SPRR Yuma District - The East Line

SEGMENT 4: NILAND to YUMA, MP665.5 - MP732.5





  Through the next 67 miles exist some of the most desolate stretches of the whole Sunset Route.  Not only do few humans live out in this portion of the Colorado Desert, but there are few roads for access to the area.  In fact, often the only real usable path is the railroad access road itself.

  Before wandering out into these parts, make sure that you and your vehicle are in excellent working condition and that you are prepared for any eventuality.



  In the summer, the weather along this portion of the route has two settings: hot and really hot.  Temperatures can exceed 120 degrees in the shade; on the ground it may be 200 degrees.  During the winter the temperatures are much more moderate with only a few nights where the freezing point is reached.   The winds can roar across the East Mesa, carrying sand that will frost a car's windshield.  The dust from the silty soil will fill your car if you drive with the windows down.  There is little water out here save the the man-made canals, a few springs and seeps, and the occasionally disasterous flash floods that occur during the summer months.

  One oasis of life (if you can call it that) is in Glamis, where for several miles in each direction you will find dune buggies, motorcycles and four-wheelers tearing up the desert and making an awful racket.  State Route 78 crosses the right-of-way at Glamis (MP698.3), making it the only paved road between Niland (MP667.8) and Ogilby (MP716.7).  And unfortunately for the avid railfan, SR78 runs at right angles to the railroad, preventing it from being of much utility except as an escape route in case of emergency. The lowest elevation along this portion of our journey is 165 feet below sea level just west of Niland; the highest is around MP711 at about 395 feet above sea level.  This makes for a total elevation change of just over 550 feet in 45 miles. 

  All in all, it's a grand, glorious piece of desert.  Isolated, it is especially scenic in the winter, when the sun is always low on the horizon and the colors are rich and full.



665.5  West Switch NILAND Siding (CAL117B5)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            Siding Length: North 12169'; South 8548'

            Speed Limit: EB 70-65 MPH; WB 70 MPH

  The south siding leads into the Niland Interchange Yard and eventually to the Calexico Branch of the Southern Pacific, which separates from the mainline up ahead and arrows its way into the heart of the Imperial Valley.

  The north siding is the one used most for passing movements, since there is no contention with yard traffic.


666.0  -165' AMSL; +0.4% EB


666.1  Bridge over Wind Wash


666.2  Bridge over Pike Wash


666.6  20' Bridge over Marshy Wash


666.9  50' Wooden Bridge over Reed Wash

            West End Niland Interchange Yard

            Community of Niland

  A dirt path leads from Route 111 along the east side of Reed Wash up to the right-of-way.

  The switch marked 0594 provides access from the south siding to the west end of the interchange yard.


667.0  -140' AMSL; +0.3% EB


667.3  EB Absolute Signal Tower


667.4  WB Absolute Signal Bridge



667.5  NILAND Station

            CALEXICO BRANCH Junction

            West Leg NILAND Wye

            East End NILAND Interchange Yard

            Railroad Maintenance of Way Station

            Southern Pacific Niland Communications Facility

            250' Communications Tower

            Site of Old Water Tank

  Just south of the Niland interchange tracks rests the placid, terminally-baked little town of Niland.  Blazingly hot during summer, pleasantly mild during the winter, Niland was built around the junction of the SP mainline and the Calexico Branch.  However, the station name at the junction as shown on a 1903 Railway map is indicated as "Old Beach".  On a 1910 State Mining Bureau map, the name Old Beach still exists but the name "Imperial Junction" is mentioned in parentheses.  Niland finally becomes a spot on a 1920 Santa Fe Railway map of California.

  Today, little happens in town; there is a Niland Turn that runs out from West Colton occasionally, and during harvest season (which, in the Imperial Valley, is a regular event) quite a bit of produce makes its way onto the mainline at Niland.

  The Calexico Branch was constructed around the turn of the century; the Southern Pacific was confident in the ability of the Imperial Valley to support a huge harvest, so long as plentiful, cheap water was available.  With the diversion of the Colorado River, first through the ill-fated Alamo Canal Project of 1901, and later with the All-American Canal, the Valley blossomed.

  The Calexico Branch passes through El Centro on its way to Calexico, at the Mexican Border.  There the railroad joins with the Mexican remains of the old line to Araz Junction, on the Espee mainline west of Yuma about MP726.  At El Centro, the Calexico joins with the Sandia and El Centro Branches, a total of 81 miles of branchline railroad.

  The railroad's Niland Communications facility augments the railroad's radio coverage locally with a 161.550MHz road channel repeater.  This facility is connected via microwave to the main SP radio trunk at Superstition Mountain, west of Brawley, and a microwave path also goes to the Tortuga facility at MP681.6.

  The water tank stood along the south side of the railroad, surrounded by the once-scenic cluster of now-dead palm trees.  All that remains now are the concrete footings.


667.6  Trackside Equipment House


667.8  Beal Road Grade Crossing

  About 4 miles northeast, along Beal Road, are "The Slabs".  This was a housing/resort development gone broke long before much more than the concrete slab foundations were poured.  These "slabs" are now home to snowbirds and other nomadic wanderers in their motorized homes; they park on the concrete pad, set out the lawn chair under the awning, and watch the day go by.


667.9  East Switch NILAND Wye

  The east leg of the Niland wye and the east approach to the Calexico branch makes a sweeping turn to the southeast to join to the mainline.

  There is a good access road that parallels the railroad to the east.  Access to this road is available from a rudimentary dirt grade crossing just west of the east end of the Niland Wye; the path leads from the paved road over the east leg of the wye and then continues east along the south side of the tracks.


668.0  East Switch NILAND Siding (CAL117C5)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            -125' AMSL; +0.5% EB

  A Southern Pacific Pipe Lines tank farm borders the south side of the road; this facility gets fuel from the major pipeline that parallels the railroad and stores that fuel in the tanks visible.  Agriculture in the Imperial Valley is very energy-intensive; fuel from this facility is dispersed throughout the valley.

  The railroad continues southeast on a tangent for the next 12 miles.


668.2  20' Concrete Bridge over wash (CAL117C6)

  A low-headroom road passes under the trestle bridge, providing access to the land along the north side of the railroad and a connection to Beal Road.


668.6  Wooden Bridge over Sylvia Wash

  Noffsinger Road begins to parallel the railroad immediately south of the "S" Lateral Feed, an irrigation ditch supplying East Highline Canal Water to the farms around the Niland area.  The railroad access path is just north of the canal; for those who are a bit squeamish about billowing dust and the silty, sifting soil, Noffsinger Road might be just the trick to travel between Niland and Flowing Wells at MP671.3.


