Southern Pacific Bakersfield Yard mid 1970s

Bakersfield Yard looking east from the sand tower at the engine service facility. Note the turntable and roundhouse with several yard engines (center foreground), crew dispatcher/RFE office at right edge. The locomotives just below the yardmaster’s tower are likely awaiting a power swap for an inbound Starpacer which the herder will assist by using the mainline pocket. Breckenridge Mountain and Bear Mountain make up the distant horizon.
This image of the Bakersfield roundhouse predates the above image as the backshops are visible behind the roundhouse. Note that yard engines at Bakersfield predominately faced the west as depicted by engine 1230.
This view is was taken to the right of the preceding photo on the same day. This was before the water tank was demolished (I guess early 1970s).
This is my favorite morning view of the west end of the main yard. It is now the quite time after all the nighttime traffic came and went. The crew dispatcher’s building is in the center, and the yard office, switchmen’s locker/lunch room, and trainmaster’s office are in the wooden building on the right edge (note that the water tank is gone in this mid 1970s view). There are two of the ubiquitous “carry-alls) parked in front of it. The two west-facing goats are for switch crews, and the east-facing goat on the turnout track is likely for a local. The yardmaster’s tower is just to the left of the center greenish bright light.


About Thomas Bethune

THOMAS ALLEN BETHUNE I have been interested in photography for most of my life. I started taking photographs with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera when I was eight years old. My early subjects were trains and engineered structures as well as landscapes and family portraits. My interests and vision have matured, but the subjects that catch my eye continue to be of the same genre as my earliest visions. A neighbor man had a darkroom, and he showed me the basics of camera operation and darkroom processing. I took courses in art and photography in high school and college. I worked as an apprentice to a commercial wedding and event photographer, and I was in charge of a recreational dark room while I was in the military. As an adult, I earned a bachelor’s degree in photography from Humboldt State University. My experience with film formats included 35mm, 2 ¼”, and 4”x 5”. I exhibited at galleries near my home in Arcata California, and in Santa Fe New Mexico. All my current work is digital. I am scanning many of my legacy negatives and slides. I sometimes process and print the scanned negatives. I often post them on my blog. I process all of my prints with archival media. An award winning fine art photographer living in a redwood forest. BA Photography Director, Redwood Art Association, Eureka CA Co-curator, F Street Foto Gallery, Eureka CA
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1 Response to Southern Pacific Bakersfield Yard mid 1970s

  1. Denise McLemore says:

    Thomas, I don’t know if Pam informed you, but Denise McLemore passed away one week ago after a 5-year battle with cancer.

    Rob Jackson

    Sent from my iPhone


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