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Cajon Pass 2010 - Page 1/9

Cajon Pass Aerial Photos
June 2, 2010
by Werner Meer

Updated: July 8, 2010

I am very pleased to show these exclusive pictures. A big thank you goes to Apple Valley Aviation. They did an outstanding job with a fantastic pilot. Everything worked very well, except there was not a single train between Summit and Blue Cut.
If anybody is planning to hire a plane for such a project, we highly reccommend Apple Valley Aviation.
Take a look at their website: 

Note: The copyright belongs to this gentleman. Do not use any photos without written permission.
(All photos by Werner Meer, except those marked MM = Melinda Meer)

Photos are sorted by location from East to West and back from West to East:

We (Stefan Wagner, who is loco engineer in Switzerland and me WM) start our Journey in Apple Valley and fly across the desert to Victorville to meet the BNSF tracks. Continue West to Hesperia, Lugo, Martinez, Summit, Silverwood, Hill 582, former Tunnel area, Alray, I-15, Mormon Rocks, Highway 138, Pine Lodge, Sullivan's Curve, Cajon Station, Cosy Dell, Swarthout Canyon Road, Blue Cut, Keenbrook.

On the flight back we begin at the Lower Canyon, Swarthout Canyon Road, Cajon Station, Sullivan's Curve, Pine Lodge, Mormon Rocks/Stein's Hill/HWY 138, CP Walker/Davis Ranch Road, I-15, Alray/Tunnel Area, Hill 582, Silverwood, West Summit Island, Summit (Hiland), Martinez, Lugo, Hesperia, Victorville, Frost, Victorville Narrows, Victorville Amtrak Station, East Victorville, Mojave River Bridges, Oro Grande and back to Apple Valley.

Here is some technical data about our flight: The plane was a Cessna 172. Minimum flight level above ground was 1000 ft. and slowest possible (safe) speed 80 mph. Departure was approx. 08.15 a.m. and arrival 09.20 a.m. For the downhill flight (westbound) over Cajon I opened the side window for taking photos. I did never expect such a strong wind pressure. Once holding the camera out of the window, the zoom lens was immediately fully pushed together. So, I had to push it hard for tele photos. On the way uphill (eastbound) I left the window closed. There was almost no reflection and it was much more comfortable.

Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, WB = West Bound, MT-1 = BNSF Main 1, MT-2 = BNSF Main 2, MT-3 = BNSF Main 3 (South track), UPT = Union Pacific track, MP = Mile Post,  SWC = Swarthout Canyon Road Crossing, WSI = West Summit Island, DBS = Double Stack train, KCR = Kemper Campbell Ranch

For bigger size photos - please click on the 4-digit number below each photo.

