Derailment in Nevada

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This page was last updated on October 17, 2015.

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August 12, 1939
The City of San Francisco derailed on vandalized track near Harney, Nevada. A replacement train was put into service on August 28, 1939 and remained in service until the consist could be repaired. Five cars were completely destroyed and had to be replaced. This was the 8th Train, with E2s SF-1, SF-2 and SF-3 as motive power.

On August 12, 1939, the City of San Francisco was derailed on a section of vandalized track near Harney, Nevada (on the SoP) and five cars were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. These included: SF-601 Presidio, SF-602 Mission Dolores, SF-701 Embarcadero and the sleepers Twin Peaks and Chinatown. SF-601 and SF-602 were articulated as were the two sleepers. The new sleepers (Twin Peaks and Chinatown) built to replace the destroyed cars of the same name were not articulated. SF-601 and SF-602 were not replaced by new cars but by LA-601 Biltmore and LA-602 Ambassador (from City of Los Angeles) and which had been renamed Presidio and Mission Dolores and renumbered SF-605 and SF-606 respectively. In turn two new replacement diners LA-607 Biltmore and LA-608 Ambassador (56 seats each) were built by Pullman-Standard and one was assigned to each COLA in 1941. (Ranks and Kratville, Union Pacific Streamliners, page 200)

Original Train

Of the three locomotives and 14 cars in the train's consist, five cars were destroyed or damaged beyond repair:

The other nine cars were repaired and returned to service:

Replacement Train

The replacement train went into service just sixteen days later, on August 28, 1939, and was made up of the cab and booster E3 locomotives, LA-5 and LA-6, and 11 cars from other trains.

The following consist of the COSF replacement train was taken from Robert Wayner's "Car Names Numbers and Consists," page 150:

Description Number/Name Source
2000 H.P. Power Unit LA-5 COLA
2000 H.P. Power Unit LA-6 COLA
Auxiliary Power-Baggage Car CD-12 COD
48-seat Chair Car 5316 Challenger
Twin-Unit Dining Car 5104 Challenger
4 Compartments, 2 Drawing Rooms, 4 Double Bedrooms IMPERIAL FOUNTAIN NYC Pool
17 Roomettes CITY OF CHICAGO NYC Pool
4 Compartments, 2 Drawing Rooms, 4 Double Bedrooms IMPERIAL RANGE PRR Pool
13 Double Bedrooms LUCAS COUNTY NYC Pool
13 Double Bedrooms ALLEGHENY COUNTY PRR Pool
18 Roomettes CITY OF ST. LOUIS PRR Pool
3 Double Bedrooms, 1 Drawing Room, 1 Compartment - Buffet Observation GEORGE M. PULLMAN Pullman Pool

The two power units were taken from the 4th Train. The auxiliary power-baggage unit (CD-12) was an extra City of Denver car. The chair car and twin-unit diner came from the Challenger. Sleeping cars Allegheny County, City Of St. Louis and Imperial Range were recruited from the Pennsylvania Railroad pool, while the Imperial Fountain, City Of Chicago and Lucas County normally ran on the New York Central. The George M. Pullman was a Pullman pool-service car. This consist ran until 1941. Some of the sleepers were gradually replaced by original 8th Train cars restored to operating condition. (Robert Wayner, Car Names Numbers and Consists, page 150)

The E3s were lettered for City of San Francisco, but kept their LA-series numbers. The E3s were replaced in City of Los Angeles service by the two CD-05 locomotives (CD-05-A, CD-05-B), which like the E3s, were lettered for City of Los Angeles, but kept their CD-series numbers.

When the damaged cars were repaired and returned to service in July 1940, they were the first cars to receive Union Pacific's new yellow and gray paint scheme. The first new locomotives in yellow and gray were the E6s delivered in August 1940. (Robert Darwin email dated June 7, 2013)


Ranks, Harold E., and William W. Kratville. The Union Pacific Streamliners. (Kratville Publications, Omaha, Nebraska.) First printing 1974; fifth printing 1992.

More Information

Southern Pacific's Salt Lake Division, by John R. Signor (Signature Press, 2007; ISBN 978-1-930013-21-6); pages 219-223; narrative and numerous photos.