669.0  -100' AMSL; +0.3% EB


669.3  Block Signals: EB 6694 - WB 6693


670.0  -80' AMSL; +0.4% EB


670.4  Private Grade Crossing

  This crossing allows access to the Fish Breeder facility about 0.5 miles north of the tracks.


670.5  Dragging Equipment / Hot Box DETECTOR - Speedometer


670.8  Block Signals: EB 6708P - WB 6709

  Eastward signal 6708 also indicates the condition of the high water detectors mounted under the bridge over East Highline Canal, MP671.3, and the 16-span trestle bridge at MP672.7.

  For the next 0.5 miles the road surface is rather soft in patches.  Take care and don't get stuck.  Noffsinger Road, immediately south of the irrigation ditch, is a hard, gravel road, good in most any weather.


671.0  -60' AMSL; +0.8% EB


671.3  Bridge over East Highline Canal

            Highline Canal Service Road Grade Crossing

            Community of Flowing Well

  The East Highline Canal pulls water from the All-American Canal east of Calexico, about 40 miles south, and distributes this water to the farms along the east side of the Imperial Valley.  The canal ends about 10 miles northwest of here near Wister.

  The station of Flowing Well(s) appears on maps as far back as 1891.  There are still springs and seeps in the immediate area.

  The access road that leads in from the end of Wiest Road crosses the canal just south of the bridge and continues east along the south side of the tracks.  A grade crossing just east of the canal provides passage to the north side of the tracks and to a dirt road that heads northeast to the Coachella Canal about two miles distant.

  This bridge incorporates a high-water detector; if activated by flood levels on the canal, the eastbound signal 6708 and the westbound signal 6729 will be set to a stop indication.


671.5  Low Powerlines Cross Railroad


671.6  Camp Santos Cemetery

            Along the south side of the road, south of the tracks, is the Camp Santos cemetery.  It is a very small, faint burial ground for a few.  Do not disturb it.


672.0  -15' AMSL; +0.9% EB

            Flowing Well Cemetery

  Again along the south side of the access road, this time the Flowing Well cemetery.  The monument reads:


Once a tiny desert railroad stop, Flowing Well became the gateway to Imperial Valley in the first few years of the Twentieth Century.  Here, the hardy pioneers who had come by railroad to make the valley what it is today had to transfer to a stage which would take them to the land of their choice.  To these pioneers, to the railroaders and stage drivers this monument is dedicated by The Boy Scouts of America Troop 79".


Sometime after this plaque was dedicated there were the inevitable ravages of time and vandals; a later inscription states:


"Monument restored and re-dedicated by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, the Native Sons of the Golden West, and the Imperial Valley Historical Society November 18 1989".


672.1  High Tension Powerlines cross Railroad


672.2  Sea Level!

  Rising gently though the otherwise nondescript landscape, the railroad now leaves the below-sea-level world of the Salton Sink as the tracks continue their gradual climb up onto the East Mesa.  To the north and east of the tracks continue the Chocolate Mountains and the Chocolate Mountains Impact Area.


672.7  Trestle Bridge over wash

  This 16-span, 150'-long trestle bridge includes a high-water detector that, when triggered, causes a STOP indication to be displayed at signals EB6708 and WB6729.  The detector is on the north side of the bridge next to the first trestle at the west end.  The Espee Timetable, by the way, also indicates that this bridge is at MP672.9; according to the stenciled marks on the west end of the bridge, this is actually MP672.79.

  The reeds and heavy tamarisk growth indicate plentiful ground water; some of this water usually trickles to the surface just to the south of the railroad bridge, next to the road.


672.8  Block Signals: EB 6728 - WB 6729P

  Westward signal 6729 carries a protection (P) plate; this indicates to train crews (via the Timetable) that the signal is also controlled by the high-water detector on the bridge immediately west.


673.0  No Mileboard Visible

            30' AMSL; +0.8% EB

  The mileboard (the sign that has the number stenciled upon it) has vanished; the milepost is the fourth pole east of the signals at MP672.8.  The lower half of the pole, as usual, is painted white for identification.


673.1  Ancient Shoreline of Lake Cahuilla

  Ancient Lake Cahuilla rose to a maximum elevation of +44 feet above sea level; the ridge immediately ahead is the shoreline of that ancient lake and is a bench cut by wave action.


673.2  Ancient Beach of Lake Cahuilla

  A low cut takes the rails up onto the shore of Lake Cahuilla.  The location is ideal for bringing along the beach towel, the tanning lotion and the binoculars.  And there's almost never a crowd at this beach...


673.3  Remains of Sand Fence

  A low, wooden-picket fence fronts along the north side of the tracks for a few dozen feet.


673.7  150' Steel Deck Bridge over Wash

The railroad spans a wide, deep, tamarisk-choked wash with a two-span steel deck trestle bridge. Downstream are farms; upstream, a dirt road passes under the bridge and provides service to the Coachella Canal about a half-mile east.


673.8  West Switch IRIS Siding (CAL117C6)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            Siding Length 8475'


674.0  75' AMSL; +0.1% EB

  The milesign is in very poor condition; one of these days soon the wind may blow it far away.


674.1  West-facing 1175 Spur

  There is a 100-yard-long equipment spur along the north side of Iris siding.  The spur is in fairly poor repair but probably isn't used very often.


674.4  IRIS Station

  A long time ago, Iris siding was a mere 107 carlengths long, approximately 4700 feet.


675.0  125' Concrete Bridge

            80' AMSL; +0.6% EB

  A few tenths of a mile west and maybe two hundred yards south of the access road, out in the scrub, stands a dilapidated windmill that may still actually work.  Truth is always stranger than fiction.


675.7  East Switch IRIS Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals


675.8  Access Road Veers South

  The following mile or so includes a few twists and turns for those intent on following the right-of-way.  Up ahead is the Coachella Canal and another ditch, older and now abandoned.  Because of these two deep trenches, the access road swings south to parallel the empty ditch to a siphon on the Coachella Canal where a major wash crosses the canals.  The road uses the wash as a path back to the tracks at MP676.6; another path leads to the intersection of the railroad and the Canal at MP676.0.  See the map for details.


675.8  Bridge over old Coachella Canal

  This steel deck-girder bridge, installed in 1941, is only single-track width; the bridge piers, however, are built to carry a double-track bridge.  There is no evidence that a second track was ever in place.

