TRAINMASTER BY WERNER MEER  US-RAILROAD-SHOP KILCHBERG
HOCHWEIDSTRASSE 3  CH-8802 KILCHBERG (ZÜRICH) SWITZERLAND (founded 1977)
PHONE *41-44-715-3666, FAX *41-44-715-3660, E-MAIL trainmaster@bluewin.ch
Go back to our Website - click here

updated: September 9, 2020: Bonus Photos RS-2038 - RS-2043  //  Sept. 20, 2020: Photos 2449 - 2451

Cajon Pass Photo Collection 15/15
2020

I am very pleased to show some exclusive photos of these photographers:
Don E. Toles (DET), Gary G. Gray (GGG), Laura M. Gray (LMG), Marc Fournier (MF).
Don Winslow (DW), Ryan Slaton (RS), Bruce "Doc" Jones (BHJ)


Guest Photographers: to be announced
A big thank you for sharing these excellent pictures with us.
Note: The copyright belongs to these gentlemen. Do not use any photos without written permission.

Photos are sorted by date (not by location): oldest are on top and newest at the bottom - just scroll down!
Some photos were taken at one of these locations below (we usually mention the place of the photo):
Dagget, Barstow, Victorville/Narrows, Frost/Crossover, Hesperia, Lugo/Martinez, Summit, West Summit Island, Silverwood, Hill 582 Area, Alray/Tunnel Area, CP Walker/Davis Ranch Road, Mormon Rocks/Stein's Hill/Pine Lodge/HWY 138, Sullivan's Curve, Cajon Station/Junction, Graffiti Bridge, Swarthout Canyon Road Crossing, Blue Cut, Lower Canyon, San Bernardino, Colton Yard

Bonus Photos - non Cajon Pass - are at the bottom of this page (just scroll down)

Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, NB = North Bound, SB = South Bound, WB = West Bound, MT-1 = BNSF Main Track 1, MT-2 = BNSF Main Track 2, MT-3 = BNSF Main Track 3, UPT = UP Colton-Palmdale Cutoff Track, MP = Mile Post, DRR = Davis Ranch Road, DPU = Distributed Power Unit (Helpers), SC = Sullivan's Curve,  SWC = Swarthout Canyon Road Crossing, WSI = West Summit Island, KCR = Kemper Campbell Ranch, JAC-BAR = San Jacinto to Barstow Train
New 7/19: Accurate Map of Cajon Pass as of 2018 by Steve Jessup & Todd Gillette (RR Illustrated) - click here

For bigger size photos - please click on the 4-digit number below each photo (the first letters specify the photographer).


Our 2020 Cajon Pass Photo Collection is starting with a new BNSF Mojave River Bridge
Replacement Project. (Here is our new site for this project - Part 1 to 26: click here).

updated: January 6, 2020

New: 1/04/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 1
Saw the following on TO.COM and decided to try and find out exactly what is going on in E. Victorville @ BNSF Cajon Sub MP 34.1.  -  East Victorville bridges on BNSF

On 1/04/20, Marc & I drove down to the BNSF Mojave Bridges to checkout the action. We talked to a 'seemingly knowledgeable' construction type who told us that both bridges are 100 yrs old and must be replaced.
We were also informed:

# 2001: A temporary construction / heavy equipment bridge will be built to the left of the existing Bridges. Two new RR bridges (with abutments for a future third bridge) will be built to the right of the existing BNSF Mojave River bridges. The existing RR Bridges and abutments will then be removed.

# 2002: Looking RR West toward Victorville. A temporary heavy equipment road is being built along the South side side of the BNSF Main. It will connect to the temporary construction Bridge being built to the left of the existing BNSF bridges.
24 hour site security now protects equipment--especially the solar panels and their batteries, which can be seen mounted on the MT-2 Bridge in photo #01. The project is expected to be completed in 20-24 months at a cost of $23,000,000+.
# 2003: We were then informed that after completion of the bridge project, BNSF will remove the Flyover / Natural Crossovers and "straighten out" the tacks near Frost @ MP 39.1.
  GGG, MF
GGG 1/04/20 BNSF Mojave River Bridges at MP 34.1 in East Victorville - 2001 GGG 1/04/20 New temporary road along BNSF Main. - 2002 GGG 1/04/20 Flyover at MP 39.1 (Frost) w/BNSF EB (natural crossover) - 2003

updated: January 14, 2020

New: 1/11/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 2
why replace them'?
AS WE UNDERSTAND IT
-- The existing bridge abutments are of stone and masonry construction and have had numerous epoxy resin repairs over the years. These bridges are not earthquake "proof" from below (earth movement) or above (the heavy weight and vibrations of 40+ daily trains). By building new bridges beside the existing bridges, the 35 MPH speed restriction will the eliminated and the existing main line will remain open during construction.


# 2004: An edited Google map indicating the APPROXIMATE positions of the new bridges and the future mainline alignment....


# 2005: At one time, we could drive down to the bridges, however the new construction road eliminated that possibility. We then chose the area under the tower (upper left) as we could drive to it---the pictured "K" rail nixed that opportunity. NEVER TO BE DEFEATED, Mad Marc jumped the rail & climbed to the tower to photograph the following:

# 2006-2007: Two views of where the Construction Road Bridge will be built. 2007 also shows the 20+ foot drop off to the river bed. That drop off and the always present threat of flash flooding necessitate the extra expense of the temporary bridge.

