SPRR Yuma District - The East Line
Pacific Railroad proceeds on its route southeast through the Salton
Sink, skirting the eastern edge of the
also played a critical role in the shape and history of the Espee in
Regular summer flashfloods can wipe out whole sections of the high-bermed track. Rainwater from intermittent storms can combine with the parched soil and track ballast to create a highly conductive material which plays havoc with the signaling system, causing headache to dispatcher and trainman alike.
thoughout the Coachella and
Hills and the Orocopia and
611.0 West End
Block Signal: WB 6111
Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH; WB 50 MPH
Speed Limit ACOT: EB 50-49 MPH; WB 50-49 MPH
-20' AMSL; -0.3% EB
Traffic over this section of double-track main line that begins at MP609.7 and ends at MP618.5 is left-handed; opposing trains are almost always encountered on the left side. This means that the south track (the one nearest Route 111/86) is generally constrained to eastbound traffic while the north track carries the westward-moving traffic. In fact, almost all the signals in this stretch are visible only if a train is moving in this prescribed manner. All trains moving in the preferred direction are considered to be "with the current of traffic".
A westbound train on the south track or an eastbound train on the north track runs "against the current of traffic" (ACOT). Since there is a greater risk in this mode of operation, the maximum speed limit is often substantially less.
The only action here now is the Amtrak thrice-weekly passenger train and the occasional helper movements that use the crossover right at the signal.
The yard extends about 1.7 miles east. The access to the eastern half of the yard is possible but not advisable from the west end here. Speed limit on the yard tracks (not the double-track main) is 5 MPH.
timetable calls out a station point about 200 yards west of the
The SP communications facility shares space with the MCI Fiber Optic relay station north of the tracks, west of the overpass. The MCI site is identical in purpose to the ones at Cherry Valley (MP561.7), Niland (MP662.4) and Gold Rock (MP716.8). The SP site augments local 161.550MHz road channel coverage and also supports the main microwave trunk line running from Whitewater Hill, north of MP584.0 to Salton, northeast of MP638.0.
612.0 -40' AMSL; -0.3% EB
As noted in the 1954 timetable.
612.5 East End
Block Signal: EB 6126
Along the north side the east yard lead connects to the north main track. A crossover allows eastbound traffic along the south track to move to the north track and vice-versa. I suspect that this crossover allows the industries along the south track around MP614 to be serviced without tying up the railroad.
612.7 Signpost EB 70-65 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 70-65 MPH; WB 50 MPH
Speed Limit ACOT: EB 59-49 MPH; WB 50-49 MPH
612.9 Block Signal: WB 6129
this crossing acknowledged by train crews as "BLYTHE CROSSING".
A highway sign on
-55' AMSL; -0.3% EB
613.9 Block Signals: EB 6140 - WB 6139 (RIV216C5)
Junction of State Routes 111 and 86
south on SR111 (left turn from SR86).
From this junction to at least Mecca (MP624), SR111 is also called
614.0 -65' AMSL; -0.4% EB
614.1 Coachella Crossover
West-facing 6730 Spur
crossover allows eastbound traffic on the #1 (north) main to move over
to the #2 (south) main track or vice-versa. A west-facing spur 6730 along the south
mainline services the businesses along
614.2 Speed Limit ACOT: WB 59-49 MPH
614.3 Avenue 50 Grade Crossing
crossing employs no crossing gates, only flashing lights. Imagine what it must be like for the engineer
of the eastbound hotshot LAMFF as he comes flying east out of
Note the stop signs for trains using the south side 6730 spur; any rail traffic using that track must come to a full stop before entering the grade crossing.
614.4 COACHELLA Station
Nuthin' here, far as I can see...
Signpost WB 50 MPH
This grade crossing, like the one 0.4 miles west, has the flashing lights but no crossing gates.
614.8 East-facing 6778 Spur
The spur along the north side of the right-of-way provides service to a shipping facility along the north side of the main.
Just a bit east there was a spur that separated from the right-of-way, crossed Grapefruit Boulevard and terminated in the pole yard at 9th and the treeless Shady Lane, a block southwest of the tracks. The remains of the spur are still somewhat visible.
