TRAINMASTER BY WERNER MEER  US-RAILROAD-SHOP KILCHBERG
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updated: June 21, 2021: Photos 2782 to 2787 (Part 57)

Cajon Pass Sub
BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement Project
MP 34.1 at East Victorville, CA
2020/2021

I am very pleased to show some exclusive photos of these photographers:
Gary G. Gray (GGG), Marc Fournier (MF).


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.

Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, WB = West Bound, MT-1 = BNSF Main Track 1, MT-2 = BNSF Main Track 2, MP = Mile Post, DPU = Distributed Power Unit (Helpers)

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

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

updated: March 9, 2020

New: 3/04/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 7
Wednesday (3/04), Marc & I hosted Spike & Doc Jones on a quick trip to the North Side of the BNSF Mojave Bridge Replacement Project.  MF & GGG
MF 3/04/20 - 2088 MF 3/04/20 - 2089 MF 3/04/20 - 2090
# 2088 - 2091: Marc followed BNSF 7009 East from the CEMEX Cement plant in Victorville to crossing the Mojave River Bridges. NOTE: in # 2091 note the newly poured Southern footings of the replacement bridges (bottom center).
MF 3/04/20 - 2091 MF 3/04/20 A closeup of the above mentioned Southern footings. - 2092 MF 3/04/20 Drilling for the North side footings. - 2093
MF 3/04/20 Newly poured Construction Bridge footings / supports - 2094 MF 3/04/20 The many boulders have been "busted" and removed . . .  - 2095 MF 3/04/20 . . . allowing work on the new Right of Way (ROW). - 2096
MF 3/04/20 BNSF 6752 is WB . . . - 2097 MF 3/04/20 . . . passing through the . . . - 2098 MF 3/04/20 . . . construction area. - 2099

updated: March 29, 2020

New: 3/25/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 8
Wednesday (march 25), Marc & I braved the Killer Flu & Government  "SIT & STAY", orders to continue our documentation of the BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT.   MF & GGG
MF 3/25/20 Forms for the Southern mainline bridge abutment are being built. - 2103 MF 3/25/20 This abutment will evidently be a HUGE hunk of reinforced concrete. - 2104 MF 3/25/20 Surveying for the Northern Abutment is underway - 2105
MF 3/25/20 Concrete supports for the temporary construction bridge are curing. - 2106 MF 3/25/20 Concrete supports for the temporary construction bridge are curing. - 2107 MF 3/25/20 see text below - 2108
# 2108: We wondered; for what exotic reason was the trench cut. Seems it's a simple way to keep construction debris from polluting the Mighty Mojave River. Just in front of the right hand pier, it appears that work is underway for the Northern supports of the construction bridge.
MF 3/25/20 BNSF 4238 East approaches & crosses the the Mojave River. - 2109 MF 3/25/20 BNSF 4238 East approaches & crosses the the Mojave River. - 2110 MF 3/25/20 BNSF 4238 East approaches &  crosses the the Mojave River. - 2111
MF 3/25/20 - 2112 MF 3/25/20 - 2113 MF 3/25/20 - 2114
# 2112: What the appropriately dressed Ames Construction Superintendent drives for a work vehicle---yeah, it's pink.
# 2113-2117: After the Boulder Basher does it's thing, a wheeled Front End Loader loads the rocks & dirt, backs across the mainline and deposits its load into a home-made DIRT / ROCK separator.  The dirt is being "Banked" to help build the sub-roadbed for the new alignment.
MF 3/25/20 - 2115 MF 3/25/20 - 2116 MF 3/25/20 - 2117

updated: April 10, 2020

New: 4/07/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 9
It truly was a COOL, DARK, RAINY, and BREEZY day last Tuesday (April 7).  Even with clouds of the KILLER VIRUS swirling around us,  we decided to visit the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project. MF & GGG
 # 2120: THE BIG PICTURE! Shows the new Southern abutment being formed (upper left), the concrete foundations for the temporary construction bridge (middle), and what will be the Northern ROW to / from the new Bridge (right middle).
MF 4/07/20 The Big Picture (see above) - 2130 MF 4/07/20 The Southern foundation with a heavy rebar cage, . . . - 2131 MF 4/07/20 . . . . is in place for the abutment.
2132
# 2133-2135: The first wooden panel for the abutment form is lifted into place. Obviously, the wooden form pieces will surround the rebar cage and then filled with concrete.
MF 4/07/20 - 2133 MF 4/07/20 see large vertical photo - 2134 MF 4/07/20 - 2135
MF 4/07/20 The Northern ROW approach to new bridge - 2136 MF 4/07/20 Finished foundations for the temporary construction bridge - 2137 MF 4/07/20 BNSF 7338 WB at Oro Grande, awaits permission to enter the construction area - 2138

updated: April 19, 2020

New: 4/16/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 10
April 16, Marc & I visited both ends of the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project. There has not been much visible progress since our visit last week, but the trains were moving.  MF & GGG
From the NORTH END of the project here is PART ONE.
MF 4/16/20 The Southern Abutment--We could not tell if concrete had been poured into the vertical forms but the forms are being strengthened and built higher. - 2142 MF 4/16/20 Drilling into bedrock for the new Northern Abutment foundation is underway. - 2143 MF 4/16/20 Clearance of boulders for the Northern (RR East of bridges) ROW is near completion. - 2144
MF 4/16/20 BNSF 7766 is WB to the bridges at MP34. - 2145 MF 4/16/20 BNSF 7766 WB at MP33.5 - 2146 MF 4/16/20 BNSF 6660 WB bare table at MP34 - 2147
MF 4/16/20 BNSF 6660 West approaches & crosses the Mojave River Bridges. - 2148 MF 4/16/20 Note the relative position of the new Southern Abutment to the existing Bridges. - 2149 MF 4/16/20 BNSF 6660 West (far track-bare table) is stopped while BNSF 7302 East (near track) approaches the bridges. - 2150
We drove around to the SOUTHERN VIEW POINT to see if we could picture both the existing BNSF Mojave River bridges and the construction of their replacement in one frame .
MF 4/16/20 Now looking generally North, the under construction Southern Abutment.

2151
MF 4/16/20 BNSF 6956 West crosses the River.  The positional relationship between the old & new bridges is obvious.  The "CAT" Pneumatic HAMMER (Boulder Buster) had continuously worked, in the pictured one place, for the two hours we had been watching. - 2152 MF 4/16/20 This SUPER Telephoto shots & some editing magic reveals the HUGE boulder lying directly in the path of the new ROW. To give some kind of size comparison, the boulder appears to be much larger than the "CAT" machine assigned to destroy it. - 2156
New questions:  Why does the new abutment appear to be much shorter than the existing bridge--Will the new ROW be at a lower level????
Is the new bridge wide enough for the (planned) future third mainline?
MF 4/16/20 This SUPER Telephoto shot & some editing magic reveals the HUGE boulder lying directly in the path of the new ROW. To give some kind of size comparison, the boulder appears to be much larger than the "CAT" machine assigned to destroy it. - 2153 MF 4/16/20 BNSF 6956 finishes its crossing of The Mighty Mojave and heads RR West toward the Cemex Plant and Victorville. - 2154 MF 4/16/20 BNSF 6956 finishes its crossing of The Mighty Mojave and heads RR West toward the Cemex Plant and Victorville. - 2155
While having a GREAT Arby's sandwich & Coke (Coca Cola) for lunch, we deeply pondered the impossibilities of our photographic mission.

#1  It is IMPOSSIBLE to Shelter at Home while there are trains running !
#2  It is IMPOSSIBLE to use a viewfinder, focus, adjust the telephoto and photograph a rapidly moving object while wearing a preformed surgical mask !  -  #3  It is IMPOSSIBLE for us to convince anyone that we are sane !

updated: May 3, 2020

New: 4/24/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 11
Marc & I visited the BNSF Mojave Bridges Replacement Project last Friday (4/24/20) to check on progress. Since our weekly reports usually show little visible progress, we have decided to try an every other week approach to our documentation.   MF & GGG
MF 4/24/20 - 2157 MF 4/24/20 - 2158 MF 4/24/20 - 2159
# 2157-2158: While there was little VISIBLE construction progress, East Bound train traffic was heavy. UP 9033 and its DPU (UP 5297) are East Bound over the Mojave River @ MP 34.1.
# 2159-2161: This large PAD was built and compacted during the week.  We were told that the four large cement blocks will support the temporary construction ramp and bridge??? The PAD will  support the HEAVY EQUIPMENT (crane) which will eventually be needed to remove the iron superstructures of the existing bridges??????
MF 4/24/20 - 2160 MF 4/24/20 - 2161 MF 4/24/20 BNSF 7811 EB intermodal - 2162
MF 4/24/20 BNSF EB intermodal over the Mojave River bridges. - 2163 MF 4/24/20 BNSF EB rear end DPU's pushing a UP Autorack (same train) - 2164 MF 4/24/20 Equipment and "banked" dirt used for construction ramps, pads and future ROW. - 2165
MF 4/24/20 Equipment and "banked" dirt used for construction ramps, pads and future ROW. - 2166 MF 4/24/20 We have NO idea which boulders will need explosive persuasion, but at the upper left, PROTECTIVE BLASTING MATS are ready for placement.  The steel beams are for the temporary construction bridge. - 2167 MF 4/24/20 BNSF 8182 East approaches & crosses the Mojave River - 2168
MF 4/24/20 BNSF 8182 East approaches & crosses the Mojave River - 2169 MF 4/24/20 The CAT hammer drill (Boulder Buster) attachment. - 2170 MF 4/24/20 A telephoto looking at the Victorville CEMEX plant catches BNSF 8265 East (Z train-highest priority) running around BNSF 7275 East (Q train-2nd highest priority). - 2171
MF 4/24/20 Z train BNSF 8265 East approaches the Mojave River Bridges.  Note the rebar extending from the bedrock behind the Southern Abutment & just ahead of the leftmost red truck. - 2172 MF 4/24/20 A closeup of the above mentioned rebar. - 2173 MF 4/24/20 Z train BNSF 8265 continues EB after crossing the River. - 2174
MF 4/24/20 Q train BNSF 7275 is EB w two Norfolk Southern RR units, the second of which is the Norfolk & Western Heritage unit # 8103. - 2175 MF 4/24/20 Closeups of NS Heritage unit--Norfolk & Western # 8103 - 2176 MF 4/24/20 Closeups of NS Heritage unit--Norfolk & Western # 8103 - 2177

