TRAINMASTER BY WERNER MEER  US-RAILROAD-SHOP KILCHBERG
HOCHWEIDSTRASSE 3  CH-8802 KILCHBERG (ZÜRICH) SWITZERLAND (founded 1977)
PHONE *41-44-715-3666, FAX *41-44-715-3660, E-MAIL trainmaster@bluewin.ch
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added: February 24, 2017 / updated: November 27, 2021: 197-202

Cajon Pass Sub Photo Collection
2017 - 2022

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

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.

Green Tree Blvd. Extension w/new bridge over BNSF
Main Tracks at Victorville, CA

close to: "natural crossover / flyover" at MP 39.1 of the BNSF Cajon Sub
After years of planning and searching for funds, our local Governments have started construction of the fifth roadway between Apple Valley and Hesperia (and / or Victorville). These projects are necessary, not only for normal vehicular traffic but, for emergency traffic in this VERY earthquake prone area. Three of the roadways have existed for many years but one accident would clog the other two roads for hours.

The s
omewhat recent fourth project was the BNSF RR bridge built over the extension of Ranchero Rd -- as previously documented:  http://www.trainmaster.ch/XC-11.htm

The hyper expensive factors in this construction are that all five, of these arterials, must cross the
normally dry Mojave river, its tributaries and the very busy BNSF RR Cajon sub-division. What's important to we Raifans is that this latest construction must cross the tracks very near the "natural crossover / flyover" at MP 39.1 of the BNSF Cajon Sub -- and how the new roads will affect the hill overlooking the flyover (our viewpoint, locally known as "Gray's Hill").

I have edited a couple of local Government maps and added a few pictures showing the project's current status and its PROPOSED route --- which will cross the BNSF. Unless you've visited the area, you may find all of this confusing. GGG

Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, NB = North Bound, SB = South Bound, WB = West Bound

For bigger size photos - please click on the 3-digit number below each photo (the first letters specify the photographer)..

we start our documentation with an overview of the current situation - 1
GGG 6/15/15 Upper Norrows Mojave River
(view from Gray's Hill) - 001
GGG 12/28/15 UP EB at MP. 39.1
(view from Gray's Hill) - 002
Google map of entire project. Phase #1 (Apple Valley) is nearing completion.. Phase II (including the Mojave River Bridge) is complete but not open for traffic. Phase III (left side in purple) is the part of the project for future documentation. The entire East-West Rd will be four lanes with "shoulders". - 003
GGG 11/25/16 Looking EAST (Apple Valley) at phases #1 & #2 (view from Gray's Hill) - 004 GGG 11/25/16 Looking West (Victorville) at the Western section of Phase III (view from Gray's Hill) - 005
Contractor / Victorville map of proposed phase III (BLUE) road route over or through "Gray's Hill". - 006
WM 6/02/10 To a Werner Meer aerial of the BNSF Flyover / Gray's Hill, I've added straight line approximations of where the new roads will traverse the hill. Note that 'the Hill' is steeply sloped and 125+ feet higher than the terrain containing the existing roads being connected. - 007
GGG 11/25/16 From "Gray's Hill" looking at the Western terminus of Phase II, it APPEARS to me that a substantial portion of Gray's Hill must be removed to make this project work. Note the "X" for next picture reference. - 008 GGG 12/02/16 From near the "X" referenced in the previous picture, the present Ridgecrest road will be abandoned and replaced somewhere near the LARGE ARROW (see 007).  -  009
Construction on Phase III should begin late 2017, completion SCHEDULED for 2020..  GGG

 

The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 2
Because we have no idea what will happen to Gray's Hill or even if we'll have access to what's left, I've decided to fully document the area as it stands.   GGG
GGG 2/03/17 The relative heights of the Desert Floor & Gray's Hill, according to GARMIN GPS - 010 GGG 2/03/17 Two views East, from the Desert floor, of Frost and the Mojave River upper narrows - 011
GGG 2/03/17 close up of upper narrows - 012 GGG 11/25/16 BNSF 7575 WB MP 39.1 - 013
GGG 11/25/16 BNSF WB DPU's (same train) - 014 GGG 1/30/17 BNSF 5771 (on the normally EB track) is WB - 015
GGG 11/25/16 UP 6542 with a GE Tier 4 (2nd unit) is WB @ MP 39.1 - 016 GGG 11/25/16 UP 2691 GE Tier 4 DPU WB on same manifest  - 017

updated: October 30, 2019

Green Tree Boulevard extension closer to construction - News - vvdailypress.com - Victorville, CA

VICTORVILLE — Barring obstacles, the third phase of a multi-million dollar roadway project connecting Victorville to Apple Valley will begin in July 2020.
The City of Victorville announced that it has received the necessary permits and permissions needed from BNSF for the Green Tree Boulevard extension project that would include an overpass constructed over the BNSF railroad tracks and wash adjacent to tracks.
The nearly one-mile project will connect Yates and Ridgecrest roads in Victorville, located near Mojave Narrows Regional Park and Spring Valley Lake, with the intersection of Hesperia Road and Green Tree Boulevard, also located in Victorville.

