Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)
  1. Busy Intersection

    Busy Intersection

    The power for South City Switcher cuts across a busy intersection in South San Francisco. There are no lights or gates at this intersection. Instead, when the train arrives, the signal flips to all-red, and the train gets a green light - note the small signal in the upper left.
  2. UP 1204

    UP 1204

    The South City Switcher works some industries in South San Francisco.
  3. Massive Signal Bridge

    Massive Signal Bridge

    A southbound Caltrain arrives at Bayshore. This is one of the largest signal bridges I know of anywhere - 5 tracks and 15 signals!
  4. Caution: This Vehicle Makes WIDE Turns!

    Caution: This Vehicle Makes WIDE Turns!

    The flanges are squealing as the South City Switcher slowly picks its way around the tight curve between Arthur St. and Quint St. Trailing behind is 14 loads of contaminated dirt and and industrial scrap. The red station wagon in the foreground cleared the front end of the GP38 by only a foot...
  5. Crossroad of Competitors

    Crossroad of Competitors

    The South City Switcher contends with the truckers on Amador St. as it picks up loads from a local industry. This section of street running was recently abandoned when the industry built a new spur that bypasses the street, so photos such as this one are now history.
  6. The South City Switcher

    The South City Switcher

    The South City Switcher is the last freight operation that still does business in the city of San Francisco. A total of 3 customers remain in the city. To reach those customers, the train must negotiate a complicated network of street trackage in a busy industrial area on the south side of the...
  7. Protecting the Shove

    Protecting the Shove

    The conductor of the South City Switcher protects the rear of his train as it shoves into an industrial spur.
  8. UP 1351

    UP 1351

    UP 1351 on the South City Switch job in San Francisco, running down Quint St. heading back to the mainline with 2 loads of contaminated dirt.
  9. Tight Clearance

    Tight Clearance

    The South City Switcher negotiates the serpentine street running on Quint St. as it heads back to its home yard in South San Francisco. The clearances on Quint St. are very tight, and the power cleared the red car on the left by less than a foot.
  10. SP Power - 7th Street San Francisco

    SP Power - 7th Street San Francisco

    Here's a closeup of assorted classic Southern Pacific power basking in the afternoon sun at the Townsend and 7th Street Diesel Facility in downtown San Francisco in 1981.
  11. San Francisco Looking North

    San Francisco Looking North

    A southbound Caltrain is about to duck into Tunnel #3 as it heads to San Jose. In the background can be seen Interstate 280 and the famous San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Far off underneath I-280 one can see all the way through the short Tunnel #2, made possible by the late afternoon light.
  12. Amador Industrial Lead

    Amador Industrial Lead

    UP's South City Switcher, the last freight operation in the city of San Francisco, backs down Amador St. with empties for Darling International, a tallow manufacturer.
  13. Waiting


    The South City Switcher waits for clearance from the Caltrain dispatcher to enter the main line and head home. It was a cold, foggy day so B&W seemed to work better here.
  14. Crossing 3rd St.

    Crossing 3rd St.

    The South City Switcher pulls a tank car out of an industrial lead and crosses 3rd St. The signal to the right guards the diamond where the UP tracks intersect a MUNI light rail line.
  15. Gritty Railroading

    Gritty Railroading

    The tracks on Amador St. might look abandoned, but think again! UP's South City Switcher comes around every couple days to switch the tallow factory near the end of the street.
  16. UP 1489

    UP 1489

    The power for the South City Switcher rolls into the "dirty dirt" facility to pick up a few cars.
  17. Something's out of place here...

    Something's out of place here...

    The South City Switcher has just dropped two boxcars of produce at a local warehouse. Now, headed back it must contend with the busy thoroughfare of 3rd St. The engineer brought the power up to the intersection and paused, while the signals started flashing red. Then he brought traffic to a halt...
  18. Commute Time In San Francisco - SP Style

    Commute Time In San Francisco - SP Style

    An afternoon SP commuter train departs Downtown San Francisco with a solid string of bi-level gallery cars at the 7th Street Curve bound for San Jose in 1981.
  19. Departing San Francisco

    Departing San Francisco

    The last Baby Bullet of the morning departs San Francisco. Caltrain's Baby Bullet express trains make the trip to San Jose in under an hour and wear a red and white paint scheme distinct from the rest of the fleet.
  20. Baby Bullet @ Brisbane

    Baby Bullet @ Brisbane

    Caltrain began "baby bullet" express service a couple of years ago. The trains use MP36 locomotives and matching Bombardier coaches in an eye-catching red and white paint scheme. The trains make the San Francisco to San Jose run in just under an hour, competitive with driving. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.