SP San Joaquin Daylight (28 November 1954)

Southern Pacific Lines


This page depicts Southern Pacific's Train 52, the eastbound San Joaquin Daylight (Oakland to Los Angeles), on 28 November 1954, during the brief time when Alco PAs powered the train with Alco RSD-5 helpers for the crossing of the rugged Tehachapi mountains. It is based on a photo from page 15 of Southern Pacific Historic Diesels, Volume 8: Alco Roadswitcher Locomotives. The 19 cars of this heavy train, swollen to capacity on this Sunday after Thanksgiving, are not visible in the photo so I've shown what would be typical for the period.

The San Joaquin Daylight ran from 4 July 1941 until the end of SP passenger train service on 30 April 1971. Amtrak elected not to continue the train, though there now is an Amtrak San Joaquin service which runs between Oakland and Bakersfield.


SP 5296 (Alco RSD-5) SP 5296 (Alco RSD-5, DF-115) is a freight unit added at Bakersfield as point helper for the mountain crossing to Mojave. SP's first RSD-5 order was placed on 4 April 1952, for nine T&NO units and 14 Pacific Lines units at a price of $197,429 each. 5296 was shipped from the factory at Schenectady on 11 May 1953, preceded by 5294 and 5295 plus the T&NO units. It quickly entered Tehachapi freight and helper service. Sparks from the exhaust set fire to the dry Southern California grasses, so a "garbage can" exhaust stack with a spark arrestor was quickly developed and installed. After less than seven years in service, the 14 Pacific Lines units had proven their 244 engines too frail for the rigors of the Tehachapis and were retired in November 1960. They were shipped back to the factory the following month and rebuilt as RSD-12 units with newer 251 engines.
SP 6042 (Alco PA-2) SP 6042 (Alco PA-2, class DP-11, later AP620A-5), delivered in September 1953. Construction number 80842 was part of order number S-3225, Southern Pacific's last order for Alco PA units. The final three PAs built for SP would be delivered the next month. These units were built to Alco specification DL-304D which included an improved 16-cylinder 244D engine with the newer, Alco-designed, water-cooled turbocharger. They were the first Pacific Lines PAs assigned to Los Angeles rather than West Oakland and thus normally ran on Coast Line or Sunset Route trains.
SP 6023-6027 (Alco PA-2) SP 6023-6027 (Alco PA-2, class DP-9, later AP620A-3). The photo shows a PA with new bright metal windshield framing and the fancy rain gutter behind the cab, features which were used together only on the five cab units of class DP-9, built to specification DL-304C and shipped from the factory in April and May 1952. They were accompanied by a pair of cabless PB-2 units (DL-305C), which lacked either feature. Today's trip would be a rare visit to Los Angeles for one of these units, which were based at West Oakland and assigned to the Northern District.
SP 60xx (Alco PA) SP 60xx (Alco PA)
SP 6029 SP 6029 (60-B-8), baggage-express car, a Harriman-style heavyweight car built by Pullman in 1909, holds down head-end duties by itself without the usual RPO, perhaps to make room for passengers returning home at the end of the holiday.
SP 3300 or 3301 (class 77-CB-1) SP 3300 or 3301 (77-CB-1), chair baggage car built by Pullman-Standard in 1937 (lot 65800, plan 7415) for the original Daylight. Each car included a 19'10" long baggage compartment, a news agent counter, and 44 seats.
SP ? (class 64-ACM/M-1)
64-ACM-1 + 

