The backside of this picture postcard has “Monday, Oct 25, 1948” penciled in script, so we’re guessing that this view of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s yard is from the mid to late 1940s.
The caption under the photo on the postcard reads “Southern Pacific Railway Yards and Shops, Tracy, California.”
If you’re looking at this photograph today, imagine yourself on the roof of the Tracy Transit Center, facing toward the new-fangled overpass that just opened, taking 11th Street over the Union Pacific tracks. From your perch, if it was 1948, you’d see the two big water tanks by the “second” roundhouse on the right. Just right of center, the “first” roundhouse is just beyond the left-most water tower.
In the foreground is a string of heavyweight passenger cars, which may (or may not) be painted in SP Daylight colors, and may (or may not) be headed to Lathrop as part of the Sacramento Daylight.
The curve of track at far right is the fabled “Brewery Spur,” which remains in place today and curls along the backside of Tracy, crossing Schulte Road behind Fry Memorial Chapel on its way to butt-ending near Valpico Road.
The card was manufactured by Wayne Paper and Printing of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Here’s an “opposite” view of the same scene, taken from the turntable, between the two roundhouses, probably from the early 1950s:
Photos from the Railtown Tracy Collection, courtesy of David Jackson.