THE YUMA DISTRICT: THE EAST LINE
The East Line, formerly the Yuma Line,
is a nearly-two-hundred mile stretch of mainline, high-speed railroad;
Section V breaks this long expanse into five separate manageable segments. Each is a logical part of the whole line;
the first is from West Colton to the top of the Beaumont Hill; the next
is from the top of Beaumont Hill all the way to the end of the helper
SEGMENT 1 -
This segment covers the Yuma District's
Yuma Line from
The west end of the Yuma Line suffers from
Wintertime often brings the best air.
I have seen many, many mornings where San Gorgonio, the San Jacintos
and the bulk of the San Bernardinos are visible from
During the summer the temperatures can
often exceed the century mark by midday; in the winter the nights can
tickle the freezing mark - add a biting gale out of the north and it's
more like living in
West Colton Yard begins at MP532.4, a few miles west of the subdivision point and within the Basin District; the guide begins at this point to include the entire West Colton Classification Yard in the description, rather than breaking it up into two smaller sections in different guides.
532.4 West End
Sierra Avenue Overpass
End Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Signpost EB "END CTC"
Signpost WB "BEGIN CTC"
Speed Limit: EB 70-50 MPH; WB 70-65 MPH
Although the subdivision point marking the west end of the Yuma District is more than two miles east at MP535.0, the tour begins here so as to include all of West Colton Yard, instead of breaking it in two or more pieces.
The Basin District's West Line provides
the entry from the west to the classification yard; downtown
Trains bound for
Since West Colton is a single-ended yard, this Receiving Yard accepts both east- and westbound trains for reclassification; after being built up and ready to go, westward traffic uses the Balloon Track at the east end of West Colton (MP537.3) to turn around the train and allow it to move westward toward Los Angeles.
Although it's not marked as such, the far south track provides an alternate way of getting through the West Colton Yard; this is the Alley Track, which skirts the length of the yard along its south side.
533.0 No Milepost Visible
1105' AMSL; -0.2% EB (SBD25E1)
533.5 EB/WB Absolute Signals
The two separate signal masts provide indications
for the 901 track; the east and west dwarves control the 902 track;
the lower aspect on the eastbound 902 dwarf is an indication for the
crossovers east of
534.0 1090' AMSL; -0.4% EB (SBD25F1)
534.5 Signpost EB 50 MPH
Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
EB/WB Track Occupancy Authorization Displays
Cedar Avenue Overpass
The EB signal on the 901 track provides an indication for the Cedar Avenue Crossovers immediately ahead. A dragging equipment detector lies on the alternate hump lead that separates from the 902 track just west of the overpass.
The track authorization displays lie on each side of the overpass. These large three-digit numerical displays (often called "Tote Boards" or "Movement Indicators" on the radio) that provide track occupancy information to train crews. For instance, a eastbound train approaching the tote board on the west side of Cedar may see "901" flashing; this indicates that their train will take the main (#1) track through the yard.
At the south side of the Cedar Avenue Overpass there are short, somewhat abandoned-looking streets both west and east of the overpass; these may provide a handy, close-by spot to leave the car while spending the day on top of the overpass, watching the action down below. A fence along both sides of the yard prevents access to the tracks.
This is also the site of old
534.9 WB Absolute Signals
Signpost EB "END CTC"
Signpost WB "BEGIN CTC"
The Cedar Avenue Crossovers are under CTC control, as indicated by the signs.
535.0 Subdivision Point (SBD26B1)
CREW CHANGE SHANTY
San Bernardino County Lands: Community of
1080' AMSL; -0.5% EB
To the west lies the Basin District's West (Alhambra) Line; in the opposite direction, Yuma District's East (Yuma) Line presses its way 195 miles east by southeast to join up with the tracks of the Gila (that's HEE-lah) District of the Tucson Division at Yuma, Arizona. The path leads through one of the hottest deserts on the planet, closely follows the San Andreas Earthquake Fault zone, one of the most famous and active in the world, reaches the lowest elevation below sea level (-202') of any railroad in the world and passes alongside and serves one of the richest farming valleys in the world! Superlatives abound on the Yuma District.