614.9 Speed Limit ACOT: WB 30 MPH
west side of
615.0 No Milepost Visible
-85' AMSL; -0.3% EB
615.4 Avenue 52 Grade Crossing (RIV226E1)
615.5 Block Signals: EB 6154 - WB 6155
West-facing 6785 Spur
along the north main track provides service to Sun World Packing on
616.0 -100' AMSL; -0.3% EB
616.7 Signpost EB 50 MPH (RIV226F2)
Private Grade Crossing
crossing serves the newly-created (as of 1990)
616.9 Block Signals: EB 6170 - WB 6171 (RIV226F3)
617.0 Remains of Spur
-115' AMSL; -0.3% EB
Along the north side of the tracks there was once a spur; all that is left is the subroadbed. According to the October 1987 SP Timetable, the siding extended about 0.3 miles west to MP616.7.
617.3 Leave Coachella: Enter County Lands
separated from the south side of the tracks and crossed SR111 immediately
south of the "Thermal" Community Limits sign. Along the mainline right-of-way there is
still some evidence of grading and subroadbed from about MP617.2 and
continuing east. Across
the highway from the mainline, the tracks still exist and continue due
south eventually paralleling
617.8 West Switch 6860 Lead
The 6860 spur separates from the north main and provides rail access to the Dole and Sun World Packing plants along the north side of the right-of-way. The 6860 spur rejoins the north track at MP618.1.
This is one of the few industry tracks remaining in this area; even the 1987 Timetable shows more industry service than is now present.
Community of Thermal
The community of Thermal dates back to at least 1891 as a station on the railroad.
618.0 Old THERMAL Station
-135' AMSL; -0.2% EB
This is the original site of the Thermal station, long before the flood and subsequent rebuilding of the Thermal siding at its present location. The station length was 128 cars for an approximate length of 5600'.
618.1 East Switch 6860 Lead
end of this spur rejoins the railroad at MP617.8. Industry track 6862 serves the Dole Thermal
Packing Plant; spur 6866 provides service for the Sun World Facility.
Both of these plants are located just west of
618.4 Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH; WB 70 MPH
Speed Limit ACOT: WB 49 MPH
618.5 End Double Track Automatic Block Signal (ABS) (RIV227B5)
Begin Single Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)
EB Absolute Signals with "P" Plates
Signpost EB "BEGIN CTC"
Signpost EB "END OF DOUBLE TRACK"
Signpost WB "END CTC"
Signpost WB 70 MPH
This ends the double track mainline that began at MP609.4 and begins the single track main that will continue all the way to ARAZ Switch at MP725.8. West of here the railroad is under Automatic Block Signal Control while to the east Centralized Traffic Control takes over.
The Protection plates on the eastbound signal staffs indicate that the signals will also display the status of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP618.6.
These absolute signals control the west switch of Thermal siding, across the river at MP618.7.
1930, the SP built a bridge over the
In 1956, the concrete piers were widened and a new, second span was added, probably to provide a bridge for the lengthened siding track at Thermal. In 1968, a flood came along and knocked out one of the concrete piers, the second one from the east end of the bridge.
The railroad had to bridge this accidental gap quickly to maintain service. Through freight had to detour at Colton onto the Santa Fe Railway, go up over the Cajon Pass, through Barstow and then onto the Santa Fe's Cadiz and Parker lines into Phoenix, where Espee trains could regain their own right-of-way. It took about two weeks to put the shoo-fly in service.
What was to be a temporary bypass ended up becoming the Southern Pacific mainline's permanent bridge. This 250' through-plate girder bridge was built quickly, but was only of single-track width, so the once-longer Thermal siding was chopped down to its present length of about 7200 feet. The once-tangent alignment of the rails crossing over the river was also lost by this construction.
Note that the signal box that displays the Thermal sign is at the west side of the bridge, back at 618.5, while the beginning of Thermal siding is on the east side of the river at MP618.7. Thermal is the shortest siding, by nearly 1300', in this section of the railroad from Indio to Yuma; the distance between the current west switch of Thermal and the Thermal sign is around that distance, also.
