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Jacumba and Beyond 4/26/1997

by Chris Guenzler

Having ridden many trips from Campo to Miller Creek over the years, I was waiting to ride further east, someday even through the Carrizo Gorge. Until then any trip which would take me over the Campo Creek High Bridge over Highway CA 94, I was interested in taking. The Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum was offering a trip on April 26, 1997 to beyond Jacumba so I sent my money in for a ticket for the trip. On that morning, I drove from Santa Ana down to Campo and had a good chance to look around the collection of equipment that the museum has. All too soon, it was time to board the train for Jacumba and beyond.

I boarded the ex Lackawanna electric coach for my trip and right on time, the engine whistled off and we were on the move. We passed the equipment in the yard before heading out into the San Diego back country. We crossed Campo Creek on a low trestle before the Highway 94 grade crossing and climbed into the hills above the highway. We wound our way before we turned north to Clover Flat before turning east crossing Miller Creek to the siding where the Miller Creek trips end. From here I would be on new trackage for me and I was anticipating the high bridge ahead. The tracks made several horseshoe curves as we were still gaining elevation towards Hipass before we came around a curve and rolled out onto the impressive Upper Campo Creek Viaduct.

The bridge is 600 feet long and 180 feet above the creek made out of steel. The train slowed to almost a walking speed so that all of the passengers could get a good view from both sides with the highway far below. We came off of the bridge and the boulders so common to this part of Southern California increased. The train curved as it headed south towards the Mexican border before we made a big horseshoe curve to the east. We continued east climbing the last few miles to Hipass cutting through the Rattlesnake Mountains with Tierra de Sol to the north. We curved to the north before running east between the boulder strewn hills before turning to the south at the foot of Goat Mountain.

We ran between Goat Mountain and Boundary Peak to the south. We reached Boundary Creek which we would follow for the rest of the trip. The train then ran within fifty feet of Mexico before we ran through Jacumba with the old wooded sided open vestibule coaches that were used for homes for section workers. We followed boundary Creek north along the east slope of Round Mountain then ran under the Interstate 8 bridge. We ran about another mile to Titus on the railroad where the train stopped.

We detrained then walked over to the De Anza Springs Campground where lunch was provided. While we were eating they ran the engine around the train so it would be in the lead for the return trip. The trip back to Campo was very relaxing as people were amazed at all of the places that I had traveled. There was more of an interest of looking into Mexico on the way back than there was going east.

We arrived early back into Campo and I enjoyed my drive home to Santa Ana after another exciting train trip.