This is the west end of the Hump Yard ,the heart of the West Colton Classification Yard. The hump itself is several hundred feet south of the freeway, with two tracks leading into the hump and several dozen yard tracks laying beyond.
This is the official district point separating the Colton District to the west and the Mojave and Yuma Districts to the east, 0.3 miles east of the Cedar Avenue Overpass. The milepost sign is visible from the freeway adjacent to the foot of the eastbound onramp.
The small structure immediately south of
the double track main at the milepost is the Crew Change Shanty. The Receiving Yard is immediately west
The street entrance to the West Colton Yard is at the intersection of Slover Avenue and Spruce Street, about 0.5 miles south; the large towerlike structure along the south side of the tracks is the Administration Building, sometimes called the "Admin" or "Ad" building.
535.4 Leave County Lands: Enter
536.0 No Milepost Visible (SBD26C1)
1055' AMSL; +0.0% EB
The signals provide indications for the 901 track only.
The Engine Shops are just west of
A tank farm of the Southern Pacific Pipe
Lines Company is located at the southeast corner of
536.5 Signpost WB 70-50 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH; WB 70-50 MPH
536.7 Signpost EB 30 MPH
537.0 1045' AMSL; -0.8% EB (SBD26E1)
EB/WB Track Occupancy Authorization Displays
West from Pepper is the Departure Yard;
looking east you will see the West Colton Balloon track just south of
Interstate 10. The single-main
track of the Yuma Line, the most northerly set of rails and still the
901 track, passes underneath the
The track authorization displays stand on each side of the overpass. These large three-digit numerical displays (often called "Tote Boards" or "Movement Indicators" on the radio) that provide track occupancy information to train crews. For instance, a westbound train approaching the tote board on the east side of Pepper may see "901" flashing; this indicates that their train will take the main track through the yard.
A General American Transportation Corporation (GATX) tank car repair and maintenance facility is located southeast of the bridge. Their service yard is served by the east-facing spur 1405 that joins the Alley track at MP537.5.
The only access to this area and east nearly
The 1954 timetable shows this as the site
537.3 West End
Both the Balloon and the Bypass tracks help to facilitate movement at this very busy end of the yard.
The Balloon track allows finished trains
exiting the Departure yard to turn and continue westward toward
The Bypass track allows westbound trains coming in from the Yuma Line to continue into the yard even when there is departing traffic leaving the yard and heading west onto the Colton Line via the West leg of the wye. Speed limit on this track is 25 MPH.
537.4 DEPARTURE Yard Lead Joins
DEPARTURE Yard Crossover
Completed consists await power in the Departure
yard. When power is available,
it runs down the Alley from the Shops, passing under
The Colton Line of the Mojave District
separates from the main lines here and rides up the embankment in the
middle distance, crossing the freeway about 0.5 miles east of Pepper
Avenue. This is the famous
Trains coming down from the Cajon can either
come into the yard or continue east immediately; the westbound trains
The first siding on the Bakersfield Line is Slover, the east switch of which is located about 200 yards north of the Interstate.
The 1405 spur, joining the Alley Track, provides service to the General American Transportation Corporation (GATX) tank car repair and maintenance facility that is located south of the tracks.
537.6 EB Signpost "BEGIN CTC" (SBD26F2)
WB Signpost "END CTC"
ALLEY Track Joins 902 Track
According to the Timetable, RULE 312(2)
states that the West Colton Interlocking Limits extend from MP532.4
Rule 350 then specifies that CTC is in effect east from MP538.7 all the way to MP609.7.