# 2008: Looking RR West, toward VictimVille, the two construction roads are shown. We were told that the new ROW will be built close to the ORANGE property-line fence across the present ROW.


# 2009-2012: With all that's going on, we have adopted a 'SHOOT 'EM WHILE YOU CAN' policy.   MF & GGG
GGG 1/11/20 Google map proposed position of the new bridges - 2004 MF 1/11/20 (see text above) - 2005 MF 1/11/20 (see text above) - 2006
MF 1/11/20 BNSF EB intermodal - 2007 MF 1/11/20 Looking West toward VV - 2008 MF 1/11/20 BNSF 7968 WB - 2009
MF 1/11/20 BNSF 9511 EB - 2010 MF 1/11/20 BNSF 5886 DPU EB - 2011 MF 1/11/20 BNSF 7968 WB MP 34.1 - 2012

updated: January 21, 2020

New: 1/20/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 3
Yesterday (1/20/20), Marc & I drove down to the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement Project --only to find that ALL of our favorite photographic spots have been declared 'OFF LIMITS' - with security in place.

# 2013: The only remaining view of the bridges - from the favorite position of most railfan photographers.


# 2014: Never to be deterred, Mad Marc drove us a bit compass West (toward Oro Grande) to find this view of the bridges. The white gravel is from an evidently abandoned project to build a second BNSF RR yard on the Southern CA Logistics Airport (old George AFB). The ARROW points to some Bureau of Land Management roads, on the other side of the bridges, that we WILL explore.

# 2015 & 2016:  # 2016 is a closeup image of both bridges while both images (arrows) show the CABLE SUPPORTED, HAND PROPELLED underside inspection basket. Many years ago I was offered, by a NOW RETIRED ATSF Official, a ride in said bucket with the guarantee that "you'll never forget having been in that bucket, in the middle of the bridge, with a speeding train just above you". I declined the offer!!!!

# 2017 & 2018: BNSF 6505 East crosses the Mojave and heads into Oro Grande and on to Barstow.

Now, to find those BLM roads on the RR East side of the Mojave River.   GGG / MF
MF 1/20/20 BNSF 7770 WB - 2013 GGG 1/20/20 side view of bridges - 2014 GGG 1/20/20 check arrow right side - 2015
GGG 1/20/20 closeup w/arrow - 2016 GGG 1/20/20 BNSF 6505 EB on bridge - 2017 GGG 1/20/20 same toward Oro Grande - 2018

updated: January 29, 2020

New: 1/24/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 4
Marc & I decided to go find a way into the other (North) side of the BNSF Mojave River Bridges. Turns out, it was an easy drive & find.  The roads all belong  to either the BLM, the electrical transmission Corp, or the Calportland Cement Company in Oro Grande, and are reasonably maintained.

However, and as always one must have respect for the Desert --- a well maintained high clearance vehicle and adequate water are mandated.  In season, total respect for rattle snakes, the heat & all of the creepy crawling desert critters is mandatory.   GGG / MF
GGG 1/24/20 edited Google map - 2019 GGG 1/24/20 just enlarge to see the details and description - 2020 GGG 1/24/20 BNSF 6846 is EB past our old photographic area (arrow) - 2021
# 2019 & 2020: Leaving Victimville we traveled North via I-15. After crossing the Mojave River, we turned onto Stoddard-Wells road & drove north to Quarry Rd. West on Quarry road until intercepting the power line roads and followed one of them South.
Since we were looking and shooting South, most images will be back-lit.
MF 1/24/20 BNSF 6846 EB crosses . . - 2022 MF 1/24/20 . . the Mojave River and . . - 2023 MF 1/24/20 proceeds on to Oro Grande - 2024
MF 1/24/20 BNSF 6854 is EB @ MP 34 - 2025 MF 1/24/20 UP 9008? is WB at MP 35 - 2026 MF 1/24/20 see text above - 2027
# 2027: We were told that the markers & fence (arrows) are the northern property boundary of BNSF land.  If the new bridges and mainlines are to be built here, it is a very, very narrow corridor from which numerous HUGE boulders must be removed.
MF 1/24/20 Preparatory work . . - 2028 MF 1/24/20 . . near the existing . . - 2029 GGG-MF 1/24/20 . . bridge abutments. - 2030
GGG 1/24/20 BNSF 8146 EB @ MP 34.4 - 2031 GGG 1/24/20 BNSF 8276 EB @ MP 34 - 2032 GGG 1/24/20 same train on bridge - 2033
GGG 1/24/20 BNSF 4575 WB at MP 33 - 2034 GGG 1/24/20 same BNSF WB - 2035 GGG 1/24/20 same on bridge MP 34.5 - 2036

updated: February 18, 2020

New: 2/12/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 5
our 12 Feb 2020 documentation of the BNSF RR replacement of its Mojave River Bridges at BNSF Cajon Sub at MP 34.1
Here are 2 interesting links:
Ames Construction | Ames Construction | General Contractor