updated: May 13, 2020

New: 5/03/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 12
Last Sunday (May 5), my wife Laura joined Marc and me on a trek to both photographic spots for the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement project.   From the NORTHERN end of the project!  LMG, MF, GGG
MF 5/03/20 BNSF 7668 WB - 2178 MF 5/03/20 BNSF WB - 2179 MF 5/03/20 BNSF WB - 2180
# 2178-2182: As we arrived at the NORTHERN Photo spot, we heard the horn of a West Bound train approaching from Oro Grande. BNSF 7668 approaches & crosses the Mojave River Bridges.
MF 5/03/20 BNSF WB - 2181 MF 5/03/20 BNSF WB passing the site - 2182 MF 5/03/20 The wooden forms for the new Southern Abutment have been removed. - 2183
MF 5/03/20 Close up of new Southern Abutment. - 2184 MF 5/03/20 Rebar cages and forms for the concrete Southern approaches to the new bridge are being fabricated. - 2185 MF 5/03/20 Preparations for explosives - 2186
# 2186-2188: The bedrock which will support the new NORTHERN Abutment appears to be well above the level of the future ROW and will need "explosive reduction". Holes have been drilled, Detonation Cords and blast mats are ready for pouring of the LIQUID? explosives.
MF 5/03/20 Detonation Cords - 2187 MF 5/03/20 Blast Mats - 2188 MF 5/03/20 BNSF 6908 WB approaches & crosses the Mojave River Bridges - 2189
MF 5/03/20 BNSF 6908 WB approaches & crosses the Mojave River Bridges - 2190 MF 5/03/20 BNSF 6908 WB approaches & crosses the Mojave River Bridges - 2191 MF 5/03/20 Image of the finished heavy equipment PAD--now surrounded on three sides with safety "K" rails. - 2192
MF 5/03/20 Southern face of the Southern abutment. - 2193 MF 5/03/20 Closeup of rebar & forms for the concrete future approach to the Southern abutment. - 2194 MF 5/03/20 View of existing bridges & new Southern Abutment. - 2195
# 2196-2198: The CLASSIC BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES view with BNSF 7157 West heading toward Victorville.
MF 5/03/20 BNSF 7157 WB - 2196 MF 5/03/20 BNSF WB - 2197 MF 5/03/20 BNSF toward Victorville - 2198
# 2199-2206: While MAD MARC & I were photographing the bridges and other construction, Laura focused on the surrounding desert plants and rock formations. So, most of her images are of scenery except for: # 2207-2210.
LMG 5/03/20 - 2199 LMG 5/03/20 - 2200 LMG 5/03/20 - 2201
LMG 5/03/20 - 2202 LMG 5/03/20 - 2203 LMG 5/03/20 - 2204
LMG 5/03/20 - 2205 LMG 5/03/20 - 2206 LMG 5/03/20 GGG & the Cajon Rover - 2207
LMG 5/03/20 MAD MARC spots a train - 2208 LMG 5/03/20 The train - 2209 LMG 5/03/20 - 2210
A big thank you goes to Laura for her wonderful desert vegetation and special rock formation photographs.  Werner

updated: May 19, 2020

New: 5/14/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 13
Thursday (May 14), our neighbor & close friend Jorge L. joined Marc & me on a visit to the newly named "RATTLESNAKE ROCKS"---The North side of the BNSF Bridge Replacement Project.  -  MF & GGG
# 2211: Upon arrival, we were greeted with BNSF 4206 EB. The pictured WB stack train had "lost its air" & was stalled until air recovery . No chance was the crew going to tackle Cajon without train braking available.
# 2212-2213: To the right of the orange cones is the area lowered by last weeks detonations. It now appears to be about eight feet lower than before. The orange cones cover new drill holes for the next round of explosive persuasion.
MF 5/14/20 BNSF 4206 EB - 2211 MF 5/14/20 - 2212 MF 5/14/20 holes for explosives - 2213
# 2214-2217: Rock debris from previous explosive rock fracturing is being removed.
MF 5/14/20 - 2214 MF 5/14/20 - 2215 MF 5/14/20 - 2216
# 2218-2219: Steel supports for the southern end of the TEMPORARY Construction Bridge have been erected. The temporary Heavy Equipment Pad is being used, for the first time, to support the pictured steel lifting construction crane.
MF 5/14/20 - 2217 MF 5/14/20 - 2218 MF 5/14/20 - 2219
MF 5/14/20 BNSF 8391 East to & over the Mojave River - 2220 MF 5/14/20 BNSF 8391 East to & over the Mojave River - 2221 MF 5/14/20 UP 8156 West approaches the construction area - 2222
MF 5/14/20 UP 8156 West approaches & passes through the construction area - 2223 MF 5/14/20 UP 8156 West passes through the construction area - 2224 MF 5/14/20 BNSF 6824 West @ MP 34.5 - 2225
MF 5/14/20 BNSF 6824 West @ MP 34.5 - 2226 MF 5/14/20 - 2227 MF 5/14/20 - 2228
# 2227-2228: Looking at the new Southern Abutment & the ramp leading to it, we found it interesting that preformed concrete panels were being installed to form the outside ramp wall - rather than building forms to encase the rebar cage with concrete.  Obviously, this development will require more investigation.

updated: May 21, 2020

New: 5/17/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 14
On Sunday (May 17), Marc & I drove to the SOUTHERN (Victorville) view point of BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project to photograph progress on the Eastern retaining wall of the approach ramp leading to the Southern Abutment.
# 2229: An older image, from the NORTHERN view point showing the Southern Abutment and the Eastern retention wall of the approach ramp.
MF 5/17/20 - 2229 MF 5/17/20 - 2230 MF 5/17/20 - 2231
# 2230-2233: Images of the Eastern retention wall of the ramp. Note the very thick rebar cage and the HUGE concrete pour - all to support the future heavy and rapidly moving trains.
# 2234: Image of progress on the TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION BRIDGE showing two new abutment walls (one still with forms still attached).
MF 5/17/20 - 2232 MF 5/17/20 - 2233 MF 5/17/20 - 2234

updated: June 9, 2020

New: 5/23/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 15
Work continues and we can already see part of the new Temporary Construction Bridge (TCB) sub-decking.  GGG/MF
# 2235-2239: From the North end of the Bridge Replacement Project. The Powerroc rock drill and its "product(s)". The rock level must reduced to the level of the dirt road next to the existing ROW and so, it appears that several more BLASTS will be required.
MF 5/23/20 - 2235 MF 5/23/20 - 2236 MF 5/23/20 - 2237
MF 5/23/20 - 2238 MF 5/23/20 - 2239 MF 5/23/20 - 2240
# 2240-2241: Looking Railroad East toward Oro Grande / Barstow.  Eventually, the new ROW will angle in from the right to join the existing ROW and somewhat straighten the mainline LEFT-HAND curve shown in # 2241.
MF 5/23/20 Existing ROW w/left hand curve
2241
MF 5/23/20 In his travels over & through RATTLE SNAKE ROCKS, Marc
disturbed this Semi-friendly non-poisonous California Sharp-tailed snake.
- 2242
MF 5/23/20 A labeled overview of activity on the western side of the existing ROW. - 2243
MF 5/23/20 Just below the currently used Mojave River Bridges, HUGE steel "I"-Beams of the temporary construction bridge now span the Mighty Mojave River. - 2244 MF 5/23/20 Other views of the Temporary Construction Bridge (TCB). - 2245 MF 5/23/20 Other views of the Temporary Construction Bridge (TCB). - 2246
MF 5/23/20 Topside views of the steel Sub-deck of the TCB. - 2247 MF 5/23/20 Topside views of the steel Sub-deck of the TCB. - 2248 MF 5/23/20 Heavy duty concrete forms. - 2249
MF 5/23/20 BNSF 6678 is EB over the Mojave River @ MP 34.1. - 2250 MF 5/23/20 BNSF 6678 is EB over the Mojave River @ MP 34.1. - 2251 MF 5/23/20 - 2252
# 2252-2254: FROM THE SOUTHERN END of the existing BNSF Mojave River Bridges, a topside view of Temporary Construction Bridge (TCB) sub-decking.
MF 5/23/20 - 2253 MF 5/23/20 - 2254 MF 5/23/20 A view of the Heavy Lift Pad and the approach to the TCB. - 2255
MF 5/23/20 The Southern Abutment & the Eastern retaining wall of the approach. - 2256 MF 5/23/20 The Southern Abutment & the Eastern retaining wall of the approach. - 2257 MF 5/23/20 - 2258
# 2258-2261: Detailed views of the tremendous amount of concrete used to build the Eastern retention wall of the approach to the Southern abutment.  We estimate that the wall is between eight & ten feet thick.
MF 5/23/20 - 2259 MF 5/23/20 - 2260 MF 5/23/20 - 2261

updated: June 11, 2020

New: 6/07/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 16
On June 7, Marc & I drove to both ends of the BNSF Mojave River Bridge replacement project. Our Southern access was somewhat limited by the presence of a guard, however we prevailed and send this update.  MF & GGG
# 2271 & # 2273: BEFORE (05-23-20) and # 2272 & # 2274 AFTER (06-07-20) pictures of the Northern approach to the NEW Bridge.
# 2271 & # 2273: This solid bedrock area had to be lowered --- and in # 2272 & # 2274 was explosively lowered about 15 feet to near proper elevation for the new ROW.
MF 5/23/20 before - 2271 MF 6/07/20 after - 2272 MF 5/23/20 before - 2273
# 2275 - # 2277: After-detonation Rubble being removed by the HEAVIEST of equipment, transported across the existing ROW and added to "RUBBLE MOUNTAIN".
MF 6/07/20 after - 2274 MF 6/07/20 Rubble to be removed - 2275 MF 6/07/20 Heavy Equipment - 2276
# 2278 & # 2279: The business and locking ends of a LARGE BORE ROCK DRILL "BIT".
MF 6/07/20 The "Rubble Mountain" - 2277 MF 6/07/20 Large Bore Rock Drill Bit - 2278 MF 6/07/20 Large Bore Rock Drill Bit - 2279
# 2280: Three 'new to the scene' pieces of HEAVY EQUIPMENT.  Flanked by a heavy lift crane and a very large backhoe is the Rock Boring machine which will employ the "large bore drill bit" pictured in # 2278 & # 2279. We think that the rock drill will bore footing holes, for the short pillars, which will support the new Northern abutment ???
# 2281: From the SOUTHERN photographic area, this image is severely foreshortened by the use of a 250 mm telephoto lens. However, using the newly poured Southern abutment as a sight-line gives a good indication how the rather severe "S" curves of the existing ROW will be somewhat mitigated by the new alignment.
MF 6/07/20 Heavy Equipment - 2280 MF 6/07/20 - 2281 MF 6/07/20 BNSF 6913 WB - 2282
# 2282 - # 2285  BNSF 6913 West approaches & crosses the MIGHTY MOJAVE RIVER @ MP 34.
MF 6/07/20 BNSF 6913 WB - 2283 MF 6/07/20 BNSF 6913 WB - 2284 MF 6/07/20 BNSF 6913 WB - 2285

updated: June 17, 2020

New: 6/14/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 17
On Sunday (June 14), Marc & I again visited the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Project.
MF 6/14/20  - 2286
A project overview from the Southern (Victorville) end of the Bridges.
MF 6/14/20 - 2287
Southern abutment with its Eastern retaining wall . . .
MF 6/14/20 - 2288
 . . . fully formed and awaiting the concrete pour.
MF 6/14/20  - 2289
The Heavy-lift pad -- we do not understand the reason(s) for the "caution" signs.
MF 6/14/20 - 2290
Heavy steel plates & a bunch of welding form the deck of The Temporary Construction Bridge. The far end approach has not been completed . . .
MF 6/14/20 - 2291
. . . and at the end of the decking, there is a substantial drop-off. We do not understand the rebar protruding from the Wooden side rails.
MF 6/14/20 - 2292
We were told that a mother "lost" her son in this area & had erected this memorial in his memory. The construction crew had avoided the memorial and recently had helped the lady move the cross a few feet to a much safer area. No info on the cause or date of the death.
MF 6/14/20 - 2293
Work gas begun on the Northern bridge abutment. It is obvious that the Northern abutment will be supported by columns - unlike the Southern abutment. . . .

It's obvious that we have many questions . . .
MF 6/14/20 - 2294
 . . .  We originally thought that this wide (6 ft diameter) pipe drill was for rock---WRONG AGAIN. It's a dirt drill.  We have no idea what the HUGE device laying next to the pipe is for?