Articulated chair cars with 46 seats per car, built by Pullman-Standard in 1937 (lot 6500, plans 7377 and 7378).
SP 2439 or 2440 (class 79-C-1) SP 2439 or 2440 (79-C-1), 44-seat chair car built by Pullman-Standard in 1939 (lot 6593, plan 7422) for the Daylight.
SP 10250, SP 10251, SP 10262 (class 70-AD-1, 57-AD-1, 70-AD-2)
SP 10255 (70-AD-2) + 
SP 10254 (57-AD-1) + 
SP 10253 (70-AD-1)
Triple-unit diner, consisting of an 80-seat coffee shop car, kitchen car, and 59-seat lounge (originally a 72-seat dining room) car, built by Pullman-Standard in 1939 (lot 6589, plans 7416, 7417, and 7418, respectively) to re-equip the Morning Daylight. The addition of more lounge space in the form of the new dome lounge cars would prompt this triple-unit diner to be rebuilt the following April. The coffee shop car was rebuilt into a hamburger grill lounge with a cafeteria counter adjacent to the kitchen car and seating for 22 at six tables, plus lounge seating for another 26. The former lounge car took over the coffee shop role with 56 seats and a small 12-seat waiting lounge.
SP 2492 or 2493 (class 79-C-2) SP 2492 or 2493 (79-C-2), 44-seat chair car. These two cars, each of which was equipped with a radio antenna to provide news and music for the train, were built for the San Joaquin Daylight by Pullman-Standard in 1941 (lot 6638, plan 7422A) as part of a group of nine cars. (Four others were assigned to general Daylight service, while the remaining three were built for the San Francisco Challenger.) They later became notable as the last two cars to wear the San Joaquin Daylight herald.
SP 2357 (class 83-C-5) SP 2357 (83-C-5), 48-seat chair car built by Pullman-Standard in 1954 (lot 6940, plan 7571B), part of the last group of cars built for the Daylight pool.
SP ? (class 64-ACM/M-1)
64-ACM-1 + 

Articulated chair cars with 46 seats per car, built by Pullman-Standard in 1937 (lot 6500, plans 7377 and 7378).
SP ? (class 66-ACM/M-1 or -2)
66-ACM-2 + 

Articulated chair cars with 46 seats per car, built by Pullman-Standard in 1939 (lot 6594, plans 7423 and 7424) or 1941 (lot 6638, plans 7423A and 7424A). The trailing 66-ACW-2 has a radio antenna.
SP 10313 (class 77-D-3) SP 10313 (77-D-3), heavyweight diner, the last SP diner to wear Coach Green paint, added to help feed all the extra mouths on this day's train.
SP 2424 (class 79-C-3) SP 2424 (77-C-3), 44-seat chair car built by Pullman-Standard in 1939 (lot 6515, plan 7376A) and painted in Union Pacific's Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Grey for Overland service. The San Joaquin Daylight often hosted cars painted for other SP trains.
SP 2485 or 2486 (class 79-C-2) SP 2485 or 2486 (79-C-2), 44-seat chair car built by Pullman-Standard in 1941 (lot 6638, plan 7422A) for the Daylight pool and part of the same order as San Joaquin Daylight-assigned 2492 and 2493.
SP ? (class 66-ACM/M-1 or -2)
66-ACM-1 or -2 + 
66-ACW-1 or -2

Articulated chair cars with 46 seats per car, built by Pullman-Standard in 1939 (lot 6594, plans 7423 and 7424) or 1941 (lot 6638, plans 7423A and 7424A). These two cars started the day in Sacramento on Train 54, the Sacramento Daylight, and were added to the San Joaquin Daylight at Lathrop. The elegance of a round-end parlor-observation faded into memory on 2 June 1946 with the start of the Sacramento Daylight, having been replaced by straight parlor cars 3000 and 3001 located immediately behind the head-end cars to avoid extra switching moves at Lathrop. Parlor car service disappeared entirely efective 19 November 1947. (By the late 1960s an observation car was back in the form of a chair-observation car. These cars were usually run backwards in one direction, usually westbound, since SP couldn't be bothered to turn the train.)

Daylight drumhead


About These Images

These train images are in a scale of 1 pixel = 12 in and were created by Karl L. Swartz. For more information about them, please see Not Quite Train GIFs.

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Daylight drumhead courtesy The Coach Yard.
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