With construction and improvements to the Green Tree Boulevard and Hesperia Road intersection, the estimated cost to extend Green Tree Boulevard is $45 million. The city will be responsible for 49% of the project’s overall cost, with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority providing the rest.
The SBCTA will loan up to two-thirds of the funding — estimated at $12.5 million — for the city’s share, with the city paying back the agency in road development impact fees, the city reported.
The city will also receive funding from the Town of Apple Valley and the county totaling about $4.8 million. An additional $4.2 million from federal funds will also assist the project.
The Green Tree Boulevard Extension is considered Phase III of the Yucca Loma Road/Yates Road/Green Tree Boulevard Transportation Improvement Project.
Phase I of the overall project included the construction of the Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River, which connects Apple Valley to Victorville. This phase also included the widening and improvement to Yates Road in Victorville, which skirts the north end of SVL.
This portion of construction involved the Town of Apple Valley and the County of San Bernardino.
Phase 2, dubbed the Yucca Loma Road Widening Project, expanded the roadway from two to four lanes on the stretch from Apple Valley Road to Kasanka Trail. It also provided other improvements and a traffic signal at Yucca Loma and Havasu roads in Apple Valley.
In May 2017, the Yucca Loma Bridge was opened, with Phase I and II of the project completed. Since that time, many have applauded the partial completion of the project for the addition roadway that connects Bear Valley Road and the SVL area to Apple Valley.
Others have voiced frustration over the uncompleted project that has increased traffic congestion near SVL and for commuters driving eastbound on Bear Valley Road as they attempt to turn left onto Ridgecrest Road.

Reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com, Instagram@renegadereporter, Twitter @DP_ReneDeLa

updated: July 5, 2020

The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 3
If anyone remembers 'The Demise of Gray's Hill' photographic project started in 2016 ??
 
It looks like 'they' (Victorville) are finally getting serious about "The Demise of Gray's Hill" and the completion of the latest road from VictorVille to Apple Valley.
 
Drove up to "Gray's Hill" today (7/05/20) and there is activity between Hesperia Rd (to the West) and the BNSF tracks.
Of course, the slowest & most expensive part of this project will be the Bridge over the BNSF.
Two projects going -- I may earn my COVID BREAD & WATER.
GGG 7/05/20 Green Tree Blvd. East - 018 GGG 7/05/20 edited copy - 019

updated: July 26, 2020

The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 4

Back in 2016, I started a new photo series “The Demise of Gray’s Hill” in conjunction with a rather large local Government project to provide a fifth roadway between Apple Valley and Victorville / Hesperia / I-15.
 
These projects are necessary, not only for normal vehicular traffic but, for emergency traffic in this earthquake prone area. Three of the roadways have existed for many years but one accident would clog the other two roads for hours. 
 
The hyper expensive factors in this construction are that all five, of these arterials, must cross the normally dry Mojave River, its tributaries and the very busy BNSF RR Cajon sub-division. What's important to we Raifans is that this latest construction must bridge the tracks very near the "natural crossover / flyover" at MP 39.1 of the BNSF Cajon Sub---and how the new road will affect the hill overlooking the flyover (our photographic viewpoint, locally known as "Gray's Hill"). 
 
This latest project is being built in three phases: 
 
Phase #1: (Apple Valley) includes widening & improving Yucca Loma Rd and building a 4 lane vehicular bridge across the Mojave River --- COMPLETED
 
Phase #2: (County of San Bernardino) includes widening & improving  Yates Rd --- COMPLETED
 
Phase #3: (Victorville) will include extending Greentree BLVD and building a 4 lane vehicular bridge across the BNSF CAJON SUB --- under construction

Edited Google Earth of entire project. - 020
In the Phase #3 are --- Greentree BLVD extension (PURPLE), the area of the new vehicular bridge, and “Gray’s” Hill are shown. The “G” at the lower center is the approx. location of the Gray residence.

GGG 7/26/20 An edited image of the Greentree BLVD extension. - 021 GGG 7/26/20 Close up view of Greentree BLVD extension area. - 022

updated: September 20, 2020

9/15/20: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 5
Marc & I finished our odyssey with a stop at Gray's hill to spot any progress on the extension of GreenTree Blvd.  So, from HEAVILY SMOKY California, here are a few images.   GGG & MF
MF 9/15/20 - 023
Upon arrival, Marc spotted a "meet" at the BNSF Flyover with UP 7630 WB. 
MF 9/15/20 - 024
UP 7630 WB passes Gray's Hill.
Since the first of the year, a homeless encampment has been GROWING across the tracks - to the West of the Hill. Last time we were on Gray's Hill, the camp occupied 2-3 acres and contained 10+ junker automobiles, 3 junker motor homes and tons of trash and debris. Victorville obviously tired of the mess and mounted a cleanup campaign. The City brought in 4 Sheriff's patrol cars, 5 large dumpsters, and a front-end loader to cleanup the mess.
MF 9/15/20 - 025
UP 6762 (DPU for UP 7630) is WB. Noting how much higher the tracks are above the creek bed and that they are about level with the hill to the West, we are wondering just how far back the Bridge will start on the Western approach.
GGG 9/15/20 - 027
Closeup image of the cleanup project. There are 2 Sheriff's patrol cars visible on this picture.
GGG 9/15/20 - 026  Overview of the cleanup project.
GGG 9/15/20 - 028
Everything will be loaded into the dumpsters with a front end loader
GGG 9/15/20 - 029
The finished cleanup  -   THREE CHEERS FOR VICTORVILLE

updated: October 1, 2020

9/24/20: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 6
It was one of those 'nothing to do so let us go try to figure out where the GreenTree Rd extension bridge will cross the BNSF tracks' days.  GGG & MF
 