  In the early 1980's, the old, unlined canal was abandoned while a new, concrete-lined replacement was constructed just upgrade.


676.0  Coachella Canal Service Road Private Grade Crossing

            110' AMSL; +0.6% EB

  There are three paths east that vary in difficulty.  The north path is available by crossing the tracks and continuing east.  The trail is wide and sometimes gravelled and makes it to at least Mammoth Wash at MP680.0.  However, the path can range to a few hundred feet from the railroad.  I have not driven this path.

  To continue along the south side of the tracks there are two choices: the first is to proceed east from this point along the silty, dusty access road bordering the desert growth along the south side of the right-of-way.  The other alternative is to continue along the Coachella Canal Access Road to the big siphon about 0.5 miles south.  Here the road winds its way down to a dusty, silty dirt path that travels along the east side of the wash and heads back toward the railroad tracks.  Both of these south trails meet along the right-of-way at MP676.6.


676.1  Coachella Canal Crossing

  A concrete tunnel carries the canal under the tracks.  The water is flowing from south to north.  Don't go for a swim: the walls are steep, the flow strong, the man-eating pirahna vicious and quick (at least that's what I heard...)


676.5  Bridge Over Wash (CAL117C7)


676.6  South Side Access road rejoins Right-of-Way

  The main road, coming up from the crossing of the Coachella Canal at the siphon, joins with the dusty, silty path leading along the tracks from the west at MP676.0.  Continuing east, the trackside road is generally firm, sometimes a bit dusty.  Note: immediately off this path, the soil is very fine and deep and the unprepared driver will sink quickly, soon to become a permanent part of the old desert.


676.9  Block Signals: EB 6768 - WB 6769

  Along to the due south, a few miles off, lie the northern tendrils of the Sand Hills, a complex of dunes that extend northwest from the Mexican border over 40 miles distant.


677.0  145' AMSL; +0.6% EB


677.7  70' Bridge over Salvation Wash

  Salvation Wash rolls out of Salvation Pass, six miles northeast in the Chocolate Mountains.  Other colorful placenames toward the head end of Salvation Wash include Pegleg and Salvation Wells and German Diggins Wash.  (Yes, that's "Diggins"; either a last name or a misspell...).  Salvation Wash and its tributaries drain a total area of more than twenty square miles, enough to allow for a real gulley-washer to come along and threaten the railroad every once in a blue moon or two.


678.0  Dragging Equipment DETECTOR

            175' AMSL; +0.4% EB

  I suppose if it's going to be "Diggins", this should be called "Draggin" Equipment Detector...


678.4  Block Signals: EB 6784 - WB 6783

  This marks the location, more or less, of the west end of old Tortuga Siding, a 5700-foot long siding displayed on a 1955 USGS map called "Tortuga".  (Tortuga means "Turtle" in Spanish.  However, tortoises live in the desert, not turtles.)


678.5  Old TORTUGA Station


678.6  15' Wooden Bridge over Wash


678.9  20' Wooden Bridge over Wash


679.0  Abandoned Signal Box for old Tortuga Siding

            195' AMSL; +0.5% EB

  The station name Tortuga shows up as early as 1891.


679.1  25' Steel Bridge over Wash


679.9  Block Signals: EB 6800 - WB 6799


680.0  200' Steel Bridge over Mammoth Wash

            Signpost EB 79-65 MPH

            Speed Limit: EB 79-65 MPH; WB 70 MPH

            212' AMSL; +0.2% EB

  Note that the 680 Milepost marker is located at the far west end of the bridge while the bridge itself is stenciled "679.98"; therefore the milepost marker is a bit west of where it really should be.

  Mammoth Wash drains a five-mile long, east-west trending canyon in the Chocolate Mountains about four miles northeast.

  Continuing east, a tamarisk grove along the immediate south side of the tracks now partially hides the railroad from the access road.  Another grove of the trees is planted along the south side of the access road; both of these groves protect the railroad and service road from incursions of sand blown from the Sand Hills a little to the south and west.  The tamarisk groves will end around milepost 683.

  Remember: Most all the Chocolate Mountains are a Bombing Range, with all sorts of awesome-looking fighter aircraft buzzing the hilltops; don't give them any more targets than they may already have.


680.8  Concrete Bridge over Wash

  The northernmost fingers of the Sand Hills stretch to within a half-mile or so of the railroad.  There are a few soft spots on the service road for the next few miles, but the tamarisk grove does a fair job of keeping the path clear.


681.0  225' AMSL;  -0.2% EB

  During holidays or pleasant weather, recreational offroaders (dirt bikers, etc.) will set up camp in the lee of the Sand Hills in a cove immediately west.  They generally stay to the west, up in the Sand Hills, but occasionally one will wander down toward the tracks.


681.3  West Switch REGINA Siding (CAL117C7)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            Siding Length 8472'



681.3  Concrete Bridge over Wash


681.6  Southern Pacific Tortuga Communications Facility

            Two 250' Communications Towers

            West-facing Spur

            Water Tanks

  There is a 100-yard long equipment spur along the north side of Regina siding.  The spur is in fairly bad repair but looks serviceable.  There may have been a number on the target at one time but that number is long gone.

  The microwave radio link from Niland Communications Facility connects to the Tortuga Facility; Tortuga is a repeater station for 161.550MHz road channel communications.  The upcoming stretch of railroad is blocked from communications through Superstition Mountain, more than forty miles west and blocked by the nearby Sand Hills; the Telegraph Pass radio site, forty miles east and hidden behind the Cargo Muchacho Mountains, won't help out until about MP710 or so.

  The USGS Tortuga map shows a grade crossing for the Niland-Glamis Road.  If this crossing still exists here, it isn't apparent.  The Niland-Glamis Road does cross the right-of-way a mile or so east at MP683.3.


681.7  Concrete Bridge over Wash

  For the next forty miles, there is a series of triangular dikes scraped onto the desert floor along the north side of the railroad, as is seen on the topo map.  Where the junction of two dike walls approach the railroad there is a culvert or bridge on the railroad to allow runoff a controlled route across the right-of-way.  Nearly every one of the culverts or bridges to MP723 are located at one of these drainage points.


682.0  REGINA Station (CAL117C7)

            Signpost WB 70 MPH

            210' AMSL; +0.1% EB

  Regina is pronounced reh-JYE-nah; now you can sound just like the big boys.  If you pronounce it reh-JEE-nah you're talkin' vacuum cleaners, son.  Regina means "queen" in Latin.