The trackwork right here is very graceful: the high-speed alignment of the tracks at the approach to the switch at MP618.5 provide a smooth transition to the single-track bridge while another gentle curve eases the track through the west switch of present Thermal, MP618.7.
the Coachella Storm Drain, it is really the
is equipped with a high-water detector. If tripped by a sizable runoff on the
618.7 West Switch THERMAL Siding
WB Absolute Signals with "P" Plates
Signpost EB 79-65 MPH
Siding Length 7088'
The signals that control eastbound movement into THERMAL are located at MP618.5, the end of double track. The westbound signals at this location control movement out of THERMAL and onto the double track west.
The triangular Protection plates indicate that the signals also protect trains against movement if the high-water detector under the bridge at MP618.6 trips due to floodwater.
618.8 Speed Limit: EB 79-65 MPH; WB 50 MPH
618.9 West-facing 6880 Spur (RIV227B6)
-145' AMSL; -0.2% EB
This industry spur provides service to the citrus packers east of the tracks. Access to the commercial area is via the grade crossing at Avenue 58.
619.1 Avenue 58 Grade Crossing
There are no crossing gates, only flashing lights. The area is wide open, though, so that the approaching train might have some chance of seeing and being seen...
619.5 THERMAL Station
620.0 -150' AMSL; -0.1% EB
620.2 East Switch THERMAL Siding (RIV227AC1)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
620.7 Signpost WB 50 MPH (RIV227AD2)
"Arabia" first appears in a "
621.0 -155' AMSL; -0.1% EB
621.4 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR (RIV227AD3)
Block Signals: EB 6214 - WB 6213
621.6 Avenue 62 Grade Crossing
622.0 -160' AMSL; -0.3% EB
623.0 -175' AMSL; -0.2% EB
623.1 Block Signals: EB 6232 - WB 6231 (RIV227AF6)
623.9 Avenue 66 Grade Crossing (RIV238A1)
idyllic community of
the railroad: from here east to approximately MP 631 the north side
of the right-of-way is available from
624.0 -185' AMSL; -0.1% EB
Black Water Tank
Small Grove of Date Palms
Remains of old Buildings
to the USGS map of 1956, this was the original
was moved to its present location a mile or so south in order to reduce
the interference to the cross traffic coming and going from
as an 1891 map shows a station on the railroad called "Walters"
somewhere nearby. By 1910
the name "Walters" has vanished and the station of "
624.4 West Switch
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Siding Length 8388'
spur leads west, parallel to the mainline, for 0.2 miles toward
625.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB (RIV238B2)
The railroad begins a gentle curve to the east.
When the siding was moved from its original position to the present location, the original Mecca Station was no longer along the siding. So this being about the middle of the new siding, this is where the current Mecca Station has been moved. Actually, I'm sure that the folks who wanted to regularly use the Avenue 66 grade crossing back at MP623.9 appreciated the siding being moved east the mile it was.
625.5 Electrical Substation
An electrical distribution station lies just north of the railroad right-of-way. The tracks end the gentle curve and begin a two-mile tangent.
625.9 20' Wooden Bridge over wash (RIV238C3)
626.0 -195' AMSL; +0.1% EB
626.1 East Switch
EB/WB Absolute Signals
626.6 25' Wooden Bridge over wash (RIV238D4)
Community of Flowing Wells
This is the only grade crossing for the next 4 miles east; access to the railroad is best along the north side of SR111 and continuing east.
north side of the tracks Hammond Road intersects with Avenue 70 which
continues compass east to Cleveland Street, about 3.5 miles.
The Thomas Bros. guides show the name Flowing Wells here; "Flowing Well(s)" is also the name of a near-100-year-old community down about MP671, just east of Niland.
627.0 20' Wooden Bridge over wash (RIV238E4)
-190' AMSL; +0.0% EB
627.3 Block Signals: EB 6274 - WB 6273
The rails begin another gentle, sweeping turn toward the east.
628.0 -190' AMSL; +0.0% EB (RIV238F5)
of the intense terraforming that has taken place for the last hundred
years, and especially because of the Coachella Canal project, many of
the washes that drain the rumpled and eroded, dusty, tan Mecca Hills
due north no longer flow out to the Salton Sink in separate washes.
Some of the more picturesque names are
The railroad completes the gentle, sweeping turn and continues for the next three miles on a long straightaway.
628.5 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR (RIV239A5)
628.8 Old CALEB Station
40' Wooden Bridge
the total drainage area is impressive, the wash is blocked by dikes
and banks of the
Caleb station commanded a siding approximately 5800' long.
