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Southern Pacific transferring prisoner rail car's onto a barge in Tiburon before heading to Alcatraz. Surprising that Southern Pacific actually had rail car's built for this purpose.

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Comment by Bob Cleek on December 4, 2018 at 12:51pm

Somebody somewhere researched this previously. The initial transport was by train cars as pictured. Alcatraz had no rail dock, of course. Prisoners got off the train cars and walked from the barge to the dock. Al Capone was transferred to Alcatraz later via the prison water taxi. Capone wasn't on the train that was barged to the island.

 The trip was something of a news event. It inspired the 1938 movie "Prison Train."

Comment by Drake on December 3, 2018 at 10:10am

1934! and yes, Al Capone was transported on one. I just never knew they had rail car's built/remodeled for prisoner transport. Makes sense I guess. 

Comment by Richard C. Brand on December 2, 2018 at 10:41am


Those are wonderful photos.  Do you see any date as to when these picts were taken?

The picture taken from the water of the barge docked at the Alcatraz dock answered my question. 

It appears that the cars remained on the barge and the prisoners walked out of the cars onto the dock.

Those cars or similar may have been how Al Capone was transported from Chicago to Alcatraz.

Comment by Richard C. Brand on December 2, 2018 at 12:07am

I think I had to ride on some of those cars on the SP's Peninsula Commuter line before it was transferred to CalTrain.  When you disembarked it felt you had been in prison.

You can still get the experience while riding the Niles Canyon runs (recommended) as they have several of the SP Harraman cars.

But were the prisoners transported to Alcatraz in rail cars or just moved to boats in Tiburon?

Never seen a rail dock on Alcatraz. 

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