682.3  Concrete Bridge over Wash


682.5  Concrete Bridge over Wash


682.8  Concrete Bridge over Wash


682.9  East Switch REGINA Siding (CAL117C7)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals


683.0  Concrete Bridge over Wash

            215' AMSL; +0.5% EB

  The bridge is marked 683.01; the milepost itself is a hundred feet or more east.  The tamarisk grove along the south side of the tracks ends.


683.3  Niland-Glamis (Ted Kipf) Road Grade Crossing

  The Niland-Glamis Road starts at "The Slabs", at the end of paved Beal Road, four miles northeast of Niland.  The dirt path winds its way along the western bajada of the Chocolate Mountains, avoiding entanglement with the military, and crosses the railroad tracks.  It continues east along the south side of the right-of-way all the way to California 78 at Glamis.  This is the only reliable route to Glamis.

  Some newer maps show the name of this path as the "Ted Kipf" Road.  The Ted Kipf Road leaves the south side of the railroad tracks at California 78 in Glamis and continues along the railroad all the way to Ogilby, paralleling the tracks about three-tenths of a mile north.


683.4  Remains of Gravel Quarry Spur

  Long ago there was an east-facing spur that branched to the north from the mainline and led to a gravel quarry about one mile due north.  This quarry may have been used to supply local gravel as ballast in the 1905-1907 project to block the Colorado River leak into the Imperial Valley.


683.5  Concrete Bridge over Wash


684.0  245' AMSL; +0.5% EB


684.1  Concrete Bridge over Wash


684.3  Block Signals: EB 6842 - WB 6843

            Concrete Bridge over Wash


684.6  Old AMOS Station (CAL117D7)

  From 1891 until 1928, a station called "Mammoth Tank" was located somewhere nearby.  On a 1928 map, however, is the first use of the name "Amos" for a station.  This station exists also on the 1956 Amos Topo map, which shows a cluster of small buildings and the cemetery.

  There are a few bits and pieces of what was; the concrete slab for the trackside section house, complete with embedded rails, lies just south of the right-of-way.  A survey marker is next-door.

  Amos Siding was about 4300-feet long, beginning at MP683.8 and ending just east of this point.


684.7  Concrete Bridge over Wash


685.0  Concrete Bridge over Wash

            270' AMSL; +0.3% EB

  The bridge that is a few hundred feet east of the 685 Milepost is stenciled 684.95.


685.1  Two Concrete Bridges over Wash


685.9  Dragging Equipment DETECTOR

            Block Signals: EB 6858 - WB 6859


686.0  285' AMSL; +0.1% EB


687.0  290' AMSL; -0.2% EB


687.5  Block Signals: EB 6874 - WB 6875


688.0  280' AMSL; +0.0% EB


688.7  West Switch ACOLITA Siding (CAL118D1)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            Siding Length 8495'


689.0  275' AMSL; +0.0% EB


689.8  West-facing 1151 Spur

  There is a 100-yard-long equipment spur to the north side of the siding.  The spur is in poor repair; its use is probably limited to the occasional bad-order setout and such.


690.0  269' AMSL; +0.0% EB


690.1  ACOLITA Station (CAL118D1)

  Acolita Station first appears on a 1903-vintage map; the Acolita topo map indicates that the siding was, until the Fifties, not more than 0.5 miles long with its west switch near MP689.7.  The west switch was then moved west about a mile, lengthening the siding to its present 8495' length.


690.4  East Switch ACOLITA Siding (CAL118D1)

            EB/WB Absolute Signals (EB Signals carry "P" Plate)

  The eastbound absolute is also under the control of the high-water detector at MP691.6.


691.0  265' AMSL; +0.0% EB


691.6  30' Steel Bridge over Wash

  This bridge incorporates a high-water detector.  When the detectors triggers, the eastbound absolute signal at the east switch of Acolita (MP690.4) and the westward signal 6919 will display a stop indication.


691.8  Block Signals: EB 6918 - WB 6919P

  The westbound signals are also controlled by the status of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP691.6.


692.0  265' AMSL; +0.0% EB


693.0  265' AMSL; +0.1% EB


693.8  Dragging Equipment DETECTOR

            Block Signals: EB 6938 - WB 6937


694.0  270' AMSL; +0.2% EB


695.0  Gunnery Range Continues

            280' AMSL; +0.2% EB

  Visible a few hundred feet east of the tracks is a hurricane fence placarded with signs that read:


     "Live Bombing Area; Operations conducted at all hours"


It would be pretty spectacular to be out here photographing the NOLXT powering by while F18s were strafing the desert just beyond.  It's not a likely backdrop, though.


695.6  Old MESQUITE Station

  Mesquite was first shown on a 1891 map; it lasted perhaps seventy years as it is also described on the Acolita topo map of 1956.  The siding was about 0.8 mile long.  There are few remains of its existence.


695.7  SP Pipeline Company Facility

            SP Pipeline Communications Radio Tower

  The SPPL compound is situated between the service road and the south side of the right-of-way; a communications tower, visible from many miles away and a fine landmark, is also within the fence.  The tower supports antennas that provide communications to the pipe line company.


695.8  Block Signals: EB 6958 - WB 6957

            50' Wooden Bridge over Wash


696.0  290' AMSL; +0.2% EB


697.0  West Switch GLAMIS Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            Siding Length 8486'

            300' AMSL; +0.3% EB

  Glamis siding coexisted with Mesquite siding for quite a few years.  As shown on the Acolita/Glamis topo maps, the length of the siding was about 1.3 miles until the 1950s.


697.1  West-facing 1145 Spur

  There is a 100-yard-long equipment spur along the south side of Glamis siding.  The rails of the spur sag and meander since there's little roadbed under them; fortunately, the spur's probably not often used.


698.0  315' AMSL; +0.3% EB



698.1  GLAMIS Station

            Abandoned East-facing Spur

            Glamis Store


698.2  Trackside Shanties

  The structures may still be in use by the railroad.  A few isolated tamarisks line the right-of-way, with a sprinkling near the store and access road.


698.3  State Highway 78 Grade Crossing

  Welcome to wonderful, scenic Glamis, California; home to perhaps twenty permanent residents (people) but thousands of jackrabbits, there isn't a whole lot out here to recommend.

  What there is lies along the south side of the tracks, even south of the access road (Ted Kipf / Niland-Glamis).  There are a few supply stores, with beer and ice and food and two-stroke oil; the natives are peculiar, the visitors drive dirt bikes and dune buggies en masse.  Go slow and stop to write a postcard.