537.8 East-facing 1530 Spur
This spur, joining with the 902 track,
provides service to the cement plant at California Portland Cement Company,
located at the southern foot of
538.0 1010' AMSL; -0.7% EB (SBD26F1)
Leave County Lands: Enter
The top of the overpass is an ideal train-watching
location. Access to the
tracks at this point is via foot or by car from the north end of
The east-facing switch on the north main about 450 feet east of the overpass is the east end of the Colton Bypass track, and leads to the east leg of the Colton Line wye, located about 0.3 miles west.
The speed limit on the Bypass track is 25 MPH.
Signpost WB 50 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 30 MPH; WB 50 MPH
EB Interlocking Signals
The Santa Fe Interlocking protects the Santa Fe Crossing at MP538.7. The Interlocking Limits, as per the Espee Timetable, extend from MP538.6 to MP538.7.
WB Interlocking Signals
Begin Two-Main Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)
Espee had built their way from
In 1882 the construction had reached
On August 9, 1883, the sheriff and angry
Access to this crossing is available from
From the south side of the crossing
The SP Timetable indicates this point as the "Santa Fe Interlocking".
To the east, the north track is called the "Number One" track; the south is the "Number Two". Generally but certainly not always, westbound traffic will use the #1 track while trains headed east will be on the #2 track. This two main track (2MT) operation ends at Apex, the switch atop Beaumont Hill, near milepost 563.2.
Until the mid-seventies
538.8 RIVERSIDE BRANCH Junction (SBD27B2)
Union Pacific Crew House
Although the Espee Timetable indicates that the beginning of the Riverside Branch is MP539.0, the switch here, just east of the Santa Fe Crossing, is the entry to the Branch from the mainline.
The Union Pacific enjoy operating rights with the Santa Fe over the Santa Fe mainline all the way from Riverside to the town of Daggett, east of Barstow, for a total distance of over 70 miles.
A Union Pacific crew house is along the south side of the tracks. Generally a few UP helper locomotives will be idling on the engine spur waiting to be called to service in the Cajon.
Universal Feeds operates a grain mill along the north side of the mainline, with rail service provided from a spur that connects both to the ATSF and SP mains. Note the kernel corn and other grain debris in little piles along the siding track.
Track Access from
The buildings along the north side of the tracks that now house Cal-Wal Gypsum Supply were once part of the Colton Station facilities.
539.0 West End
RIVERSIDE BRANCH Junction
Signpost EB 60-50 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 60-50 MPH; WB 30 MPH
965' AMSL; -0.3% EB
The yard still exists both north and south of the mainline, though nearly all the tracks north of the line are gone. The north track acts as sort of a team track with a few cars usually set out. The switch 5000, along the north track of the yard near MP539.3, marks the start of the San Bernardino Branch which exits to the north through the underpass beneath Interstate 10.
The Espee's Riverside Branch connects to
the main line at the switch next to the trackside shanty. The same switch provides access to the
south side of old Colton Yard.
The Riverside Branch separates to the south and proceeds down
the center of
Both of these branches were a portion of
the Yuma Subdivision until its dissolution in 1989; they are now technically
a part of the lines of the Basin District, which include most all of
the Espee trackage in the
About 200 yards east of the San Bernardino Branch switch there are the remains of a freight car weight scale; the rails have long been removed from the scale platform; the platform itself is in quite bad condition.
The south tracks of the yard have many bad-order setouts; high cubes, boxes, flats, tanks, cabooses, passenger cars, an occasional engine, even some nifty flatcars on which mobile office trailers are strapped. Pacific Rail Dismantlers runs the railroad wrecking yard bordering on M Street along the extreme south tracks.
539.6 East End
Derail Barricade Detector on Stub Track
Look at the engine stub along the north
side of the main under the
Warm Creek, is the result of Cajon Creek,
Lytle Creek (both draining the San Gabriel Mountains) and various creeks
along the southwestern face of the San Bernardino Mountains directly
This wide, flat, more-or-less dry ditch
From here to the top of Beaumont Hill near Apex, it's all uphill.
