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Back on Track: 1957

Back on Track: 1957

From around 1957 comes this News Archive photo of a switching locomotive getting extricated from a slight mishap just outside the Associated Metals Richmond Branch, which would put it in the Bay Area north of Oakland. Okay, kids, who left that penny on the track?? View full size.


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Could have been me

At the time we lived in El Cerrito, just south of Richmond, a couple of blocks from the tracks (in fact our house is now a BART station). We used to put pennies on the tracks and worry about actually derailing a train. Knowing what we know now, a penny is not going to have any effect on a train, probably not even on a fast-moving TGV; but at 6 or 7 we didn't know that for sure.

Re: Tallest cuffs ever

Is he the boy that caused the derailment? I always thought those "Bay City Rollers" were a bunch of hooligans.

Women of substance

The two girls in the picture have taken such pains with their appearance. The older one is wearing a striking ensemble (with such clean white shoes!), carries herself well, and her abundant hair is beautifully done. The smaller one's tresses are carefully arranged too, and her outfit is cute. Their standards were high. I hope they've led and continue to lead happy, productive lives.

Who's doing the work?

I see suits/hats (RR management) but nobody on the crane or ground but the hats and kids. That one kid has a mean look for so young.

[Look harder! - Dave]

Kids playing with trains ??

Perhaps Dave was being mirthful, but from the May 12, 1959, Oakland Tribune comes this news item:

        A seven-year-old boy admitted to police today he was responsible for the derailment of a Southern Pacific Railway switch engine here last Wednesday. The boy told officers he tampered with the switch at the Kelsey St. crossing, causing the diesel engine and its caboose to leave the tracks.

Kelsey Street was the address listed for Associated Metals. Same incident, or a sequel ?? Maybe it was a neighborhood tradition ... a triple-dog-dare.

Alco S4

The loco appears to be an Alco ("American Locomotive Co) 1000HP S-4, the most popular of their switchers. They were manufactured from 1949 to 1957. The lettering of the numbers looks like Southern Pacific, which had a rail presence in Oakland (SP is now part of Union Pacific).

Tallest cuffs ever

On the kid about to cross the tracks in the pack on the right. And I do fondly remember flannel-lined pants – very cozy.

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