  Glamis is a long way from anywhere, as you have probably noticed.  East on SR78, it is 60 miles to Blythe and Interstate 10; west on 78 will take you to Brawley, 27 miles away.  At least the road, also called the Ben Hulse Highway, is paved and reasonably fast.  When driving west of Glamis on the highway, keep a sharp lookout for the hordes of three- and four-wheeled ATVs that can dart out on the road while you're not looking.  Every once in awhile one of these dirt jockeys tries to take on a hotshot freight, occasionally with disasterous results.

  The railway access road is in fine shape traveling both directions from Route 78.  To the west, it is called the Niland - Glamis Road or the Ted Kipf Road; it is a hard-packed dirt path, paralleling the railroad about 200 feet south of the tracks all the way to Regina Siding near MP682.  Toward Yuma, the service road lies within fifty feet of the tracks, along the south side, and is a bit silty for the next few miles, then firms up and remains in good condition to Sidewinder Road at MP723.2.  The Ted Kipf Road also continues eastward (compass southeast); however, it remains about three-tenths of a mile north of the tracks from SR78 to Ogilby Road at MP716.7.  The Ted Kipf Road is generally in somewhat better condition than the railroad service road, but both are quite passable (usually, but don't quote me).

  The broad plain over which the railroad continues toward Yuma is called the Pilot Knob Mesa, named for Pilot Knob Peak that will begin to appear directly down the tracks in a few miles.


698.7  East Switch GLAMIS Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals


699.0  335' AMSL; +0.3% EB

  Continuing to at least MP705 will be the occasional enclaves of campers and motorhomes to the south of the right-of-way; there will be dirt bikes and little people on three- and four wheel ATVs to contend with at random intervals.

  The access road remains silty but serviceable even with the family wagon; the RVs use this road to get out to their campsites.


699.9  Block Signals: EB 7000P - WB 6999

  The Eastbound signal 7000 displays a protection (P) plate on its mast; this signal is also under the control of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP701.0.


700.0  352' AMSL; +0.2% EB


700.4  Hot Box / Dragging Equipment DETECTOR


701.0  365' AMSL; +0.1% EB

            Bridge over Wash

  This bridge incorporates a high-water detector to warn the trainmen of rising floodwaters during one of those summer cloudbursts.  If the detector is tripped, the eastbound signal 7000 and the signal WB7019 will be set to a stop indication.


701.8  Block Signals: EB 7018 - WB 7019P

  The signal WB7019 wears a "P" plate on the signal mast, indicating that the aspect of the signal is also controlled by the status of the high-water detector on the bridge at MP701.0.


702.0  370' AMSL; +0.1% EB


702.4  Access Road Firms Up

  To the west the access road becomes quite silty and dusty in spots; generally nothing too serious, but the going will be a little slower.  The RVs that are sometimes seen south of the road use this path to get to their parking places.

  Eastward the road is relatively smooth, regularly graded and silt-free.  The gullies that cross the road every few hundred yards are the only real impediment to making this a freeway.


703.0  Old RUTHVEN Station

            375' AMSL; +0.0% EB

  Ruthven first appears on a 1903 map; the Glamis topo shows it in the Fifties to be a 0.7-mile long siding along the north side of the mainline.


703.6  Block Signals: EB 7036 - WB 7037

  There was at one time a grade crossing about 0.1 miles west.  The crossing allowed vehicles to get to the Ted Kipf Road, 0.3 miles northeast.


704.0  375' AMSL; +0.1% EB


704.9  West Switch CLYDE Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals (EB Signals carry "P" Plate)        

            iding Length 8500'

  The eastward absolutes also display the status of the high-water detector under the bridge at MP705.3.


705.0  West-facing 1175 Spur

            380' AMSL; +0.0% EB

  There is a 100-yard-long equipment spur along the north side of the siding.  The spur is in poor repair but probably isn't used very often.


705.3  Bridge over Wash

  A high-water detector is ensconced beneath the bridge; if triggered by excess water in the wash, the eastbound absolute signals at the west switch of Clyde and the westward signals at the east switch of Clyde will be forced to a stop indication.


705.8  CLYDE Station

  Clyde station (and siding) are another of the mobile kind of sidings that seem to creep about the desert over the years.  Whether because no one ever kept careful track of them or whatever, the old maps and timetables indicate that Clyde station used to be up at MP709.4.


706.0  380' AMSL; +0.1% EB


706.2  West End Powerlines on Both Sides of Tracks


706.5  East End Powerlines on Both Sides of Tracks


706.6  East Switch CLYDE Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals (WB Signals wear "P" Plate)

  The westbound signals carry a protection plate; these signals will present a stop indication if the high-water detector on the bridge at MP705.3 is activated.


706.7  Abandoned 30'-high Inspection Tower

  Just east of the east switch of Clyde, about 10 feet south of the tracks, stands a steel-framed, five- by five-foot tower with a crow's nest atop.  There are the remains of a row of floodlamps along the track side of the tower that evidently provided illumination for whatever inspection took place.  The ladder that ascends the side of the tower is covered with a steel sheet to prevent the unauthorized from climbing the structure.


707.0  380' AMSL; +0.1% EB

  The topo map shows a grade crossing of sorts that leads from the Ted Kipf Road to the railroad access path.


707.8  Block Signals: EB 7078 - WB 7079


708.0  385' AMSL; +0.1% EB


709.0  Concrete Bridge over main stream of Indian Wash

            390' AMSL; +0.1% EB

  How do I know that this is the main course of the Indian Wash, you ask?  I'm guessing, of course.  Out here, what water channels there are for the fast-moving infrequent drainage, are very mobile.  From flood to flood, one channel may be blocked by debris, causing another channel to be favored.  But this bridge is approximately the middle of the outflow zone for Indian Wash, and so it gets the coveted title.

  Indian Wash drains the property around Indian Pass, a defile in the south end of Black Mountain that provides a route for motor traffic to travel down to the Colorado River, about 18 miles northeast.


709.2  Block Signals: EB 7092 - WB 7093


709.4  Old CLYDE Station

  See MP705.8 for details.


710.0  394' AMSL; +0.0% EB


710.3  Concrete Bridge over main stream of Birney's Wash

  Birney's Wash carries water off the west shoulder of the Picacho Peaks, 14 miles northeast.


710.6  Block Signals: EB 7106 - WB 7107


711.0 395' AMSL; -0.1% EB

  Get out the champagne (or cold beer, diet soda, water or two-stroke oil) and celebrate!  The highest point on the railroad between Niland and Yuma (for that matter, between Thousand Palms and Colfred in the Gila Sub, about MP789) lies just west at about MP710.8.  Continuing eastward to the Colorado River, it's all downhill.