539.9 West Switch ICE DECK Siding (SBD27D2)
EB Absolute Signals
Siding Length 5740'
948' AMSL; +0.6% EB
This siding is all that remains
of the old Ice Deck Facility. Back
when Pacific Fruit Express had more iced cars than self-refrigerated,
this plant provided the ice that kept thousands of trainloads of eastbound
reefers loaded with fresh
A balloon track, shown on the 1956 topo map, extended to the south and probably served to turn steam locomotives to service the Beaumont Hill helper district.
The property was redeveloped a few years ago and two large light industry/shipping facilities have now been built on the property.
The two sidings that remain are rather
short by modern standards; both are now used mainly as storage and the
more southerly one can also serve the industries along the south side. The address of the west building (near
Access to the north side of the tracks
is available from a dirt road that runs west from the 90 degree bend
near the end of
The speed limit through the diverging route of West Ice Deck is 15 MPH.
540.2 Track Access from
Steel Rd. makes a 90 degree bend to the
north. A dirt path continues
west for access all the way to the
The remains of an old spur track are still
visible in the shrubs along the north side of the mainline, just west
of the bend in the road. The
spur used to cross
540.4 Interstate 215 Overpass
The railroad passes under four bridges
that carry Interstate 215 and its transition ramps. The Interstate 10/215 interchange, located
just a few hundred yards north, is a magnificent piece of highway engineering,
with beautifully-sculpted sweeping aerial turns that serve as the transition
ramps between the two Interstates. According to Robert P. Sharp in the K/H
Geology Field Guide Southern California, the whole interchange
is built almost directly atop the
Steel Road veers away to the north and
east to the intersection of
540.5 ICE DECK Station (SBD27D2)
540.6 West-facing 1679 Spur (SBD27E2)
This spur off the #1 track (north) services
O. H. Kruse Grain and Milling Company, located along the north side
of the railroad for the next 0.3 miles.
By the way, on
541.0 No Mileboard Visible
Signpost WB 30 MPH
980' AMSL; +1.0% EB
From here east the south side of the tracks
is easily passable by 2WD, the north side only by foot. Commercial Street, about 0.2 miles south
of the tracks, runs parallel with the tracks to
The railroad tracks also cross the San
Jacinto Fault here, one of the more active and dangerous members of
Immediately to the east of the grade crossing
begins the city of
According to the 1989 Espee Timetable,
the portion of the Yuma District from this point east to
541.3 East Switch ICE DECK Siding (SBD27E2)
LOMA LINDA Crossovers
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Signpost EB 60 MPH
Signpost WB 60-50 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 60 MPH; WB 60-50 MPH
Lots of action takes place in the next few tenths of a mile. The Loma Linda Crossovers are the site of many helper moves, with Ice Deck, the Engine Spur and the PMT Siding all getting involved in the fun.
541.5 ENGINE Spur (SBD27F2)
Waterman Avenue Overpass
From here to MP542.0 there are a few industry
spurs. One leads west on
the north side of the #1 track from the switch beneath the overpass. This is called the "ENGINE Spur",
and is used to hold downgrade helpers switched out. The siding along the south tracks just
east of Waterman Avenue (MP541.6) is called the "PMT", and
the east end of this spur up at MP542.0 will often have a helper set
waiting for work with an uphill-bound consist.
Helper crews are rotated by a Carry-All that comes out from
Access along the north side of the tracks
is available via
This is a very busy location for the SP; the crews are often preoccupied with the safe movement of their trains. Try to keep out of their way, but enjoy watching them and watch the detail to which every movement is made. Listening to a radio scanner comes in handy. There have been as many as four helper sets here at once; three on the PMT and one on the Engine spur.
To follow along the north side of the line go east from Waterman onto Caroline, make an immediate turn on the paved road that leads to the tracks and turns to dirt. The south side of the tracks is clear to the west of the overpass, but is blocked to the east.