https://www.herzog.com/innovation/continuous-welded-rail-distribution-machine/
GGG 2/12/20 edited Google Map - 2037 GGG 2/12/20 - 2038 GGG 2/12/20 - 2039
# 2037: An edited Google map showing our Northern & Southern Photo spots.
These are COMPASS directions and do not refer to the directions of RR travel.
From the SOUTHERN PHOTO AREA
# 2038: The classic view of the bridges.  We talked to four employees of the General contractor --- Ames construction.  These gents confirmed that they will build TWO replacement MAIN LINE BRIDGES to the RIGHT - and a temporary construction bridge to the LEFT of the EXISTING BRIDGES.
# 2039: A LONG shot of our NORTHERN PHOTO AREA--in an around the two tall vertical poles in the middle of the picture. 
GGG 2/12/20 - 2040 GGG 2/12/20 - 2041 GGG 2/12/20 - 2042
From The NORTHERN PHOTO AREA
# 2040: The MIGHTY MOJAVE RIVER in all its GLORY.  The RIVER is one of the few that flow North and when the CoE must, on rare occasion, open the Silverwood Dam, flooding is the rule.
# 2041-2042: Two views of the footings for the Temporary Construction Bridge.
GGG 2/12/20 - 2043 GGG 2/12/20 - 2044 GGG 2/12/20 - 2045
# 2043-2045: UP 8084 & DPU's cross the Mojave River Bridge and continue to Barstow.
GGG 2/12/20 - 2046 GGG 2/12/20 - 2047 GGG 2/12/20 - 2048
# 2046-2047: Preparations for the Southern approach to the new Bridges.
# 2048-2049: From just COMPASS North of the existing Bridges, the new ROW will be on this side of the existing tracks.
GGG 2/12/20 - 2049 GGG 2/12/20 - 2050 GGG 2/12/20 - 2051
# 2050-2051: BNSF 6892 is (RAILROAD EB) @ MP 34.1 -- toward Oro Grande & Barstow.
GGG 2/12/20 - 2052 GGG 2/12/20 - 2053 GGG 2/12/20 - 2054
# 2052-2053: BNSF 6892 has crossed the Mojave River and heads to Oro Grande & Barstow.
# 2054: Some drilling in the rocky area which will become the new RoW.  Interesting was the 'EVIDENT' number of workers vs the number of supervisors??
GGG 2/12/20 - 2055 GGG 2/12/20 - 2056 GGG 2/12/20 - 2057
# 2055-2056: The CAJON ROVER II and the local scenery at the NORTHERN PHOTO area.
# 2057-2058: The homeless / Squatter encampment on the North side of the Mojave River.
GGG 2/12/20 - 2058 GGG 2/12/20 - 2059 GGG 2/12/20 - 2060
# 2059-2060: BNSF 7359 rail train & the Herzog RUM (Rail Unloading Machine) working in the Oro Grande, CA siding - Near the CalPortland Cement plant. (See direct link above)

updated: February 23, 2020

New: 2/21/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 6
On Friday 2/21, Marc & I drove to the Compass North side of the BNSF Mojave River Bridges in an attempt to answer our one BURNING question: What is AMES Construction going to do with ALL the HUGE BOULDERS which litter the project area? Actually, it turned into the RAILFAN's perfect day with VERY HEAVY rail traffic --- AND our Boulders question was answered.   MF & GGG
 
Despite my sincere advice that Ames should use the ROADRUNNER CARTOON method and call the ACME BOULDER BUSTER Corporation for help --- they decided to use their own equipment.
MF 2/21/20 BNSF 7312 is EB through . . - 2067 MF 2/21/20 . . . the construction area - 2068 MF 2/21/20 BNSF 7849 is WB @ MP34.2 - 2069
MF 2/21/20 So, Ames sent in their own "Caterpillar HAMMER". . . . - 2070 MF 2/21/20 . . . Obviously, the Boulders didn't stand a chance. - 2071 MF 2/21/20 The newly cleared (or being cleared) Right Of Way (ROW). - 2072
MF 2/21/20 The newly cleared (or being cleared) Right Of Way (ROW). - 2073 MF 2/21/20 Two of the HAMMER doing its thing---making small rocks outta Boulders. - 2074 MF 2/21/20 Two of the HAMMER doing its thing---making small rocks outta Boulders. - 2075
MF 2/21/20 BNSF 3753 is WB through the area.
- 2076
MF 2/21/20 BNSF 3753 is WB through the area.
- 2077
MF 2/21/20 Concrete pour - footings for temporary construction bridge - 2078
MF 2/21/20 Concrete pour - footings for temporary construction bridge - 2079 MF 2/21/20 Work on new ROW - 2080 MF 2/21/20 We have absolutely no idea what function this contraption serves - 2081
MF 2/21/20 BNSF 7312 EB MP 34 - 2082 MF 2/21/20 BNSF 7312 EB on bridge - 2083 MF 2/21/20 BNSF 6738 is WB MP 34 - 2084
MF 2/21/20 BNSF 6598 WB & 7046 EB meet MP 34.5 - 2085 MF 2/21/20 BNSF 7046 East passes the BNSF WB intermodal - 2086 MF 2/21/20 BNSF 7046 East crosses the Mojave River - 2087

