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updated: September 27, 2008

Cajon Pass 3rd Main Track Construction by BNSF in 2007 and 2008
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I am very pleased to show some exclusive photos by Don E. Toles (the famous Hilltender of Hill 582) and Gary G. Gray.
Pictures are prepared for the internet by Gary.
A big thank you to Don and Gary to share these excellent pictures.
Note: The copyright belongs to Don E. Toles and Gary G. Gray. Do not use any photos without written permission.

8 different and detailed Maps of Cajon Pass with captions (Mile Posts and Location) by Gary G. Gray - click here
New 8/11: Maps "How to find" Hill 582, Sullivan's Curve, Noisy Point by Gary G. Gray - click here
Accurate Map of Cajon Pass with 3rd Main Track by Michael Amrine - click here

BNSF is building a 3rd Main Track thru Cajon Pass. It will be built along the # 1 (north) track (2,2 % grade). The only 2 tunnels in Cajon will be daylighted.
I am very proud to show these pictures taken by Don E. Toles and Gary G. Gray.

For bigger size pictures please click on the 3 digit numbers below each photo!

Photos 100 - 201 on this page starting September 08, 2007 and ending October 25, 2007

9/11/07 UP SB at Sullivans Curve - 100 9/11/07 Natural Gas pipe relocation at SC - 101 9/10/07 Cajon Station North staging area - 102
While checking out Sullivan's curve on Sept. 11 for construction activity, I photographed a crane supporting an oddly configured large diameter pipe. I also noticed that the ground had been excavated on the right-of-way road next to nearby #1 track, and the excavation had been covered with heavy steel plates in order for the road to remain in service. Although I knew that a high pressure natural gas pipeline passed under the track near Sullivan's curve, it didn't occur to me that the large pipe and the steel plates had anything to do with the gas line.
Friday AM the 14th found me on Hill 582 with a load of water for the trees. A high-decibel, steady roar that sounded like a jet engine or a helicopter revving up for takeoff was coming from somewhere east of the Hill. After dumping my load of water, I drove east on the Forest Service road next to the SP tracks to see where the loud noise was originating. About a half mile east of Hill 582 and south of the #2 track, there's a fenced-in facility built over the high pressure gas line. I could tell that something was going on there, as several trucks and a porta-potty were parked nearby. I concluded that the noise and the strong odor of natural gas was coming from that installation.
 On Sept. 14 someone posted the following notice on
 "The So.Cal Gas Company is going to vent off the 36" main that runs down the Cajon pass this weekend, starting at 0600 on Sept. 14th and concluding at 0700 Sept. 17th."
 The post goes on to explain that the gas line was being vented and purged with nitrogen gas to remove the natural gas in order to shut down the pipeline so it could be modified where it passes near the new 3 MT. That odd piece of pipe (101) that I photographed has most likely been installed now at the west end of Sullivan's curve. Mystery solved! (DET)
9/10/07 New bridge site east of Cajon Station. It will go over the Creek up to Sullivan's Curve - 103 9/08/07 BNSF EB rolling on the bridge at MP 61.5X. Next to it is the foundation for the new bridge. - 104 9/12/07 BNSF 5006 EB leaving Tunnel-1 EP. Some dirt has been removed from the top of T-1 - 105
9/10/07 BNSF 5291 WB toward T-1 EP. Note Hill 582 in the background on the right side - 106 9/08/07 BNSF 7583 WB will soon enter into T-1 EP - 107 9/12/07 BNSF 7655 EB coming out of T-1 EP. Construction is going on - 108
9/10/07 Shotcrete Wall above T-2 is growing - 109 9/24/07 Construction begins at Sullivans Curve - 110 9/24/07 Construction at Sullivans Curve - 111
Pictures 110 and 111: Last week Ames Construction started grading and "filling" the inside of Sullivans Curve--that's a really deep ditch and it'll take many loads of "fill" to get enough surface for the new 3MT.
9/30/07 New ROW WB across Hill 582 - 112 9/30/07 New ROW EB across Hill 582- 113 10/05/07 Summit looking EB - 114
Pictures 112 and 113: Here are the new views from Hill 582 showing the sub-ballast "super highway for Railfans".