541.8 West Switch PMT Siding (SBD27F3)
The siding alongside the south main is called the "PMT Spur" or siding. This is a busy siding; the crews are often preoccupied with the safe movement of their trains. Try to keep out of their way, but enjoy watching them and watch the detail to which every movement is made. Listening to a radio scanner comes in handy. There have been as many as three helper sets idling on this siding at one time.
Switches 1695 and 1699 provide access to spurs that still wind to the south of the mainline.
A south path begins again. Access is available from the west side
of the parking lot of
542.0 East Switch PMT Siding
1040' AMSL; +1.0% EB
Helper sets will often be found resting on this siding, waiting to be called to supply muscle to an eastbound manifest for that long climb up Beaumont Hill.
Again, SP crews may be very busy in this area and there are frequent trains often running hard in each direction, so exercise extreme caution when nosing about.
Incidentally, the name "PMT" refers to the old SP subsidiary, Pacific Motor Trucking, formed in 1933 to take advantage of intermodal shipping long before anyone else thought of it.
Access to the south path is available from
the cul-de-sac at the east end of
542.2 Track Access From
Access to the south side path is available
from the north end of
From here and east 100 yards SP has made liberal use of "No Trespassing" signs facing outward from the main line.
542.6 Old LOMA LINDA Station
Loma Linda siding, now part of the two-main track operation up the west face of Beaumont Hill, could accommodate 264 cars, as per the 1954 timetable.
542.7 Track Access from
Foot access to the north side path
is available along
543.0 1100' AMSL; +1.2% EB
543.1 Dragging Equipment / Hot Box DETECTOR - Speedometer
The tamarisk trees along the south side of the tracks lend shade on a hot summer afternoon and the signal bridge can add a pleasing frame to photographs taken here of freights powering east toward the entrance to San Timoteo Canyon.
East to about MP544.8 the atmosphere of the surroundings is definitely residential. Remember, from here to Cabazon most of the surrounding property is privately held, either by the railroad or by others.
There is access to this point from the
south side, using a makeshift (and flimsy) bridge across a narrow ditch
from the north end of
To the east, the mainline begins a gradual, sweeping curve south.
This detector can be heard for many miles to the west when using a reasonable radio. It provides good clues as to the arrival of westbound trains when scouting the railroad to the west.
This detector is also specifically referred to on the radio; when the dispatcher tells a train crew to pick up a helper engine at "The Scanner", this is the place.
543.2 Signpost EB 50 MPH (SBD28C3)
543.5 Signpost EB "Check Unit for Smoking Condition"
Access to the south side dirt path is possible
through the back side of the
543.9 Leave Loma Linda: Enter County Lands (SBD28D3)
544.0 Signpost EB "Report Smoking Units to Dispatcher"
1160' AMSL; +1.2% EB
Note the beginning of the occasional dense and massive stands of prickly pear (opuntia) cactus along the north side of the tracks. Opuntia has long been used for making impenetrable walls to keep out invaders; some fine examples of this art abound to the east. The cactus also, by the way, makes passage along the north side of the rails impossible except on foot. Opuntia blossoms with brilliant red fruit (prickly pears) that are dangerous eating but taste pretty good.
#1 (North) Track Rail Greaser
Access to the north side of the tracks
is available from
544.5 BRYN MAWR Station (SBD28D4)
Community of Bryn Mawr
The foundations of the old station still
remain between the north side of the tracks and
The old Redlands Branch separated north and east from the main line just east of this point. The branch tracks are still visible but are no longer connected to the main.
The path along the south side of the rails continues to be passable along the northern perimeter of an orchard. Stands of cactus ahead prevent passage on the north side.
545.0 1220' AMSL; +1.2% EB
EB/WB Absolute Signal Bridges
Speed Limit: WB 60-40 MPH
The pair of signal bridges straddle the tracks east and west of the crossovers about 0.2 miles apart.
Access to this set of switches is available from the dirt path on the south side; the north side is mostly impassible to four-wheeled vehicles.