 So, your two non-trained, non-expert & non-experienced bridge engineers immediately left for Gray's Hill.
 MF 7/26/20 - 030 The same view as on # 031 but from a lower level on Gray's Hill. The BNSF tracks are at about the same level as the PAD.
LOOKING COMPASS WEST FROM GRAY"S HILL through the thickening SMOKE: -----
My thinking is that Victorville will start a longer, flatter & more expensive bridge at Letter "A". Marc thinks that they will build a shorter steeper bridge starting a letter "B". We also question why the "excess" dirt was used to build the "pad"?
MF 9/15/20 - 031
See description of letter "A" and "B" above.
UP 6762 DBU for UP 7630 WB from Gray's Hill.
MF 9/24/20 -  032
Looking Compass East at Gray's hill from the PAD, at the approximate location of the future vehicle bridge. Of course, the bridge will be 5-10 feet higher than the double stacks.
MF 9/24/20 -  033
The edge of Gray's Hill from the PAD
MF 9/24/20 -  034
Looking compass South (RR West). Those folks have a great view of a junkyard, the HUGE Goodyear Tire & Mars Candy distribution facilities, and a Dog Food Factory. Oh by the way, 40-60 trains a day either pulling hard up the 1% or with screaming dynamics retarding their speed!
MF 9/24/20 -  035
Meet at Flyover BNSF 6837 WB
MF 9/24/20 -  036
BNSF 6837 headend at MP 39.4
# 035 - 038: The saving event, for this visit, was a meet at the flyover which featured a 2.5+ mile long West Bound double stack led by BNSF 6837.
MF 9/24/20 -  037
BNSF 7703 & 6622 Mid-Train helpers for BNSF 6837 West.
MF 9/24/20 -  038
BNSF 3738 & 6547 rear end DPU's for BNSF 6836 West.

updated: June 3, 2021

6/02/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 7
For those who were not with us or have forgotten, the project to provide a new road connection between Apple Valley and Victorville was begun in 2015. Phases #1 (Apple Valley) & #2  (San Bernardino County) have been finished, leaving only Victorville's Section (#3) to be completed.  GGG
Phase III - Green Tree Extension - Victor Valley News Group - 039
Visualization of Green Tree Extension Bride over BNSF Tracks - Victor Valley News Group - 040
The following information (from Victor Valley News Group) was released on 1 June 2001 (see belwo).
CITY OF VICTORVILLE TO BREAK GROUND ON GREEN TREE EXTENSION

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Today, the City of Victorville announced that it will break ground on its Green Tree Extension on June 2. The City will extend Green Tree Boulevard 1.5 miles from Hesperia Road to Ridgecrest/Yates Road connecting the communities of Victorville and Apple Valley. The Green Tree Extension will create another East/West corridor benefitting the Victor Valley and providing much-needed congestion relief to Bear Valley Road.
Today, the City of Victorville hosted a Groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on this capital improvement project. Due to health order restrictions on public gatherings, attendance at the event was limited.
During the Ceremony, Victorville Mayor Debra Jones expressed the City’s enthusiasm for starting work on this project that has been 50 years in the making.  The Green Tree Extension was first envisioned in the 1970’s. The project was added to the Victorville General Plan in 1988 and became a viable project in 2007.

Integral to the project is a 600-foot-long bridge that will travel over the BNSF railroad. When complete, it will be the longest bridge in Victorville. City officials estimate more than one million pounds of rebar and 24 million pounds of concrete will be used in the new bridge.
The City will add a traffic signal where Green Tree Boulevard connects with Ridgecrest Road and widen Ridgecrest to four lanes. The intersection of Green Tree Boulevard and Hesperia Road will also be widened, and new turn lanes will be added.
Bike lanes will be added throughout the length of the project creating a larger bike lane loop nearly seven miles long connecting the Mojave Riverwalk to Hesperia Road and 7th Street.
The City expects to use nearly 55 million pounds of asphalt and close to two billion pounds of dirt for the bridge and roadway combined.
“To bring an engineering marvel of this magnitude to reality requires not only great engineering, but also great vision, teamwork and collaboration,” said Victorville Mayor, Debra Jones. “We are extremely grateful to the Town of Apple Valley, County of San Bernardino and San Bernardino County Transportation Authority for helping us make this vision a reality.”

The Green Tree Extension will be completed for a total cost of approximately $46.8 million. San Bernardino County Transportation Authority will contribute $22.7 million, the City of Victorville $15 million, the Town of Apple Valley nearly $4 million, and the County of San Bernardino approximately $900,000.  Additionally, a federal earmark of $4.2 million originally designated for the High Desert Corridor was authorized for construction of the Green Tree Extension.

To pay its portion, the City of Victorville has contributed $6.6 million in cash and is financing the remaining portion via a loan agreement with SBCTA that will be paid off utilizing future road development impact fees.
The City’s construction contractor, Skanska USA will break ground on the project June 2. Construction is expected to take 22 months to complete.

