I have been and continue to be amazed at the
of photographs of the 5623 that have turned up since the Black Widow
project started in 1995. There have been so many folks out there
who have give me free run of their photo collections and who have
make the 5623 what she is and this web site what it is. Thank
one and all.
Medford, Oregon is the site of the oldest
known of the 5623. Here, she is assigned to the Rogue River and keeps
company with Baldwin S12 1510. The other photo's location is not
but the number in the boards is still that of her assignment in Oregon
and the hills indicate the southern end of the run. Both photos were
in August of 1955 by Al Haij.
Seen here in front of the Roseville station,
the 5623 is in charge of number 202, the Gerber Local. As you can tell
by the very short train, this was not a priority run in the Southern
passenger schedule. Photo 1956 by Al Phelps, Stan Kistler collection.
This photograph of the SD&AE
103 and S.P. 0-6-0 1221 from 1955-56 was taken at the San Jose
facility by a youthful photographer who was far more fascinated by the
103 when it first showed up at Burlingame working the local there, than
he was by a nearly brand new diesel. The crew often tied up for
at the Borden creamery on Howard Avenue and California Drive, just up
the freight station, which allowed him ample time to study the
in detail, visit with the fireman and even arrange a ride or two
during the rest of the work around town at the sand and gravel
Image courtesy of the Chathan Publishing Company archives.
Scooting along, outside
number 202 is on her way. One wonders exactly how many riders were on
coach. Photo 1956 by Al Phelps, Stan Kistler collection.
Departing the Oakland Mole with train 226
Senator) in tow, the 5623 is carded to arrive in Sacramento 2 hours and
15 minutes later. The Senator last operated May 31, 1962. The box car
the right was spotted at the Albers Mill by the Oakland Terminal
where the 5623 makes her home now. Photo 02/56 by Al Phelps, Stan
In charge of train 250, the "Coast Daylight"
connection from Oakland, the 5623 is pulling into Santa Clara. The
car on the rear will be attached to the Daylight's consist and head for
Los Angeles. Photo August, 1956 by John Shaw.
Here at Paul Avenue, the 5623 is displaying
in her number boards and is running M.U. with cousin 5603, most likely
on a Stanford Football special, Suntan heading for Santa Cruz, or a Bay
Meadows (horse) racing special. She now displays "Radio Equipped" on
sides of her short hood. Photo 08/03/58 by Don Hansen.
Train number 116 is a daily commute carded to
leave San Francisco at 12:45 P.M. and arrive San Jose at 2:05, making
stops along the way. On this date, the 5623 was obviously not in charge
of the resort visitors heading for Monterey. Photo 10/13/58 by Don
The Del Monte ran as trains 77 and 78 from
1947 until November, 1960. The torpedo boats are probably most well
for carrying these numbers in their boards. This classic view is at 3rd
and Townsend in San Francisco. Photo 07/12/59 by Don Hansen.
Sometime in 1959, the 5623 received "SF/COM"
lettering on her cab sides, indicating her assignment to the San
Commute pool. Photo 09/05/59 by Don Hansen.
The 5623 is visiting the Mission Bay
in San Francisco. Photo 09/09/59 by Don Hansen.
The 5623 is in good company in this photo
Train Masters 4801, 4800 and 4809 and Bloody Nose freight Geep 5801 to
her left. At the extreme right of the photo is a steam locomotive water
column, a sign that the age of steam is not far gone from Mission Bay.
Photo 09/09/59 by Don Hansen.
Number 77 waiting for departure. This is a
view of the cars normally found in the Del Monte consist. Photo
by Don Hansen.
In this Will Whittaker view in November, 1959
one can see a freshly painted 5602 coupled to the long hood of the
The 5602 was the third passenger GP9 bought by the S.P. and among the
to received the new "Bloody Nose" paint scheme in 1959. The paint on
5623 is very faded by this time and it too will soon receive the new
The tight-lock coupler and bottom style coupling mechanism are clearly
evident in this photo.
Tacked on to number 77, the 3 bi-levels on
rear of the train are probably being dead-headed to San Jose. Photo
by Don Hansen.
Waiting for departure as an extra, as
by the "X5623" in the number boards, the 5623 has just about seen the
of its well worn black widow paint job. Looking for all the world like
a Del Monte without the "American Flyer" car, the purpose of this train
is undocumented. Photo 10/02/60 by Don Hansen.
Robert Morris caught ex-T&NO 5894 with
trailing, about to enter San Francisco's tunnel 1 in 1961. The lead GP9
illustrates the face of the Texas graduates with the unusual number
and the front number placed on the silver, above the orange wing. When
she was the T&NO #280, there was small "TNO" lettering next to each
class light. 5894 went on to become the 3000 in 1965 and the 3187 in
5623 did not always lead.
Tony Johnson happened upon the 5623 one day
1961 at the San Francisco 7th street terminal. Notice how the
cut lever passes under the MU hoses. The hoses are extended out
the frame by an angled bracket which mimics the curve of the
Only the 8 Geeps with the fancy pilots had this type of bracket.
Camp Roberts is located on
the Southern Pacific coast line about half
way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, or more precisely about 12
miles north of Paso Robles. Each year the National Guard would
several thousand troops via special trains provided by the Southern
Pacific and other railroads for their annual summer camp training
adventure. I’m not sure how many trains were run in 1965, but I
at least four that went through Glendale. The trains ran northbound on
a Saturday and at least one of these trains returned two weeks later on
a Sunday morning. One of these trains was loaded and unloaded at
Glendale. The big day started off with the
arrival of 2-76 which was a
deadhead move consisting of 22 commuter cars, pulled by four commuter
geeps. This train would board the Nation Guard troops at Glendale that
evening, and would run as 2-75. Photo by Bernard Levine,
collection of John Sjolander. Caption courtesy of John Sjolander.
number 126 with sister 5622, both in Bloody
Nose. Train 126 is the Del Monte combined with a commute and the extra
cars will be left in San Jose. The return Del Monte was train 139 and
too would carry commuters in extra cars. The train ran as 126/139 from
January, 1961 until its demise with the inception of AMTRAK on
Photo by Don Hansen.
While not strictly a photo of the 5623,
this interesting shot by Drew Jacksich illustrates the early use of SP
passenger power in freight service over weekends. Drew caught the
5623 and leading F7 6235 pulling out of College Park yard in San Jose
and heading up the Milpitas line.
From my collection
comes this small Del Monte
advertising card distributed in the days when the train ran all the way
to Pacific Grove. The 3 hour 20 minute trip included 14 stops between
Francisco and the end of the line. The 5 minutes southbound and 7
northbound in San Jose were for the convenience of the railroad in
and subtracting the extra cars on train 126/139, according to
I have talked to.