(Ken Rattenne Photo) It's 1986 and SP SD45T-2 9344 glides to a halt on the Decoto Line at the "west end" of Warm Springs Yard. (click photo to see another view) SP 9344 East then rolls across Mission Boulevard as it continues its way to San Jose.
Springs yard was to the Southern Pacific what Milpitas was to the Western
Pacific: Each facility was built to serve an automotive assembly
plant. Milpitas played host to the Ford Assembly Plant and Warm Springs
Yard was built to serve a major General Motors plant.
Warm Springs was once a separate "village," part of a collection of small villages known as Washington Township. In 1956 Warm Springs was incorporated into the new City Of Fremont along with Alvarado, Mission San Jose, Centerville and Irvington.
Seven years later, in 1963, Southern Pacific built the Warm Springs yard specifically to marshal and distribute incoming and outgoing traffic to the new GM plant which opened for business that year.
After the WP-UP merger of 1982, Union Pacific also wanted to serve what could be an important customer announced plans to build a spur line into the plant by crossing SP's mainline. SP's answer to that was a resounding "no!" Uncle Pete didn't take kindly to that and protested to what today is the Surface Transportation Board which ruled favorably.
SP relented and worked out a trackage rights deal with their neighbor. Through 2009 Warm Springs served the former GM plant which by then was known as New United Motor Manufacturing plant (NUMMI). The plant was a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota to produce Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks, Geo Prizms, and Toyota Corollas.
The yard also serves as a major collection point for freight traffic brought in by the many locals working the San Francisco Peninsula, San Jose and points south.
Warm Springs forwards these cars to West Oakland then onto Roseville. Today, Union Pacific stations anywhere from two to four B-B road units to do local switching.
In 2005 UP closed Newhall Street Yard in San Jose, leaving Warm Springs the only yard servicing the South Bay.