Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cool Chromes -- My First California Trip (Part 2 - Santa Fe Edition)

Cool Chromes is a semi-regular feature that looks at slides that have recently gone through the scanner.
Santa Fe; Tehachapi Loop, Walong, Calif.; May 1991
In last week's Cool Chromes we started a look at my first trip to California in May 1991. In this edition we continue on with that trip. Two railroads that would shortly be merged out of existence were a part of that first trip -- the Southern Pacific, which became a part of Union Pacific, and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, now a part of BNSF Railway. This week we'll look at Chico's Road, and what better place to start than at that most famous of California locations, Tehachapi Loop. That's the same train up top and underneath in the photo above -- the locomotives crossed overhead left to right, circled away from the camera and then popped out of Tunnel 9 for this photo. Gotta love that SD45u in the lead.

Santa Fe; Barstow, Calif.; May 1991
Next up we're in Barstow where SD40-2 No. 5124 leads a train past the Harvey House located there. Fred Harvey built many trackside hotels/restaurants along the Santa Fe (the most famous perhaps being La Posada in Winslow, Ariz.) This Harvey House was known as the Casa Del Desierto and was built in 1911. When this photo was taken the structure had heavy earthquake damage and its future was uncertain. Today it houses Barstow's Amtrak station and a Route 66 museum.

Santa Fe; Mojave, Calif.; May 1991
Perhaps no railroad paint scheme was as classic as the Santa Fe's red and silver Warbonnet. Applied to its F-units, the paint scheme became synonymous with quality service on passenger trains like the Super Chief. Even though Santa Fe was long out of the passenger business, it revived the Warbonnet as a symbol of quality for its intermodal trains in the early 1990s. Here we see a quartet of locomotives in the Warbonnet leading a train past the windmills outside Mojave (back when windmill farms were a bit of a novelty).

Santa Fe; Yorba Linda, Calif.; May 1991
Southern California was experiencing a huge building boom in the late 1980s, and by 1991 once-rural Santa Ana Canyon had new development built right up to the hills. A Santa Fe train heads through the canyon at Yorba Linda on the dividing line between sprawl and desert.

Santa Fe; Alray, Calif.; May 1991
Cajon Pass, outside San Bernardino, has undergone a lot of change since 1991. A pair of tunnels at Alray, near the summit, have both been "daylighted," with the tops of the tunnels removed leaving a deep cut. Here we have a train emerging from one of the tunnels and about to enter the other.

Santa Fe; Barstow, Calif.; May 1991
We'll finish off this edition with the railroad that almost was. In 1983 the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific agreed to merge; in fact, the two railroads were purchased by a holding company. All that was needed was approval from the Interstate Commerce Commission. Figuring that approval was a formality, SPSF started painting locomotives in a red and yellow scheme, putting either SP or SF on the locomotives (depending on which railroad owned the engines) and leaving room to add two more letters to eventually fill out the SPSF once the merger was official. The ICC ruled against the merger in 1986, and again in 1987. By 1991 only a handful of locomotives from the SPSF could still be found, such as C30-7 No. 8055 next to sister 8107 in the conventional Santa Fe "bluebonnet" in Barstow.

Next week -- more California, but this time with steam.

No comments:

About Me

Newton, New Jersey, United States

Thanks For Visiting