The Eagle Mountain Railroad, near Desert Center, CA, is being sold by Kaiser Ventures, Inc. to the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County as part of a deal to turn one pit of the old iron mine into a trash dump. During the due diligence phase of the deal, surveyors from The Keith Companies won the bid to plot the railroad and the mine property.
The surveyors could not access all parts of the Eagle Mountain RR because it goes through BLM lands. Portions of these BLM lands have no roads. So the surveyors rented my speeder for one month to ride the rails and do their work.
|When I picked up my motorcar on Monday March 5th following the survey, Kaiser Ventures allowed me to run the 50-mile line. The weather is clear with 70-degree temperatures under blue skies and high clouds. Jim Creaseman went with me and is seen here with the Eagle Mountain Pumping Plant on the Colorado River Aqueduct in the background.||At mp 32 the line crosses under busy I-10 near the Red Cloud Mine road. Early contact with the Sanitation District has been positive for future NARCOA sanctioned events on EMRR.|
|Less than a mile from I-10 these bunkers provide speeder and tool storage for maintenance of way work. Ties and old rails make up the sides and tops of the large bunkers. Locks are recessed in the 3/8- inch steel plate doors. Dirt is piled on the roof and sides for added strength and security.||Off Highway Vehicles are permitted to use the Chuckwalla Wilderness area south of I-10. The Bradshaw Trail crosses the railroad near mp 20 giving access to the Salt Creek Wash in the near distance.|
|The EMRR crosses Salt Creek Wash on a high steel trestle at mp 14.5. The rider of a four-wheel ATV (seen below the bridge) is very surprised to look up and see us flying over at about 25 mph.||Low on film we must skip shots of the beautiful long sweeping curves the EMRR makes as it descends to the Salton Sea. But, we can't pass up this shot on the Coachella Canal trestle. Below in the slow moving water are several Catfish as large as my leg (and I'm not pulling yours)!|
|Interchange with the UP is at Ferrum where a large yard awaits life again. A wye is off to the right of this picture and Hwy 111 to Palm Springs and the Salton Sea on the left.||After re-crossing the long trestle and running up hill we enter a cut almost at Summitt. The Salton Sea is in the distance but lost in the blue horizon.|
|Returning up hill to the mine for setoff, we find a desert tortoise along side the tracks. After seeing this photo, some people have told me that this particular tortoise may actually be a "Russian" desert tortise rather than the endangered "American" species. The endangered American species is the focus of much effort to preserve its' desert home. American or Russian, this male (ramming horns visible) is just out of winter hibernation. He has a beautiful healthy shell and glossy scaly skin like patent leather. If he were trapped between the rails, we'd lift him to one side. Today it's photos only and no touching.|
Set off at the mine site is complete when the pull cart (used to haul survey equipment) is pushed onto the trailer. I'm grateful to the Kaiser Ventures people for giving me this unique solo experience on the Eagle Mountain!