  The Pilot Knob Mesa, the surface along which the railroad has been running since Glamis and continuing to Sidewinder Road (MP723), is a broad, gently-sloping northwest-southeast-trending valley floored with debris flow from the Cargo Muchacho Mountains that form the local northeastern horizon; Pilot Knob Mesa is bounded along the southwest by the Sand Hills.

  Pilot Knob Peak is the solitary 897-foot AMSL point on the southeast horizon; the railroad aims to the north of the peak from just east of Glamis to MP723.


711.9  West Switch CACTUS Siding

            West-facing 1125 Spur

            EB/WB Absolute Signals (EB Signals display "P" plate)

            Ted Kipf Road Access Grade Crossing

            Siding Length 8422'

  The grade crossing is immediately west of the west switch, separated from Cactus siding by a short bridge over a small wash.  The Ted Kipf Road, the main road between Glamis and Ogilby, is just two-tenths of a mile northeast across the railroad.

  There is a 100-yard-long equipment spur along the north side of Cactus, immediately east of the siding switch.  Although the spur track is completely without roadbed, unmaintained and neglected, it probably doesn't see that much use anyway.

  The EB absolute signal carries a protection plate, indicating that its aspect is also controlled by the high-water detector under the bridge at MP713.3.


712.0  390' AMSL; -0.2% EB


712.3  CACTUS Station


713.0  380' AMSL; -0.3% EB


713.2  Bridge over main stream of Gold Rock Wash

  Gold Rock Wash carries floodwater off the northwest slopes of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains, passing by the Gold Rock Trading Post on its five mile journey.

  This bridge carries a high-water detector that can alert oncoming trains to possible right-of-way damage due to floodwaters rolling out of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains just northeast.  The eastward absolute signal at the west end of Cactus and the westbound signal at the east end of Cactus will display a stop indication if the detector trips.  In the Espee timetable this bridge is indicated as at MP713.3; it's all a difference of round-off technique.


713.6  East Switch CACTUS Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals (WB Signal wears "P" Plate)

  The westward signal staff displays the protection (P) plate; the high-water detector on the bridge at MP713.3 can force a stop indication to be presented at this signal.



714.0  Concrete Bridge over main stream of Tumco Wash

            360' AMSL; +0.0% EB

  Tumco Wash drains the canyon in which sits the old mining town of Tumco, about four miles northeast.  Tumco had a population of sorts around 1890; all there today is a historical marker, a cemetery and a few ruins.

  Tumco Wash is not a particularly well-defined thing; the wash over which this bridge passes tends to carry the bulk of any runoff making it this far, however.


714.9  Block Signals: EB 7150 - WB 7149


715.0  Dragging Equipment DETECTOR

            360' AMSL; -0.2% EB


715.7  Concrete Bridge over main stream of American Girl Wash

  The American Girl Mine provides the name to a little canyon on the west side of the Cargo Muchachos, from whence this wash issues.


716.0  350' AMSL; -0.2% EB


716.4  Paved Track Access Road Begins

  To the west (compass northwest) the trackside access road is unpaved, hard-packed dirt.  To the east (compass southeast) the county maintains the road to the Ogilby Road intersection 0.3 miles distant.  A west-facing sign on the road states:


                                                "Not A Through Road"


  Little do they know.


716.6  Old OGILBY Station

            Track Access Road veers south

            Ogilby Cemetery

            Ogilby Road Grade Crossing (County Route S34)

  The county road swings away from the railroad tracks and passes near the boundary of the Ogilby Cemetery, south of the road.  The road is paved to the west but to the east turns to dirt.

  Little endures of the townsite of Ogilby except the cemetery and a few bits and pieces of refuse.

  Ogilby Road is the only paved road in the area; it runs north from Interstate 8 and eventually joins California 78 (the Ben Hulse Highway) about eleven miles northeast of Glamis.  Excellent track access is available to both the east and west along the south side of the right-of-way.  The service road in either direction is well-scraped, pretty smooth and very firm; the family car can usually make it all the way west to Glamis (compass northwest).

  Track access from the north side of the railroad is a bit more limited; the Ted Kipf Road intersects with Ogilby Road about 0.3 miles north of the railroad and provides a firm, well-graded dirt path paralleling the railroad all the way to State Route 78 at Glamis.  It, however, remains about 0.3 miles away from the tracks the whole distance.


716.7  Block Signals: EB 7168 - WB 7167

            SP Communications Shack and Tower

  So many vandals; so little intellegence.  This radio site has been wrecked more than once by the roving hordes.  It supports train communications along this portion of desert.  This radio is linked into the Telegraph Peak site about 30 miles east.


716.8  Gold Rock MCI Facility

  The Gold Rock MCI Facility consists of two BLM-tan buildings behind the concertina-fenced compound 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 route.  Similar MCI facilities are located at Cherry Valley (MP561.7), Indio (MP611.4) and Niland (MP662.4).


717.0  340' AMSL; -0.1% EB


717.7  70' Concrete/Wooden Bridge over Padre Madre Wash

  This wash carries flow from out of the Cargo Muchacho Range, skirting the west end of the Ogilby Hills.  The Padre Madre Mine lies near the head of the wash.


718.0  335' AMSL; -0.1% EB

  The Ogilby Hills are the bleak, tan, rocky, barren low ridge and minor peaks about a mile northeast of the tracks.  The highest point is on the northwestern hill at 782 feet AMSL.  The Cargo Muchacho Mountains are the range in the left background.


718.6  Block Signals: EB 7186 - WB 7185


719.0  335' AMSL; -0.5% EB


719.4  Concrete Bridge over Cargo Wash

  This wash originates near the Cargo Mine, which is hidden in a small canyon on the south face of Pasadena Peak.


719.9  West Switch DUNES Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals

            Siding Length 8406'


720.0  Power Lines cross Tracks

            310' AMSL; -0.2% EB


720.1  West-facing Unmarked Spur

  A two-hundred-foot-long equipment spur connects on the north side of the siding.  The spur is in poor repair but probably isn't used very often.  Although there is a clean red target attached to the switch stand mast, there is no track number stenciled upon it.


720.7  DUNES Station


720.9  Concrete Bridge over Jackson Gulch Wash

  Jackson Gulch is a major drainage off Pasadena Peak and Pasadena Mountain, high points in the Cargo Muchacho Range.