Located in Southern California at the high-point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Victorville is the leading city for both industry and retail in the High Desert region. Victorville is a growing, vibrant community that is home to approximately 125,000 residents and some of the area’s largest employers. Clean air, abundant mountain vistas, family-friendly recreational activities, spectacular sunsets and breathtaking night skies entice locals and visitors alike to fall in love with this city that is within a few hours of SoCal beaches, National Parks, mountain retreats, and other major attractions. Ontario International Airport is less than an hour away. Learn more about the City of Victorville at VictorvilleCA.gov.

updated: June 24, 2021

6/19/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 8
This MAJOR Construction project is less than 1/2 mile from our home.  However, we railfans are most interested in the 600 foot bridge which will span the BNSF transcon & what changes will be made to the viewpoint overlooking the Natural Crossovers / Flyover at BNSF MP 39.1.   (GGG & MF)
Skanska Construction has attacked Gray's Hill with a VENGEANCE, especially on the Western slope which supports the BNSF MainLine.
From the West side of Gray's Hill, looking East - looking into the sun on a very BRIGHT & HOT day:
GGG 6/19/21 - 041
UP 9068 East, under the lip of Gray's Hill, approaches the Flyover.
GGG 6/19/21 - 042
With the flyover overlook at the far left of the hill, the new cut for the GreenTree Rd extension is pictured.
GGG 6/19/21 - 043
A closeup of the cut. The excess dirt is moved to the hill bottom to form a 'ski-jump' configuration, which will hold the Eastern abutment of the Greentree Road bridge over the BNSF.
GGG 6/19/21 - 044
A closeup of the cut. The excess dirt is moved to the hill bottom to form a 'ski-jump' configuration, which will hold the Eastern abutment of the Greentree Road bridge over the BNSF.
GGG 6/19/21 - 045
The new road bridge will span the BNSF tracks at this position.
MF 6/19/21 - 046
BNSF 6817 WB Frost (coming from the Victorville Narrows)
#046 - #049  We had to drive to Frost to cross the tracks, and while there, we caught two BNSF West bound freights.
MF 6/19/21 - 047
BNSF 6817 WB Frost
MF 6/19/21 - 048
BNSF 7028 WB Frost (coming from the Victorville Narrows)
MF 6/19/21 - 049
BNSF 7028 WB Frost
MF 6/19/21 - 050
From the top of Gray's Hill looking West, the route of the GreenTree extension is evident.
MF 6/19/21 - 051
The Skanska Construction Army
MF 6/19/21 - 052
Rear DPU's for WB UP Ore train

updated: July 6, 2021

7/03/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 9
Marc & I were able to visit all areas of Gray's Hill last Saturday (July 3).  GGG & MF
GGG 7/03/21 - 053  Edited a new & uncluttered Google map the area. Of course, the purple denotes the new GreenTree Extension Project.  The numbers indicate our photographic locations.
GGG 7/03/21 - 054
From map location 1.5, the lower & upper Road Bridge Ramps (over the BNSF) are pictured.
GGG 7/03/21 - 055
From Map #2, a closeup of the Upper Ramp with someone camping near the FROST OVERLOOK.
GGG 7/03/21 - 056
What appears to be a stockpile of "I" beams for the new road bridge. 
MF 7/03/21 - 057
 To cross the tracks, we had to drive down to BNSF FROST at the Kemper Campbell Ranch. While there, we were able to photograph BNSF 4214 East crossing over from MT #2 to MT #1.
MF 7/03/21 - 058
 To cross the tracks, we had to drive down to BNSF FROST at the Kemper Campbell Ranch. While there, we were able to photograph BNSF 4214 East crossing over from MT #2 to MT #1.
GGG 7/03/21 - 059
From MAP #3, Marc is giving directions to a hiker--hiking in 107F is NOT my idea of fun!!!!  The camper is parked near the overlook (MAP #5) with generator & AC running--again NOT my idea of communing with nature.
GGG 7/03/21 - 060
Both bridge ramps and the BNSF tracks are pictured from MAP #3. The hiker has almost made it to the edge of the upper Ramp.
GGG 7/03/21 - 061
An offset view of both ramps with a BNSF EB headed to the flyover at MP 39.1.

updated: July 25, 2021

7/18/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 10
The Demise of Gray's Hill is well underway with many tons of dirt being removed or rearranged.  -  GGG & MF
GGG 7/18/21 - 063  Even more 'interesting' news is evidenced in #062 & 063. The Map shows the apartment complex location and the numbers indicate our photo locations.
GGG 7/18/21 - 062
Received this poorly reproduced City of Victorville Planning Commission announcement of a proposed apartment complex on the untouched Southern portion of Gray's Hill.
GGG 7/18/21 - 066
Road bridge piling placement (pounding) has begun.
MF 7/18/21 - 064
UP 5883 is EB under the proposed location of the apartment complex--from near MAP location #2.
GGG 7/18/21 - 065
From Map #2 looking East - the lower & upper bridge ramps and the future GreenTree road route are pictured.
GGG 7/18/21 - 067
 Looking West from Map #3, the lower ramp and the GreenTree Rd extension are pictured.
GGG 7/18/21 - 068
In nice photo sun, the Mojave River Upper Narrows are shown.
MF 7/18/21 - 069
From beside the FLYOVER, the new GreenTree Road Bridge placement is diagrammed.
MF 7/18/21 - 070
From map #3, the flyover overlook has not had its elevation changed ---YET. However, the new road will run just to the right of this image.

updated: July 28, 2021

7/22/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 11
Last Thursday (July 22), Marc & I spent a couple of hours around Gray's Hill. Since it was a workday, we did not go near the actual work zone. The following images were taken at BNSF FROST (MP-38) and at the BNSF FLYOVER (MP-39.1). GGG + MF
 
