Just before the San Bernardino
Freeway (Interstate 10) the Grand Canyon
Limited crosses the diamond at Colton. This is a major
intersection of two important railroads. A rail-to-rail grade separation
will speed up the 110 trains which cross this point
daily. The chosen design will elevate the Union Pacific tracks
over the BNSF tracks. The UP tracks parallel the I-10
Freeway. I was astonished to read that students from nearby
schools use Colton Crossing as a pedestrian walkway.
Really? You have to convince people not to trespass?
We reached San Bernardino just before 11:00 AM for the first service
stop for the Santa Fe 3751 steam locomotive. The first of the box
lunches were distributed by the car hosts.
Once under way, a significant part of
the day's journey was
beginning. The Cajon Pass is a historical route from the Southern
California population centers to the high desert plain and access to
the north and east. One cannot help but notice the railroad
tracks while driving the I-15 Freeway. From the road, the
railroad weaves away and close through big curves. The last time
I rode the rails over Cajon Pass was when the Desert Wind train ran
from LA to Salt Lake City. Since then, the railroad physical
structure in the pass has been widened to 3 or 4 tracks.
Our train entourage included a helicopter. The debris fence
along Cajon Wash appears to be made from old rails.
The lower portion of Cajon Pass is
wide with the railroad on the west
side, the wash, and the Interstate 15 on the east side. It is dry
most of the year with the rainy season being October through
April. In this Mediterranean climate, summer temperatures in
Cajon Pass tops 100 degrees. On this particular day, it might
have been 70 degrees, perfect for taking photograhs from the Zimmerman
baggage car or any other open vestibule. We had followers along
much of Cajon. Here is our entourage at Blue Cut.
I shot the first of only a few videos. There is a lot of wind
noise in this 30
but the running gear on 3751 looks great in action.
There are 3 levels of railroad
through here. In the immediate 2
above left column photos, the Southern Pacific built Palmdale Cutoff is
visible. We are on the midlevel rails. Below us is another
level of railroad. Looking back at the location known as Cajon
and panning right to left gives the viewer an idea of the lower
alighnemt. The left photos shows Highway 138
overcrossing the railroad alignments at two locations.
Below, Highway 138 bridges our line and crosses under the old SP
Below, the train clears Highway 138. View on the other side of
is of the old SP line, now UP.
I did a video from between Highway 138 and I-15. The drivers
on the 3751 look great pulling us uphill. Right after this shot,
I went back into video mode and had a huge surprise
panned from front to rear, the back to towards the head end and
We have crossed under Interstate 15 at the railroad location known as
Alray. On google maps, one direction is is called the Barstow
Freeway and the opposite direction is called the Mojave Freeway.
This Interstate is heavily traveled on weekends with Las Vegas
traffic. Too bad one cannot take a public passenger train there.
Grand Canyon Limited Page 3