20, 2004 Story and photographs copyright 2004
by Richard Elgenson
On March 20, 2004, Union Pacific's
Dolores Locomotive Facility hosted
U.P. Family Day to thank its employees for their good safety
record. Almost 200 people ranging in age from toddlers
to grandparents attended. Many attendees were railroaders or
family of railroaders. Most people took a tour of the
facility, had hot dogs, chips and drinks during the 10 am to 4 pm
event. The Dolores facility, which is visible from the northbound
Interstate 405 freeway at Alameda Street, is an important fueling,
maintenance and crew change location on the Union Pacific
Railroad. It sits adjacent to the
Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) tracks. In fact,
the ACTA tracks split
Dolores from the employee parking lot, which necessitated a pedestrian
tunnel through which all employees must pass.
In addition to a credit union,
railroad retirement, Operation Lifesaver had a booth at the open
house. UP had a booth as well and clients performed a bowling
type game for prizes. For losing, you got a very nice black UP
ICTF ball cap. For once, I was happy to lose at a game. My hat
now resides in Alaska.
In the days of steam, locomotives were very maintenance
intensive. Some of the advantages of a diesel-electric locomotive
are one-tenth the maintenance, and not having a giant boiler on
wheels. Even diesels have to come to the roundhouse once in a
while. At Dolores Diesel Facility the iron horse visits for fuel,
sand, and limited maintenance. Power is dispatched from Dolores
to take trains in, around, and out of the Los Angeles basin.
The round house features 3 run
through tracks which
flow in different
directions. Every other track runs an opposite direction.
Track 1 is for fueling, with the two other tracks for various
inspections and repair. Derail controls are on an inside wall
near track 3.
people in a variety of different railroad crafts are employed
here. There is actually a boilermaker at the
railroad. Other crafts include welder, plumber, mechanic,
Their goal is to service 25 locomotives per shift.
Union Pacific is focused on giving
employees a message of safety. In corridors, stairwells and in
the roundhouse there are safety bulletin boards, displays and large
banners. Employee briefings are held to discuss work on the
It feels strange in the roundhouse
for floor level to be at the running
board level of the locomotive. They do not seem 15 feet tall in
Track 3 is for more major repairs
including swapping out traction motors by use of a drop pit.
Southern Pacific used to shop out some traction motors to General
Electric in Anaheim. In
case of emergency, there are escape openings from one track pit to
adjacent ones. There are stock assembled traction motors and
Diesel prime movers are filter
intensive, so there are boxes of fuel
and oil filters for mainly Electro Motive and General Electric