071-073: BNSF 7045 East (with combat air support) approaches Frost and heads into the Mojave River Upper Narrows.
MF 7/22/21 - 071
BNSF 7045 EB at Frost coming from the Flyover
MF 7/22/21 - 072
BNSF 7045 EB at Frost
MF 7/22/21 - 073
BNSF 7045 EB at Frost heading toward the Narrows
MF 7/22/21 - 074
The edited Google Map with our photo locations labeled or numbered.
075-077: Gray's Hill from a few feet Compass East of the Flyover. The steep RAMP at the left is the future extension of GreenTree Rd approaching its joint with Yates Rd (MAP location #4). We did not notice the 'object' (arrow in 06 & blow-up in 07) until reviewing the pictures later. Will check it out ?????  The Gray's Hill overlook is UNTOUCHED --- SO FAR !
MF 7/22/21 - 075
Gray's Hill
MF 7/22/21 - 076
Gray's Hill . closeup
MF 7/22/21 - 077
What is it ?
MF 7/22/21 - 078
BNSF 7699 EB (w/double train)
078-081: BNSF 7699 East is actually leading a double train with mid-train and trailing DPU's - powering a full train of stacks and a full train of empty ethanol cars. In 08 & 09, BNSF 7699 approaches and crosses the flyover from MT #2 to MT #1. The lower train in 09, also EB, is crossing from MT #1 to MT #2 & has a RED at Frost to allow BNSF 7699 to proceed to Barstow, without stopping. 
MF 7/22/21 - 079
BNSF 7699 EB MT2 to MT1
MF 7/22/21 - 080
BNSF 8000 EB DPU for BNSF 7649
MF 7/22/21 - 081
Rear DPU for BNSF 2699
MF 7/22/21 - 082
The Pile Driver doing its thing at the new vehicular bridge site.

updated: August 22, 2021

8/20/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 12
Got a call, yesterday, from Spike (NASA B-747 pilot), looking for a really quick DA DUMP lunch. I mentioned that we were meeting friends, at noon, for lunch at that very cafe. Spike did his NASCAR thing and met us at DA DUMP. After lunch, we took a few minutes to log progress on the GREENTREE Rd extension over Grays Hill.  -  GGG & Spike
GGG 8/20/21 - 083: Labeled map of Grays Hill indicating our photographic locations.
GGG 8/20/21 - 084
Looking east (from Map #2), the first Eastern automotive bridge column (of three) is near ready for the concrete pour. Rebar for the Eastern bridge abutment is in place half way up the hill.
GGG 8/20/21 - 085
The pile Driver has been moved to the COMPASS Western side of the BNSF Transcon tracks.
GGG 8/20/21 - 086
From just East of the BNSF flyover (MP-39.1), the rather steep GreenTree Rd ramp from the Hilltop down to Yates RD is pictured (#3 to #4 on map).  It appears that the elevation of the Grays Hill overlook has not changed "MUCH".
Spike 8/20/21 - 087
UP 8492, with mid-train and tailing DPU's, pull a mini-monster train RR East toward the BNSF flyover at MP 39.1.
Spike 8/20/21 - 088
UP 7109 EB mid train helper
Spike 8/20/21 - 089
UP 6047 EB rear end DPU
Spike 8/20/21 - 090
BNSF 3860 (with NS 7664) is RR WB @ MP 39.1
Spike 8/20/21 - 091
BNSF 3860 (with NS 7664) is RR WB @ MP 39.1

updated: September 2, 2021

9/01/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 13
The ATTACK on & DEMISE of GRAY's Hill, & its RailFan overlook, continues unabated. A newly planned Mojave Narrows Senior Assisted Living Center will be sited as shown in photo #093. According to the Geo-Technical documents --"This California senior living center will feature four buildings: an assisted living facility, an independent living facility, a rehab center, and a medical center".
 
The few environmental documents I've read make no mention of the entire area being a FLOOD PLAIN. Also receiving little mention is the "normally dry" creek-bed between the site & Yates Rd which, very occasionally, can become a raging river.  Maybe the rehab center will offer swimming lessons???
 
At my age, consideration of a West facing, second floor apartment, overlooking the FLYOVER sounds reasonable. Of course, by the time this project obtains all the Kalifornia & Federal licenses, we all may have found that final resting place.
GGG 9/01/21 - 093
Edited Google map of the future Mojave Narrows Senior Citizens Pavilion site.
GGG 9/01/21 - 094
We decided to try to get down near the newly poured Eastern automotive bridge columns to see if there are any views worth photographing. So here is what we found. All images were taken near position #6 (MP 39.4) on the edited Google map.
MF 9/01/21 - 095
The three Eastern columns have been poured and are curing.
MF 9/01/21 - 096
The pile driver is working on the Western Columns-We have no explanation for the weird angle of the driver.
MF 9/01/21 - 097
BNSF 6546 East heads toward Barstow.
MF 9/01/21 - 098
BNSF 7484 is EB toward the "Natural Crossover" / FLYOVER.
MF 9/01/21 - 099
BNSF 7484 is EB toward the "Natural Crossover" / FLYOVER.
MF 9/01/21 - 100
BNSF 7484 is EB toward the "Natural Crossover" / FLYOVER.
GGG 9/01/21 - 101
BNSF 7046 local is WB to Thorn (MP 41.1) & the Nutro Dog Food plant.
GGG 9/01/21 - 102
The FORM for the first Western column is being moved into position.
MF 9/01/21 - 103 MF 9/01/21 - 104
#103-104: BNSF 3686 West has crossed over the Flyover, changed track numbers, and heads toward L.A. The WHITE mountain in the background of #103 is NOT snow -- It is almost PURE limestone and is owned by one of the three large cement plants in the area. Limestone is, of course, the main ingredient in Ordinary Portland Cement.