. . . . that only time will answer !!
MF 6/14/20 - 2295
This DRILL TECH machine rotates the large diameter pipe dill while exerting downward pressure. Our next question is - do they leave the steel pipe in the ground or remove it and replace it with some other forming medium before the pour?
MF 6/14/20 - 2296
Overview of Northern abutment progress. Two "pipes" have been sunk" and the third drilling is underway. There are three more large diameter pipe drills laying around the site. . . . 
MF 6/14/20 - 2297
. . . Note in # 2297, just to the right and above the orange markings pipe, there is a huge auger - evidently to remove the dirt from within the pipe drill.
MF 6/14/20 - 2298
A look North toward where the new ROW will join the existing ROW. With two rock drills working, it is reasonable to expect more rock blasting. In the foreground the rock with the green stripe requires "trimming".
MF 6/14/20 - 2299
 A LONG RANGE look at the area described in # 2298. A quick look at the same large diameter rock drill, in both images, will give some perspective of the rock area still to be lowered.
MF 6/14/20 - 2300
# 2300 - 2303: BNSF 3744 West approaches & crosses the Mighty Mojave River
MF 6/14/20 - 2301 MF 6/14/20 - 2302 MF 6/14/20 - 2303
We realize that in about a years time, the classic view of trains crossing the BNSF Mojave River Bridges, will be lost forever. With that in mind, we decided to take as many 'bridge with train' photographs as possible. (Great idea WM)

updated: June 30, 2020

New: 6/29/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 18
On Monday (June 29), Marc & I drove to the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project.
It was a very heavy rail traffic day.   (MF & GGG)
MF 6/29/20 - 2304
Upon arrival, we were "greeted" with a rather short EB UP mixed freight, headed to Yermo at track speed.
MF 6/29/20 - 2305
We still don't know if these wide diameter drills bits & supporting pipes are left in the ground or removed after use.  This drill appears to have been used & removed.
MF 6/29/20 - 2306
Most of the work, lately, has been centered on finishing the Southern Abutment and drilling the footings for the Northern abutment supports.  Here, a mason applies the final cement coat to the Southern abutment.
MF 6/29/20 - 2307 MF 6/29/20 - 2308 MF 6/29/20 - 2309
# 2307 - 2310: Ames Construction had stockpiled a small mountain of fresh dirt  (no debris) South of the project, to back-fill the approach to the Southern abutment. These very large Cat machines are rapidly filling the approach - where the dirt is spread and compacted.
MF 6/29/20 - 2310
Southern abutment is filling up rapidly.
MF 6/29/20 - 2311
The rock debris, from the explosive removal of boulders obstructing the new ROW, has been somewhat leveled & covered with dirt.  We suspect this will be the new ROW inspection & maintenance road ??
MF 6/29/20 - 2312
BNSF 6942 (4X2 power) pulls a loaded WB ethanol train toward Victorville.
MF 6/29/20 - 2313 MF 6/29/20 - 2314 MF 6/29/20 - 2315
# 2313 - 2315: BNSF 6942 (4X2) is WB with a long Ethanol load - only to be stopped by a red signal at MP 35. The RED signal was caused by a switching movement at the Cemex plant @ MP 35.5. In # 2313, please note the orange cones (right center) which protect & identify holes drilled for explosives. Obviously, the boulder blocking the future Northern ROW needs some explosive persuasion.
MF 6/29/20 - 2316 MF 6/29/20 - 2317 MF 6/29/20 - 2318
# 2316 - 2318: We were surprised hearing a crossing horn from Oro Grande. BNSF 4203 (4X2) with a second long Ethanol train then runs around the standing BNSF 6942 Ethanol. This is the first time we've seen two ethanol trains on the same day. The fact that they were running 'nose to tail' made the scene even more interesting.
MF 6/29/20 - 2319
The two BNSF units are the rear DPU's for BNSF 6942 (the first Ethanol) -- now underway WB. The coal cars are part of the Cemex switching local.
MF 6/29/20 - 2320
Two views of the heavy equipment used with the wide diameter 'pipe Drills. In # 2021, the arrow points to what we think is a sleeve form for the future rebar cage & concrete pour ??
MF 6/29/20 - 2321
Two views of the heavy equipment used with the wide diameter 'pipe Drills. In # 2021, the arrow points to what we think is a sleeve form for the future rebar cage & concrete pour ??
MF 6/29/20 - 2322
Newly drilled footing for columns which will support Northern Abutment - with augers.
MF 6/29/20 - 2323
Finished footing "hole'-- on our next visit, we will TRY to understand the exact sequence of events before the concrete pour.
MF 6/29/20 - 2324
Southern abutment approach fill & compaction.
MF 6/29/20 - 2325
Rebar cage for Northern Column Abutments.
MF 6/29/20 - 2326
BNSF 7796 is EB to the Mojave bridges.
MF 6/29/20 - 2327
The Freedom Village (read below)
MF 6/29/20 - 2328 MF 6/29/20 - 2329 MF 6/29/20 - 2330
# 2327 - 2330: There are two dirt routes into and out of our Northern Photographic Location. The alternative route passes through a homeless / squatter / doper "village". I stopped the CAJON ROVER to get a few pictures and we were immediately checked out by a semi-friendly resident. I then thought that this would be the perfect place to start a VERY LOW COST CONDO development. So, for a tiny down payment of ONE SIX PACK of Yellow Tail Merlot, you too may claim a lot (of any size) in this virgin Bureau of Land Management territory. BTW, you must bring your own decorations / junk.

updated: July 13, 2020

New: 7/10/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT - A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT - Part 19
On Friday (July 10), Marc & I decided to avoid the virus and visit the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project. We were surprised that the back-filling of the Southern abutment approach had NOT been finished since our last visit, almost two weeks ago.
MF 7/10/20 - 2331 MF 7/10/20 - 2332 MF 7/10/20 - 2333
# 2331 - 2333: The Southern abutment back-fill and dirt compaction are progressing - Pictures are from both ends of the new bridge. 
MF 7/10/20 - 2334
While most compaction can be accomplished using a large CAT  man-driven vibrating machine, inaccessible areas (near walls) require a smaller manually-guided compactor-hammer.
MF 7/10/20 - 2335
It appears that the approach to the Southern abutment, which had a maximum depth of approx 20 feet, still needs around 5 feet of fill before completion.
MF 7/10/20 - 2336
BNSF 3791 east to Barstow, approaches & leaves the construction area.
MF 7/10/20 - 2337
BNSF 3791 intermodal east to Barstow, approaches & leaves the construction area.
MF 7/10/20 - 2338
Showing rock debris from a recent detonation, a used wide-bore drill, and a rebar cage for a support column of the Northern abutment.  Also, two rock drills are ready to drill more holes for explosives, on the HUGE boulder, just ahead of the right-most drilling machine.
MF 7/10/20 - 2339
This new construction road will allow much easier access, to the Northern abutment, for heavy equipment.
MF 7/10/20 - 2340
The NEW construction road and an overview of the Heavy Equipment used to drill holes, . . .
MF 7/10/20 - 2341
. . . for the columns, which will support the Northern bridge abutment.
MF 7/10/20 - 2342
Heavy Drilling Equipment (close up)
 
 # 2342 - 2344: WE THINK we have figured out the sequence of events while building (pouring) the Concrete Columns which will support the Northern abutment ??
 
# 1: Drill the 3 ft diameter holes down to bed rock using the wide diameter "pipe" drill. / # 2: Remove the dirt from within the pipe drill via auger. 
 
    # 3: Introduce drilling "mud" (fluid) to "clean" hole & lubricate the ROCK drill. / # 4: Remove the large diameter pipe drill.
 
    # 5: Drill smaller anchor hole(s) into the bedrock. / # 6: Insert rebar cage into hole. The rebar cage will be longer than the hole is deep & therefore will need a round form for the above ground portion. / # 7: Pour the concrete.
 
We'll see if the - GRAY-FOURNIER WE'RE JUST GUESSING & NON-CONSTRUCTION Co. - has a clue???
MF 7/10/20 - 2343
Heavy Drilling Equipment (close up)
MF 7/10/20 - 2344
Drilling Machine with equipment
 
MF 7/10/20 - 2345
 UP 6591 w  UP 6367 is EB through the project area. Check unit # 4 on next pic.
MF 7/10/20 - 2346
 UP 6367 was built in 1995 as SP #321 (AC44CW).
MF 7/10/20 - 2347
The Temporary Construction Bridge has been finished.
MF 7/10/20 - 2348
The Temporary Construction Bridge has been finished.
# 2347 - 2348: The Temporary Construction Bridge has been finished. It once ended at the far end of the steel plates-about 20 feet short of the far bank. Loads of dirt had to be brought in and compacted to finish the ramp which may explain the delay in completing the back-fill of the Southern Abutment ramp. This temporary bridge, the pictured ROW crossing, and the new construction Rd down to the Northern abutment, will facilitate new construction and OLD Bridge removal.

updated: July 24, 2020

New: 7/19/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 20
Last Sunday, Marc & I again visited the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement Project.  While there was little visible construction progress, we did see two significant UP EB's. 
NOTE in # 2350 & # 2355 -- The Southern Abutment approach back-fill appears to be complete --- with the dirt up to sub-roadbed level.
MF 7/19/20 - 2349
UP 8649 EB coming from Cemex.
MF 7/19/20 - 2350
UP 8649 EB DBS w3 units up front.
MF 7/19/20 - 2351
UP 8649 = EMD SD70ACe just passed the bridge
MF 7/19/20 - 2352
UP 6050 DPU on UP 8649 EB at MP 34.1 leaving the construction site.
MF 7/19/20 - 2353
Drilling equipment continues to drill holes for explosive clearing of new ROW.
MF 7/19/20 - 2354
A rebar cage is ready to be dropped into hole & become one of the reinforced concrete support piers for the Northern Abutment. The crane is sitting on a thick steel plate which covers another deep pier hole.
MF 7/19/20 - 2355
UP 6410 EB manifest
MF 7/19/20 - 2356
Like new TTX articulated auto racks.
MF 7/19/20 - 2357
UP 2637 (ET44AH) DPU of same train
# 2355 - 2357: UP 6410 +3 & DPU are EB to Yermo. These new-ish TTX double auto carriers made for nice image.

updated: August 10, 2020

New: 8/06/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 21
Last Wed (August 6), Marc & I drove to our Northern Photographic point. We arrived to note very little visible construction progress and very light train traffic. After an idle period, a few trains appeared and a gent, in construction protective clothing, climbed the hill near us. Marc walked over and introduced himself to see if this gent could answer a few of our questions. Turned out that he is the Project Manager and had ALL THE ANSWERS --- SEE BELOW:

Marc's visit with the Project Manager bore a trove of information. The project should be finished in about 16 months & the new bridge will accommodate only TWO Main tracks.  When the existing (old) bridges are removed, their existing stone abutments will be retained to support another new bridge & third track - if ever needed.
A new approach & abutment very much like the, now finished,  southern approach / abutment will be built on the Northern end of the bridge project. So the four round vertical piers, being poured, are actually the 'near center of the bridge' supports --- 'near center' since they cannot be any closer to the River bed.
The pier building process was explained to us. First, the Large diameter pipe drill cuts through the dirt and AT LEAST TEN FEET into the bedrock. Excess material is removed via auger & ground water is forced out of the hole by the introduction of a heavy polymer (pic # 2397). The large diameter pipe drill is cutoff at ground level and the round rebar cage is lowered into the hole. Concrete is pumped into the void and forces the polymer out. The above ground portion of the rebar cage is cut to the desired height, wrapped in a forming material and filled with concrete --- resulting in an immensely strong pier (pics # 2394, 95, 96).
# 2386: On the way to our photographic spot, we must cross the Mojave Northern Railway. This short-line, now owned by CEMEX, runs between the CEMEX Cement plant in Victorville and their quarry 12.5 miles NE. Here BNSF 7320 light is running Long-Hood forward toward the quarry.
MF 8/06/20 - 2386
BNSF 7320 running for Cemex plant.
GGG 8/06/20 - 2387
UP 5638 East crosses the Mojave River.
GGG 8/06/20 - 2388
UP 5638 East crosses the Mojave River.
GGG 8/06/20 - 2389
BNSF 7562 East crosses the Mojave River.
MF 8/06/20 - 2390
BNSF 7937 West approaches the Mojave River.
MF 8/06/20 - 2391
BNSF 7937 West crosses the Mojave River.
MF 8/06/20 - 2392
BNSF 7937 West crossed the Mojave River and heading to Victorville and Cajon Pass.
MF 8/06/20 - 2393
Southern Abutment with I Beam Support Plates.
MF 8/06/20 - 2394
The above ground portion of the rebar cage is cut to the desired height.
The pier building process was explained to us. First, the Large diameter pipe drill cuts through the dirt and AT LEAST TEN FEET into the bedrock. Excess material is removed via auger & ground water is forced out of the hole by the introduction of a heavy polymer (pic # 2397). The large diameter pipe drill is cutoff at ground level and the round rebar cage is lowered into the hole. Concrete is pumped into the void and forces the polymer out. The above ground portion of the rebar cage is cut to the desired height, wrapped in a forming material and filled with concrete --- resulting in an immensely strong pier (pics # 2394, 95, 96).
MF 8/06/20 - 2395
The above ground portion of the rebar cage is cut to the desired height.
MF 8/06/20 - 2396
The above ground portion of the rebar cage is cut to the desired height.
MF 8/06/20 - 2397
heavy polymer machinerie
 
