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The Desert Scout 11/3/1984

by Chris Guenzler

The Pacific Railroad Society sponsored a roundtrip Los Angeles to Barstow using the equipment from the Sunset Limited laying over in the Los Angeles coach yard from the triweekly schedule. It would be another chance to ride through Santa Ana Canyon. Bruce Jacobs joined me for this adventure and the two of us drove up to Los Angeles Union station to catch the train from the start of the trip.

We joined many other eager passengers at the gates and when they turned us loose, we made a dash to the train which would be pulled by two F-40 PH's. With everyone ready and aboard the train set off. We ran out to Mission Tower and turned south along the Los Angeles River. We passed the Amtrak coach yards and the Redondo Jct Roundhouse before the train slowed for the tight turn that would take us across the Los Angeles River. We picked up speed Crossing the UP Harbor Line prior to running along the south side of Hobart Yard. We ducked under the 710 Freeway before running by the Levar Brothers plant. We bridged Interstate 5 and minutes later after passing the warehouses, we ran by the Northrop plant and the Pico Rivera Yard. After passing between the homes, we crossed the San Gabriel River and turned south through Santa Fe Springs. The train made its way through La Miranda before entering Orange County running through the north end of Buena Park to Fullerton where we stopped for more passengers.

With a nearly full train we headed east past the junction to San Diego through Placentia to Atwood where the 4th District joined from Orange. We ran out through Santa Ana Canyon still fairly undeveloped. We ran through Esperanza around the horseshoe curve and out between the orange groves. We passed Featherly Park and the Green River Golf Course before crossing high above the Santa Ana River with a mobile home park below. We entered Riverside County and ducked under the 91 Freeway. We ran through Prado Dam with the dam of the same name across the freeway. We ducked under the freeway again to ran through Corona and by the former station there before we went under the 91 Freeway one more passing by Porphyry.

We ran through the gap in the hills and followed the small Riverside Water Co. canal into Arlington. The Desert Scout proceeded into Casa Blanca with me buying a pair of Screwdrivers from the Lounge Car. We cut between the hills and went by the cemetery before we cruised through Riverside Jct before we ran by the Santa Fe Riverside Station. We ducked under the 60 Freeway before we ran to Highgrove where the San Jacinto Branch diverted. We crossed over the 215 Freeway by a Stater Brothers warehouse and down the hill to the Santa Ana River. We came into West Colton before we crossed the Southern Pacific at Colton Crossing. We ducked under Interstate 10, passed the little Colton Union Pacific Station before we reached "B" Yard in San Bernardino which we went through to reach "A" Yard rolling passed the ivy covered San Bernardino Station.

As we turned north I was off to the Lounge Car once more for another pair of "Eye Openers" as we ran along the 215 Freeway before we started to run along Cajon Blvd through Ono and Verdemont up the grade of Cajon Pass. The SP Palmdale cutoff was closing in on us and ran along side of us through Devore. We crossed Cajon Creek and went under Interstate 15. We were now in Cajon Pass with the wide but dry Cajon Creek to the east. We made our way through Kennbrook and through the confines of Blu Cut crossing the San Andres Fault. We went around the curve at Cozy Dell and crossed Cajon Creek before reaching Cajon Siding. The Desert Scout crossed Cajon Creek and went up Sullivan's Curve before crossing Highway 138 and the creek again. We ran below the Mormon Rocks before we made the turn to the east at the Davis Ranch.

We plunged under Interstate 15 and by Alray before crossing the bridge over the former Highway 66 {Get your Kicks on Route 66}. We went through the Alray Tunnels and made our way towards Summit along the south facing slope. We turned to the south before making the sweeping curve through the deep cut of the 1972 line relocation which lowered Cajon Summit by 50 feet. We crossed over at Summit to get by a heavy UP coal train waiting to use the easier grade of the north track to head west. We entered the Summit Valley and crossed back over at Lugo before running by the Hesperia Airport. We ran down grade through Hesperia where the Lucerne Valley Branch takes off. We ran through Thorn then under the over crossing to make us return to right hand running. We ran by the Mojave Regional Park before travelling through the Upper Mojave Narrows and on into Victorville. We went under Interstate 15 by the huge Southwest Portland Cement Plant and then crossed the Mojave River at the Lower Mojave Narrows. We ran through Oro Grande with another large Cement Plant before we ran through Helendale with Silver Lake across the Mojave River. We went by Point of Rocks before we reached Hodge prior to zipping through Lenwood and on into the huge Barstow Yard. We entered via the Receiving Yard and ran by the engine facility. We ran around the Balloon Track before we returned to the mainline where we backed into the Barstow Depot where we would have a layover of two hours. BJ and I walked up into town across the bridge over the yard to a liquor store so I could get some supply for the return trip. The return trip back was fast as we ran down the South Track over Cajon Pass and went the Short Way at San Bernardino. All in all it was a great trip to and from Barstow and a great amount of fun. A special thanks to the Pacific Railroad Society for another fantastic trip.