 

More photos of our BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project.
In the meantime (9/27), we did already reach Part 26.
Here is our new site for this project (Part 1 to Part 26): click here.

updated: March 9, 2020

New: 3/04/20 Bruce "Doc" Jones Photography
# 2102: A large BNSF tie replacement project between Victorville and Hesperia. This photo was taken just RailRoad East of DA DUMP.
BHJ 4/03/20 BNSF 6808 EB at Summit - 2100 BHJ 4/03/20 BNSF 7026 EB at Summit - 2101 BHJ 4/03/20 Tie Replacement at Hesperia - 2102

updated: June 9, 2020

New: 5/26/20 Huge Schnabel heavy lift / transporter rail car passes Cajon Pass
As most already know, a large & radioactive pressure vessel, from the now deactivated San-Onofre, CA nuclear power generation plant, was moved to Utah via Cajon Pass on 05-26-2020. The San Diego Union Tribune story is below:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/story/2020-04-30/a-770-ton-chunk-of-the-san-onofre-nuclear-power-plant-is-getting-shipped-to-utah

The vessel was transported on a HUGE Schnabel heavy lift / transporter rail car.  GGG & MF
# 2263-2266: Were taken by Marc at  OLD KEENBROOK RD on the Cajon Sub.
MF 5/26/20 The description of a similar car.
2262
MF 5/26/20 BNSF EB at old Keenbrook road.
2263
MF 5/26/20 Huge Schnabel Car.
2264
MF 5/26/20 - 2265 MF 5/26/20 - 2266 MF 5/26/20 copyright by Virtual Rail Fan - 2267
# 2267: Is a screen capture I did from Virtual Rail Fan as the train slowly crept through Barstow. BTW, it took seven hours for the train to travel between Lugo / W. Hesperia to Barstow.

updated: June 9, 2020

New: 6/01/20 Molly Brown's Country Cafe "DA DUMP" is open again in Victorville, CA
Howdy from Victimville:
I broke down - I admit it. I couldn't wait to visit the newly reopened DA DUMP. Laura & I , after a quick trip "down the hill",  braved the virus & civil unrest to have lunch at our favorite cafe. 
It appears that Molly made good use of the closure---the cafe, while always clean, is IMMACULATE.  The booths now have vertical plexiglass extensions, on the seat-backs, to further isolate diners.  Most importantly, the food was up to their usual high standard & there was a fair amount of RAILROAD traffic on the BNSF Transcon.  GGG & LMG

And all is well in GGG's small world!
# 2269: Obviously taken by a non-photographer, Laura & I enjoy our FIRST DA DUMP meal in 2-3 months.
LMG 4/03/20 GGG giving thanks that DA DUMP survived the turmoil. - 2268 4/03/20 Laura and Gary enjoy their meal
2269
LMG 4/03/20 GGG in his favorite outside smoking area - 2270

updated: July 21, 2020

New: 7/20/20 Molly Brown's Country Cafe "DA DUMP" is open outside only in Victorville, CA
As in many other places the State of California has, due to COVID-19, 'outlawed' INSIDE dining in all eating establishments. Many of these businesses have developed innovative ways to stay in business. 
 
Yesterday, Marc told us that DA DUMP (Molly Brown's Country Cafe in Hesperia) was fighting back against the virus. So, after an appointment today 'down the hill', Laura & I decided to stop by & grab a few images. Since we had already been in the heat, we did not dine there today---.  We plan to eat there soon, but in the early AM -- before it hits 100F.
GGG
GGG 7/20/20 Overview of "Da Dump" Molly Brown's Country Cafe - 2358
GGG 7/20/20 outside dining area - 2359 GGG 7/20/20 outside is allowed to eat - 2360 GGG 7/20/20 BNSF WB passing Da Dump - 2361

updated: July 23, 2020

New: 7/21/20 Derailment at San Bernardino, CA
On July 21, BNSF experienced a relatively minor derailment of an EB TOFC leaving the San Bernardino yard. Marc happened to be in the area and took a few images.
# 2363 - 2364:
show the leftmost involved car & trailer on their sides, the second trailer load partially destroyed and the third car/load derailed but still upright. The cars evidently 'picked' a switch.  MF / GGG
MF 7/21/20 - 2362 MF 7/21/20 - 2363 MF 7/21/20 - 2364