The Bridge Deck will be supported by HUGE "I" beams. They will be seated on their bottom flange and have a TEN FOOT WEB  (# 2393 and drawing). From below our bridge, with only four piers, it will be similar in appearance to (bridge shown left above),
MF 8/06/20 - 2398
BNSF 6551 West will be crossing The Mighty Mojave River.
MF 8/06/20 - 2399
BNSF 6551 West Intermodal will be crossing The Mighty Mojave River in a minute.
MF 8/06/20 - 2400
The rear of the train is traversing a very narrow RoW area we call the "shelf". Building a third main through this area would be very difficult with HUGE boulders above the far side and a drop-off into the river on the near side.

updated: August 21, 2020

New: 8/18/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 22
Last Tue (August 18), Marc & I again traveled to the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project.  All construction efforts are centered around the "near bridge center" piers.  Due to the geography & limited size of the project area, the piers must be erected before construction of the Northern abutment can begin.   GGG & MF
MF 8/18/20 - 2403
BNSF 8049 West traverses the construction area toward Cajon Pass.
MF 8/18/20 - 2404
BNSF 8049 West traverses the construction area toward Cajon Pass.
MF 8/18/20 - 2405
The Rebar cage is readied for insertion into its BORE (hole).
# 2405 - 2406: The Rebar cage is readied for insertion into its BORE (hole) - which is hidden by a steel plate just ahead of the drilling machine's track. The prepared Borehole is, obviously, through the dirt and 10 feet into the bedrock. The drill apparatus that we have called "the wide diameter pipe drill" is actually known as a CASING BIT since it serves both functions.
 # 2407: Closeup of the Rebar cage. Note the spacers on the outside of the cage. These spacers will insure that the cage is centered within the casing. We have NO IDEA why the white PVC pipes were placed inside the cage, especially since end caps appear to have been glued into place.
MF 8/18/20 - 2406
The Rebar cage is readied for insertion into its BORE (hole).
MF 8/18/20 - 2407
Closeup of the Rebar cage.
 
MF 8/18/20 - 2408
Interchangeable working ends, mostly for the Drill Tech Borehole drilling machine.
MF 8/18/20 - 2409
Excavator slowly works its way down a rather steep construction road using its boom for additional braking.
MF 8/18/20 - 2410
UP 8902 is EB passing the Mojave River Bridges, soon.
MF 8/18/20 - 2411
UP 8902 is EB just passed the Mojave River and on the way to Barstow and Daggett.
On the UP EB train, just after the 4th engine, is a BNSF Auto Rack with a huge Graffiti.
MF 8/18/20 - 2412 MF 8/18/20 - 2413 MF 8/18/20 - 2414

updated: September 6, 2020

New: 9/02/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 23
With Marc traveling in OR & Doc Jones otherwise occupied, Spike & I decided to continue documentation of the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project.
For those who don't know him, Spike is a retired USAF officer who now flies the NASA 747 known as SOFIA.
thanks Spike  - 
GGG & Spike
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2425
Spike & I had lunch in the tent covered parking lot of DA DUMP @ 105 F.
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2426
Piers closeup
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2427
Piers in place
# 2426 - 2429: Upon arrival at the project we found that all underground work for the 'near middle of the bridge' piers had been completed - the rebar cages inserted and the excavations filled with concrete. The work appeared to be concentrated around ensuring the the rebar cages are truly vertical.
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2428
Piers closeup
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2429
Piers centering
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2430
Heavy Lift Pad
# 2430: Looking under the existing (old) bridges & the temporary construction bridge, it appears the the HEAVY LIFT PAD has been reinforced. That pad will need to be as strong as possible when Ames Const. starts lifting the new "I" beams in & the old bridge sections out.
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2431
BNSF 7395 WB at MP34
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2432
unknown machine
SPIKE 9/02/20 - 2433
BNSF 7395 continues on to Victorville
# 2431: BNSF 7395 West approaches the construction area. BUT THE REAL QUESTION IS---WHAT IS THAT pictured GREEN "CRITTER"?  --- (see # 2432 also). The best we could come up with is: "A TACO PRESS on STEROIDS"

updated: September 20, 2020

New: 9/15/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 24
Marc & I made the circuit (BNSF bridges project, Oro Grande, SCLA, & Gray's Hill) again, last Tuesday. 
So, from the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement project (# 2434 - 2442).
 
After leaving our Northern Photographic area, we drove COMPASS West toward SCLA, only to be stopped by BNSF rail traffic in Oro Grande, CA. Oro Grande is a small berg about two miles Railroad East of the Bridges Project---on the way to Barstow. Oro Grande is the home of the large TXI Cement Plant. (# 2443 - 2448)
 
MF & GGG
MF 9/15/20 - 2434 MF 9/15/20 - 2435 MF 9/15/20 - 2436
# 2434 - 2436: Two of the Northern piers are "wrapped" with metal forms and are apparently ready for the pouring of concrete.
MF 9/15/20 - 2437 MF 9/15/20 - 2438 MF 9/15/20 - 2439
# 2437 - 2438: The existing (old) ROW evidently needs reinforcing. Rebar sheet mesh, Shotcrete, and horizontal drilling for "tieback anchors" are pictured.
MF 9/15/20 - 2440 MF 9/15/20 - 2441 MF 9/15/20 - 2442
# 2439 - 2442: On the Northern approach, there is still a mound of SOLID bedrock between the bridge project and the tie-in with the existing ROW.  More holes for the explosive fracturing of said rock are being drilled.
MF 9/15/20 - 2443
BNSF 4646 West is stopped awaiting two higher priority West-bounds to run around.
MF 9/15/20 - 2444
The red-nosed unit is one of two diesels leased by TXI to switch their smallish rail-yard.
TXI / PRLX 3878
MF 9/15/20 - 2445
BNSF 7903 West runs around BNSF 4646 West.
MF 9/15/20 - 2446
Note the relatively light & bolted TXI rail vs the BNSF Mainline rail.
MF 9/15/20 - 2447
Both TXI GP-38 lease units (PRLX 3878 & . . .
MF 9/15/20 - 2448
. . . HRSX 3008) back down to pick-up empty cement hoppers from the TXI yard.

updated: September 27, 2020

New: 9/24/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 25
IMPORTANT: Pictures 2452 & 2453 are NOT of the current BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project. They are added to answer several questions concerning the parts and general assembly of a poured in-place bridge. Pic 2452 is of the BNSF Ranchero RD (Hesperia, CA) Bridge Project completed in 2012. Pic 2453 is of some bridge, location unknown, that used 10 foot web "I" beams for deck support. Thurs was a very warm day with very heavy smoke from the multitude of CA fires. As you will note, train traffic was very heavy.  MF & GGG
GGG 6/07/12 - 2452 GGG 9/24/20 - 2453 MF 9/24/20 - 2454
# 2454 - 2457: The four piers have been poured.  The wooden deck will support the pouring of the pier cap. Atop the cap will rest the huge "I" beams which will support the bridge deck. See # 24520 & 24531.
MF 9/24/20 - 2455 MF 9/24/20 - 2456 MF 9/24/20 - 2457
MF 9/24/20 - 2458
UP 8556 East approaches the project area @ MP 34.1.
MF 9/24/20 - 2459
Reinforcement of the existing ROW is shown. Horizontal drilling,  . . . .
MF 9/24/20 - 2460
  . . . . insertion of HOLD-BACK rods and shot-crete placement continues.
MF 9/24/20 - 2461
Shows the approximate position of the future Northern abutment
MF 9/24/20 - 2462
BNSF 8151 WB @ MP 34.1 approaching . . .
MF 9/24/20 - 2463
. . . . & crossing the Mojave River.
MF 9/24/20 - 2464
From the Southern Photographic point. To the right of the bridges, this image shows the bedrock needing to be removed for the new ROW to be connected to the existing track.
MF 9/24/20 - 2465
Debris removal after the latest explosive fracturing.
MF 9/24/20 - 2466
BNSF 9299 is WB @ Mojave River
MF 9/24/20 - 2467
UP 8556 is EB crossing the Mojave River
MF 9/24/20 - 2468
Debris removal after the latest explosive fracturing
MF 9/24/20 - 2469
BNSF 9299 is WB @ Mojave River

updated: October 4, 2020

New: 10/03/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 26
Howdy from the SMOKY & HOT California High Desert.
There is visible progress to report on the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project.  
MF & GGG
MF 10/03/20 - 2470
An overview of the entire project looking East toward Victorville.
MF 10/03/20 - 2471
The 'near middle of the bridge' piers cap rebar cage is complete and the wooden forms are being built.
MF 10/03/20 - 2472
The 'near middle of the bridge' piers cap rebar cage is complete and the wooden forms are being built.
OUR LATEST QUESTION: To the right of the Piers, the cap seems to be 'cantilevered' (2470 - 2472) and supported by thick wooden uprights. Why wasn't another concrete pier built to support the unsupported section?
MF 10/03/20 - 2473
The 'near middle of the bridge' piers cap rebar cage is complete and the wooden forms are being built.
MF 10/03/20 - 2474
BNSF 8015 East, with an absolutely filthy KCS 4005, crosses the Mojave River.
MF 10/03/20 - 2475
BNSF 8015 East, with an absolutely filthy KCS 4005, crosses the Mojave River.
MF 10/03/20 - 2476
BNSF 8015 East, with an absolutely filthy KCS 4005, crosses the Mojave River.
MF 10/03/20 - 2477
Construction Hieroglyphs -- must mean something to someone????
MF 10/03/20 - 2478
Shotcrete  & 14 'HOLD-BACK' bolts have been installed to reinforce the existing ROW.
MF 10/03/20 - 2479
Cat hammer drill begins work on the Northern Abutment footings.
MF 10/03/20 - 2480
Cat hammer drill begins work on the Northern Abutment footings.
MF 10/03/20 - 2481
It appears there is still more blasting required - to reduce the bedrock down to the desired Northern approach ROW level.
MF 10/03/20 - 2482
It appears there is still more blasting required - to reduce the bedrock down to the desired Northern approach ROW level.
MF 10/03/20 - 2483
With southern CA Logistics Airport in the upper background and Rock Creek Nature Park to the left, BNSF 5409 + 6 leads the longest Ethanol train we've ever noted.
MF 10/03/20 - 2484
BNSF5409 W clears what we call the 'shelf' and heads onto the Mojave River bridge.
MF 10/03/20 - 2485
We are sure that Saturday's BOMB (ethanol) was at least two miles long.
MF 10/03/20 - 2486
We are sure that Saturday's BOMB (ethanol) was at least two miles long.
MF 10/03/20 - 2487
The three WORKING DPU's for BNSF 5409

updated: November 17, 2020

New: 11/06/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 27
PROGRESS
 
Last Friday (11/06/20) was a chilly and very windy day with some serious dust storms, as you'll see in some of our pictures. It has been a month since we visited the Bridge replacement project and the progress was very evident.