629.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB (RIV239B5)
629.4 Block Signals: EB 6294 - WB 6295
630.0 Signpost EB 70-65 MPH (RIV239C5)
Community of Desert Camp
-196' AMSL; -0.1% EB
The name "Desert Camp" shows up on several different maps of the area.
over Wasteway #1 is a single span, steel though-plate girder structure
about 100 feet east of the
631.0 -200' AMSL; +0.0% EB
at one time carried runoff from
this was also an alternate drainage for
631.5 Block Signals: EB 6316 - WB 6315 (RIV239F5)
632.0 Signpost WB 79-70 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 70-65 MPH; WB 79-70 MPH
-200' AMSL; -0.1% EB
begins a long, gradual curve south to follow the -200 foot contour line,
keeping about 1/2 mile from the shore of the
632.5 Community of
This trailer park community is up in the high-rent district, north and east of the tracks.
Bay Drive provides access to North Shore Estates, immediately beyond the railroad tracks. Crossing gates and lights, installed in June of 1990, protect the crossing.
632.9 West Switch MORTMAR Siding (RIV240A6)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Siding Length 8483'
Siding started out its existence on a 1903 Railway Map as "Mortmere",
which is close to meaning "
633.0 -205' AMSL; +0.1% EB (RIV240B6)
633.3 MORTMAR Station (RIV240AB1)
There is still the foundation to a section house along the south side of the tracks, along with the ubiquitous tamarisks and scrap.
633.7 35' Concrete Box Culvert
East-facing 6985 Spur
The 6985 track is about 100 yards long, drooping down and to the north of the siding track.
634.0 -200' AMSL; -0.1% EB (RIV240AC1)
flowing water in this wash, probably seepage from the
634.7 East Switch MORTMAR Siding (RIV240AD2)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
This crossing utilizes flashing red lights with no gates to protect the intersection.
Along the south side of the right-of-way, across SR111, begins the Salton Sea State Recreational Area (SSSRA).
635.0 -205' AMSL; +0.1% EB
635.8 Block Signals: EB 6358 - WB 6357 (RIV240AD3)
636.0 -200' AMSL; +0.1% EB (RIV240AE4)
Imagine being camped here, the early evening breeze off the Salton Sea lending a refreshing bit of coolness while you are relaxed in your lawn chair, favorite cool beverage in hand, listening to and watching highballing Espee freights a mere quarter-mile away. Ahhh - It makes me long to be away from this word processor...
636.6 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
637.0 -195' AMSL; -0.2% EB (RIV240AF5)
637.4 Block Signals: EB 6376 - WB 6375 (RIV240AF6)
the highway and the sea begins the
637.8 Old SALTON Station
The siding, mentioned in the 1954 timetable, had a capacity of 98 cars, plus the engine and caboose. Now its name lives on as the communications facility, as described under the listing at MP638.0.
638.0 Southern Pacific Salton Communications Facility
-205' AMSL; +0.0% EB (RIV241AA6)
due compass east and you will see two high communications towers, one
of which supports the Espee's radio communications system. The Salton facility relays microwave radio
638.8 West Switch FERRUM Siding (CAL116A3)
EB/WB Absolute Signals with "P" Plates
Siding Length 8269'
Two switches branch off the mainline; the westernmost separates to the south and is the entry to Ferrum siding; the second switch provides access to the lead track to the interchange yard for the Kaiser Industries Railroad.
There is a switch at the west end of the interchange lead, just before the switch that connects the mining railroad to the Espee. That switch leads to a derail to prevent runaway cars in the yard from fouling the mainline. Note the sensor that detects the runaway equipment as it rolls off the end of the derail spur; another giant "soldering gun" tip, just like the one back at MP539.6 at the east end of old Colton Yard. The Timetable describes this as the detector for indicating "movements over end of derailing spur".