updated: September 14, 2021

9/11/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 14
Over the last few days, Marc, Jorge & I have spent several hours on and around Gray's Hill.  Construction of the GreenTree Rd extension, and its vehicle bridge across the BNSF TRANSCON, are in full "GO" mode.  The following pictures were taken on both Sept 09th & 11th ---- some timeline differences may be noticed.  GGG & MF
MF 9/11/21 - 105
An overview of the Western project area.
GGG 9/11/21 - 106
The relatively huge Eastern bridge abutment and ramp under construction.
GGG 9/11/21 - 107
The Western bridge columns & abutment
MF 9/11/21 - 108
The steeper and longer Eastern bridge approach span will require the temporary construction support columns seen here, on the ground, being bolted together.
GGG 9/11/21 - 109
BNSF 7457 is EB through the project area.  The six permanent bridge columns are shown.
MF 9/11/21 - 110
From the upper Eastern  bridge ramp, the BNSF Transcon and the six bridge columns are visible.
GGG 9/11/21 - 111
Another view of the taller and more complex Eastern abutment.
GGG 9/11/21 - 112
All six Greentree Rd bridge columns are shown
GGG 9/11/21 - 113
From the FLYOVER, Gray's Hill & our overlook positions are shown.
MF 9/11/21 - 114
The Gray's Hill overlook surface - chewed-up by machinery but so-far not reduced in elevation.
MF 9/11/21 - 115
UP 8469 EB
MF 9/11/21 - 116
BNSF 4980 WB over UP 8469 EB
The Railfan photographers dream --- A near perfect "MEET", at the "Natural Crossover/Flyover, involving both major Western Railroads.

updated: September 28, 2021

9/19/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 15
Sunday (9/19) was a beautiful day on Gray's Hill. Not much to report construction wise, except that Skanska Construction Co is building some HUGE steel pipe backed wooden forms for future concrete structural and retention walls.  MF & GGG
# 117 & # 118: are from the top of the hill, looking west at the entire project. In the foreground, pieces of the above mentioned steel pipe backed wooden forms may be seen.
Since we do not know the future of the Gray's Hill overlook as far as elevation or access, we have decided to "over-document" the FLYOVER, from the current elevation. The three trains we photographed were all BNSF, West-bound, and GE/Webtec powered.  
MF 9/19/21 - 117 MF 9/19/21 - 118
# 119 - # 122: BNSF 6983 and its rear DPU (BNSF 4051) cross the FLYOVER (MP 39.1) and head into the construction zone at MP 39.4.
MF 9/19/21 - 119
BNSF 6983 WB on the Flyover
MF 9/19/21 - 120
BNSF 6983 WB on the Flyover at MP 39.1
MF 9/19/21 - 121
BNSF 6983 WB to MP 39.4 (construction site)
MF 9/19/21 - 122
BNSF 4051 WB rear end DPU for BNSF 6983.
MF 9/19/21 - 123  //  BNSF 7230 WB crosses the FLYOVER.
MF 9/19/21 - 124
BNSF 7588 WB approaches the Flyover.
MF 9/19/21 - 125
BNSF 7588 WB crosses the Flyover.

updated: October 3, 2021

9/30/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 16
Thursday (9/30), Marc joined me for the long (.5 mile) voyage to the new GreenTree Road bridge project. MF & GGG
MF 9/30/21 - 126
We arrived track-side RR West of the project near BNSF MP 40.4 to find BNSF 7200 EAST stopped, awaiting permission to more through the Bridge Project at MP 39.4. Single tracking was 'The name of the game' due to the bridge project.
MF 9/30/21 - 127
The Western bridge abutment is being "formed-up" for the concrete pour. The concrete blocks and metal poles hold the forms stationary & vertical for the pour. My CAJON ROVER #2 was the official vehicle for this train spotting activity.
# 128 - # 131: We think that these steel pipe supports are being erected, not as concrete forms, but as supports for the large steel beams to be used for the bridge deck.

MF 9/30/21 - 128

MF 9/30/21 - 129 MF 9/30/21 - 130
MF 9/30/21 - 131
Temporary Western Bridge Deck Supports
MF 9/30/21 - 132
The Eastern Piers and abutment are pictured. Note even more steel pipe supports on the ground, which will be raised and used to support the future roadbed beams.
MF 9/30/21 - 133
This HUGE BNSF Front End Loader followed us to Frost at BNSF MP 38. It crossed the tracks and traveled onto Kemper Campbell Ranch property--probably on it's way to the storage yard in Victorville.
MF 9/30/21 - 134
The CAJON ROVER #2 & its faithful driver await the photographer while the Mercy Air Med Evac chopper looks for any old RailFan victims to transport.
MF 9/30/21 - 135
The CAJON ROVER #2 & its faithful driver await the photographer while the Mercy Air Med Evac chopper looks for any old RailFan victims to transport.
MF 9/30/21 - 136
BNSF 6782 WB will be changing tracks at Frost - MP 38
MF 9/30/21 - 137
BNSF 8073 DPU of BNSF 6782 WB is changing tracks at Frost - MP 38
MF 9/30/21 - 138
BNSF 7200 EB is finally rolling past the site.
# 138 - # 140: After a two hour wait (see pic # 126), BNSF 7200 proceeds EB through the highly decorated FLYOVER @ BNSF MP 39.1. 
In the background, the arrangement of the temporary bridge deck supports can be seen.
MF 9/30/21 - 139
BNSF 7200 rolling under the Flyover
MF 9/30/21 - 140
It is heading to Frost and the Narrows