updated: August 4, 2020

New: 7/29/20 A visit to Hill 582 and Silverwood
Decided, that since I had not been down to Hill 582 nor seen Don Toles in a long while, I'd ride along with Marc. We left early since Mojave Temperatures have, for the last week, topped 100F ---- daily. Early rail traffic was light but picked-up later in the AM. To answer several list members who have asked about Don Toles, he looks and acts as always -- GREAT.
MF 7/29/20 - 2365
A four hours late AMT #3 is WB on BNSF MT-3
MF 7/29/20 - 2366
AMT #3 is WB with AMT #42 (Veterans unit).
GGG 7/29/20 - 2367
Ed, Marc, Don J., & DET
GGG 7/29/20 - 2368
Don and his 'water wagon'
MF 7/29/20 - 2369
DET, GGG & ED
GGG 7/29/20 - 2370
DET tending his Hill
MF 7/29/20 - 2371
BNSF 7940 is EB past Hill 582 on MT-1
MF 7/29/20 - 2372
BNSF 7940 is EB past Hill 582
MF 7/29/20 - 2373
BNSF 7940 is EB past Hill 582
MF 7/29/20 - 2374
BNSF 5223 is WB past Hill 582 on MT.2
MF 7/29/20 - 2375
BNSF 5075 is EB before Hill 582 on MT-1
MF 7/29/20 - 2376
 A nice scene. Mom (Allison) brings her 6 y/o railfan son (Chase) to do some train watching at Hill 582.
After leaving Hill 582, we noticed a train EB on BNSF MT #3 and the signals indicated a SB on the UP W. Colton-Palmdale cut-off.  So, we left the USFS/ UP road a climbed to an electrical tower above UP CP Silverwood.  Pictures #14-#21 follow the slow 3% grade climb of BNSF 8023 and the slow decent of UP 2685 in Cajon.
MF 7/29/20 - 2377
 A nice scene. Mom (Allison) brings her 6 y/o railfan son (Chase) to do some train watching at Hill 582.
MF 7/29/20 - 2378
BNSF 8023 (6 units) slowly climbs MT-3 toward Silverwood with Hill 582 in the background
MF 7/29/20 - 2379
BNSF East is on MT-3 while UP 2685 South descends on the UP/SP cutoff
MF 7/29/20 - 2380
UP 8815 mid-train DPU for UP 2685 South on UPT
MF 7/29/20 - 2381
Looking over the UP, BNSF 8023 approaches Silverwood
MF 7/29/20 - 2382
UP 2685 Heads downhill towards Hill 582 on UPT (Palmdale cutoff)
MF 7/29/20 - 2383
UP 2685 Heads downhill towards Hill 582 while BNSF 8023 continues its climb.
MF 7/29/20 - 2384
Looking over the UP, BNSF 8023 approaches Silverwood
MF 7/29/20 - 2385
 Hill 582 surrounded by trains on MT-2 above and MT-3 below.

updated: September 20, 2020

New: 9/16/20 UP train w/special heavy load on Hill 582
On sept. 16, Marc & I joined Spike & John (NASA B-747 SOFIA pilot and flight engineer) on a smoky Hill 582.

It was a routine rail traffic day on the Hill until a UP train passed NB on the UP / SP Palmdale cutoff. That UP train had FIVE working units pulling about 30 - eight axle flats. The loads resembled Wind Turbine nacelles but were much larger than the nacelles we've seen in the past.

A  bit of image manipulation revealed the VESTAS LOGO - which none of us were real familiar with!  Vestas - Wikipedia

So, these loads were brand new and, obviously, very heavy wind turbines probably destined for the "Tehachapi Wind Turbine Forest".  Our research was further confirmed when, on the next day, Spike saw this same train being unloaded in Mojave, CA.  I must venture over to the T-hatch to see exactly what kind of super tower is needed to support these monsters.
GGG 9/16/20 - 2449
UP NB w/5 units and 30 flat cars
GGG 9/16/20 - 2450
Special load for wind turbines
GGG 9/16/20 - 2451
VESTAS Logo (check Wikipedia)

updated: May 3, 2020

Don Winslow Photography of Cajon and BNSF Needles Sub (Mojave Desert)
Don Winslow of Glendora, CA is sharing his great photos with us. These do not only include Cajon Pass, but also the BNSF Needles Sub and are not sorted by date or location.  Thank you for sharing - GGG
We are listing his photos the way Don is sending these to GGG (usually 3 in a row per week)
DW-127 5/12/18 BNSF 7697 at Cajon DW-128 6/02/18 BNSF 7713 at Cajon DW-129 5/12/18 BNSF 7730 at Cajon
DW-130 5/12/18 BNSF 7322 at Cajon DW-131 6/02/18 BNSF 7342 at Cozy Dell DW-132 11/17/15 BNS 7389 at Klondike
DW-133 11/14/17 BNSF 4196 at Piscah DW-134 8/18/18 BNSF 8349 at Cozy Dell DW-135 4/27/19 BNSF 8799 at Cozy Dell
DW-136 6/02/18 BNSF 4176 at Cajon DW-137 5/05/18 BNSF 4268 at Cozy Dell DW-138 1/27/12 BNSF 6629 at Ludlow
DW-139 8/05/10 BNSF 7687 at Siberia DW-140 3/20/10 BNSF 7701 at Hill 582 DW-141 11/13/17 BNSF 8151 at West Ash Hill
DW-142 11/21/09 BNSF 4193 Ludlow Curve DW-143 6/09/13 BNSF 7532 WB at SWC DW-144 10/21/10 BNSF 7575 at Amboy
DW-145 8/18/18 BNSF 5234 at Cozy Dell DW-146 11/03/18 BNSF 5258 at Cajon DW-147 5/26/18 BNSF 7593 at Cajon
DW-148 11/12/10 BNSF 7531 at Bagdad DW-149 10/21/10 BNSF 7547 at Ash Hill DW-150 8/03/10 BNSF 7576 at Hill 582
DW-151 11/09/12 BNSF 5037 at Bagdad DW-152 5/05/18 BNSF 5056 at Cozy Dell DW-153 3/27/10 BNSF 5101 at Lavic
DW-154 5/26/18 BNSF 7795 at Cajon DW-155 3/02/16 BNSF 7810 at Bagdad DW-156 6/09/13 BNSF 7846 at SWC
DW-157 7/14/18 Amtrak 197 at SWC DW-158 11/27/09 BNSF 4154 at W. Ash Hill DW-159 1/27/12 BNSF 4331 at Ludlow
DW-160 11/09/12 BNSF 7478 at Bagdad DW-161 3/27/10 BNSF 7500 at Lavic DW-162 10/21/10 BNSF 7575 at Amboy
DW-163 7/28/18 BNSF 7757 at Cozy Dell DW-164 10/26/19 BNSF 7762 at Cajon DW-165 7/28/18 BNSF at Cozy Dell
DW-166 10/12/18 BNSF 6707 at Cozy Dell DW-167 2/24/19 BNSF 7148 at Hill 582 DW-168 12/29/18 UP 2625 at SWC
DW-169 1/18/18 BNSF 6548 at Ludlow DW-170 3/20/10 BNSF 6601 at Hill 582 DW-171 4/27/19 BNSF 6769 at Cozy Dell
DW-172 11/14/17 BNSF 144 at Pisgah DW-173 7/14/18 BNSF 3754 at Cozy Dell DW-174 4/14/18 BNSF 6204 at Cajon
DW-175 3/27/10 BNSF 7639 at Lavic DW-176 6/02/18 BNSF 7713 at Cajon DW-177 6/09/18 BNSF 7744 at Cozy Dell

