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All aboard! for history

Original post made on May 29, 2009

If only the old Southern Pacific train depot in Danville could talk. It could tell tales of dramas in the waiting room, the station manager living upstairs, and tons of produce passing through its portals during the heydays of agriculture in the Valley.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

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Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of another community
on May 29, 2009 at 7:16 am

Dear Dolores,

A very enjoyable article.

A small correction about SPRR Depot staffing based on Harald Ostergaard Balle, as Buck Bailey, and my father's fifty years of "railroading with the SP." The Danville museum was formerly a DEPOT, and not a station, and it was managed by an AGENT and not a station manager. The remainder of the staff were a Chief Clerk and a staff of ticket, rates, and tariff Clerks. Clerks had unique slang names among their fellow "railroaders" such as "Mudhop" as identification of a rates clerk that did customer site rail car delivery and movement.

Every SP Depot was constructed in the same manner with AGENT's living quarters upstairs and an office/waiting room down stairs. As you visit the museum you will see one of the typical scales used to weigh and rate LCL (less than carload) freight being shipped in a Depot freight car to a region center such as Oakland or Roseville for further load and routing.

Most of the DEPOTs of my youth in the Napa Valley are gone and the steam engines I road with my father are mostly on display. Such railroading belongs in history because the technologies of rail logistics have appropriately moved forward. But still a visit to a typical steam locomotive in Martinez or to the museum and caboose in Danville tells a story of railroaders of the last century.

Harald A. Bailey

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