Picture 114: Note that EB, the new signal bridge appears to be in operation for the existing tracks. Also note that there is a solar "green stuff" generator. Thirdly, on the left, the new 3MT has rail and concrete ties in place extending from the existing Martinez siding --- but not tied down. Someone said today that the "RAIL LAYING" machine will be here shortly. It also appears to me that the bridges, fills, and ROW are in place and ready for rails from Summit to the EP of T-1. (GGG)
10/05/07 Tunnel 1 EP - 115 10/05/07 Above Tunnel 1 EP - 116 10/05/07 T-1 Looking east grading on top - 117
Last Friday, I (GGG) got back to "the Hill" with DET. It appears that removal of the dirt above each tunnel is governed by the downward progress of the "shotcrete" retaining wall". Dirt removal has shifted to T-1 with an interesting seven picture story -- I think (Photos 115 - 121). 
Photos 115 and 116 show T-I EP with the backhoe equipment and trucks. Note the hammer drill working on the "sleepers/deadmen" after the shotcrete is sprayed upon rebar. Also, note that the crushed rock sub-roadbed now extends to T-1 from Summit (115).
 Photos 117, 118, 119 show T-1 from the WP area.  Ames has built a two lane "haul road" to bring the excess dirt down to  track level between the tunnels.
 Photo 120 looks WB at T-2 EP. The loaded truck(s) climb over T-2 WB. 
Photo 121 looks EB at T-2 WP where the loaded trucks descend to track level, proceed to the BNSF # 2 track, follow # 2 under Interstate 15 to near Davis Ranch, cross the # 2 and dump in the borrow pit.
10/05/07 Tunnel 1 WP - 118 10/05/07 above T-1 looking east grading - 119 10/05/07 Tunnel 2 EP - 120
10/05/07 T-2 WP dirt removal from T-1 - 121 10/05/07 BNSF 7511 WB at Sullivan's - 122 10/05/07 Same Ethanol Train - 123
Here are three pictures (122 - 124) of the BNSF 7511 and the 3MT progress at Sullivan's Curve. Ames is building a retaining wall for the new track. 
The Ethanol train, with Four pulling and Three DPU's pushing/braking is WB at Sullivan's. The detector said that the train had 434 axles, which according to my  calculations (42 powered axles and 8 idler car axles), leaves 96 loads (GGG).
10/05/07 Three rear helpers of BNSF Ethanol Train coming downhill on track # 1 through Sullivan's Curve - 124 10/02/07 Pile Driver drilling rig for new bridge - 125 10/02/07 East Cajon Station, work for bridge - 126
To bridge Cajon Creek at East Cajon Station, Ames Construction is required to drive pilings into the soft earth and drill into the rock. Here's the equipment necessary to complete the job.
10/04/07 ROW-retaining wall at Davis Ranch - 127 10/03/07 BNSF 4309 EB out of T-1 EP - 128 10/03/07 Dirt removal on top of T-1 EP - 129
10/03/07 BNSF EB heading toward Hill 582  - 130 10/03/07 BNSF WB 12 units light power - 131 10/03/07 Same lashup just passed Hill 582 - 132
10/05/07 BNSF 4937 EB passing Hill 582 - 133 10/05/07 UP 7703 EB passing Hill 582 - 134 9/23/07 BNSF 7668 WB at Blue Cut from UP - 135
9/19/07 BNSF WB at Swarthout Canyon Rd.  - 136 9/30/07 BNSF Meet below knob at SwC Rd. - 137 9/23/07 Construction at Blue Cut - 138
4 photos (135 - 138) from the Blue Cut/Swarthout Canyon area. The main San Andreas fault crosses at Blue Cut and the area is made of some kind of crumbling rock, actually Pelona schist. The same rock was partly to blame for the St. Francis dam disaster. (This helpful information was given by Charles R. Sainte Claire, P.E. Caltrans District 08). Therefore, Ames Construction appears of be able to drill the rock rather than blasting ??? (GGG)
10/12/07 Tunnel 1 West Portal - 139 10/12/07 Tunnel 2 East Portal - 140 10/12/07 BNSF 5284 EB leaving T-2 EP - 141
Yesterday (10/12/07), after our Friday "RailFan Bunch for Lunch" at da dump, several decided to visit/revisit Cajon. And so, in the late afternoon with a minor storm approaching, and after a minor confrontation with Cajon Security, I got the attached four (139 - 142) from between the tunnels.
Tunnel 2 appears to have just 10-15 feet of dirt remaining above the concrete tunnel lining, however, there's still plenty of work to be done. (GGG)
10/12/07 Same BNSF EB Train into T-1 WP - 142 10/12/07 TLM West Summit Is - 143 10/11/07 Detail of TLM (read below) - 144
10/11/07 Detail of TLM - 145 10/11/07 TLM approaching Hill 582 - 146 10/11/07 Detail of TLM - 147
BNSF has started laying track from Summit down to T-1 EP. The track is being placed upon the sub grade ballast. Obviously, the ballasting and surfacing gangs will follow. Here is DET's narrative of how this whole system works ---- with attached and numbered photos from the West Summit Island area. (GGG)