First, we show some photos before take off to get an idea about the plane and the services of Apple Valley Aviation (incl. some memories).
Welcome to a special high desert airport - 4163 Apple Valley Airport Terminal - 4164 Apple Valley Aviation - 4162
MM Hi-Tech Airport  - 6682 MM - Warning sign at the airport - 6700 Cockpit of our Cessna 172 - 4002
MM SW, WM and Joe are going to the palne - 6668 MM High wings are perfect for taking pict. - 6669 MM Our Cessna 172 is ready  - 6678
MM Stefan and Werner - 6670 MM - and Joe, our Pilot - 6671 MM What do we need to know? - 6672
MM Last instructions - 6677 MM Entering the plane - 6686 MM Closing the door - 6688
MM Waving before departure - 6693 MM Stefan is already taking a movie - 6694 MM Ready for take off - 6699
Finally, we are ready for take off. As mentioned above, we fly first to Victorville to join the BNSF tracks and follow the tracks to Cajon Pass.
Sorry, no trains between Summit and Blue Cut while flying down the Pass ! !
Victorville - Spring Valley Lake - 4005 It is actually a man made lake - 4006 Bear Valley Road bridge over BNSF tracks - 4007
Hesperia (below Santa Fe Ave.) - 4008 Hesperia Rd w/Molly Browns Rest. at right - 4009 Hesperia - Main Street bridge - 4010
We are just above Hesperia Airport.
California Aquaduct from right side - 4011
First trains at Lugo. A BNSF EB DBS is passing
another EB DBS at Lugo siding - 4015
From Lugo we have just double track up to Barstow.
From here, toward Cajon we have triple track - 4016
This DBS train is still waiting in the siding - 4020 Martinez siding is just East of Summit  4021 Around the corner is Summit - 4022
From Martinez to Summit - 4023 Summit curve - 4024 From left: Hwy 138, BNSF 3-2-1, UPT - 4025
Close up of Summit w/security guard - 4026 Hwy 138 was recently paved - 4027 Summit Overlook from Hwy 138 - 4028
From Summit to Silverwood - 4029 WSI and Silverwood connector to UPT - 4030 Silverwood w/Powerline Road - 4031
Hill 582 in the middle - 4032 Close up of Hill 582 - 4033 From left: BNSF MT-3, MT-2/-1 and UPT -  4034
BNSF MT-3 (former Gish siding) I-15 above - 4035 I-15, CP Walker at right, Mormon Rocks - 4037 Mormon Rocks overview - 4038
BNSF MT-3, MT-2/-1 and UPT - 4039 MT-3 in foreground and MT-2/-1 w/Hwy 138 - 4040 BNSF MT-2 pass under Hwy 138 - 4041
Pine Lodge, below Hwy 138 - 4042 From left: BNSF MT-3, MT-2/-1, UPT - 4043 Sullivan's Curve at right - 4044
Sullivan's Curve - 4045 Sullivan's Curve w/Rock formations - 4047 I-15, Cajon Station overview - 4046
I-15 w/Gleghorn Exit to Route 66 - 4048 Cajon Station close up - 4049 Route 66 heading West - 4050
I-15, Route 66, BNSF tracks, UPT - 4051 Soon, we will reach SWC X-ing - 4052 SWC Road exit from Rt 66 before the curve - 4053
After the curve is the SWC RR X-ing - 4054 SWC road had to be moved because of 3MT - 4055 Looking toward Blue Cut - 4056
SWC is also crossing the UPT at right - 4058 Blue Cut: Rt 66, Creek, BNSF tracks, UPT - 4059 Keenbrook (last photo of downhill flight) - 4060
Now, we fly back uphill and hope for a train. But there was once again not a single train until Hesperia. Nevertheless, our main reason for taking photos was because of the finished Third Main Track (3MT) construction of BNSF. Between 2007 and 2008 a lot of things changed in the pass. Even the 2 tunnels were daylighted, addtl. bridges and right of way was built. Take a look at our detailed 3MT construction photos on our Cajon Pass main page.
SWC road X-ing of UPT. SWC is always nice to use for taking photos as UPT is higher than BNSF - 4062  Actually the service road along the UPT (North) is a Forest Service road and can be used - 4063 Rt 66 (Cajon Blvd.) makes a left curve. On the left side (top) is the SWC exit visible - 4064
Sullivan's Curve seen from the back - 4065 The 3MT was built along the North track - 4066 So, rocks inside the curve had to be removed - 4067
The famous rocks at left were untouched - 4068 BNSF MT-1/-2 coming from Cajon Station - 4069 UPT, BNSF MT-1/-2, MT-3, I-15 w/McDo - 4070
Best Western at the corner of I-15 & Hwy 138 - 4071 BNSF MT-3 under Hwy 138 bridge - 4072 BNSF MT-3 goes under I-15 - 4075
Mormon Rocks w/bridge of Cajon Creek - 4073 Mormon Rocks BNSF MT-1 and MT-2 - 4074 Davis Ranch Road and CP Walker - 4076
CP Walker, I-15, Alray looking East - 4077 I-15, Alray, former Tunnel area, looking East - 4079 Alray UPT, BNSF MT-1/-2 Baldy Mesa Road - 4080
Former Tunnel area MT-1/-2 and UPT (left) - 4081 Former Tunnel 1 shotcrete retaining wall - 4082 Former Tunnel 1 area looking East - 4083
Hill 582 looking South - 4084 UPT, BNSF MT-1/-2, Hill 582, MT-3 - 4085 Dirt road in the middle coming from Hwy 138 - 4086
From left: UPT, BNSF MT-1/-2, MT-3 w/Powerline Road coming from Hwy 138 - 4087 From Powerline Road take a left before MT-3, go uphill and left, there is a nice overlook - 4088 Silverwood Connector between UPT and BNSF MT-1 for UP trains to Daggett - 4089
WSI in the middle, Summit curve to the left - 4090 UPT Hiland, BNSF Summit, Hwy 138 - 4091 Martinez Spur w/Summit Valley Road - 4092
Triple track ends here at Lugo - 4093 Hesperia - Lugo looking East - 4096 More houses are being built North of tracks - 4097
Hesperia Airport at left corner - 4098 California Aquaduct goes below the tracks - 4099 in a short tunnel and will open West of it - 4100
We have seen this EB BNSF Double Stack train approx. 45 Min. ago when we were flying westward over Martinez siding. This one was already waiting in the siding while the other BNSF EB Double Stack train was rolling towards Barstow. You may check photos 4015 - 4022. It is really the same train having 4 BNSF diesels, followed by the very same double stack car consist (we double checked).
Hesperia Main Street w/DBS train EB - 4101 After all, we got a train (see above) - 4102 The industry in Hesperia is alive - 4103
Victorville, at left is the flyover - Frost - 4105 New houses between tracks & Ridgecrest Rd  4107 2 trains crossing over each other would be great 4106
As the speed of the plane is actually too fast compared to the EB DBS train, we are planning to fly a circle to catch it at the crossover and fly further down. But, oh wonder, there is a WB DBS train coming thru the Victorville Narrows. We are speculating to see 2 trains at the flyover.
BNSF WB DBS pass Victorville Narrows - 4108 Here we start our waiting circle - 4111 This land belongs to Kemper Campbell Ranch - 4112
As we finally got a train, don't be surprised to see plenty photos of this BNSF EB Double Stack Train. As we continue our circle, we do have a chance to see this train from different angles even at the flyover. It sure makes a lot of fun ! !
Well, our dream with 2 trains at the flyover did not fulfil because the WB train was still waiting at the Frost signal.
We see the Spring Valley Lake from the East - 4113 Here comes our EB DBS train - 4114 Our BNSF train pass under the Flyover - 4116
Here we go toward KCR and Victorville - 4117 Same location - 4118 We are flying against train direction - 4119
Mojave Narrows Regional Park in front - 4120 DBS cars are still rolling under the flyover - 4121 Take a closer look - 4122
And another view - 4123 What can I say? - 4124 DPU's at the rear end - 4125
Thanks to digital photography - 4126 we can take as many pictures as we want - 4127 The engines did already pass the Narrows - 4128
Our circle continues and we will soon fly the - 4129 same direction like the EB train - 4130 2 DPU's mark the end of the train - 4131
The WB train is still standing at Frost signal - 4132 Out EB train is passing the Narrows - 4133 and entering Victorville's Amtrak station - 4135
Old part of Victorville w/Route 66 - 4136 Close up of Amtrak Depot - 4137 Our EB train did almost reach I-15 - 4138
Detail I-15 overpass w/EB train - 4139 Our train will soon pass the Cemex plant - 4140 Another WB DBS train is waiting here - 4141
East Victorville with Mojave River bridges - 4143 Nobody knows why there is a WB lineup - 4144 Route 66 bridge over Mojave River - 4145
Looking North toward Oro Grande - 4146 We made a U-turn and look South - 4148 WB train still on hold - 4149
Our EB train is passing the WB train - 4150 Last photo of our EB train - 4151 WB train is still waiting - 4152
Coming back to Apple Valley Airport - 4157 Final approach and happy landing - 4158 Back on the ground and our pilot walks away - 4161
Well, our journey is over. It was a great experience to see the "world" actually Cajon Pass from the air. A big thank you to our fantastic Pilot "Joe" and to Apple Valley Aviation for their excellent service. We think to try our luck with more trains again in Summer 2011 (hopefully).

