As I've built my Vasona Branch model railroad, I've studied old timetables and other railroad paperwork to understand how trains in the area would have been run. Here are some of the paper documents I’ve collected and scanned, as well as a list of related railroad paperwork available elsewhere.

Railroad Track Diagrams and Track Directories


There are three great sources of information on railroad track arrangements: the railroad’s own engineering diagrams, maps created for the operating employees, and Sanborn fire insurance maps.

Engineering drawings: The Southern Pacific drew up valuation maps to show the ownership history of every bit of track on the railroad. These large (30x40 inch) engineering plans are sometimes available in the collectible market, but it’s easier to view these maps at the California State Railroad Museum. They’ll also provide a scan of one of these maps for a small fee.

I’ve also collected other engineering maps; see the index of SP engineering drawings I’ve placed online.

Documentation and Maps for Operating Employees

August 1,1931 San Jose Track Directory. Lists capacity and shipper for tracks in the San Jose / Santa Clara / Campbell / Los Gatos / Hillsdale area, as well as phone numbers for the SP sites in the area. (From Ken Middlebrook, original now at History San Jose.)

For track arrangements, see a 1947 clear standing room map of tracks around San Jose Yard. (From wx4.org’s Dome of Foam).

Southern Pacific’s SPINS (SP industry numbering system) booklets were track diagrams and reference documents to help new train crews know where a specific industry was, and how the tracks were arranged in a particular area.

1970: Southern Pacific SPINS for the San Jose area. (My collection, thanks to Pat LaTorres.)

1983: Santa Cruz SPINS booklet. (My collection, thanks to Chuck Catania!)

Railroad Rule Books

Railroad rule books describe how things were supposed to run. Southern Pacific Schedule of Pay and Regulations for Trainmen. Effective December 16, 1939 Southern Pacific Schedule of Pay and Regulations for Yardmen. Effective June 1, 1924.

Railroad Employee Records


Another source for information on how the Vasona Branch operated are the records each employee kept, such as time books listing the jobs and times that each employee worked.

1939 time book for Southern Pacific fireman in Portland, Oregon. For more details, read a summary of interesting facts about the time book, or view the spreadsheet of entries or summary describing the contents.

1949 time book for Southern Pacific yardman in San Jose. For more details, read a summary of interesting facts about the time book, or view the spreadsheet of entries or summary describing the contents.’

Railroad Timetables


December 1932: Southern Pacific public timetable (only San Francisco to San Jose and San Francisco to Santa Cruz pages) (My collection.)

June 1946: Western Division timetable, June 2, 1946 (full employee timetable) (My collection.)

April 1964: Western-Coast division timetable, April 26, 1964 (full employee timetable) (My collection.)

Railroad Timetables Available Elsewhere


February 1889: public timetable (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam) SPC division

June 1891 public timetable (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam) Monterey line

October 9, 1898: Centerville branch at Centerville Depot web site

April 1907 public timetable (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam): San Francisco to San Jose and Central Coast branches

May 5, 1901: Coast division timetable (narrow gauge service from Alameda to San Jose) (From www.bayarearailfan.org)
SF to San Jose

January 1907 Western Divison timetable #11: Centerville branch at Centerville Depot web site (includes narrow gauge Santa Cruz branch

November 1908 public timetable (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam): San Francisco to San Jose and Central Coast branches

July 1909: Public timetable for SPC Centerville branch at Centerville Depot web site

September 1910 local and suburban (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam) San Francisco to Monterey and branches (including Los Gatos to Santa Cruz)

May 1928 Coast Division employee timetable #129 (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam): Monterey branch

1937 Western divison? (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam): Niles subdivision

1940 SP Coast Division Employee Timetable #147. (From Enzo Fortuna.)

1941 SP Public Timetable for Coast Division and San Joaquin Valley. (From Enzo Fortuna.)

1946 SP Coast Division Employee Timetable #153. (From Enzo Fortuna.)

1949 SP Coast Division Employee Timetable #155. (From Enzo Fortuna.)

1949 SP Coast Division Employee Timetable #156. (From Enzo Fortuna.)

1954 SP Coast Division Employee Timetable #166. (From Enzo Fortuna.)

1980 Western division? (from wx4.org's Dome of Foam): Niles subdivision

Western Pacific Railroad


Sales Educational Trip, December 1952. Itinerary for a Western Pacific salesman training trip visiting several industrial areas and businesses along the WP.

Special Equipment Handling Instruction Book. Western Pacific Marketing Department, March 1966. Lists WP cars assigned to specific industries, and documents each car.