Facebook Page
UP Family Day at Dolores Locomotive Facility

Union Pacific Family Day at Dolores

Locomotive Facility

March 20, 2004
Story and photographs copyright 2004 by Richard Elgenson
RailNews Network


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.


Approximately 140 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, hostler.  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 engines.


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 the roundhouse.


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 wheel sets.


Diesel prime movers are filter intensive, so there are boxes of fuel and oil filters for mainly Electro Motive and General Electric locomotives.

Continue to Page 2

Richard Elgenson RailNews Network Site