Pacific’s Bayshore yards. Early one morning, about 3:30 AM, I was awakened by an unearthly scream coming from the vicinity of Bayshore tower. It started like a screamed “ooh” and changed immediately to a steady “ow-w-w”. Looking out the window I could see several lanterns scurrying around a big sixteen drivered engine with a large rectangular tender, and a switch engine on an adjacent track with some cars. I put on clothes and rushed downstairs and started my auto out of the garage. By this time the whole valley and hillside were awake. My next door neighbor, cross because he was losing sleep, asked what that blankety-blank noise was. “Oh”, I replied, shutting the garage door, “a malley hit a goat. I am going down to get the details”. Never saw such a surprised look.

(Now, I know they’re “Articulated Consolidations”, but in the shops, it was just plain old “Malley”.)

When I got down to the yards, I found the 4150, backing in from Mission Bay on one lead had crossed over to the next lead and hit the 1176 at the front of it’s cab on the right side. Relief foreman Johnny Zimmerman and machinist Jack Reardon were hammering on the whistle rod trying to get the whistle closed.

In those days, laborers were assigned to help hostlers. That old fella could not pick out a red light among five green lights lining the lead!

The 1176 lay behind the roundhouse for a couple of months, but the day had come when the enthusiastic diesel top management, looking for any excuse, sent it to scrap. The old switcher could take an AC’s beating, and could have been shopped, but was no match for a diesel-minded railroad.

[editor's note: The incident actually must have taken place in mid-1948, assuming that Fred's recollection of the switch engine's number is correct. According to SP records, loco 1176 was retired in August, 1948 and scrapped at Bayshore a couple of months later.]