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2008 UP Commerce Family Day

Union Pacific Family Day at Commerce

Locomotive and Mechanical Facility

October 18, 2008
Story and photographs copyright 2008 by Richard Elgenson
RailNews Network

Many railroaders are chained to their cell phones waiting for that call to report to work.    Most of the messages the railroads make to me involve slightly more advance notice to report to work.  In this case it was five months ahead of time.  It is always nice when the railroad calls you with an invitation to their open house.  Can you say let's have lunch?  I made a note on my calendar and waited for Saturday October 18, 2008 for the Commerce Union Pacific Family Day.  Our weather is just so predictable.  If we make it through the summer without too many heat waves, August and September were mild for the most part, expect a late heat spell or two in October.  Santa Ana winds had blown earlier in the week fanning a few fires, but this day was just a mildly warm day.

My car decided that I had to take public transit to this event.  There is a Metrolink Station on the UP line just east of the Commerce facility.  The only problem was there is no service on weekends here.  Plan B called for the Long Beach Transit 191 line from near my house to the MTA Blue Line Del Amo Station.  I brought my bicycle for the final stretch from the Washington Station to the Commerce facility.  It felt funny to ride up to the guard shack on a bike, but parking was easy compared to other people.  Arriving early, I was happily surprised with the sight of a heritage paint scheme locomotive which was SD-70 number 4141, the only special UP locomotive I have not heretofore seen.  Most other UP Family Day events have long lines to tour guest locomotives.  This time was not the case.

For other UP4141 photos, click HERE.
Below are general views of some of the booths.  The roundhouse building is seen in the backround of the lower left photograph.
The large tent was set up for guests to enjoy shade while eating lunch.  Below right is the kids area.  There would have been more photos of this, but my camera is showing signs of old age and needs repair or retirement.
The Mini Train was here too. 
The Mini Trains route always seems to parallel some piece of Union Pacific track for great photographic opportunities.  The Mini Train even has its own custom carrying case.  I thought I had taken a shot of the trailer, but the camera disagreed.  For other Mini Train photos, click HERE.
Below left, the Operation Lifesaver booth.  Below right, the Health booth with some very interesting displays.  For other Health booth photos, click HERE.
Below, the Southern Pacfic Historical and Technical Society and the Union Pacific Historical Society.  The SP boys had some printed literature while the UP boys had  some HO scale track and equipment set up on the table.
Below, Jes Godinez of MTA and OL talks to the Railroad Retirement Board representative.

Eventually I looked for Darrell Hart, the person who had invited my to this event.  I found him in the office building next to the roundhouse getting the raffle merchandise ready.  In the several minutes we spent chatting, he mentioned starting at the M-K-T and working as a survey rodman and chainman.  I recalled that he had some beautiful maps in his shoehorn sized office, some of which were hand drawn.  He intended to embark on a surveyor career, but the thought of a four year apprenticeship changed that and he moved into other employment areas of railroading.  Also in the small conference room was Bev Washington.  Darrell told me that next year, in 2009, Bev would be running the Family Day, because he would be retired.  Some people at Commerce call Darrell "dad" because he is such a nice man.  In Jewish speak, he would be called a "mensch", another affectionate term.  Darrell, I wish you all the best in retirement!

Family Day Page 2

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