Both the east- and westbound signals at this location are also controlled by the status of this detector; if tripped, all the signals at this location will be forced to a "Stop" indication.
the medium resolution coverage of the
639.0 -200' AMSL; +0.0% EB
639.6 FERRUM Station
shut-down Kaiser Industries Railroad "Eagle Mountain Line"
joins the Southern Pacific mainline at the interchange yard along the
north side of Ferrum. The
KIR serviced the Kaiser Corporations' Eagle Mountain Open Pit Iron Mine,
located about 40 miles northeast in the
The Espee uses the yard tracks for storage right now, with several strings of empty auto-racks or reefers usually taking up space here. A wye is located just east of the tracks with the tail track buried in the hillside.
There are 60'-long drainage culverts that pass under the tracks at MP639.6 and MP639.8. These are large enough inside to allow passage to the other side of the yard. But be careful and duck low. And don't use them if there's much water in them, either.
640.0 -200' AMSL; +0.1% EB
640.1 Several 25' Concrete Culverts
This and the next two culverts at MP640.2 and MP640.4 handle drainage from the slope above the Ferrum siding and interchange yard. The runoff from that slope has been diverted with earthen dikes just north of the tracks to prevent damage to the railroad during stormy weather.
640.6 East Switch FERRUM Siding (CAL116A3)
EB/WB Absolute Signals (EB signals display "P" Plate)
plates attached to the EB signal masts indicate that the signals are
also under the control of the high-water detector on the
the medium resolution coverage of the
640.7 Remote Seismic Sensor on Eastern Bluff
Institute of Technology Seismometer and Strain gauge station is located
just east of the tracks. This
solar-powered transmitter monitors lateral movement across the Mission
Creek Fault which parallels the railroad. The information thus collected is relayed
to a satellite four times a day for analysis back at Cal Tech in
Creek Fault is the major member of the San Andreas Fault System along
the eastern edge of the Salton Sink.
It extends from Mission Creek, near Mount San Gorgonio, most
of the way to the Mexican Border, mainly remaining hidden under the
shifting sands at the eastern end of the
is the highest, second most-bridgelike bridge in the Yuma Subdivision
(the first most-bridgelike bridge is, of course, the arch span over
the Colorado River at
The steel girders that make up the underdeck, beneath the ties, are held in place with three spindly box bents that rise perhaps 40' from the floor of the creek.
There is an access road that separates from SR111 at about MP640.7 and drops down onto a dirt path that crosses under the Salt Creek Bridge adjacent to the west bank of the creek. The road allows vehicular access to the north side of the railroad at Ferrum and some access to the Kaiser Industries Railroad.
NOTE: the last time I checked this road it was very overgrown. Without a big four-wheel drive and/or a machete, it would be difficult to make it through the narrows directly under the bridge. Also, the path on the north of the railroad climbing west out of the creekbed is very sandy and loose. I might try it but I can't recommend it to you. (Of course, some folks would just say "Go for it!!"; not I.)
channels the bulk of the drainage from the south slopes of the
At its northwest end the bridge is outfitted with a high-water detector that also controls the EB absolutes at the east end of Ferrum (MP640.6) and the westbound 6417 block signal.
640.9 Signpost EB 79-65 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 79-65 MPH; WB 70 MPH
641.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB
641.7 Block Signals: EB 6418 - WB 6417P
The westbound signal 6417 carries a protection (P) plate; the high-water detector on the bridge at MP640.8 can also control the aspect of this signal.
641.8 Old DURMID Station
Sidings come and go in the desert; Durmid siding was around for probably fifty years, but vanished sometime in the late Fifties or early Sixties, most likely because the siding length of about 2700 feet was just a wee bit too short for modern trains. However, the name and the siding live on as shown in the local maps: the USGS topo map for this area is called Durmid; the Delorme and the Thomas Bros. books both still erroneously show the Durmid Siding.
may have been once called "Dos Palmas" (Two Palms); according
to David Myrick in his book, Railroads of
642.0 -195' AMSL; -0.1% EB
Due east are the Bat Cave Buttes; this desolate, craggy formation lies about 0.5 miles from the tracks and has a maximum height of about 45 feet, making it the highest point locally.
Bros. guides show a path called
642.8 Signpost WB 70 MPH
There's not too much out here to recommend. Across the highway from the railroad lies the Al & Chris RV Park and Midway Bait concession, a fine place to pick up some cool drinks (or some bait; mmmm, love those anchovies!) if you're so inclined.