 Bonus Photos - non Cajon Pass
updated: 5/03/20

New: 5/01/20 Bruce "Doc" Jones Photography
I took a nice "COVID escape" trip up to Tehachapi on Friday (May 1). Nice to be out. I even caught a few trains.
BHJ 5/01/20 UP SB at Caliente - 2178 BHJ 5/01/20 BNSF EB at Bealville - 2179 BHJ 5/01/20 BNSF EB at The Loop - 2180

 

New: 2/02/20 - Photography by Ryan Slaton
Ryan Slaton is famous for his outstanding photos. Thank you for sharing with us - GGG & WM
It has been sometime since I sent out my last photo email and much has changed since then but not much new on the photo front.
And finally my first photos of 2020... (RS-2004 and 2005).
Ryan
RS-2001: Starting by going way back in time to July 19th, 2009. In a scene that can no longer be repeated Santa Fe 656 leads a westbound double stack out of Mojave at the now gone MP377 signal bridge. I didn't have a good handle on taking pictures at the time but a little photoshop help and B&W conversion helped to make it passable RS-2002: Searchlights, code-line, and a Wyoming sunset...only wish I had a train! Even so it was a beautiful way to end the day at Hermosa, WY on July 20th, 2016.
RS-2003: SRRR 4155 (ex-Rio Grande 5395) and 4200 (an ex-KCS SD40) switch Holly/Cheyenne Rail tanks at the lower yard's loop trackage near the UP interchange on Feb. 12th, 2019.
RS-2004: Running in a 2x4x3 power configuration BNSF's northbound E SLPBKM 012D is on this day a 241 car 'doubled' empty coal bucket which has just received a fresh crew and again on the pull north towards the Powder River Basin. BNSF 5611-8431-9633 make up the rear dupes while BNSF 8413-9122-5745-8905 have 'swing' duty and can be seen in the distance. (01.25.2020) RS-2005: And finally with clouds lingering in the background UP 7520 leads an 'extra' Hinkle, OR to North Platte, NE manifest up Sherman Hill and through the searchlight installation at the top (east) end of Hermosa, WY. There are still four searchlight installations between Laramie and Granite on the Laramie Sub and as of today all four show no outward signs of pending replacement. Long live the searchlights. (also 01.25.2020)

updated: March 9, 2020

New: 3/01/20 - Western Pacific on the leap day - Photography by Ryan Slaton
This morning I had to make a trip over the hill to Laramie and as luck would have it UP 1983 (WP heritage) was leading the eastbound IOANP so a few photos were in order, with a few others included.  Ryan
RS-2006: UP 7842 (one unit wonder!) has nearly achieved the summit of Archer Hill, the sun having only just begun to climb above the horizon. (07.08.2019) RS-2007: Looking the other direction UP 7842 east (ILBG3) will shortly meet UP 8560 west (MNPNY) at Archer, Wyoming. (07.08.2019)
RS-2008: For those who I have not told yet Swan Ranch is running me through 'engine service' so knock on wood in another month I will be a certified engineer :} Swan Ranch has three EMD SD40 series motors including a former Rio Grande SD40T-2...here is a shot of the 4155 (ex-DRGW 5395) from January 2020. RS-2009: Swan's other two SD40s (4200 and 4184) hold the 109 with 25 loads of EOG 100mesh frac-sand, which is being unloaded.
RS-2010: Sunlight was hard to come by this morning with lots of clouds about but I did manage to find some sun in Laramie. This is 'center' Laramie, W567, which is the control point at the west end of Laramie's yard. W567 is still protected by searchlights, as a sharp eye will spot, but unlike the searchlights at Hermosa and Granite these signals are largely 'Frankenstein-ed' together. RS-2011: After Laramie I ran up to the tunnels at Hermosa, the east side of the tunnels appeared to be the entrance to an igloo.