 
MF & GGG
MF 11/06/20 - 2488 MF 11/06/20 - 2489 MF 11/06/20 - 2490
The attention catchers were the HUGE Manitowac crawler crane (# 2488), the finished near mid-span pier (# 2489), and the two (of 7) HUGE "I" BEAMS already spanning the Mighty Mojave River (# 2490).
MF 11/06/20 - 2491 MF 11/06/20 - 2492 MF 11/06/20 - 2493
The three above items are highlighted in # 2491 & # 2492, as UP 3041, with eight trailing diesels, approaches & crosses the old BNSF bridges.
# 2493: Just how large the crane is, may be partially demonstrated by the twenty 10 ton counter weights stacked on its rear frame.
MF 11/06/20 - 2494 MF 11/06/20 - 2495 MF 11/06/20 - 2496
# 2494 & # 2495 show the two (of 7) "I" beams seated in their permanent positions on the Southern Abutment and the mid-span pier.
# 2496: A comparison --- The worker is normal size & then, there's the 10 foot "I" beam.
MF 11/06/20 - 2497 MF 11/06/20 - 2498 MF 11/06/20 - 2499
# 2497: In both # 2496 & # 2497 notice the number of pre-drilled holes -- all are there for a reason, I'm learning. Also, note the riveted construction of the 100 year old existing (old) bridge. # 2497 also shows the 'cross members' which stabilize the beams.
# 2498: Beam sections awaiting use. It is obvious that these sections are not long enough to span the River. So, "I" beam splicing is the answer.
MF 11/06/20 - 2500 MF 11/06/20 - 2501 MF 11/06/20 - 2502
# 2499 & 2500: All one must do is to drill 250 holes in each web of the two beams & 500 matching holes in two 2 inch thick steel plates. The flanges each get 120 holes and matching plates as shown. So, 740 one inch bolts later -- a longer and very strong beam.
# 2501 & 2502: While we, your untrained construction observers, are trying to figure all this out, two BNSF East Bounds pass the site almost nose to tail.
MF 11/06/20 - 2503 MF 11/06/20 - 2504 MF 11/06/20 - 2505
# 2503:The beam section is removed from the flat bed and lowered to a flat area to await splicing.  Note at the arrows, the beam and the splice plate(s) have already been drilled.  The splice plate is temporally attached to one beam, but will moved and span both beams later in the splicing process. # 2504 - 2506: The next section of "I" beam is lifted off the flatbed and laid upon a flat area --- ready to be spliced.
MF 11/06/20 - 2506
(see text above)
MF 11/06/20 - 2507
Building of the Northern Abutment is well underway.
MF 11/06/20 - 2508
Building of the Northern Abutment is well underway.
MF 11/06/20 - 2509
Rebar and other supplies for the Northern Abutment are stockpiled.
MF 11/06/20 - 2510
BNSF 5222 West approaches the project area.
MF 11/06/20 - 2511
(see text below)
# 2511: More holes are being drilled for the explosive rock fracturing. The bedrock should be nearing the desired sub-roadbed level. The orange pre-built forms will be used in the construction of the Northern Abutment.

updated: November 30, 2020

New: 11/12/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 28

We have been making almost daily trips to our Northern view point trying to photograph the huge Manitowoc MLC300 crane lift & place one of the huge bridge deck support beams. Maybe we'll be successful Monday??.   GGG & MF

MF 11/12/20 - 2512
The crane & beam in question.
MF 11/12/20 - 2513
The crane & beam in question.
MF 11/12/20 - 2514
Four of seven beams, between the Southern Abutment & mid-span pier, are in place.
MF 11/12/20 - 2515
The entire construction scene.
MF 11/12/20 - 2516
UP 9095 is WB through the construction site.
MF 11/12/20 - 2517
" Construction progresses on the Northern Abutment "
MF 11/12/20 - 2518
Construction progresses on the Northern Abutment
MF 11/12/20 - 2519
The 'long reach' concrete pump & its setup.
MF 11/12/20 - 2520
The 'long reach' concrete pump & its setup.
MF 11/12/20 - 2521
The 'long reach' concrete pump & its setup.
MF 11/12/20 - 2522
Probable last bedrock explosive reduction site.
MF 11/12/20 - 2523
BNSF 3847 East passes through the construction area.

updated: November 30, 2020

New: 11/16/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 29
Not much bridge progress to report on 11-16. However, on our way home we did catch the ever-elusive Mojave Northern (CEMEX) morning train, headed North to the mine.  GGG & MF
# 2524 - 2527: The train was powered by CEMX 416 -- SD60  BLT 10-86  EX-CEMX 2125- UP 2125 & CNW 8051 and had ten open and two covered cement hoppers.
MF 11/20/20 - 2524
CEMX SD60 (ex. UP/C&NW)
MF 11/20/20 - 2525
CEMX SD60 pulling cement hoppers
MF 11/20/20 - 2526
CEMX SD60 pulling cement hoppers
MF 11/20/20 - 2527
End of Mojave Northern morning train.
MF 11/20/20 - 2528
With proper safety equipment, worker wires rebar cage for Northern Abutment.
MF 11/20/20 - 2529
Forms / rebar progress on Northern Abutment

updated: November 30, 2020

New: 11/23/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 30
# 2530: Looking SE down into Mojave River LOWER NARROWS. The ‘notch’ in the rock escarpment, near image mid-center, houses the UPPER NARROWS and BNSF Frost. The trees are in their full fall color on this very windy & dusty day.
# 2531 - 2533: Despite our many trips to our Northern view point, Ames Construction was able to lift and place all seven HUGH beams, into place, without our direction?? or witnessing.    GGG & MF
GGG 11/23/20 - 2530 MF 11/23/20 - 2531 MF 11/23/20 - 2532
MF 11/23/20 - 2533
See text above
MF 11/23/20 - 2534
A size comparison. Note the men standing atop the GIANT beams.
MF 11/23/20 - 2535
A size comparison. Note the men standing atop the GIANT beams.
MF 11/23/20 - 2536
Progress on the Northern Abutment. It appears that this Northern abutment will be a smaller copy of the Southern structure.
MF 11/23/20 - 2537
Progress on the Northern Abutment. It appears that this Northern abutment will be a smaller copy of the Southern structure.
MF 11/23/20 - 2538
BNSF 7661 continues EB with 33 y/o ATSF/BNSF Warbonnet 765 in the consist. The area, again, seems to be ready for explosive bedrock fracturing.

updated: December 5, 2020

New: 11/30/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 31
# 2539: The huge Manitowoc crane has not seen much use in the last week. We noticed several workers around the machine but they were not preparing to lift anything.
 # 2540 - 2541:  We got a clue as to future activity when a Road Mobile heavy crane and a fleet of heavy haul lowboy tractor trailers showed-up.  It's Manotiwoc disassembly time.
MF 11/30/20 - 2539 MF 11/30/20 - 2540 GGG 11/30/20 - 2541
# 2542 - 2543: Disassembly began with the removal of some of the 10 ton counterweights. It appeared that each lowboy trailer would have one 10 ton counterweight loaded on the trailer 'goose-neck' leaving the long bed for the longer boom sections. This sequence allows maximum utilization of the trailers while keeping them below the highway weight limits.
MF 11/30/20 - 2542 GGG 11/30/20 - 2543 MF 11/30/20 - 2544
# 2544 - 2546: The main boom was lowered & rotated to facilitate removal of the main block (hook). On the net, there is an animation of the assembly of a similar Manitowoc MLC-300 crane.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wufZLSI10us
# 2547: This pole stood directly in the middle of any good shots of the first phases of the construction, causing Marc to scale the HUGE boulders for a decent image.  We didn't do too badly for being armed only with a HAND SAW --- HE HE.  
MF 11/30/20 - 2545 MF 11/30/20 - 2546 MF 11/30/20 - 2547
MF 11/30/20 - 2548

UP 7142 is EB with a long & heavy train. There are 5 units up front.
MF 11/30/20 - 2549
The concrete portion of the Northern Abutment is complete. The PRE-BUILT & BOLT TOGETHER forms are being removed and stored for a future project.
MF 11/30/20 - 2550
A good shot of the entire project.  Interesting that ALL of this was needed to cross a tiny stream that is a trickle 99.99% of the time.  Of course, it's the .01%, when this a REALLY ROARING River, that concerns everyone (Especially the BNSF).

updated: December 14, 2020

New: 12/10/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 32
Marc & I made it back to the Bridge Replacement Project last Thursday (Dec. 10).  MF & GGG
 
# 2551-2553: The Northern Abutment has been finished and filled. The smaller & lighter beams between the near mid span pier & Northern Abutment have been placed by the same smaller crane, used to dismantle the HUGE Manotiwoc crane.
MF 12/10/20 - 2551 MF 12/10/20 - 2552 MF 12/10/20 - 2553
# 2554-2558: Three long rows of "steel concrete studs" are welded to each beam while the space between the beams is closed by welded "concrete pans".  We were a bit surprised by the size of the generator needed for welding.
If the previous Ranchero RD (Hesperia) BNSF Bridge building plan is followed, several horizontal layers of "sheet rebar" will be added to the Studs for added concrete strength. It appears that the finished concrete Bridge Deck will be, at least, 24 inches thick.
MF 12/10/20 - 2554 MF 12/10/20 - 2555 MF 12/10/20 - 2556
MF 12/10/20 - 2557 MF 12/10/20 - 2558 MF 12/10/20 - 2559
# 2559-2562: The steel concrete pans, used to fill the gap between beams, are cut to fit (11) and welded to the beams. This process, of course, is designed to provide a solid "floor" for the concrete pour.
MF 12/10/20 - 2560 MF 12/10/20 - 2561 MF 12/10/20 - 2562
While we trying to understand construction techniques, there was plenty of rail action.
MF 12/10/20 - 2563
BNSF 7948 East @ MP 34.2
MF 12/10/20 - 2564
BNSF 7827 & 3886 MEET  --  Our first meet on or near the bridge project
MF 12/10/20 - 2565
Sperry Rail Services checking for rail defects
MF 12/10/20 - 2566
While Marc was climbing the rocks, I took a break from doing nothing
MF 12/10/20 - 2567
BNSF 3886 West toward the project
MF 12/10/20 - 2568
We have absolutely no idea why, after exploding all the base rock, AMES is digging a deep hole in the Northern approach????

updated: December 21, 2020

New: 12/17/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 33

Last Thursday (Dec. 17) was another cloudy, windy & cool day in the High Desert. We made, what was intended to be a quick trip to the BNSF Bridge Replacement project.   MF & GGG