643.0 -200' AMSL; +0.2% EB
643.2 Block Signals: EB 6434 - WB 6433
643.8 Dragging Equipment / Hot Box DETECTOR - Speedometer
644.0 -190' AMSL; -0.1% EB
644.7 Block Signals: EB 6448 - WB 6447
645.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB
645.5 Bridge over wash
The wash is wide enough and the clearance under the bridge is high enough that a reasonably-sized vehicle can drive under the right-of-way. Unfortunately, the path leads nowhere in particluar on the other side. But the walls of this narrow wash are studded with magnificent crystals of gypsum.
645.8 Bridge over
road passes underneath the trestle bridge with scant headroom. Immediately on the east side of the tracks,
the road climbs up out of the wash and proceeds generally due east to
the "residential" area about a half-mile east of the railroad. Wandering around on the unpaved, rarely-graded
roads in this subdivision will eventually get the intrepid traveller
646.0 West Switch BERTRAM Siding (CAL116A3)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Siding Length 8372'
-195' AMSL; 0.0% EB
646.5 West-facing 7135 Spur
This lonely 100-yard-long spur lays along the south side of the siding; occasionally a piece of maintenance equipment finds its way onto this track.
646.8 BERTRAM Station (CAL116B3)
Signpost WB "BERTRAM"
One of the few places left along the line where the station site is still indicated with a signpost. It is, however, a very small sign. All the others have been stolen and or lost over time; don't make this one fall to the same fate!
647.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB
647.2 Signpost EB 70-65 MPH
647.8 East Switch BERTRAM Siding
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Several maps show an unpaved path going due north about four miles, leading past a few ranchos along the way to the high-tension power lines that run in a more-or-less parallel path with the railroad. The road is well-graded and the railroad grade crossing is in good condition.
This crossing has no lights or crossing gates, but visibility is very good with no obstacles near the intersection.
648.0 No Mileboard Visible
-195' AMSL; -0.1% EB
The railroad has begun a gradual, sweeping curve to the east and north; the right-of-way ends up pointing toward compass northeast.
649.0 -200' AMSL; +0.1% EB (CAL116B4)
649.2 Block Signals: EB 6492 - WB 6491
649.3 Speed Limit: EB 70-65 MPH; WB 79-70 MPH
Signpost WB 79-70 MPH
650.0 -195' AMSL; -0.2% EB
650.1 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
Make the turn onto the paved road leading due south from SR111
650.7 Dikes along North Side of Tracks
651.0 Block Signals: EB 6510P - WB 6511
-205' AMSL; +0.0% EB
The eastbound block signal 6510 wears a protection plate, indicating that it also is controlled by the disposition of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP651.9.
An access road parallels the railroad right-of-way immediately north of the tracks and continues east. The road provides a path for wheeled vehicles to get to the water treatment plant at MP650.7.
651.1 Old POPE Station
Pope was about 4200' (96 cars) long.
651.9 70' Bridge over major wash
Alas, one of these washes with no name but one that plays an important part in the drainage of several dozen square miles of desert floor, from the eastern slopes of the Bat Cave Buttes to the southwest portion of the Chocolate Mountains, or at least for what little water that makes it across the siphons on the Coachella Canal.
The Espee Timetable indicates that this bridge is at MP652.0, and the bridge abutment has "651.99" stenciled upon it.
also is infiltrated with outflow from the Hot Mineral Spa, a natural
hot spring and now commercial establishment about three miles up the
northeast end the bridge is equipped with a high-water detector that,
if tripped, causes the signals 6510 and 6531 to display red aspects. At the west end a dirt raod passes under
the bridge, with sufficient headroom for a moderate truck; this path
652.0 -205' AMSL; +0.1% EB
652.2 15' Bridge over flowing creek
This wash drains a few square miles of desert floor
immediately northeast of the tracks.
Water dropped on the
652.4 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
652.5 25' Bridge over wash
Southern Pacific Pipeline Station
The paved road provides access to the north; there are several Hot Mineral Springs and commercial spas just a few miles up the road, just the thing to soothe those aching muscles at the end of a long, hot day of railfanning.
also leads up to the
653.0 -200' AMSL; +0.0% EB
653.1 Block Signals: EB 6530 - WB 6531P
The Protection plate on the staff of the westward signal 6531 indicates that the signal is also under the control of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP651.9. If this detector is tripped, the signal here will display a red aspect.