1: (photo 143) This Herzog Tie Laying Machine (TLM) is just that -- a tie laying machine. 2: (photo 144) It lowers each concrete tie to the roadbed, precisely spaced and aligned. The machine is slowly pulled forward by a Caterpillar tractor that is equipped with a device on each side that holds the rail above the roadbed and spreads the rails wide enough for the concrete tie to drop into place unobstructed. 3: (photo 145) A narrow dolly between the rails with dual caterpillar treads supports the front end of the TLM. A diesel engine powers the hydraulic system that runs the mechanism that moves the ties forward and drops them on to the roadbed. 4: (photo 146) Behind the TLM is a series of specially built flatcars that carry the concrete ties. Each car holds two stacks of ties with five layers of ties in each stack. 5: (photo 147) A diesel powered shuttle buggy straddles the stacks of ties, running on rails mounted along the sides of the flat cars. The shuttle buggy moves back and forth above the stacks, picking up a full layer of ties, moving forward to the TLM, where it lowers the entire layer to a platform where the ties move onto the conveyor that takes them down slope to be dropped into place one at a time. (DET)
10/12/07 BNSF 5456 EB W. Summit - 148 10/12/07 Detail of W. Summit Is track - 149 10/08/07 BNSF WB Ribbon Rail Train on Track # 1 at MP 58.2X. It will drop rail for the TLM to install on the 3MT - 150
New 3MT-sitting on ballast sub-grade. New retaining wall Silverwood Connector, UP/SP Palmdale track.
10/08/07 Construction at Sullivan's Curve - 151 10/08/07 Construction of retaining wall - 152 10/11/07 Blue Cut contruction - 153
Photo 151 & 152: Two views of ROW construction which will "fill" the DEEP Canyon --- fill it wide enough to construct a retaining wall to hold the 3MT ROW.
10/09/07 Swarthout Canyon - Those are pneumatic drills breaking up the rock. - 154 10/10/07 Concrete structure at Sullivan's Curve (is it part of the new retaining wall?) - 155 10/10/07 BNSF EB on track # 2 passing new bridge construction site east of Cajon station - 156
10/10/07 Drilling rig at Cajon Creek Bridge site just east of Cajon Station (I 15 in the background) - 157 10/07/07 BNSF EB at MP 61.5X Pine Lodge. In front are the new bridge piles (see also 104) - 158 9/21/07 Devices taking air quality measurements for the AQMD at MP 62.1. Both tracks (BNSF #1 and UP) have these devices - 159
10/07/07 Bridge-Culvert extension MP 65.5 - 160 9/30/07 Looking East from UP MP 475 - 161 10/07/07 Same place, fill is growing - 162
These pictures are taken from the UP track at UP MP 475 (we can see BNSF MP 65.5). For the 3MT a huge fill has to be done (see above Pacer container).
9/23/07 BNSF 4618 WB at MP 65.7 - 163 10/19/07 BNSF WB train Summit looking east - 164 10/19/07 Summit with 3MT visible at left - 165
10/19/07 Summit WB, new ROW needs ballast -  166 10/15/07 BNSF 973 EB at 3MT rails end T-1 EP - 167 10/15/07 Same train with detail of dirt removal - 168
Photos 167 - 170: Don Toles sends a great sequence from HIGH above T-1 EP. 167: BNSF 973 is exiting T-1 --- 170: EB train headed toward Hill 582 which is just "around the corner" (visible thru the cut of the UP track). Also, this sequence shows the current End of Track for the new 3MT and the amount of dirt still to be removed. To keep Main 1 operational, there is an amazing coordination between the BNSF and Ames Construction --- obviously. (GGG)
10/15/07 Last car just passes end of rail - 169 10/15/07 Same train will soon pass Hill 582 - 170 10/18/07 Concrete pumping at Sullivan's Curve - 171
10/18/07 EB train passing the same site - 172 10/18/07 Retaining wall details at Sullivan's - 173 10/13/07 Clipper machine/train MP 57.4X - 174
10/13/07 Clipper machine/train at MP 57.4X - 175 10/15/07 Clipper approaching T-1 (end of 3MT) - 176 10/15/07 Clipper machine attaches clip to rail - 177
Photos 174 - 179: After the TLM lays the new ties and rail, a different machine called a "CLIPPER" goes to work permanently attaching the rail to the ties. We could not figure out exactly how this  "Clipper" machine works. So, we asked our resident MOW expert, Paul Westover (UPRR).  Our questions are in red.  The large letters refer to the attached picture # 179.  -  Thanks Paul  -  (GGG/DET).

