by Ken Rattenne
Western Pacific's William Street Yard
is nestled amongst the older suburban houses of downtown San Jose along
San Carlos and William Street.
The yard, also called San Jose Yard, was once
a busy little terminal, complete with a three-stall roundhouse which was
dismantled in 1956.
As late as 1978 the yard saw two tricks (yard
shifts) a day during the week, with the yard handling enough traffic
to warrant a pair of First Generation Geeps to be assigned. The morning
and afternoon turns from Stockton would occasionally make their way south
to San Jose if there was enough San Jose traffic to warrant using the road
locomotives. If not then one of the San Jose switchers would run north
to Milpitas and pick-up the cars.
(Here's a bonus: the white streaks in the background
behind the unit and to the right is snow! - click to enlarge)
WP GP7 708 enters William Street Yard after servicing customers in East
San Jose and Milpitas in 1979. If the San Jose Turn did not have
sufficient traffic for San Jose to continue down the branch from Milpitas,
then one of the roadswitchers would go retrieve the cars in a transfer
Here's one for the modelers. GP20 2008 is not wearing a modified
Zephyr scheme. Witness the affects of time and weather on the classic silver
and orange paint. The puddle in the forground is mostly fuel oil with a
light coating of water on top from a recent rain.
Below left: With Mt. Hamilton dominating
the background, GP7 705 switches in west San Jose on July 10, 198, not
far from where the branchline crossed Southern Pacific's Vasona Branch.
Silver and orange GP9 731 kicks cars in a
scene once common at William Street Yard. (Jon Pullman Porter Photo)