653.5 50' Bridge over unnamed creek
654.0 -200' AMSL; +0.1% EB
654.3 West Switch FRINK Siding (CAL116B4)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Siding Length 8387'
654.7 60' Bridge over
A road from the south intersects SR111.
655.0 35' Bridge over
-195' AMSL; +0.3% EB
655.3 35' Bridge over
655.4 50' Bridge over
Frink Wash Overflow is just that; beginning more or less at the same place, this creek handles water also from the Frink Spring area, but with a little more gusto.
655.6 FRINK Station
Who Frink is I don't know; the name first appears as "Frink's" on an 1891 map.
655.7 East-facing 7165 Spur
This is a 150-yard long spur along the north side of the siding, which itself lies along the north side of the mainline.
656.0 -180' AMSL; -0.3% EB
656.1 East Switch FRINK Siding (CAL116B4)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
657.0 -195' AMSL; -0.1% EB
657.1 35' Bridge over
657.2 Block Signals: EB 6572 - WB 6573
Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
657.3 30' Bridge over Ray Wash (CAL117B5)
657.7 30' Bridge over
658.0 -200' AMSL; +0.0% EB
658.4 30' Bridge over
658.5 Block Signals: EB 6586 - WB 6587
658.7 20' Bridge over Ed Wash
Yep, I know; it's real lonely out here, the soil is gray, the sky is hazy, and it's probably blazing hot. But that's why I came out here and wrote down what I saw, just so you don't have to.
659.0 -200' AMSL; +0.0% EB
659.4 40' Bridge over Butter
659.5 20' Bridge over
659.6 West Switch WISTER Siding (CAL117B5)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Siding Length 8333'
659.8 40' Bridge over
660.0 West-facing 7185 Spur
-202' AMSL; +0.0% EB
The equipment spur lies to the north of the siding and is, as always, around one hundred yards long and in fairly poor repair.
660.1 WISTER Station
Border Patrol Facility on SR111
The Border Patrol generally only stops vehicles headed northbound along SR111. Sometimes, however, they also stop northbound trains and check them for illegals (undocumented workers). I've seen them stopping trains as far north as Bertram and as far south as Niland. You can almost always recognize them by their pale green full-sized Jimmy/Bronco/Blazer/Ramcharger vehicles. And they don't particularly seem to have much of a sense of humor.
660.4 Two Bridges over
The grade crossing is marked as "Private".
There is a flashing "arrow" sign that the Border Patrol sets out on the highway to slow northbound traffic and let everyone know that something's up just ahead.
The Hatchery buildings are located along the west side
of SR111 on
660.8 80' Bridge over
661.0 -200' AMSL; +0.0% EB
661.1 30' Bridge over
661.4 East Switch WISTER Siding (CAL117B5)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
661.9 15' Bridge over
662.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB
662.1 15' Bridge over Salt
662.3 Powerlines Cross Railroad
662.4 90' Bridge over Niland Creek
Niland MCI Facility
Creek lies immediately west of the MCI facility.
The Niland MCI Facility resides in the fenced compound just west of the grade crossing along the north 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 Cherry Valley (MP561.7), Indio (MP611.4) and Gold Rock (MP716.8).
662.6 40' Bridge over
662.7 Block Signals: EB 6628 - WB 6627
662.9 40' Bridge over
663.0 -195' AMSL; +0.0% EB
663.1 40' Bridge over Z Drain
663.3 25' Bridge over Cat
663.5 Old MUNDO Station
Mundo was another terrifically short siding that last appeared on the maps back in the late Fifties. The total length was about 2700 feet, just over a half-mile. Barely enough room to fit the locomotive set from a modern SP train, pert near...
663.6 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR
The railroad begins a steady curve to the east.
664.0 -195' AMSL; +0.3% EB
664.4 Block Signals: EB 6644 - WB 6645
After leaving the curve, the rails now continue southeast on a tangent for the next fifteen miles, all the way to MP680 at Mammoth Wash.
664.5 40' Bridge over Phil Wash
664.7 20' Bridge over
665.0 -180' AMSL; +0.3% EB
665.4 35' Bridge over
665.5 West Switch NILAND Siding (CAL117B5)
See the next section for details.