updated: October 18, 2021

10/17/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 17
Laura & I, today, drove to the new vehicular bridge over the BNSF Transcon project.   GGG & LMG 
GGG 10/17/21 - 141
We were met with BNSF 3700 WB at MP 40. All three diesels were BRAND NEW T-4 units.
GGG 10/17/21 - 142
We were met with BNSF 3700 WB at MP 40. All three diesels were BRAND NEW T-4 units.
# 143-145: Bridge progress has been positive with deck steel being placed from the Western columns over Main track (MT) #1 at MP 39.4. MT #2 is visible in the foreground.
GGG 10/17/21 - 143
Hanging iron across MT-1
GGG 10/17/21 - 144
Deck steel accross MT-1
GGG 10/17/21 - 145
Deck steel across MT-1
GGG 10/17/21 - 146
Eastern & Western abutments.
GGG 10/17/21 - 147
Eastern & Western abutments.
GGG 10/17/21 - 148
Looking back South at the steel/iron work over MT #1.
GGG 10/17/21 - 149
View of the empty flyover - Just before . . . .
GGG 10/17/21 - 150
. . . . BNSF 6109 WB is rolling over the flyover
# 150-152:  BNSF 6109 West transitions from MT #1 to MT #2 at MP 39.1 and continues on through the construction.
GGG 10/17/21 - 151
BNSF 6109 WB on the flyover
GGG 10/17/21 - 152
BNSF 6109 WB passing thru the construction site

updated: October 26, 2021

10/24/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 18
Laura , Skosh III & I made a morning of it, on Gray's Hill, today.  Since it was Sunday, there were no HUGE TRUCKS or Angry workers around and we had full access.   GGG
GGG 10/24/21 - 153
# 153-155: Work is concentrated on the new automotive bridge's center section, between the two sets of concrete columns (piers). This span also covers both tracks of the BNSF transcon. "I" beams now cover the entire span and a plywood deck is being installed over the beams. I have no idea what comes next since the concrete piers are much taller than the present wooden deck surface.
GGG 10/24/21 - 154 GGG 10/24/21 - 155
GGG 10/24/21 - 156
We drove up the construction Rd to the old Gray's Hill overlook, arriving just in time to catch . . . .
GGG 10/24/21 - 157
. . . .
BNSF 7285 West approaching & crossing the "Natural Crossover / Flyover at MP 39.1. 
GGG 10/24/21 - 158
On the way down the hill, we were able to photograph the LOW Fog / Cloud bank over the Cajon Pass area. . . . .
GGG 10/24/21 - 159
. . . . We could also see the top of the new bridge with its plywood construction deck.
GGG 10/24/21 - 160
Back on the desert floor, we took a look back South at the Northern side of the bridge, before heading North (RR East) to visit BNSF FROST at MP 38. 
GGG 10/24/21 - 161
While driving compass North toward BNSF Frost / MP 38 / Kemper Campbell Ranch, I noticed headlights in my mirror.  We arrived just in time to photograph: BNSF 7431 EB at track speed.
GGG 10/24/21 - 162
Each year, the Kemper Campbell Ranch owners flood part of the pasture to aid ducks, geese and whatever other birds migrate through this area
GGG 10/24/21 - 163
UP 7716 is East Bound at Frost leading w/3 more locos up front.
DPU's are visible on # 164 and # 165.
GGG 10/24/21 - 164
UP 7716 and it's mid-train DPU are East Bound.
GGG 10/24/21 - 165
UP 7716 and trailing DPU are East Bound.
GGG 10/24/21 - 166
The Kemper Campbell Ranch is still, after all these years, a working cattle ranch.  Pictured are part of the Ranches' herd of Texas Long Horns & cows.  The trees & rabbit bushes are just starting to turn their fall colors.
GGG 10/24/21 - 167
Leaving the construction site at the location where the new GreenTree Extension will join Yates Rd and continue on to Apple Valley.

updated: November 1, 2021

10/31/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 19
Laura, Skosh III & I, today again, drove to the new GreenTree Extension vehicular bridge over the BNSF Transcon.
As you will note, Laura brought her camera along this time -- We're gonna make a RAILFAN outta her yet !!  LMG & GGG
GGG 10/31/21 - 168
A side view of the bridge with West & East (compass directions) ends.
GGG 10/31/21 - 169
A side view of the bridge with West (compass directions) end.
GGG 10/31/21 - 170
A side view of the bridge with East (compass directions) end.
GGG 10/31/21 - 171
Looking back (compass South) at West Bridge end construction.
GGG 10/31/21 - 172
Six months ago, Victorville cleaned-out a homeless encampment at this location.  GUESS WHAT ------
GGG 10/31/21 - 173
BNSF 8246 West crosses the FLYOVER at MP 39.1.
GGG 10/31/21 - 174
BNSF 8246 West crosses the FLYOVER at MP 39.1 and enters the construction zone at MP 39.4.
GGG 10/31/21 - 175
BNSF 8246 West enters the construction zone at MP 39.4.
LMG 10/31/21 - 176
Laura sends two views of the bridge construction . . . .
LMG 10/31/21 - 177
. . . . taken from the eastern abutment.
LMG 10/31/21 - 178
BNSF 6842 West on the flyover towards the construction area.
LMG 10/31/21 - 179
BNSF 6842 West on the flyover approaches the construction area.

