On the trip’s second to last day, before heading back to San Francisco, we visited the railway line over Donner Pass. It’s a very scenic route, but you need to be there early, I think, to see some traffic. Freight trains didn’t come by, but fortunately the line sees a daily passenger train. The California Zephyr has left Truckee and is now on its way … Continue reading School bus
The Dead Mountains provide a view over the Sacramanto Wash, and the wooden trestle over it. The river bed is completely dried up at this time of the year. The roads are treacherous here. That is, if you make a U-turn and get off the asphalt in the sand. We got stuck indeed. Fortunately, a friendly man, who happened to have a chain in his … Continue reading Lots of sand
The Needles Subdivision north of Needles was unknwon terrain to us. We had driven through the region twice, but never really explored it. Time to bring some change. Landscape-wise, it is a desert. The railroad line is surrounded by hills, allowing for good views. Here we see the Sacramento Mountains in the background, and a container train heading west in nothing but dry desert. The … Continue reading Desert view
Without knowing it, we chose a greatly located motel the night before. At the Best Western Colorado River Inn you wake up with the sound of train horns, and with a view on the railroad from the balcony. Half awake you can make you first photo of the day. The delicious breakfast at the Juicy River Cafe nextdoor gave us enough energy to last through … Continue reading Room with a view
We met the next train in Klondike, in front of a backdrop formed by the Bullion Mountains. The 3 engines are working hard pulling their load through the curves and up the hill. As is mostly the case, you need luck with train traffic. Despite the great weather and the beautiful locations, we didn’t get to see any more trains. When the sun was gone, … Continue reading Bullion Mountains
In Ludlow, we started following the National Old Trails Road, aka Route 66. Following this legendary road leads the slow traveller past long forgotten restaurants, motels and gas stations. It follows BNSF’s transcontinental railroad, or at least the parts of it that we explored in California and Arizona. This makes route 66 a must-see for every railfan. Along the road you discover great places, and … Continue reading National Old Trails Road
A westbound doublestacker runs through Ludlow, now populated by creosote bush instead of people. The remains of the town can be seen in the center of the image. The interstate highway, main reason of the town’s disappearing, can be seen on the left. Of course, trains don’t need to make intermediate water stops anymore. Technological advance made this town obsolete. Continue reading In the wide open desert
Ludlow was founded in 1883 as a water stop along the transcontinental railroad. When railroad activity ceased in the 1940s, the town survived supplying the needs of travellers of the national old trails road, the future route 66. The opening of interstate 40 in the 1970s meant the end for businesses as people didn’t need to stop here anymore in their faster cars on the faster system. As a result the town was abandoned. Today, only some supplies for interstate travellers remain at the exit ramps.