MF 12/17/20 - 2569
BNSF 8049 + 5 East Bound greeted us
MF 12/17/20 - 2570
A picture of the bridge deck progress. The outside safety walkways & railings, the deck side concrete forms, and concrete pan placement have been completed. The welding of the steel concrete SPIKES is progressing and the rebar placement has begun.
MF 12/17/20 - 2571
What enticed us to stay longer was trying to figure out exactly what the gent in the foreground was doing??? At first, he appeared to be just poking the bridge with a long pole.
(continued on next line below)
# 2572-2773: He would often visit a large box, remove a “sock of donuts” and load them on his work device pole.
So, last evening, I set out to determine just what are the “donuts”, what is their function, and are they worth paying a worker to “play” with them. It seems that the “donuts” are actually called CERAMIC FERRULES and without them, this kind of welding is nearly impossible. They are heat resistant, focus the heat of welding, protect the operator, and retain the molten steel from flowing away.
# 2574: The worker in question places a ferrule, via his work device, onto the “I” beam exactly where he wants the next spike welded (see arrows). Later, the welder loads a spike into his welding gun, places the nose of the loaded welding gun into the ferrule, and initiates a BOLT OF LIGHTENING. The worker at the far left breaks & removes what’s left of the ferrule.
MF 12/17/20 - 2572 MF 12/17/20 - 2573 MF 12/17/20 - 2574
# 2575-2577: A new (to us) hydraulic telescoping boom crane is being used to deliver different sizes, lengths & shapes of rebar for bridge deck fabrication.
MF 12/17/20 - 2575
New Crane
MF 12/17/20 - 2576
Rebar awaiting installation
MF 12/17/20 - 2577
Rebar delivery
MF 12/17/20 - 2578
BNSF 6665 East @ MP 34.3
MF 12/17/20 - 2579
Even more drilling for explosives used to lower the bedrock level to the desired sub-roadbed elevation.
MF 12/17/20 - 2580
A smaller backhoe is used to “dress” the Mighty Mojave Riverbed.

updated: January 11, 2021

New: 12/30/20 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 34

Yesterday, 12-30 Marc & I, again, ventured out to the BNSF Bridges Project.   Marc & GGG

MF 12/30/20 - 2581
BNSF 8362 leads a LONG empty ethanol EAST for a refill.
MF 12/30/20 - 2582
BNSF 8362 leads a LONG empty ethanol EAST for a refill.
MF 12/30/20 - 2583
Two looks at the layers of heavy rebar needed for a super-strong concrete deck.
MF 12/30/20 - 2584
Two looks at the layers of heavy rebar needed for a super-strong concrete deck.
MF 12/30/20 - 2585
see text below
MF 12/30/20 - 2586
see text below
# 2585 - 2589: Filling and "dressing" the areas under the Northern span of the new bridge and the sides of the Northern abutment. It's fun & interesting watching these huge machines work, in the hands of experienced operators. We wonder if they'll use some of the rock rubble to protect the piers from THE DESTRUCTIVE FORCES of MIGHTY MOJAVE RIVER?
MF 12/30/20 - 2587 MF 12/30/20 - 2588 MF 12/30/20 - 2589
MF 12/30/20 - 2590
BNSF 5076 West approaches the project
MF 12/30/20 - 2591
The last bedrock knoll needing EXPLOSIVE reduction to ROW level.
MF 12/30/20 - 2592
BNSF 8355 West @ MP 34

updated: January 11, 2021

New: 1/08/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 35
While Marc is camping down near the Salton Sea, Laura & I decided to visit the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project. There was very little activity at the site.   GGG & LMG
 
# 2593 - 2594: I think that the first concrete deck pour must have occurred last week. The plastic tarp is usually applied to freshly poured concrete to protect the surface and to retard the chemical curing reaction. 
# 2595: Wood and portable forms have been stockpiled. It appears that they will be used to "form-up" the  side walls of the deck.
Amazingly, there was no railroad activity in the hour we spent there.
GGG 1/08/21 - 2593 GGG 1/08/21 - 2594 LMG 1/08/21 - 2595

updated: January 16, 2021

New: 1/15/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 36
Yesterday (15 Jan) was a beautiful day with no wind, perfect temperatures, airplanes, trains, a good friend, and capped-off with a huge McD's burger and a truck-load of fries.   GGG & MF
GGG 1/15/21 - 2596
A brand new Boeing 787 (painted for American Airlines) was shooting landings at Southern California Logistics airport.
MF 1/15/21 - 2597
The bridge deck was poured last week and the deck side-rails were poured just before our arrival.
MF 1/15/21 - 2598
 Note the huge pile of new ballast ready for use on the Southern approach.
MF 1/15/21 - 2599 MF 1/15/21 - 2600 MF 1/15/21 - 2601
# 2599 & 2600: BNSF 7129 & DPU's power an empty ballast train West through the site.  In #04, note another large pile of new ballast ready for the Northern approach.  #05 also shows rubble removal of the last rock mound impeding completion of the Northern approach. BTW, the pictured ballast train was not involved in this project. 
# 2601: BNSF 5794 East passes an area recently refilled to sub roadbed level.  Evidently, BNSF wants their ballast to sit on dirt & not solid bedrock. Therefore, these areas were lowered to below sub-roadbed
levels and then refilled with fresh dirt.
MF 1/15/21 - 2602 MF 1/15/21 - 2603 MF 1/15/21 - 2604
# 2602 - 2604: BNSF 7918 E & BNSF 6775 W meet at MP 34 causing a slight sensory overload of sight & sound.

updated: January 25, 2021

New: 1/22/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 37
 With HEAVY rain & some snow predicted for the coming week, Marc and I decided that a trip to the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement Project would be appropriate for last Friday 01-22-21. Although cool, windy and dark, train traffic was heavy.   MF & GGG
 
# 2605: Overview-The bridge is essentially finished except for the possible installation of safety railings atop the three foot wide deck side walls?
 
# 2606: A small mountain of ballast has been stockpiled for the bridge and its approaches.  Fourteen track panels have been delivered.  BNSF uses wooden ties on bridges and switches because they provide better cushioning for the rail and are easier to replace - when necessary.
MF 1/22/21 - 2605
See text above
MF 1/22/21 - 2606
See text above
MF 1/22/21 - 2607
BNSF 7564 East approaches the area.
MF 1/22/21 - 2608
Using the "Bridge Walker", crews disassemble the two construction walkways
MF 1/22/21 - 2609
Using the "Bridge Walker", crews disassemble the two construction walkways
MF 1/22/21 - 2610
UP 2662 is West-bound through the area
MF 1/22/21 - 2611
Mid-train DPU 6763 of UP 2662 West-bound
MF 1/22/21 - 2612
See text below
MF 1/22/21 - 2613
See text below
# 2612 - 2614: The CAT Hammer Drill widens the Northern approach while the the Front End Loader collects the debris and piles it, to close the old construction ramp.  The ramp was closed to prevent future 4-wheel traffic and to mitigate erosion.
MF 1/22/21 - 2614
See text above
MF 1/22/21 - 2615
The far northern approach appears to have been lowered to appropriate sub-roadbed levels
MF 1/22/21 - 2616
BNSF 7751 East @ MP 34.5
MF 1/22/21 - 2617
BNSF Track Geometry train is WB
MF 1/22/21 - 2618
 A short (10 cars) BNSF Tie train is WB @ MP 34.5
MF 1/22/21 - 2619
 The BNSF Tie train meets UP 5649 East @ MP 34.5

updated: February 11, 2021

New: 2/07/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 38
Last Sunday (Feb 7) was a nice day at the project however, only ONE train transited the area during our ninety minute visit.   MF & GGG
In # 2620, notice the near three inch thick layer of sub-roadbed (cushioning & waterproofing???), applied to the concrete bridge deck. 
MF 2/07/21 - 2620

UP 3086 with mid-train DPU UP 9000 is WB.
MF 2/07/21 - 2621

UP 3086 with mid-train DPU UP 9000 is WB.
MF 2/07/21 - 2622
A closeup of the sub roadbed material mentioned above.
MF 2/07/21 - 2623

It appears that the near mid-span pier was built wide enough to support a future third main track across the Mojave River??
MF 2/07/21 - 2624
The OLD construction ramp has been "walled off" with boulders to prevent four wheeler access and to mitigate storm runoff. In the upper left, above the ballast piles, the track panels have been wrapped in plastic????
MF 2/07/21 - 2625

The Northern approach sub-roadbed is near completion.


GGG 2/07/21 - 2628
MF 2/07/21 - 2626

Here, the Northern approach sub-roadbed indicates where the new track will intercept the existing ROW.
MF 2/07/21 - 2627

Shows how much solid rock was explosively fractured and removed.  The highest point is now about 20 feet high & the rock slope, at one time, reached over to the existing ROW. 
Several have ask why the Southern Abutment & the near mid-span Pier structures were not built perpendicular to the orientation of the bridge. I found this 'newer' Google Earth (10-02-20) image of the project area and it shows that the architects / designers had to follow the River banks - where they could find solid bedrock to anchor the structures.

updated: February 13, 2021

New: 2/12/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 39
IT WON'T BE LONG NOW!
After a  cold, wet & very WINDY early AM, Marc & I hit the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Project.  -  MF & GGG
 
# 2630: Using one relatively small dump & two larger trucks, ballast is delivered to the site. Watching the speed of the "round-robin" delivery, WE THINK that CEMEX is mining and sizing the ballast at their mine (thirteen miles northeast) and delivering it via their private RR. Again, WE THINK that CEMEX drops the ballast near their Victorville plant, where it is loaded onto the dumps and brought to the site (an approximately one mile trip).
GGG 2/12/21 - 2629
UP 5861 rolls EB through the construction area
MF 2/12/21 - 2630
see text above
MF 2/12/21 - 2631
Two pictures of the new bridge with its first layer of ballast.
MF 2/12/21 - 2632

Two pictures of the new bridge with its first layer of ballast.
MF 2/12/21 - 2633

BNSF 6424 East passes the front loader & roller spreading ballast on the Southern approach.
MF 2/12/21 - 2634
The Northern junction where the new ROW (lower front) will accept the existing tracks.  Note the difference in levels of the existing main lines and the two sets of "free rails" awaiting use.

updated: February 22, 2021

New: 2/19/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 40
Friday, Feb 19, was a really great day -- weather & railroading wise.   GGG & MF
 
# 3635-2638: Crews have started laying panel track on the new bridge. Remember that the BNSF uses wood ties on bridges and switches. We THINK that the bolted rail on the wood ties, will be replaced with the welded "ribbon rail" laying beside the panels. Concrete tie placement has begun at the far end of the panel track.
Additional infos from
Paul Westover (UPRR MOW) to the above paragraph:
I thought I'd add a side note....the wood ties which are longer on each end of the bridge with the "pigtail" clips (pandrol "E" clips) are known as transition ties and are used to transition from concrete tie track to wood tie track.....I'm not sure but I believe it's something to do with the harmonics of concrete to wood with the train traffic......just thought I'd add that as I'm sure some have noticed the difference between the concrete ties and the wood ties......UP uses special concrete ties on top of bridges with a rubber pad which is adhered to the bottom of the tie from the manufacturer......they also have a slightly different cross section as well as a black painted diamond upon the tops of them which denote their special use. ... thank you, Paul, GGG
MF 2/19/21 - 2635 MF 2/19/21 - 2636 MF 2/19/21 - 2637  Longer wood ties on Bridge
MF 2/19/21 - 2638
Bridge is ready for the second track.
MF 2/19/21 - 2639
UP 7058 leads a light engine move EB.
MF 2/19/21 - 2640
UP 7058 leads a light engine move EB to meet BNSF 7004 WB.
MF 2/19/21 - 2641
UP 7058 EB is meeting BNSF 7004 WB.
MF 2/19/21 - 2642
BNSF 7004 WB just passed UP EB engines.
MF 2/19/21 - 2643
BNSF 7004 WB passing the constuction site.
MF 2/19/21 - 2644
Something SELDOM SEEN -- a brand new & clean auto rack
MF 2/19/21 - 2645
Two views of the Northern Approach with ballast, concrete ties & "ribbon rail" awaiting use on the new #2 track.
MF 2/19/21 - 2646
Two views of the Northern Approach with ballast, concrete ties & "ribbon rail" awaiting use on the new #2 track.
MF 2/19/21 - 2647
On the way home, while crossing the Mojave Northern / CEMEX track, we noticed locomotive #419 headed South.
MF 2/19/21 - 2648
On the way home, while crossing the Mojave Northern / CEMEX track, we noticed locomotive #419 headed South.
MF 2/19/21 - 2649
With the San Gabriel Mountains in the background CEMEX 419 starts to descend the 4% grade into the Victor Valley.
After a bit of research: MN / CEMEX 419 was built in 1978 as a UP SD-40-2. It was rebuilt by Knoxville Locomotive and delivered to CEMEX in 2018 as a SE32C Tier-4 (3200 HP).