545.3 Signpost WB 60-40 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH
There's a great example of a pair of asphalt-decked,
open steel latticework truss bridges spanning the 150'-wide San Timoteo
Creek immediately east of the crossing on
From here both
the north and south side roads are passable all the way to
546.0 1280' AMSL; +1.2% EB
546.2 San Timoteo Canyon Road Grade Crossing (SBD28F6)
Signpost EB 40 MPH
Leave Bryn Mawr: Enter
This begins the entrance to San Timoteo
As per the 1954 timetable.
West-facing 6010 Spur
The spur is all that marks this site, just west of the signal bridge and south of the #2 track at 546.6.
A single bidirectional signal bridge straddles the double track mainline. 5466 and 5467 control the #1 track while movement on the #2 track is controlled by signals 5464 and 5465.
546.9 Highway and Railroad Separate (SBD44A1)
The railroad veers away to the north from the road. The south path along the right-of-way is passable to the east. The less adventurous can continue east along the canyon road which rises up along the slope of the south canyon wall.
547.0 1350' AMSL; +1.3% EB
547.4 Orange Orchard along South Side of Tracks (SBD44B1)
The valley narrows and begins to get deeper, as the hills around climb faster than the canyon floor.
547.9 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
548.0 Orange Orchard along North Side of Tracks
1425' AMSL; +1.7% EB
Signpost WB 50-40 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 40 MPH; WB 50-40 MPH
At this point the right-of-way is deeply ensconced in the depths of a substantial orange orchard spanning most of the canyon floor. Along the main road to the south the railroad cannot be seen but the signal bridge towers above the orange trees to reveal the location of the track. The signal bridge is immediately west of the grade crossing.
The south path along the right-of-way continues
east but will end 0.4 miles further. To avoid this, go back to
548.7 South Side Access Path Ends
The south road ends at a deep ditch. The north side orchard ends; east of it there are processing sheds belonging to Quality Farms.
548.8 Private Grade Crossing
This private grade crossing provides access
to Quality Farms, located along the north side of the mainline. Access to this dirt road is available via
the driveway immediately west of
548.9 #2 (South) Track Rail Greaser (SBD44D2)
549.0 Highway rejoins Railroad (SBD44D3)
1510' AMSL; +1.3% EB
The mainline parallels
549.1 Old ORDWAY Station
As per the 1954 timetable, this particular incarnation of Ordway had a siding length of about 6300'.
549.5 ORDWAY Crossovers (RIV9AD3)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
The eastbound signals are controlled also by the status of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP550.4.
549.7 #2 (South) Track Rail Greaser
549.9 #1 (North) Track Rail Greaser (RIV9AD4)
Hi-Railer Access Ramps for both tracks
Access to the south side of the tracks is by foot only from this point east for several hundred yards.
550.0 Signpost EB 45-40 MPH
1581' AMSL; +1.7% EB
Speed Limit: EB 45-40 MPH; WB 40 MPH
The railroad begins to curve away from the main road. The path east along the south side of the rails is constricted by a narrow culvert, restricting access to only foot or 2-wheeled vehicle.
550.2 #2 (South) Track Rail Greaser
A dirt path leads
550.4 60' Wooden Bridge over Redlands Creek
During very heavy rainstorm activity in
the San Timoteo Badlands (the ranges of hills that make up the south
side of the canyon), runoff flows down
Access is available from the north dirt
550.5 #1 (North) and #2 (South) Track Rail Greasers
550.6 Bluff on South Side of
Access to the south trackside road heading west is available from the main road.
A good camera shot of westbound, downhill trains snaking along the canyon floor is possible by gaining elevation through climbing the hill south of the canyon road. Be careful, don't trespass, don't get hurt, etc... oh, by the way, bring a long, fast lens for those clear, winter afternoon shots.
550.7 Private Grade Crossing (RIV9AF5)
551.0 ORDWAY Station (RIV9AF5)
1670' AMSL; +1.8% EB
East-facing 6030 Spur
Along the south side of the right-of-way, connected to the #2 track, is an equipment spur about 100 yards long.
