Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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San Rafael, McPhails/Shamrock, circa 1984

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Albums: Freight Local in San Rafael July 1984
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Location: San Rafael, CA


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Comment by Dave S. on July 10, 2018 at 12:54pm

And this is what that area looks like today:

Comment by Dave S. on January 26, 2014 at 3:04pm

There were locked derails on all NWP spurs and there were locked gates on many spurs. 

Most of the NWP derails were constructed using standard turnout components but moved just one point (split rail type derailer).  The point "faced" the customer side of the spur.  The derails were always locked in the derail position whenever there was no switching activity.  This would prevent a rogue car from fouling the mainline (or worse) should it get away from the customer's property.  There were also "portable" derails which were small and compact and easy to install, but probably weighed 100 pounds!  These were usually painted yellow.  When unlocked, you flip up the clam shell to allow the train to pass safely.  They were locked with a conventional padlock.  There was one of these in San Rafael for one of the lumber yards, as I recall.  Maybe that's what you are remembering?

Comment by Scott Parnell on January 26, 2014 at 2:43pm

Hi Dave S. I was referring to a lock that was on the track itself going into the Bekins spur if I can remember right the switchman had to unlock it so he could move the cars into the loading dock was it so the boxcars couldn't derail? 


Comment by Dave S. on January 26, 2014 at 1:49pm

Mr. Parnell:  don't know if your question is directed to David Illich, David Estes, or myself, but I will get the ball rolling with a return question:  "rectangle lock?"  as in padlock?  If so, I recall all the spurs here had old style padlocks on all the switches and derailers.  These locks were like the ones the post office used to use on mail boxes.  My memory is really fuzzy, but something like this:

As I mention in another post, these locks were all stolen around 1981-82.

A molded metal sign affixed to the switchstands for each spur read "ATTEND TO DERAIL SWITCH" in bold relief lettering.  This sign itself was rectangular.  From TT's photos, I don't think any of these signs remain.

I have either answered your question or missed by a wide mark.  Feel free to follow-up.

Comment by Scott Parnell on January 26, 2014 at 11:57am

 Dave do you remember a rectangle lock that was on the spur leading to the  Bekins loading dock im curious to know.

Comment by David L ILLICH on January 17, 2014 at 9:36am

Scott yes on the right side heading to larkspur was bekins moving and storage spir


like you i walked on that row to go home some times

Comment by Scott Parnell on January 17, 2014 at 12:29am

Thanks Tommy I have a lot of interest in the row like you.

Comment by Tommy Tommy on January 16, 2014 at 10:52pm

I think that's right. Those power lines run down Andersen so this would've been right near the ROW crossing with Andersen today and that's where Dave said there was the moving place. 

Comment by Scott Parnell on January 16, 2014 at 9:30pm

Hi Dave

was the right side of the track where the moving and storage co. was? I used to watch the train here in the late 70's.

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