721.0  Signpost EB 50 MPH

            300' AMSL; -0.1% EB


721.6  East Switch DUNES Siding

            EB/WB Absolute Signals


722.0  295' AMSL; -0.2% EB


722.5  Hot Box DETECTOR


722.7  Old KNOB Station

  Knob siding was about 5700-feet long, as indicated by the 1954 timetable.


722.8  Block Signals: EB 7228 - WB 7229


723.0  Signpost WB 70 - 79 MPH

            Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH; WB 79-70 MPH

            285' AMSL; -0.7% EB


723.4  Sidewinder Road Grade Crossing

  The railroad begins in earnest its descent from the Pilot Knob Mesa toward the Colorado River floodplain.

  Sidewinder Road is a north-south, somewhat-paved road that connects this area to Interstate 8 about a half-mile south.  To the north, it leads to a few ranchitos and the power lines that parallel the railroad two miles north; eventually it connects to the "Barney Oldfield Road" which snakes along the northeast face of the Cargo Muchacho Range, then turns southeast to join Picacho Road six miles north of Winterhaven.  Access to the south side of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains is available from Sidewinder Road.

  The access road along the south side of the tracks continues both to the east and west.  To the west, the road is solid, nearly a freeway, to at least Ogilby Road (MP716.6).

  To the east, however, it might be unwise to try to drive all the way to Yuma.  There is an California State Agricultural Inspection Station AND a Highway Patrol Facility about 0.7 miles east and they like to inspect vehicles coming into the state and sometimes even leaving the state; so don't be real suprised if in driving along the right-of-way you don't incure a visit from the CHP wondering WHY you're not coming through the inspection station.  Hey - it might be fun...


723.7  High/Wide - Dragging Equipment DETECTOR

  There are two of these excess-dimensions detectors in the area, but this is the only one in the Yuma Sub.  The next one is about 16 miles east between East Yard and Fortuna Siding.

  This detector consists of a large metal frame that spans the right-of-way, with light beams and photoelectric sensors.  It attempts to measure whether trains that roll through have loads that stick out more than 98" from the track center or are more than 200" high.  If a load has shifted much more than within these narrow limits, the High/Wide detector gets destroyed too.


723.9  Trackside Shanty (Abandoned)

            Agricultural Inspection Station on Interstate 8

  The tracks border the north side of Interstate 8 for the next 1.4 miles - passage on this road west to east is probably ok, but east to west the CHP may get the idea that you're running drugs or illicit vegetables...


724.0  Low Bridge over wash

            245' AMSL; -0.2% EB


724.4  Block Signals: EB 7244 - WB 7245

            Entering Fort Yuma Indian Reservation

  The Yuma Indians own most all of the land from this point to the west bank of the Colorado River.


724.7  Paved Access Road Begins

  The paved access road that rests between the railroad and Interstate 8 is the remains of the original two-lane highway that linked the Imperial Valley with Yuma.  This old main highway was replaced with the construction of Interstate 8; bits and pieces of it still exist in places.

  To the west the road is barricaded with dirt berms, ostensibly to force all westward traffic to use the Interstate so that the Inspectors can have a chat.


725.0  235' AMSL; -0.7% EB


725.3  Access road / Araz Road Intersection

  The access road intersects Araz Road at a T-intersection.  Continuing east along Araz Road follows the railroad downhill toward the town of Winterhaven, the Colorado River and Yuma.  The paved access road extends west as far as MP724.7; to travel further west it's best to take the Interstate.  Crossing over the freeway to the south, Araz Road becomes State Route 186, also called Algodones Road, which leads to the Mexican Border at the village of Andrade.

  Andrade was a station on the old SP line that separated from the mainline near Araz Junction, more or less where Araz Switch is now.  This branch, built in the teens, allowed more direct access to the Imperial Valley from the east by winding through Mexico to Mexicali, then back across the border at Calexico and on to El Centro.  Trains bound for the Imperial Valley and San Diego via the San Diego and Arizona Eastern could avoid having to continue west on the Espee mainline all the way to Niland, then turn due south and travel the 45 miles or so to El Centro.

  The local offramp from eastbound Interstate 8 is called Araz Road; from the westbound I8, it's called Algodones Road.


725.4  50' Steel Bridge

  The Araz Hills are a severely eroded badlands, the remnants of the old alluvial fan of the south shoulder of the Cargo Muchachos.  The railroad cuts across the trend of the north-south washes streaming down from this range.

 Note that the soil along the right-of-way is soft and loamy; although it might not trap a car, the unwary driver could get into trouble.


725.7  50' Steel Bridge

            Two Powerlines


725.8  ARAZ Switch

            EB Absolute Signals

            End Single Main Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)   

            Begin Two Main Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)


725.9  WB Absolute Signal #1 (north) Track


726.0  200' AMSL; -0.7% EB


726.1  Old ARAZ Junction

            WB Absolute Signal Tower #2 (south) Track

            100' Steel Bridge over Araz Wash

  At one time this was called Araz Junction, since the Imperial Valley Branch separated from the mainline here and headed south.  This branch was pushed for by San Diego and Imperial Valley interests who wanted to have a more direct route east than the original path north from El Centro to Niland.  The rails still exist in Mexico from Mexicali to Algodones, but have been gone for many years north of the border.

  An interesting note: a 1923 timetable indicates that the travel time from El Centro to Yuma via the Mexico route was 3 hours, 38 minutes.  Traveling the older, original route through Niland the distance was covered in 2 hours, 48 minutes.

  Araz Wash is a major drainage from the Cargo Muchacho Mountains and more locally from the Araz Hills; a broad, flat-bottomed arroyo, it courses from north to south, crossing under the railroad and continuing to its eventual fate as a tributary to the Colorado River less than a mile south.

  Araz Wash passes under Araz Road, then over the All-American Canal on a wide, concrete flume.


726.3  Bridge over the All-American Canal

  The All-American Canal supplies Colorado River water to the Imperial and Coachella Valleys; taken from the River at the Imperial Dam, about 16 miles northeast, water flows under gravity fall throughout the whole 200-mile length of the Canal and its offshoots.

  Built in the 1910s as a replacement to the Alamo Canal which spent many miles south of the border in Mexico, the All-American Canal remains wholly in the United States, in fact being part of the International Boundary for several miles.  The drop along the border is steep enough that there are even hydroelectric plants constructed at regular intervals to take advantage of the excess head to generate electricity.

