Southern Pacific’s Roseville Yard, February 1990.


SP SD7s work the East-end of Roseville Yard.

Southern Pacific Roseville Yard.
SP SD7s work Roseville Yard in February 1990. Exposed on Kodachrome 25 slide film with a Leica M2 fitted with a Leitz f2.8 90mm Elmarit. Metered manually using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe handheld photocell light meter.

In early 1990, I was living in Roseville, California and working in Sacramento. I worked nights, which meant I had lots of daylight to play with for photography. However, this was a Saturday evening. The day had been miserable—cold, damp, and dark. Not what people think of as ‘California weather,’ but typical enough for winter.

I’d been itching to make some photos, but theses dire conditions were uninspiring. Roseville wasn’t especially photogenic even on a good day, but there was lots of railroad interest around the place. Toward the end of the day, I saw clearing to the West, so I nipped down to the yard.

The East-end of Roseville was fairly accessible from public property. There was a grade crossing near the split between East Valley and Donner Pass routes. I made this image just as the sun dropped below clouds that were still spitting rain. A pair of SP’s venerable EMD SD7s working the East end caught the glint of the setting sun. The dark sky and glossy ground with evening sun is hard to top.

This remains one of my few good photos of Roseville Yard. Since then, Union Pacific merged with SP, and UP completely rebuilt the yard. The SD7s are long gone.

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