Other Aerial Photos taken by David Crammer (not on our Website):

Excellent Aerial photos of Cajon before construction started by Dave Crammer: 

Dave Crammer published a 20 page report "Air Cajon" (Cajon Pass from the Air) in TRP (The Railroad Press) Magazine Issue # 71 (Oct/Nov/Dec, 2006).

More Aerial photos incl. 3MT (taken in 2008) by Dave Crammer: 

Here you find some maps and more infos about Cajon Pass and the Tunnels, which are gone:

Simple Maps about Cajon Pass: click here

8 different and detailed Maps of Cajon Pass with captions (Mile Posts and Location) by Gary G. Gray - click here
(Very helpful to find the locations between Summit and Blue Cut of the aerial photos above)
New 8/11: Maps "How to find" Hill 582, Sullivan's Curve, Noisy Point by Gary G. Gray - click here
Accurate Map of Cajon Pass with 3rd Main Track by Michael Amrine - click here
Railfan Map of Cajon Pass by Joe Perry: 
Map of Cajon Area (Inland Empire): 
Cajon Pass Map by Wikimapia (easy to enlarge every location): 
Here are photos of the 2 tunnels before construction started: click here
Did you see the Aerial Photos of Cajon Pass by Dave Crammer? - click here
Did you see the Aerial Photos of Tehachapi Pass by Dave Crammer? - click here


Did you see page 1/9 ? - click here - Aerial Photos Did you see page 2/9 ? - click here - Hill 582 Part 1
Did you see page 3/9 ? - click here - Hill 582 Part 2 Did you see page 4/9 ? - click here - Hill 582 Part 3
Did you see page 5/9 ? - click here - Summit/Silverwood Did you see page 6/9 ? - click here - Alray Tunnel Area
Did you see page 7/9 ? - click here - Sullivans Curve Did you see page 8/9 ? - click here - Mormon Rocks
Did you see page 9/9 ? - click here - along Cajon Blvd. Go back to my Cajon 2010 Photo Main Page - click here

Go back to Cajon Pass Main Page - click here

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