  The railroad bridge does not include room for the trackside access road; the Araz Road bridge over the Canal provides the nearest crossing, a quarter-mile south of the right-of-way.

  The bluffs on either side of the canal are great locations for watching and photographing trains climbing out of or dropping down onto the Colorado River floodplain.

  A beautiful, graceful catenary supports a natural gas pipeline suspended across the Canal.


726.4  Access to Tracks from Araz Road

  A cluster of shade trees in a oval-shaped bowl separate the railroad from Araz Road.  Passage along the south side of the right-of-way to the west ends at the All-American Canal; to the east access is available to at least Quick Road at MP728.3.

  The railroad continues to snake its way down through the final reaches of the Araz Hills on its way to the Colorado River floodplain.

  The stark contrast between the eroded, tan and ochre badlands and the trains and their consists make for good photographs.


727.0  Old ARAZ Station

            Signpost EB 60 MPH

            Speed Limit: EB 60 MPH; WB 50 MPH

            160' AMSL; -0.6% EB

  Immediately ahead the railroad leaves the foot of the Araz Hills and forges out onto the Colorado River floodplain; the tracks fly across the bottomland on an earthen embankment that is as much as thirty feet high.  The embankment will continue to MP732, just before the Colorado River crossing.

  The Araz station was along the south side of the railroad, right in the hollow just east of the rise.  A couple of shade trees are all that remains...


727.3  Block Signal Bridge: EB 7274/76 - WB 7273/75


727.6  Tenino Lateral Irrigation Ditch Culvert

  Water in the Tenino Lateral comes from the All-American Canal and supplies irrigation to the fields along this side of the bottomlands.


728.0  130' AMSL; +0.0% EB


728.3  Bridge over Quick Road

  Quick Road begins at Araz Road, about 0.7 miles south, and passes under the tracks to serve some farms just to the north.

  A dirt path along the south side of the railroad provides passage both east and west.  The path east continues to MP729.0 while the trail west provides a useable route for several miles to the All-American Canal.



729.0  WINTERHAVEN Crossover

            130' AMSL; +0.0% EB

  The Winterhaven Crossover allows eastbound traffic to move from the #1 (north) track to the #2 (south) track and vice-versa.  The railroad remains perched on top of a wide, high embankment that provides a good vantage point for the area.  The speed limit through the crossover (going from one track to the other) is 35 MPH.

  A path from the west along the south side of the rails at the bottom of the embankment dead-ends here at a rotted-out wooden bridge over an irrigation ditch.


729.7  Bridge over Yuma Road

  Yuma Road begins at Araz Road, about half a mile south.


729.9  Dragging Equipment DETECTOR


730.0  134' AMSL; +0.0% EB


730.5  Block Signal Bridge: EB 7304/7306 - WB 7303/7305


730.8  1st Street Grade Crossing

            Community of Winterhaven

  Access along the south side of tracks continues east but the surface is very, very silty.  Your vehicle must have a broad footprint or it will sink!   Access to the west is available along the paved road on the south side of the tracks.  No access is possible along the north side of the tracks.

  The central part of the community of Winterhaven is on Winterhaven Drive which is about 0.5 miles south of the tracks.

  The railroad begins a gradual curve to the south.


731.0  135' AMSL; +0.0% EB


731.5  30' Steel Bridge over the Yuma Main Canal

  The railroad bridge over the Canal carries only the tracks and makes no room for non-flanged wheel traffic.  To continue east, follow the Canal road south to paved Quechan Road.


731.6  30' Steel Bridge over Picacho Road

  Picacho Road separates from Quechan Road and passes north under the railroad.  Picacho Road leads all the way up to Laguna and Imperial Dams, about 12 miles north.  The railroad employs a single-span, steel deck trestle bridge.


731.7  Remains of West Leg of Wye

  A long time ago (well, maybe not so long ago), there was a wye along the north side of the mainline and the west leg of that wye joined the line here.  The wye led to a branch line that went north to Laguna and later Imperial Dams, primarily used as a construction railway.  (Perhaps called the "Potholes" branch?)


731.8  Abandoned Mainline separates south

  Until 1925, when the present steel bridge over the Colorado was finally opened to rail traffic, the only way across the river was via a wooden trestle bridge that lay just about immediately south, at the foot of Madison Street in Yuma.  The tracks veered south at this point and followed the dike (the remains can still be seen) to the bridge.  In 1964, this approach to Yuma was completely abandoned.

  Directly to the north of the right-of-way, at about MP731.9, is the Yuma Indian Mission Methodist Church.


731.9  Old COLORADO Station


732.0  Signpost WB 60 MPH

            EB Absolute Signal Tower

            Site of East Leg of Wye

            135' AMSL; +0.2% EB

  The east leg of the branchline to Laguna Dam joined the main just west of the foot of the hill.  Atop the hill used to be the site of military Fort Yuma, set up in 1852 to protect the river crossing and preserve a little law and order out in this part of the wilderness.

  The hilltop is now occupied by the Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission and San Pasqual School.

  The tracks go through a low, rocky cut just before the Colorado Switch.


732.1  COLORADO Switch

            WB Absolute Signals

            End Two Main Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)

            Begin Single Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)          

            Abandoned COLORADO Station

            Speed Limit: EB 25 MPH; WB 60 MPH

  The railroad narrows down to one track for its crossing of the Colorado River; the bridge lies about four-tenths of a mile east.

  Along the south side of the tracks are the remains of the Colorado station; a mainly open building about 100 feet long, it now plays host to the occasional vagrant or bunch of kids drinking and whooping it up.


732.3  Fort Yuma Road Overpass

  Quechan Road parallels the right-of-way from approximately Picacho Road at MP731.6 to this point; here it climbs steeply up a outlying bluff, then makes a hard 180-degree turn and becomes Fort Yuma Road.  At one time, the road continued across the steel highway bridge over the Colorado River, but with the opening of the Interstate the bridge was closed to all but pedestrian traffic.


732.4  500' Steel Bridge over Colorado River California / Arizona State Boundary

  Welcome to Arizona (or to California, depending on your direction of travel) - the state line is at the middle of the river.

  Completed in 1923 but put into service in 1926, this fine example of a Pennsylvania truss bridge was built to replace the old wooden trestle bridge a quarter-mile downstream, the location of which was the original river crossing since the railroad reached Yuma in 1877.

  Both ends of the bridge display "No Trespassing - SPT Co." signs.  The bridge really isn't wide enough to accommodate both pedestrians and trains at the same time.


732.5  Enter YUMA Yard Limits

  See the next section for details.