Gerald Murdock, last chief engineer for SP, passes

RELATED TOPICS: OBITUARY | UNION PACIFIC
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GERALDMURDOCKPHOTO2
Gerald Murdock, SP's last chief engineer
ST. GEORGE, Utah — Gerald Lee Murdock, the last chief engineer of the Southern Pacific and the subject of a 1983 Trains story, died at age 90.

Murdock hired out as a rodman in Ogden, Utah, on SP’s Salt Lake Division in 1947 and worked his way through the ranks and retired as the last chief engineer of the original pre-merger Southern Pacific. Along the way he worked on the Texas & Louisiana Line, managed construction of a diesel shop at Taylor Yard in Los Angeles, worked as division engineer on the San Joaquin Division (Tehachapi), the Northwestern Pacific, and Western Division. Special projects included working on the Palmdale Cutoff, the Great Salt Lake fill, and hyrailling the Rock Island’s Golden State Route to estimate the cost of rehabilitating the line for SP. He was featured in the August 1983 Trains Magazine story, “Rx for a Broken Jawbone.”

Murdock retired in 1989 and continued consulting including the construction of an engine facility for Caltrain in San Jose. He also worked on the movie “Money Train” in which he transformed a yard in Southern California to look like the New York Subway system where a sound stage was constructed. He enjoyed his time working in the movies but remarked that he got more pleasure constructing something that would not be destroyed soon after its construction.

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