551.2 Block Signals: EB 5512/5514 - WB 5511P/5513P
Private Grade Crossing (RIV9BA5)
Westbound signals 5511 and 5513 also indicate the status of the high-water detector at the trestle at MP550.4.
551.5 Highway and Railroad Separates
The tracks pass over a tall, concrete-portaled culvert and begin to veer off to the north from the road.
551.7 Private Grade Crossing
Access to the south side of the tracks
is available from the driveway of
552.0 Signpost WB 40 MPH
1765' AMSL; +1.6% EB
552.1 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR (RIV9BB5)
552.3 Highway rejoins Railroad (RIV9BB6)
The railroad drifts south to once again parallel the canyon road.
552.5 Private Grade Crossing
552.6 #2 (South) Track Rail Greaser
552.7 EL CASCO Station (RIV9BB6)
East-facing 6060 Spur
This station is across from
About 14 miles north of here, high on the
face of the
The Spanish phrase "El Casco" means "hardhat".
552.8 Private Grade Crossing (RIV9BC6)
Kinda looks like someone didn't want this crossing to be usable since a bunch of gravel, debris and asphalt is piled up on the south approach.
553.0 1855' AMSL; +1.4% EB
553.4 Private Grade Crossing
553.8 San Timoteo Community Sunday School
The proverbial little red schoolhouse, located on the south side of the road.
554.0 1915' AMSL; +1.4% EB
554.1 EL CASCO Crossovers (RIV9BD6)
EB/WB Absolute Signal Bridges
Fisherman's Retreat, a membership recreational resort, is located directly across the road. This is also the northwest corner of the De Anza Cycle Park, evidence of which you will occasionally see along the south side for the next six miles or so.
554.7 Two 60' Steel Bridges over San Timoteo Creek (RIV15BE1)
Two parallel, single-track, steel through-plate bridges carry the tracks over San Timoteo Creek. The creek flows from south to north. At this writing the creek was running about 3 gallons per second.
554.8 Signpost EB 50 MPH (yellow background, #1 Track)
Signpost EB 50 MPH (white background, #2 Track)
#2 (South) Track Rail Greaser
Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH; WB 45-40 MPH
554.9 San Timoteo Canyon Road Grade Crossing (RIV15BF1)
To the east access to the tracks is along
555.0 2010' AMSL; +1.5% EB
555.7 Block Signals: EB 5554/5556 - WB 5555/5557
The railroad begins a 2-mile-long, eastbound tangent, as does the Canyon road.
556.0 2095' AMSL; +1.7% EB
556.5 Private Grade Crossing (RIV150A2)
556.6 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
556.8 Signpost WB 45-40 MPH
557.0 2175' AMSL; +1.5% EB
557.2 Old HINDA Station
6100' long and absorbed long ago into the two-main track operation.
557.4 Private Grade Crossing
557.5 Block Signals: EB 5574/5576 - WB 5575/5577 (RIV150B3)
This is the east end of the long tangent, leading into a sweeping north curve.
558.0 Private Grade Crossing (RIV150C4)
2255' AMSL; +1.5% EB
The private crossing provides access to the Beaumont Station of the Four Corners Pipeline Company.
559.0 HINDA Crossovers (RIV150C4)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
2330' AMSL; +1.8% EB
All along the south side, beyond the rails and the barbed wire fence, is the De Anza Cycle Park. Dirt bikes, tricycles and other high-pitched noisemakers frolic there.
559.2 Private Grade Crossing
This crossing provides access to
559.7 Old NICKLIN Station
Leave County Lands: Enter
This is a narrow finger of the city limits that happens to extend out this way and east for 0.4 miles.
This was the site of the old Nicklin Station and siding; the siding track was nearly 5100' long.
