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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

13-06-19 PHOTOS: San Bernardino

Well its finally time for the main event, my trip across the great American west on Amtrak Train 4, the Southwest Chief. The Chief still follows the same route as the old Santa Fe Super Chief so that means we head south out of LA Union Station along the LA River before turning east on what is now the BNSF San Bernardino Sub which heads through Fullerton and Riverside before reaching San Bernardino at the foot of the Cajon Pass.

I was looking forward to this first part because a good part of the line was equipped with searchlight signals which had been modernized in the 1990's as you can see in this 2010 daytime survey of the route out to Riverside. Unfortunately it seems that BNSF has been bitten by the same money wasting bug that has befallen CSX and even tho the hardware had decades of additional life left in it who would want to miss an opportunity to throw up more Darth Vader signals.

The other problem this set faced was that due to the nearly hour late departure from LA I was subjected to catastrophic backlighting between the turn onto the San Bernardino Sub and Fullerton. I did manage to get a lot of good photos despite the difficulties and you can see them all here.

We begin having just departed from LA near the end of the evening rush hour. Across the LA River was Metrolink F59PH #870 heading out on the Riverside Line and while our trail will also go to Riverside the Metrolink Riverisde Line runs via the Union Pacific routing while Train 4 sticks to the original ATSF routing.

#870 does a good job pacing us seen here just before it curves off down its own route at CP-9th St.

Passing by the closed HOBART tower again.

A turn to the south reduces the backlighting and shows off the ongoing triple tracking project at the LOS NIETOS diamond crossing.

Just east of the SANTA FE SPRINGS interlocking is a westbound intermodal train with C40-9W #4510 and ES44C4 #6865 waiting for us to cross over and clear up.

A structural fire raging off in the distance my train passes the only searchlight signal remaining on the line just west of the Fullerton Station.

The San Bernardino Sub had no fewer than three shooflies set up for the purposes of grade crossing elimination projects, each in various stages of completion. Here we see half of Placentia Ave crossing at grade and half already moved into an underpass.

The modern searchlight signals were back in force starting at ESPERANZA interlocking with a clear signal on Track #3.

With stored doublestack wells on the siding a westbound mixed freight passes by on the opposite main track with Santa Fe painted GP60M #118 in the #2 slot.

The western roads are big believers in helpers distributed power and ES44C4 #7031 was bringing up the rear.

The setting sun behind a highway overpass at MP 25.1.

Searchlit MAY interlocking displaying a Clear indication for a westbound doublestack train. Another ES44C4 (#6674) was bringing up the rear.

La Sierra Metrolink Station.

Another westbound doublestack train at ARLINGTON interlocking. Strange, I didn't think there would be so many containers going TO a west coast port. 

Remember #870 on the Riverside line? Here's where it joins back up with the old ATSF main.

Metrolink driving van trailer #671 parked on the Riverside Line storage tracks with F59PHI #881 on the other end. Good thing #870 and its train didn't beat us here...that would have been awkward. Riverside is the terminus for both the Riverside and 91 Lines, but the 91 line is being extended east on a different alignment. One can change to the Orange County Line to continue to San Bernardino.

The displayed searchlight signal on the cantilever gantry did not disappoint as another westbound doublestack train thundered through the station.

Here is the last remaining classic ATSF signal bridge on the San Bernardino Sub. The three track beam type bridge has 6 automatic searchlight signals at milepost 8. You can see that the footings were rehabilitated with new concrete.

4-track modern type gantry with US&S H-2 searchlights at HIGHGROVE interlocking.

Crossing the UP diamonds just west of the San Bernardino station. This is the former Southern Pacific main line and just to the east is Colton Yard.

 Here is the money shot...the famous 6-track searchlight signal bridge at RANA interlocking. A few seconds later it even managed to display something for me.

Amtrak San Bernardino station in the fading twilight with Train #4 ready to continue its journey eastward.

At this point the light was gone and it was time for dinner so at this point I retreated to the dining car as our train managed the curves and grades of the Cajon Pass. Next time we'll pick things up at Flagstaff Arizona.

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