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Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops

Incubator of Innovation

by Robert A. Pecotich


Sacto Shops jacket

The largest and oldest of SP's General Shops, Sacramento built or rebuilt hundreds of steam and diesel locomotives, and thousands of freight and passenger cars, along with extensive work on passenger and official cars, in its history from 1868 to 1990. This was one of the largest and most productive railroad shops in North America.

In the 19th century, many new locomotives for Central Pacific and Southern Pacific were produced at the Shops, along with much rolling stock. From 1890 until the 1920s, SP turned primarily to commercial builders for rolling stock and locomotives, but an outgrowth of assembling a few locomotives during the USRA period was a new spurt of locomotive building, until 1937.

After the end of steam, the Shops were reconfigured for diesel locomotive repair, and in 1969 an immense rebuilding program commenced which was to renew during the 1970s and 1980s more than 500 diesels for further service. Closure of the Shops came in 1990.

Author Bob Pecotich has extensively researched the Shops and many of its products, particularly locomotives and official cars, as well as the story of the many thousands of craftsmen who worked there through the decades. The result of thorough study, this is a complete, detailed and well-illustrated history, with many previously unpublished images of work in the Shops and of the many locomotives and rolling stock which the Shops produced, repaired, or rebuilt.

Coverage in this book ranges from the earliest days, before the driving of the Gold Spike at Promontory, through most of SP's history, to the final closure. Containing 496 pages, the book contains over 600 photos, along with 21 drawings and maps, and has both a bibliography and an index. The dust jacket image (at left) is a 1930s image of the Erecting Hall at the Shops.

The book will be especially appreciated by SP fans, but those who like railroad rolling stock will enjoy the many construction views, and both steam and diesel enthusiasts will find much information about the extensive construction record of Shops locomotives.

Revised Edition

Also available: the Table of Contents of the book.


Particulars: Southern Pacific's Sacramento Shops, by Robert A. Pecotich
List Price: $85     Size: 496 pages, 8.5" x 11", hard covers; 604 photos, 21 maps and drawings, bibliography, index
ISBN: 978-1-930013-28-5      Publication date: December 1, 2010
Distribution: direct from publisher.