560.0 Private Grade Crossing
2415' AMSL; +1.4% EB
560.1 Block Signals: EB 5600/5602 - WB 5601/5603 (RIV150F4)
560.2 45' Wood Bridge over Little San Gorgonio Creek
560.4 Two 50' Steel Bridges over Noble Creek
Leave County Lands: Enter
The railroad fords Noble Creek with two parallel steel deck girder spans, with sufficient clearance underneath to drive vehicles; the main vehicles around are generally scooters and trikes, the motorized kind, that is.
Noble Creek drains the Cherry Valley/Beaumont
area, heading out of
At this point the railroad begins its final
ascent to the summit of the grade in
The more conservative can continue east
The rest of you must be the more adventurous. There are two paths that parallel the SP
up the final stretch of gully; only the northside access road provides
continuous access all the way into
560.6 Track Access from
Immediately east the railroad passes once
again into the city of
560.7 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR (RIV150F5)
#1 (North) and #2 (South) Track Rail Greasers
Although it is apparent from counting telephone poles, pacing the distance by foot, or using the car odometer that this detector is at MP560.9, the lady who lives in that aluminum-painted box next to the tracks believes that she is at MP560.7. I suppose that she lives quite a sheltered life, though.
561.0 2490' AMSL; +1.3% EB (RIV151A5)
561.1 Block Signals: EB 5610/5612
561.2 Signpost EB #1 Track 50-40 MPH
#2 Track 25 MPH
561.3 State Route 60 Overpass
Block Signals: WB 5611/5613
Here the SP squeezes its way through the
neck of the gully; State Route 60 (the Riverside Freeway) passes overhead
and immediately to the east merges with Interstate 10, the San Bernardino
561.5 West Switch
Beaumont Siding is along the south side of the #2 track, controlled by the switch marked 6151. There are some remains of a siding just east along the north side of the #1 track, but this siding is no longer connected to the mainline.
Along the north side of the tracks for the next long block is the ex-Beaumont Grain and Milling; there are still silos and a loading spout along the track. It looks like it operates now as Beaumont Hardware, which certainly seems to be running a booming business.
The path along the north side of the right-of-way ends at the grade crossing. The service road along the south side of the rails continues to provide access to the east. The right-of-way here is a bit messy; SP has a Maintenance-of-Way facility just ahead and this stretch through here is used as an open-air storage yard for tie plates, rail sections, spikes and odds and ends. Don't touch anything; you don't need any souvenirs.
The Cherry Valley MCI Facility resides in the fenced compound just west of the grade crossing along the south side of the line. MCI leases a portion of the Espee right-of-way and runs buried fiber-optic cable carrying telephone communications across the country along this line. Similar MCI facilities are located at Indio (MP611.4), Niland (MP662.4) and Gold Rock (MP716.8).
561.9 6153 Spur Crossing
The south access path crosses over an industry spur that cuts away from the main tracks. The road continues eastward alongside a section house.
Southern Pacific Maintenance of Way Facility
East-facing 6153 Spur
2580' AMSL; +0.6% EB
There is an SP MofW building and a company
microwave communications tower along the north side of the tracks, along
with a fenced compound for storage of MofW equipment. The SP Communications facility carries
trunked microwave communications from Running Springs to Whitewater. The path to Whitewater is not a direct
one; the microwave signal is beamed about two miles southwest to a large
"billboard" reflector atop
The 6153 spur just crossed joins into
On an postal map of 1884 a station on the
railroad near this location was called "San Gorgonia". By 1891 "
The Beaumont Crossovers sit astride the
There is a path on either side of
the tracks east to
562.7 Beaumont Hill
This is the
The timetable indicates that the summit is around MP563.0 at 2591 feet; using the topo map and a hand level I believe that this location is higher by more than ten feet.
There is also a kennel at the end of
563.0 2590' AMSL; -0.4% EB
From here east the north side path remains
passable all the way to
563.2 Signpost WB 50-40 MPH
563.3 APEX Switch (RIV151D6)
See the next section for details.