updated: May 3, 2020

New: 5/02/20 - May 2nd in 2009 & 2010 & 2019 - Photography by Ryan Slaton
I hope everyone has been doing well under the present conditions! I'm still working but like most of the railroad industry our business has slowed somewhat, however things are still going great at Swan Ranch.
It has been sometime since I last sent out a photo email, there has certainly been a lack of desire lately to take new ones but lately I have been going through some of my older photos and have here a handful of steam photos to share. One thing all six photos have in common, aside from steam, was that they were all taken on May the 2nd.  Ryan
RS-2012 On a beautiful May 2nd, 2010 Santa Fe 3751 is returning home following a weekend excursion to San Diego. Here the big 4-8-4 gets to stretch its legs running west along San Clemente State Beach. RS-2013 Bringing up the 3751 San Diegan special's markers was the once familiar Silver Solarium. The private railcar business has changed a lot since this photo was taken 10 years ago! (10 years?!?!?)
RS-2014 Union Pacific 844 eastbound in the Feather River Canyon on May 2nd, 2009. It was pouring down rain for most of the morning, as was the case as 844 passed through the Honeymoon Tunnels west of Belden, California. RS-2015 May 2nd, 2019 saw Big Boy 4014's return to the mainline under steam. Having shoved out the east end of Cheyenne yard the 4014 now moves west on P3 towards 511.
RS-2016 With the steam shop and C&S bridge providing a classic 'Tower A' backdrop 4014 leaves Cheyenne westbound on three track. RS-2017 And finally after a brief service stop at Speer 4014 now has a light off the east leg of the wye and onto the Greeley Subdivision. This break-in run would ultimately see 4014 run down to Nunn, Colorado all in preparation for the big trip to Ogden. The late hour of the break-in run provided some truly unique settings in which to photograph the reborn 4000, in the case of this photo the light was provided by the bright headlights on a MGRNY manifest holding the west leg of the wye.

updated: June 14, 2020

New: 6/14/20 - A whole lot of SP Heritage - 6/2015 & 6/2020 - Photography by Ryan Slaton
Hope everyone is doing well. It has been awhile since my last email and I have some news to report. For those who don't know I spent two weeks in Birmingham, Alabama back in May attending Watco's engineer school. Since returning I finished my needed OJT and running hours and I am happy to report that Wednesday June 10th, 2020 (after passing my certification ride) I received my 'engine date'. That's right I finally achieved my goal of becoming an engineer. While I originally believed UP would be signing me off as an engineer I am also happy to report I am still loving Watco/Swan Ranch Railroad.
From what I hear from my friends still hanging on at UP things are not yet getting any better. Between PSR and the COVID related slow downs I would be furloughed right now (if I was still at UP) and it sounds like I'd be cut off by at least 40. 12 years of seniority is what it takes to hold a road turn out of Cheyenne right now! Sure glad I am not having to deal with/worry about any of that!
On the photo front I had not touched my camera in over two months, that is until yesterday. I received word from a good friend that the SP heritage motor was leading a westbound North Platte, Nebraska to North Yard (Denver), Colorado manifest. We got a slightly early quit yesterday so I figured going after 1996 would be a fun way to spend the afternoon. Attached are my photos from yesterday's outing in western Nebraska, which spilled over into this morning! I also included a photo I took of 1996 while attending brakeman class for UP, 5 years ago almost to the day!
RS-2018: UP 1996 (with SPatch 6236 second motor) at Pine Bluffs, Wyoming on June 9th, 2015. RS-2019: UP 8901 west at Lodgepole, Nebraska...running 1x1xFred.
RS-2020: UP 5599 west at Chappell, Nebraska. RS-2021: I did not see one eastbound train between Cheyenne and Chappell so of course when one did finally show up it arrived just as 1996 did. Such is life photographing trains in double main territory!!!
RS-2022: Between Colton and Sidney with US30 (Lincoln Highway) along the north side. RS-2023: Point of Rocks, Nebraska...and yes the healthy coat of road grime is apart of the SP heritage colors.
RS-2024: Last shot of the day was at the east end of Owasco, Nebraska. Sun would set before 1996 touched Wyoming. RS-2025: This morning a friend informed me that since I had let 1996 go the night before it had just barely departed Cheyenne...so in roughly 14 hours it had traveled 50 miles! It did also have to work Cheyenne yard, which I'm guessing is where most of its time was lost. Go PSR !!!
So for my trouble I got a few more photos this morning of 1996 in northern Colorado, here it is hustling through Pierce.

