Pacific Electric Diesels at Taylor Yard
By Steve Crise & Michael Patris
A very unusual view from inside the depths of Southern Pacific’s Taylor Yard in Los Angeles, California finds these three Pacific Electric diesel switchers spotted at the paint rack.
PE 1654, and a pair of Baldwin VO-1000’s were captured by E. Rod Crossley’s camera around 1950 set out on one of the whisker tracks of the turntable at Taylor Yard. On the nose of the second unit masking tape is visible where the orange and black tiger striping will be painted.
In 1944 the Pacific Electric began purchasing small, light-weight diesel-electric locomotives from General Electric in Erie, Pennsylvania with the aim of having them replace electric locomotives on some of their freight lines that were isolated from the rest of the electrical overhead system or those lines that were soon to be de-electrified.
Some interesting scribblings on the side of 1654 just under the numbers reads, “Super Jet” and “SP Studebaker Front.” One can only speculate that the comment about the unit being a “super jet” must refer to the locomotive’s limited speed ability of only a minuscule 35 mph.
As far as the Studebaker scribbling is concerned, perhaps that is a comment on the styling of the locomotive (think Pennsylvania’s GG-1) that somewhat resembles a popular car sold in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s made by the Studebaker Company, most notably the Studebaker Champion designed by Robert Bourke from the renowned Raymond Loewy Industrial Design Studio. The Studebaker Champion of 1950 had unique styling that perhaps prompted some unknown person to scribble their remarks on the side of the little locomotive. Maybe the paint crew at Taylor Yard will eliminate the comments with a fresh coat of Southern Pacific gloss black paint.
References: Ira Swett, Interurbans Special # 37, Southern Pacific Review 1952-82, Joe Strapac.