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A Swing and a Miss: musings about Caltrain's 1982 paint scheme, Governor Medfly & B.F. Biaggini

Caltrain, where I finished my railroad career running F40's and obnoxious Boise abominations, spent a dozen years under state stewardship before the local counties reluctantly formed a last-resort Joint Powers Board to rescue it. The state took over ownership of the Commutes in 1980, although SP continued operating them as "Caltrain" until the JPB and Amtrak came along (There was another, short-lived "Caltrain" in SoCal at about the same time). At first, nothing much visibly changed, but then in 1982 (Is this correct?) CalTrans came up with this paint scheme, a real swing and a miss that thankfully must have been adjudged too putrid to reproduce beyond one loco and three cars. SP Bloody Nose and Grey was gorgeous in comparison. Below is an undated slide of the new scheme on display at Cahill (later Diridon) depot in San Jose, which I took after finishing my duties on the plug (probably train #116) at image left which had just arrived. Ptooey! This scheme must have prompted the selection of a stainless steel finish for the new equipment which came a few years later.

Below we find proof that favorable lighting combined with a gifted photographer can (temporarily) transform the proverbial cow's ear:
(An enlargement of the engine crew is here in the hope that somebody can identify them.)

Santa Clara, January 1984; Brian Jennison slide, Wx4 Collection

But earlier...

A couple of years earlier (1980), I was a brakeman on what my crew caller dubbed the "Governor Medfly Special", the PR train that introduced Caltrain to the media. Somewhere in Union Pacific's archives there is an SP publicity shot set up by SP PR head Andy Anderson depicting me and conductor Bob Preace (the other brakeman demurred) posing with Governor Jerry Brown. The Gov plainly was not having a good time. When Andy asked him to "talk to the conductor" during the shot, Brown acidly shot back, "YOU talk to him!" A real man of the people, what? SP Chairman of the Board B.F. Biaggini, on the other hand, was quite convivial. While I was manning the platform gate back in San Francisco at Fourth Street, he emerged from a crowd of high-ranking SP men, strolled over to me, slapped my hand and began asking me questions about my background / family. If given a chance after the trip, I would have led a coup to replace Brown with Biaggini as governor, even though I had voted for the former. -EO