 

Our friend Spike was in Palmdale, CA to fly the NASA B-747SP (SOFIA). Last Wednesday, he drove over to have lunch with Doc Jones & me, at where else, but DA DUMP. After lunch, we drove down to the Western Abutment of the GreenTree Rd Extension bridge over the BNSF Transcon. As we got closer to our target, a cloud of very very heavy black smoke rose from very near the Western abutment on November 3rd.
# 172 (above): You may remember this picture of an old motor-home used as a domicile for the homeless.
GGG 11/03/21 - 180
The old motor-home was rapidly becoming a CINDER.
GGG 11/03/21 - 181
The old motor-home was rapidly becoming a CINDER.

updated: November 8, 2021

11/07/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 20
Laura, Skosh III, and I hit the GreenTree Extension Bridge project today ----- before a DA DUMP lunch.
It was a beautiful day, but without major visible progress on the bridge and NO trains through the construction site.
 LMG & GGG
# 182: The owner of the burned-out motor-home is having a fire sale. A great looking WASHER & DRYER are for sale CHEAP.
Guess there were no injuries in the fire---the news just mentioned that a motor-home was destroyed by fire, near GreenTree Rd & the BNSF tracks. That poor 100 year old Joshua Tree looks to be in really BAD SHAPE from the HEAT.
LMG 11/07/21 - 182
See text above
LMG 11/07/21 - 183
From South view of the bridge construction.
LMG 11/07/21 - 184
From North view of the bridge construction.
LMG 11/07/21 - 185
View of the plywood construction deck nearing 2/3rds completion.
LMG 11/07/21 - 186
View of the plywood construction deck nearing 2/3rds completion.
LMG 11/07/21 - 187
OLD GLORY watching over the project! Note the amounts of wood stockpiled & the thickness of the FALSE WORK (plywood) DECK.

updated: November 16, 2021

11/14/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 21
A short report on a quick trip to Gray's Hill by Laura, Marc, Skosh III (our Poodle) & me.  LMG, MF , GGG & SG III
# 188-191: BNSF 7894 is West Bound from the Flyover @ BNSF CAJON SUB MP 39.1 to the new GreenTree RD extension Bridge over the BNSF @ MP 39.4.
MF- 11/14/21 - 188
BNSF 7894 WB under the Flyover towards the new bridge.
LMG- 11/14/21 - 189
BNSF 7894 WB under the Flyover towards the new bridge.
LMG - 11/14/21 - 190
BNSF 7894 WB is entering the new bridge construction.
MF- 11/14/21 - 191
BNSF 7894 WB just passed the new bridge construction.
MF- 11/14/21 - 192
From the Eastern Bridge Abutment and overlooking the new bridge construction, the existing GreenTree Rd terminus may be seen.
LMG - 11/14/21 - 193
BNSF 6397 repeats the short trip described above in # 188-191
MF- 11/14/21 - 194
BNSF 6397 WB rolling over the Flyover.
MF- 11/14/21 - 195
BNSF 6397 WB going under the new road bridge.
MF- 11/14/21 - 196
BNSF 6397 WB leaving the new road bridge construction site toward Cajon Pass.

updated: November 27, 2021

11/25/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 22
Just before one of Laura's FANTASTIC Thanksgiving Day turkey dinners, Marc & I took-off to visit the new vehicle bridge portion of the GreenTree Rd extension.  All directions mentioned in this report are compass based, unless noted.
GGG & MF
# 197: Looking at the Western 2/3rds of the bridge covered by the plywood construction deck, there are angled forms (red arrows) being built for the concrete substructure of the bridge. We have no idea the function of the round BLACK objects, attached to the Western abutment wooden concrete form  (white arrows) ----- (drains)?.
GGG - 11/25/21 - 197
See above . . .
GGG - 11/25/21 - 198
Closeup of  Northwest slanted forms, which will shape the concrete substructure of the bridge.
GGG - 11/25/21 - 199
Closeup of Southwest slanted forms, which will shape the concrete substructure of the bridge.
GGG - 11/25/21 - 200
See below . . .
# 200: Obviously, the bridge will be 30 feet higher, but this will be the future Northeast view from the bridge - with Apple Valley, CA in the background and the BNSF "Natural Crossover" / Flyover in the mid-ground. The Flyover is at BNSF MP 39.1 and the new bridge is at MP 39.4. We are not expecting many RR photographers to use the bridge view. Even with bicycle lanes and protective signage, the higher speeds and carefree attitudes of Kalifornia drivers are the stuff of nightmares for most pedestrians & bicycle riders.
GGG - 11/25/21 - 201
UP 5460 is Railroad West Bound at BNSF MP 38 (Frost).
MF - 11/25/21 - 202
UP 5793 DPU of UP 5460 is West Bound at BNSF MP 38 (Frost).

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