The Winds of Change Close Bayshore's Locomotive Backshop

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In steam days, Bayshore's locomotive backshops, which consisted of a boiler shop and erecting hall, overhauled switch engines and other small power. The shop was not equipped to handle larger steam locomotives. It also was well-suited to handle diesels, but diesels did not require the constant tear-downs and heavy overhauls as did their predacessors. Thus the demand for shop space dramatically lessened with the demise of steam.

In the early 1960's, the Bayshore backshop was one of several that sat on the bubble of need. Here is the father-son story of how they came to a sudden end. The first part comes from Fred Boland (see photo), fellow who hired out with SP before the Depression, and retired as a Bayshore machinist 52 years later (They don't make 'em like Fred, anymore). The second part comes from his son Walter, who tells of his memories as a young boy:

Fred's biography, accompanied by dozens of his personal stories and photos spanning the era from 1928-1980, can be found in Wx4's 52 Years in the Shops.
In the winter of 1962-63, a violent storm hit Bayshore - I don't remember the exact date anymore, but it had heavy winds, and blew the roof off the erecting shop. I saw it the next day - roof was, it seemed, everywhere. We had quite a time getting dead locomotives out, and over to the roundhouse for completion. Some had to be finished enough to get rolling - what a job that was - working inside a shop, in the rain. I guess we were fortunate that it was winter, and the slow season was upon us.
Again, the exact dates have slipped from memory, but several weeks later, the SP got an estimate of twenty five thousand dollars to repair the roof. Well, the brass at Market St. felt it would be much cheaper close the shops. Most of the machinery was loaded into boxcars, and sent to Sacramento. And that was that. I had spent 35 years at Bayshore at that point, mostly in those shops.

Walter now continues:

My small part was that evening, dad took me back to Bayshore to see the damage. It really was a mess, as I recall. We parked on the machine shop side - if you remember, that's where the parking lot was. He took me thru the machine shop, and man, there really was roof everywhere. I remember they were working to get the diesels out of the rain - although I was too young at that point to really know what they were doing... Just a lot of crew scurrying ( if a union machinist can be expected to scurry!) about. To this day, I think he was hoping they'd fix the damn place. He worked another 12 -ish years at Bayshore, retiring in 1980, after 52 years.

Machinist Fred Boland's place of employment (circa 1953), was locomotive erecting hall at photo right, the subject of his story. It is gone, while the less-substantial looking boiler shop, at left, is still extant in 2014. The Cow Palace appears in-between them. The photo probably was recorded by George Solomine, Sr., although it may have been shot by Fred Cribbins, or a third party. Photo courtesy of George Solomine, Jr.