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The Southern Pacific Sunset Route

by Chris Guenzler

In the picture above we see the sunset west of Gila Bend that gave this Southern Pacific Route its name. Let us take a brief tour of the line from West Colton to Bowie, Arizona with no Union Pacific units on any of the trains.

The official start of our journey will start at the West Colton Yard where we see a Los Angeles bound train rolling around the balloon track with Southern Pacific U-30-C 7927 leading C-415 2401, GP-20E 4105 and U-25-B 6710. 9/1976

A little east on July 4, 1977 we see a faraway visitor in the Seaboard Coast Line U-36-B 1816.

Passing the famous Colton Tower on 4/21/1979 was the Southern Pacific 8507 West.

At Loma Linda, the SSW 7770 East passes through town. 11/1982

Southern Pacific 7403 East near Redlands. 2/1987

The Indio Date Limited coming and going at El Casco. 2/1987

Southern Pacific 8354 drifts west down San Timoteo Canyon at El Casco. 9/1988

Southern Pacific 7403 East nearing Ordway. 2/1987

Southern Pacific 8035 East storms the grade near Beaumont. 7/1987.

Southern Pacific 7106 drifts east through Fugal on July 6, 1993.

Southern Pacific 6270 West works the grade into West Palm Springs. 2/1993

SSW 9642 East speeds through Ferrum on December 31, 1989.

Southern Pacific 6866 East stops to cool its wheels in Niland. 12/31/1989

Southern Pacific 8002 East heads east up the grade at Iris on November 14, 1987.

Southern Pacific 8091 East sitting at Regina. 12/31/1989

Southern Pacific 9105 East speeds through Acolita. 11/14/1987

At Clyde, we see the SSW 8063 East. 12/26/1989

Now in Arizona, at sunrise we see the Southern Pacific 8001 East leaving the fertile Yuma Valley. 12/27/1989

We see the Southern Pacific 8058 West at Kinter on 12/27/1989.

Speeding east through Mohawk, we see the Southern Pacific 8095. 12/27/1989

Just east of Gila Bend at Bosquez, the Southern Pacific 9616 heads west. 12/27/1989

Southern Pacific 9342 West at the curves west of Shawmut on 12/30/1989.

Later Southern Pacific 8357 West heads by us near Shawmut. 12/30/1989

East of Casa Grande at Toltec came the Southern Pacific 7644 West right after sunset. 12/27/1989

The old Southern Pacific coaling tower at Mescal. 12/28/1989

Southern Pacific 7461 West heads over the summit at Mescal. 12/28/1989

Amtrak's Sunset Limited speeds east on time through Mescal. 12/28/1989

Southern Pacific 6313 East at Chamiso near Benson. 12/29/1989

Southern Pacific 8069 West at Fenner east of Benson. 12/29/1989

Southern Pacific 6361 in the ill fated SPSF merger paint leads an eastbound through Sibly 12/29/1989.

Southern Pacific 9631 West near Tully. 12/29/1989

Southern Pacific 8351 blasting through Tully.

At Cochise, the Southern Pacific 8319 West speeds off the Wilcox Playa.

Southern Pacific 6773 West heads through Cochise on December 28, 1989.

A westbound passes by the Southern Pacific coaling tower in Bowie bringing us to our eastern end of this story. 12/29/1989