updated: March 7, 2021

New: 3/05/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 41
Friday, March 5, was a great day to chase trains & explore the Mojave. The new BNSF rail bridge is finished. Train traffic was heavy due to the reopening of the Trans-Con, after a 40+ car derailment closed both mains near Ludlow, CA (about 50 miles East of Barstow). We saw several newer T-4 units including the three new Progress Rail (EMD) demo units which, unfortunately, went through just as we arrived.   GGG & MF
 
# 2650-2651: Overview of the Bridge with new safety railings and what appears to be an inspection ladder installed on the far side (see 2651). Track #2 is in-place and three pieces of 'track finishing equipment' can be seen in the background.
MF 3/05/21 - 2650
Overview of the Bridge w/Track #2 in-place
MF 3/05/21 - 2651
inspection ladder installed on the far side
MF 3/05/21 - 2652
The Northern Approach with the new main track #2 leading to the connection point. 
MF 3/05/21 - 2653
BNSF 3694 is WB into the construction area. The boulders (lower right) were evidently placed to prevent Mojave four wheeler explorers from meeting the sudden 10 foot drop to track level.
MF 3/05/21 - 2654
BNSF 6748 EB intermodal @ MP 34.
MF 3/05/21 - 2655
UP 2582 w/all AutoRack is West Bound.
MF 3/05/21 - 2656
UP 6598 DPU WB for UP 2582.
MF 3/05/21 - 2657
BNSF 6766 is WB w/all AutoRacks.
MF 3/05/21 - 2658
BNSF 7892 DPU WB for BNSF 6766.

updated: March 17, 2021

New: 3/15/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 42
March 15 was a COLD and SUPER WINDY day on the Mojave. We ventured out to the Bridge Project where Marc ran into two BNSF Officers who informed him that Main Track #2 will be "cut-over", to the new bridge track, next Sunday (3-21).  Main Track #1 will be cut-over on 15 April. Would you believe that we will attend both "EVENTS"?  MF & GGG
MF 3/15/21 - 2659
Bridge Main Track #2 will be the first to be put into service and is being "dressed". The new Main track #1 is in place, but buried under ballast.
MF 3/15/21 - 2660
UP 5568 East approaches the construction area.
MF 3/15/21 - 2661
UP 5568 East clears the construction area.
at MP 34
# 2663-2664: The routine is: A layer of ballast is applied to the new rail & existing ballast.  The Brand New HARSCO 6700SJ2 tamper clamps onto the rails and lifts the rails & their attached ties. The ballast is shaped and vibrated into position under the, now higher, rails and ties. 
MF 3/15/21 - 2662
BNSF 7425 is WB @ MP 34
MF 3/15/21 - 2663
A layer of ballast is applied
MF 3/15/21 - 2664
Brand New HARSCO 6700SJ2 tamper
MF 3/15/21 - 2665
BNSF 5916 is EB at the site MP 34
MF 3/15/21 - 2666
BNSF 5817 DPU's are EB at the site
MF 3/15/21 - 2667
The Northern "cut-in" area is pictured.

updated: March 23, 2021

New: 3/21/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 43
Sunday (3/21) was "cut-over " (track connecting) day at the BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT.  However we went to the Bridges Project in the AM and were told that the actual cut-over would occur sometime around 2000 (8:00 PM). So, we settled for the flurry of work preceding the actual track connections.  MF & GGG
 
# 2668: I've always wanted to get a picture illustrating the lengths Marc will go to for THAT picture. Too bad, but he had my camera & I was left with a PRE-Historic (as in REALLY OLD) CELL PHONE. That boulder has to be 20+ feet tall and is rounded & slick. However, Marc can get pictures as in photos # 2669-2672.
GGG 3/21/21 - 2668
Marc on top of the rock formation to get those pics # 2669-2672.
See description above.
MF 3/21/21 - 2669
Marc gets me photographing him with my Stone-age cell phone.
MF 3/21/21 - 2670
From Marc's Boulder - facing West, the Rt 66 Bridge, Power Plants at SoCal Logistics Airport, and a WB BNSF 7186 leaving Oro Grande can be seen.
MF 3/21/21 - 2671
BNSF 7186 West emerges from the 'shelf' and heads toward the project.
MF 3/21/21 - 2672
Bridge Overview---BTW, a BNSF official told us that that those huge "I" beams weighed 214,000 pounds each.
MF 3/21/21 - 2673
Two pics of the NORTH END connecting (tie-in) of Old & New portions of MAIN TRACK #2.
MF 3/21/21 - 2674
Two pics of the NORTH END connecting (tie-in) of Old & New portions of MAIN TRACK #2.
MF 3/21/21 - 2675
OLD Main Track #2 was cut into 30+ foot sections for removal.
MF 3/21/21 - 2676
UP 8979 is EB through the area. The white marks on OLD MT #2 indicate where track is to be cut.
MF 3/21/21 - 2677
BNSF 4308 is EB through the construction area.
MF 3/21/21 - 2678
On the way to our Southern Photo area, we spotted CEMEX 415 SB to their Victorville facility with a WB BNSF on the main.
MF 3/21/21 - 2679
BNSF 5610 is WB
MF 3/21/21 - 2680
Removal of 30+ foot sections of the OLD #2 track.
MF 3/21/21 - 2681
The removed sections of OLD #2 track are stacked off the ROW.
MF 3/21/21 - 2682
The Southern connection of the new & old track sections are being bolted together. 
MF 3/21/21 - 2683
The Southern connection of the new & old track sections are being bolted together. 
MF 3/21/21 - 2684
The Southern connection of the new & old track sections are being bolted together. 
MF 3/21/21 - 2685
The ballast tamper & regulator are busy 'dressing' the new connections & track.

Part 44

Tuesday (3/23): NO BIG DEAL, but here is MY FIRST train over the new BNSF Mojave River Bridge @ MP 34.1 of the Cajon Sub ---- DRUM ROLL PLEASE.    GGG
GGG 3/23/21 - 2686
UP 8962 - A very long & heavy coal loads is WB on old MT-1 @ MP 34
GGG 3/23/21 - 2687
UP 8109 and 8245 DPU's (nose-to-nose) for this coal train are WB on old MT-1 @ MP 34
GGG 3/23/21 - 2688
BNSF 4007 is EB, at track speed, on the NEW Main Track #2 of the NEW BNSF Mojave River Bridge.

updated: April 9, 2021

New: 4/06/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 45
In Jan 2020, BNSF & Ames Construction began a project to replace the two railroad bridges that cross the Mojave River at MP 34.1 on the Cajon Sub - between Oro Grande & E. Victorville. The new bridge is open for rail traffic & the two older bridges, built in 1914 & 1921, are now trackless and awaiting recycling.
MF 1/11/20 - 2689
BNSF 7968 is WB on 11 Jan 2020 at project beginning - A scene NEVER to be repeated !!
MF 4/06/21 - 2690
BNSF 6500 is WB over the new bridge on Main #1  04-06-21
MF 4/06/21 - 2691
BNSF 5893 is EB over the new bridge on Main #2  04-06-21
MF 4/06/21 - 2692
An overview of all three bridges
MF 4/06/21 - 2693
The old & trackless bridges awaiting demolition & recycling
MF 4/06/21 - 2694
Scraping the ballast from the old bridges. We were told that Ames Construction was required to erect a net under the old bridges to prevent any ballast from falling into the River (trickle).
MF 4/06/21 - 2695
One of four areas where the existing ROW was bolted (cut-in) to the new bridge tracks. After track "destressing" and the passage of a specific tonnage of trains, these areas will be welded.
MF 4/06/21 - 2696
BNSF 3920 EB MP 34.4
MF 4/06/21 - 2697
BNSF 6573 WB MP 34.1
Next will be pictures of the removal and demolition of the old bridges.  From what we are told, a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) will be placed on the Temporary Construction bridge. One OLD bridge will then be laterally moved onto the SPMT and then the huge load will be moved AWAY from the overhead 500KV power lines.
 
 
Should be worth the price of admission.  -  GGG & MF

updated: April 17, 2021

New: 4/09/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 46
With the new BNSF Mojave River Bridge finished and in service, the moving & demolition of the OLD BNSF Mojave River bridges will be the FINAL part of the project. This last phase has hatched several "WHY, HOW, & WHERE questions. The old bridges must be moved since NOTHING from the demolition may be introduced into The MIGHTY MOJAVE RIVER. Also, there is an imminent electrical hazard from the 500KV transmission lines directly above the project area. The demolition will be easier & safer with the old bridges on solid ground and well away from the active mainline.
 
So, the following is a combo of 'what we've been told' and what we have 'concluded'.
 
# 2698 & 2699: When the project was first begun, two tall poles were erected (one on each side of the river), with thoughts that they would support bridge removal.  When the crews attempted to attach guy cables, electrical ARCING from the power lines was encountered. This ARCING problem also eliminates use of the HUGE MANITOWOC crane to remove the bridge(s), since its boom would be near vertical in order to support bridge weight. The poles and the transmission lines can be seen, at the ARROWS, in # 2698 & 2699.
 
# 2700: An edited GOOGLE showing the bridge moving sequence. A Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) will be positioned on the temporary construction bridge (B) and the old main #1 bridge (A) will be hydraulically moved to sit upon it.
 
The crawler (with bridge) will then move to a position near (C). Obviously, the process will be repeated for the second bridge. The area near (C) is away from the River, safely positioned between the transmission lines???, on solid ground, and allows plenty of room for demolition equipment. More when the cutting torches get to work.   GGG & MF
MF 4/06/21 - 2698 GGG 4/06/21 - 2699 GGG 4/06/21 - 2700

updated: April 24, 2021

New: 4/23/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 47

Marc & I visited the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement Project this AM. Marc ran into a BNSF Structures gent who, among other things, told us that the OLD bridges will be moved to their recycling position on 5 & 6 May.  Guess where we’ll be ????   -   MF & GGG
 
# 2701: As sent before --- An edited GOOGLE showing the bridge moving sequence. A Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) will be positioned on the temporary construction bridge (B) and the old main #1 bridge (A) will be hydraulically moved to sit upon it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-propelled_modular_transporter

The crawler (with bridge) will then move to a position near (C). Obviously, the process will be repeated for the second bridge. The area near (C) is away from the River, safely positioned between the transmission lines ???, on solid ground, and allows plenty of room for demolition equipment.

GGG 4/23/21 - 2701
See describtion above.
MF 4/23/21 - 2702
A ground view of the above described move of the old bridge(s).
MF 4/23/21 - 2703
UP 8207 + 8 is EB with a 2 mile long train of empty hoppers.
MF 4/23/21 - 2704
Two views of the deckless bridge skeletons.  Workers were below the deck probably detaching the bridges from their abutments.
MF 4/23/21 - 2705
Two views of the deckless bridge skeletons.  Workers were below the deck probably detaching the bridges from their abutments.
MF 4/23/21 - 2706
BNSF 8256 is EB with another heavy train.

updated: May 5, 2021

New: 5/05/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 48
We had been told that the OLD BNSF Mojave River Bridges were to be moved today but, the crew was still assembling the Modular Crawlers.  So, here are three of the scene today.   MF & GGG
 
# 2701: Now, we're told that TOMORROW the two Modular Crawler sections will be spotted on or at the ends of the Temporary Construction Bridge (far left). OLD bridge #1 will be moved left, to rest upon the crawlers. The entire assembly will then be moved to the dirt area in the foreground for bridge torching.
MF 5/05/21 - 2707
See describtion above.
MF 5/05/21 - 2708
Additional equipment for the crawlers.
MF 5/05/21 - 2709
BNSF 4003 WB passes the area at restricted speed.

updated: May 9, 2021

New: 5/06/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 49
May 6th found Marc & I on the Rt. 66 (Southern) side of the BNSF Mojave River Bridges Replacement Project with expectations that Barnhart Crane & Rigging Corp would be moving the OLD Bridges to their demolition positions.
 
