Southern Pacific’s locomotive 1293, a steam-powered S-14 Class 0-6-0 switch engine, was built in April 1924 by Lima Locomotive Works in Ohio as builder’s number 6761.

Part of a fleet of small but efficient switch engines, #1293 went to work in several of the SP’s yards along their Pacific Lines, setting up freight trains, moving passenger cars into position and spotting freight cars at various factories, produce docks and oil refineries along the way.

Southern Pacific 1293 (1956 Photo)

SP 1293 at work at the Sacramento yard on August 10, 1956, five months before its retirement – and almost exactly two years before it would arrive back in Tracy. (Doug Richter photo.)

“Old 1293” remained in service for about 32 years before being retired in 1956, after which it was donated to the City of Tracy.

Despite plans to hand over 1293 to Tracy, the locomotive sat rusting with other abandoned and discarded equipment on the Southern Pacific’s “dead line” in Sacramento until finally, in the Summer of 1958, it was given a quick coat of paint and arrangements were made to deliver 1293 to its new home.

SP 1293 at Sacramento (July 1958 Photo)

SP 1293 sits forlornly on the “dead line” at Sacramento, reportedly in July 1958. The engine had been gifted to the City of Tracy in February 1957 and by this time should have been on display in Dr. Powers Park, but was still awaiting a ride to its final resting place – which it would find in August 1958. (Railtown Tracy Collection)

The locomotive arrived “cold” in Tracy on the morning of Monday, August 4, 1958, pulled in from Sacramento by what the Tracy Press referred to as “a newer – but hardly as romantic – diesel engine” to its temporary resting place on a spur in the Southern Pacific yard near Sixth and Central streets downtown.

SP 1293 Arrives In Tracy (Tracy Press Article)

The Tracy Press announces the arrival of “Old Steam Engine 1293” on August 4, 1958.

As noted in the Tracy Press article above, members of the local Rotary Club pledged at least $400 to move the locomotive from the Southern Pacific’s downtown railyard to its final destination at Dr. Powers Park, and also led a two-week drive to raise more funds to reach the $1300 goal by issuing “Official Honorary Engineer” certificates to anyone contributing at least a dollar to the effort.

SP 1293 - Donation Form (Image)

If you contributed a dollar or more, you received this commemorative certificate from the Tracy Rotary Club, which raised funds for the effort to move “Old 1293” to Dr. Powers Park. (Courtesy of the Tracy Press)

With the funds raised, the old locomotive was carefully lifted and placed on a Bigge Crane flatbed trailer and moved through town to Dr. Powers Park in September 1958.

SP 1293 in Transit through Tracy (September 1958 photo)

SP 1293 gets a police escort while in transit to Dr. Powers Park in September 1958 (Tracy Press photo)

While “Old 1293” was being prepared for its mile-long move from the Southern Pacific yard to Dr. Powers Park, a crew of volunteers worked to set up a short section of track (donated by the SP) for the locomotive to be planted on.

A group of volunteer “gandy dancers” work at Dr. Powers Park to construct a section of track for “Old 1293” to rest on. (Tracy Press photo)


For more than six decades, #1293 has been on static display — “stuffed and mounted,” as the saying goes — in Tracy at Dr. A.R. Powers Park on West Lowell Avenue, across from the Boys & Girls Club near Tracy Blvd.

A vital component of Railtown Tracy will be the transfer of #1293 to the downtown Railroad Historical District, and the assessment of the locomotive’s condition for possible refurbishing and service on tourist excursions.

SP 1293 Plaque (2011 Photo)

The bronze plaque on SP 1293’s cab says that it was presented to the City of Tracy in February 1957 … but the actual presentation was made a year and a half later, on August 12, 1958.

There were a total of ten S-14’s, numbered 1285 through 1294, built by Lima for the SP’s Pacific Lines; an additional twenty were built for the company’s Texas Lines (ten by Lima, and ten by SP’s Houston shops).

Of the ten Pacific Lines S-14’s, only #1285, #1293 and #1294 were originally saved from the scrapper’s torch. While #1285 and #1293 remain on display in Monterey and Tracy, respectively, #1294 — which had been displayed for many years at the San Francisco Zoo — fell victim to years of deterioration in the city’s foggy climate and was scrapped on June 16, 1981.

SP 1293 Photo (Tracy, 1948)

Working hard in the town where it would retire in less than ten years, 1293 builds up steam in this 1948 photo, probably taken along 6th Street in Tracy. (Larry Harrison photo)


Photographs of Southern Pacific #1293 on display at Dr. Powers Park:

Please click on any slideshow photo to enlarge.

SP Class S-14 Schematic (Drawing)

Southern Pacific Class S-14 builder’s drawing (Courtesy of Joe Strapac)

 Read Sam Matthews’ Tracy Press column on Southern Pacific 1293

Discuss SP 1293 On Facebook:

And finally…

Tracy artist Lino Giovacchini built a wooden replica of #1293. This project was commissioned by the City of Tracy, and is now on display upstairs in City Hall. Here’s video from Tracy’s local Channel 26 looking behind the scenes at Mr. Giovacchini’s amazing creation:


Text, feature photo and SP 1293 display photo slideshow by David Jackson

Railtown Tracy (Home Page Link)