updated: July 6, 2020

New: 7/05/20 - Back when the Circus came to Town (2010-2016) - Photography by Ryan Slaton
Only a few years ago late June/early July usually meant a handful of appearances by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey trains in Southern California. The circus train made its final call in California in 2016 before the tent folded for good in 2017, attached are few favorites from Tehachapi, all as it so happens of the 'blue unit' train. Also three other 'oldies' pulled out of the archives.  Ryan
RS-2026: Westbound at MP 377, above Mojave, between shows in Tucson, Arizona and Fresno, California. (07.05.2010) RS-2027: Another view at 377. When I took this picture 10 years ago I knew the day would come that the signal bridge would no longer be around. Would have never imagined the circus train would promptly follow it into history. (07.05.2010)
RS-2028: Westbound at Cable, SPXFR-01 (Phoenix, AZ to Fresno, CA) on July 2nd, 2014. RS-2029: And then it was gone! This was my last photo of the circus train as its wrapped around Clear Creek Ravine between Cliff and Bealville. Train was being ferried between shows in New Orleans, Louisiana and Fresno, California. This was also the train's last appearance in the Tehachapis. (06.30.2016)
RS-2030: KCS 4696 at MP 377 with a military move...pool is cool. (07.01.2010) RS-2031: UP 5444 westbound between tunnels 2 and 1 on Tehachapi (between Allard and Caliente). (07.31.2010)
RS-2032: I was reminded of this day recently, a hike up above Shed 47 and Donner Lake with my good friends Larry and Metal Mike. This westbound blade train is about to enter Shed 47, only time I've seen any kind of wind-turbine train on Donner. (07.31.2011)

updated: August 4, 2020

New: 7/26/20 -  Pool is Cool - (2014-2020) - Photography by Ryan Slaton
As a good friend of mine likes to say, pool is cool. With that in mind here are a few images of some 'pool power' leaders from over the years.
RS-2033: The best BNSF consists are those with no orange and this one here will be hard to top. NS 8102 (Pennsy heritage) westbound at Pisgah, California with the Q NYCLAC. (02.03.2014) RS-2034: All red at the Cable Cross-over KCS 4767 holds for its turn on the single track beyond Cable. In the meantime 4767's conductor has stepped down to roll by UP 7501 east, the ZLTLC. (06.03.2014)
RS-2035: CSX 'big 6' 626 leads the eastbound MFRWC at Warren. (04.22.2015) RS-2036: CSX 304 westbound at Lugo, California on Cajon Pass. I didn't keep good notes on this train other than its symbol OGDCL, to the best of my memory it was an empty 'ore' train moving from Utah to Arizona. (07.03.2016)
RS-2037: Crappy weather for a neat consist! KCS tier-IV 5021 leads a trio of EMDs on BNSF's H LAUDEN at Owl Canyon, Colorado on BNSF's Front Range Subdivision (ex-C&S between Cheyenne and Denver). The Southern Belle scheme is always nice but I was more interested in those Santa Fe colors holding on 4th out. (03.08.2020)

updated: September 9, 2020

New: 9/07/20 -  Happy Labor Day - (2017 and 2020) - Photography by Ryan Slaton
Greetings. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their Labor Day weekend, especially if like me you have today off.

I'm sure all my California friends are tired of the heat and fires by now! We've got a few here in Wyoming and some big ones down in Colorado as well. Today the high is supposed to be 85 with sunshine and tomorrow the high is only supposed to be 30 with 4-8 inches of snow here in Cheyenne. I guess the one nice thing about it is it should help with the fires out here if their predictions are true.

Work has been good and I'm still loving things at Swan Ranch. I'm one of two engineers at Swan Ranch and since we've been running one crew vs. two me and the other engineer are swapping off every other week, which has been nice. A lot of our business at the first of the year centered around the energy market/oil field which has been slow to recover. But we are staying busy, getting at least 8 hours a day, so I can't complain.
   Ryan
RS-2038: UP 5286 westbound at Norden. (01.13.2017) RS-2039: Amtrak's California Zephyr eastbound at Soda Springs as the sky burns with the day's last light. (01.13.2017) 
RS-2040: BNSF's Pasadena Sub local at Glendora, California with GP60 177 and GP60M 104. Recently I viewed a few pictures online of the progress being made to extend the Metro through Glendora. The old siding here was being pulled up, the cantilever was still in place but removed from service, and much of the code-line removed. Looking back, I'm glad that I, along with a few friends, made the effort to photograph this scene on the old Second District. Not just for the cantilever but also for the properly painted locomotives. (01.30.2017) RS-2041:

The odd couple climbing Archer Hill. UP 1988 was leading a 1x1x1 MPDNPB with a Metro North (commuter) Railroad motor from MPI in Boise, Idaho catching a ride as 'manifest'. (07.31.2020)
RS-2042: Yesterday I went on a little road trip which included a few hours trackside west of Guernsey, Wyoming on BNSF's Canyon Subdivision. This line, which as I understand is former CB&Q, is one of BNSF's links to the Powder River Basin. Here BNSF 6034 leads eastbound coal loads out of tunnel 1. (09.06.2020) RS-2043: Finally, the last train of the day for me was westbound empty buckets led by BNSF 9107. In the distance you can see the large bridge over the North Platte River and the small town of Guernsey. All the fires in Colorado and Wyoming made for some hazy conditions but it was still a nice day in Wyoming. (09.06.2020)

 

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