Marc returned on 7 May to photograph the progress: See # 2723-2724
MF 5/06/21 - 2710
BNSF 6826 + 4 roar across the new bridge with a long stack train.
MF 5/06/21 - 2711
The two crawler sets, support beams and moving machinery are all in place . . .
MF 5/06/21 - 2712
. . to move the OLD track #1 bridge into position above the crawlers.
MF 5/06/21 - 2713
One set of "hydraulic rams and slide shoes" is bolted to the notched "I" beam and ready to move the bridge.
MF 5/06/21 - 2714
BNSF 7362 +9 Light Power move is WB @ MP 34.1
MF 5/06/21 - 2715
show the progressive movements of the bridge to its desired position above the crawlers.
# 2715-2719: show the progressive movements of the bridge to its desired position above the crawlers.
MF 5/06/21 - 2716 MF 5/06/21 - 2717 MF 5/06/21 - 2718
MF 5/06/21 - 2719 MF 5/06/21 - 2720
BNSF 609 & DPU's propel a monster stack train toward L.A.
MF 5/06/21 - 2721
BNSF 609 & DPU's propel a monster stack train toward L.A.
MF 5/06/21 - 2722
After we left the area on 6 May, the crew moved the bridge up the ramp, over to the right and then backed it into its demolition position.
MF 5/07/21 - 2723
BNSF 4072 is WB. Cement blocks have been placed under the old track #1 bridge to begin building its demolition supports.
MF 5/07/21 - 2724
Also note that the bridge is positioned between the 500KW power lines so that a boom crane may safely be used during demo. 

updated: May 18, 2021

New: 5/13/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 50
We visited the BNSF Mojave River Bridge project last Thursday.  The demolition of the old #2 Main Line bridge was well underway.  The driving and most limiting factor is the mitigation of any chance of contamination of the River or the atmosphere by lead, from the layers of lead based paint covering the bridges.  The weight of the first bridge moved was 526,000 pounds according to scales on-board the modular crawler. Old #2 mainline bridge is estimated to weigh 660,000 pounds.  I checked the prices of scrap steel ($211.00/ton) and iron $218.00/ton).  The scrap value of both bridges is somewhat more than $124,000 -- No one will get rich from the scrap.
 
Marc found out that EACH & EVERY piece of steel/iron, removed from the bridges, must be soaked in a solution to remove the lead based paint - BEFORE any other recycling processes can begin.   MF & GGG
MF 5/13/21 - 2725
The area to be torched is "painted" with the white lead based paint stripper and allowed to sit for 24 hours before application of the adhesive red & white paper.
MF 5/13/21 - 2726
The area to be torched is "painted" with the white lead based paint stripper and allowed to sit for 24 hours before application of the adhesive red & white paper.
MF 5/13/21 - 2727
After removal of the red & white adhesive paper & the stripper containing the lead, the area may be torched.  Notice the areas designated for future cutting & the personal protective garment worn by the operator.
GGG 5/13/21 - 2728
Our photographer, Marc is always climbing and looking for the best photographic spot.
MF 5/13/21 - 2729
Cutting and lowering the beam pieces into the reclamation bins.
MF 5/13/21 - 2730
Cutting and lowering the beam pieces into the reclamation bins.
MF 5/13/21 - 2731
Cutting and lowering the beam pieces into the reclamation bins.
MF 5/13/21 - 2732
The working end of the CAT SCRAP & DEMOLITION SHEAR
MF 5/13/21 - 2733
BNSF 4269 WB @ MP 34.1
MF 5/13/21 - 2734
Cross bracing being removed
MF 5/13/21 - 2735
Acetylene torch cutting
MF 5/13/21 - 2736
A "BOX BEAM" end - after its meeting with the SCRAP & DEMOLITION SHEAR

updated: May 26, 2021

New: 5/15/21 to 5/18/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 51
Last week, Marc made two solo trips to the construction site. The OLD Main Track #1 bridge is ALMOST gone.
MF 5/15/21 - 2737
Closeup of the crawler - ready to move Old Mainline #2 bridge.
MF 5/15/21 - 2738
Closeup of the Hydraulic Ram and slide shoe - ready to move Old Mainline #2 bridge.
MF 5/15/21 - 2739
The deck of Old Mainline #01 bridge. The bridge deck crossbeams are being removed using the CAT SCRAP & DEMOLITION SHEAR.
MF 5/15/21 - 2740
The deck of Old Mainline #01 bridge. The bridge deck crossbeams are being removed using the CAT SCRAP & DEMOLITION SHEAR.
MF 5/15/21 - 2741
The deck of Old Mainline #01 bridge. The bridge deck crossbeams are being removed using the CAT SCRAP & DEMOLITION SHEAR.
MF 5/18/21 - 2742
The small heap of twisted metal, under the Hyundai arm, is all that's left of the Old Mainline #1 bridge on 05-18.

updated: May 26, 2021

New: 5/20/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 52
Our Thursday (May 20) visit to the Bridge project was very fruitful. Marc introduced himself to Mark Biloki, who, it turns out, is the Ames Corp Project Manager for the BNSF Mojave River Bridge Replacement Project. Mark was very helpful in answering our many questions and even found some bridge artifacts for our collections. He informed us that the OLD Mainline #2 bridge, which Barnhart was about to move, actually weighed 840,000 pounds.
 
By the end of next week, all remnants of the old bridges should be removed - leaving three minor projects. The temporary construction bridge must be removed along with the existing two abutments for the OLD main #1 bridge. The existing abutments for OLD bridge #2 will remain for a future new third mainline --- if & when. Site Cleanup will finish the project.  We will follow 'till the end 'cause we're out of projects to follow.

# 2743-2745: show the remains of the OLD #1 Bridge. It took less than two weeks to move and demolish the bridge.  The holdup is that the bins can be filled much faster than they can be moved to the recycler, while observing highway load limits.  The scrap & demolition shear is a fearsome looking machine up close.
MF 5/20/21 - 2743 (see above) MF 5/20/21 - 2744 (see above) MF 5/20/21 - 2745 (see above)
MF 5/20/21 - 2746
The lead crawler is in position to receive OLD mainline #2 bridge.
MF 5/20/21 - 2747
BNSF 7164 is WB @ MP 34
MF 5/20/21 - 2748
The bridge is sitting on the slide shoe of the transfer beam and the hydraulic ram is compressed-ready for action.
MF 5/20/21 - 2749
The hydraulic ram is shown extended after a movement stroke.
MF 5/20/21 - 2750
Lubrication of transfer surfaces
MF 5/20/21 - 2751
The pressure hoses must be protected
MF 5/20/21 - 2752
Bridge is sitting on the transfer beam-moving left to above the crawlers
MF 5/20/21 - 2753
Bridge is above crawler (BNSF 8225 WB is passing the site)
MF 5/20/21 - 2754
Crawler assumes bridge weight of 840,000 pounds
MF 5/20/21 - 2755
UP 3078 is WB @ MP 34
MF 5/20/21 - 2756
Bridge ready to move up ramp after steel beams & wood cribbing are removed
MF 5/20/21 - 2757
BNSF 8225 WB @ MP 34.1 (second unit still in "Santa Fe" lettering).
MF 5/20/21 - 2758
BNSF 7009 DPU for BNSF 8225 WB @ MP 34.1
MF 5/20/21 - 2759
Steel beams & wood cribbing are being removed
MF 5/20/21 - 2760
Transfer Beam, Hydraulic Ram & Slip shoe removed (huge graffity on Auto Rack)

updated: June 1, 2021

New: 5/27/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 53
#2761-62: As mentioned last report, our new Ames Construction friend 'liberated' a few pieces of the OLD Main #1 bridge for our collections. Pictured are of a piece of angle iron nine inches long & weighting twenty pounds and a few rivets.
MF 5/27/21 - 2761
see above
MF 5/27/21 - 2762
see above
MF 5/27/21 - 2763
BNSF 4430 is EB & switching tracks at East Victorville.
MF 5/27/21 - 2764
There has been little progress in the demolition of OLD bridge #2 due to crane operator availability. However, the bridge has been moved and is now sitting on steel pipe & wooden supports. The crawlers are no longer on site.
MF 5/27/21 - 2765

BNSF 6437 is WB though the area.
MF 5/27/21 - 2766
Workers treating the places to be cut, with the chemical which will protect us all from the lead based paint contaminated water & air ??? The bridge demolition, with full crews, will resume next week.

updated: June 5, 2021

New: 6/04/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 54
We made a quick and VERY HOT (100F+) trip to the BNSF Mojave River Bridges project Friday AM.  MF & GGG
 
 # 2767 - 2769: The OLD #2 mainline bridge superstructure is 50% demolished. 
MF 6/04/21 - 2767 (see above) MF 6/04/21 - 2768  (see above) MF 6/04/21 - 2769  (see above)
MF 6/04/21 - 2770
The 5+ hour late AMTRAK #3 passed WB through the project area.
MF 6/04/21 - 2771
 A long & heavy BNSF EB manifest passes the area.
MF 6/04/21 - 2772
A view of what's left of the OLD Main Track #2 bridge.

 

New: 6/04/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 55
Exclusive video of the ML-2 Bridge Jack and Slide operation by Mark Biloki (Project Manager Ames Construction)
https://share.icloud.com/photos/0ed6QBEPV8QSeUuHDBY2g6UjA#Victorville

updated: June 14, 2021

New: 6/10/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 56
Friday was an interesting day at the Bridges Project.  Rail traffic was very heavy.  Construction
work centered on demolition of the OLD Main Track #2 bridge and removal of the abutments of OLD Main Track #1.  The abutments for OLD Main Track #2 will be retained for any future Main Track #3 construction. 
The OFFICIAL date for project completion is 20 AUG 2021. -  GGG & MF
MF 6/10/21 - 2773
BNSF 7234 East passes the CEMEX cement plant @ E. Victorville.
MF 6/10/21 - 2774
BNSF 7234 East passes the CEMEX cement plant @ E. Victorville.
MF 6/10/21 - 2775
Same train passes what's left of the OLD Main #2 bridge.
MF 6/10/21 - 2776
The bridge was built in eight sections. Two sections have been removed and moved to the left to facilitate further . . .
MF 6/10/21 - 2777
. . . cutting at ground level.  Cutting has been slowed due to the increased (up to 3 inches) thickness of the steel.
MF 6/10/21 - 2778
BNSF 8106 West passes the area heading toward Victorville.
MF 6/10/21 - 2779
BNSF 8106 West passes the area heading toward Victorville.
MF 6/10/21 - 2780
Yuri Lopez, BNSF Project Manager, showed us two 'rescued' pieces of the bridge which were raised lettered "ILLINOIS STEEL".
Illinois Steel Company - Wikipedia
MF 6/10/21 - 2781
BNSF 6421 East heads toward the new BNSF Mojave River bridge at MP 34.3.

updated: June 21, 2021

New: 6/19/21 BNSF MOJAVE RIVER BRIDGES REPLACEMENT PROJECT - Part 57