Q 1) It looks to me that the clips ahead of the Clipper Machine are down -- see the X. After the mechanism at Z does it's thing, the clips at Y (both 3MT and the #1 track) appear to be "UP" and locked.
A 1) Yes the clips are down and come with the ties pre installed but not locked into the tower.  The style that is most common is the Pandrol brand "Safelok" these can be seen on the former SP line, the south trk has I believe the Pandrol "e" clip style or the modified style.  The type being installed on M 3 is similar to the safelok but more advanced with the integrated biscuit onto the clip.  The clipper car would simply push the clips in and lock them into place.  The clips in photo "Y" are an advanced or refined style of "E CLIP" just a different style for a different type of tie, The tie having the tower built in to use a certain style of clip. In the photo the Herzog worker is probably setting or replacing damaged clip/biscuit assemblies.

Q 2) The TLM and tie cars are traveling over newly laid track which is NOT "clipped" permanently to the concrete ties.  Why, under all the weight, doesn't the rail roll over ???
A 2) The weight alone keeps the rail from rolling over as long as there isn't any violent bunching or stretching causing it to tip over. The base of the rail is 6" wide which isn't a lot but the forces of the cars moving at slow speed will be transmitted downward versus a train traveling at let's say 25 mph would generate a lot more lateral force (pushing the rails outward) as long as the locos handle the cars with care there should not be any problem, I have not heard --- not saying it hasn't happened,  of a train rolling over unclipped track while swapping loads for mts --- but I can see where it would be plausible. 

10/15/07 Detail of clip mounting - 178 10/15/07 See detailed explanation above - 179 10/18/07 Cajon Station, pumping concrete - 180
10/19/07 BNSF WB past Cajon Creek bridge - 181 9/30/07 New bridge at Pine Lodge MP 61.5X - 182 9/30/07 EB double stack passes MP 61.5X - 183
10/13/07 Retaining wall for new bridge - 184 10/18/07 Overview of bridge from Steins Hill - 185 10/19/07 Almost finished bridge at MP 61.5X - 186
10/13/07 Rock Crusher in action - 187 10/13/07 Here is the result after crushing - 188 10/25/07 Building new crossover at Cajon Stn - 189
Photos 187 - 188: Ames Construction moved in a rock/concrete crusher, near Davis Ranch Rd, to crush the huge supply of old concrete removed from Interstate 15 during a lane replacement and the demolition of the tunnels, abandoned culverts, old retaining walls, etc. I'm told on good authority that the crushed cement will be used for the sub-base below the ballast. (GGG)
10/25/07 BNSF WB past crossover bldg site - 190 10/25/07 Crossover almost ready - 191 10/25/07 Bridge at Cajon Station (see below) - 192
Photos 189 - 191: Two BNSF crews building turnouts - to be installed in Cajon Station area. Photos 192 - 193: Just RR West of the turnout construction at Cajon Station at MP 62.8, BNSF is building yet another 3MT bridge using long standing abutments originally poured wide enough for three tracks. (GGG)
10/25/07 Bridge at Cajon Station (see above) - 193 10/09/07 Bridge Construction MP 63.4 - 194 10/09/07 UP WB train on old bridge MP 63.4 - 195
Photos 194 - 195: Shows pilings being driven for a new 3MT bridge at MP 63.4 --- just RR west of Cajon Station. A total of 3 bridges are built in this area.
10/18/07 BNSF EB into what's left of T-2 WP - 196 10/25/07 BNSF EB exiting T-2 EP - 197 10/25/07 Same BNSF EB entering T-1 WP - 198
10/25/07 T-1 EP with temporary End of track - 199 10/25/07 T-2 EP in detail - 200 10/25/07 BNSF WB out of T-2 WP - 201
Photos 196 - 201: There are still two tunnels - but not for long anymore ! !

Continued on Page 3 - please click here

Copyright by Don E. Toles & Gary G. Gray with permission, Werner Meer

Simple Maps about Cajon Pass: click here
Excellent Aerial photos of Cajon before construction started by Dave Crammer: 
Dave Crammer published a 20 page report "Air Cajon" (Cajon Pass from the Air) in TRP (The Railroad Press) Magazine Issue # 71 (Oct/Nov/Dec, 2006).
More Aerial photos incl. 3MT (taken in 2008) by Dave Crammer:
Here is a very detailed report (390 pages) about the 3rd Main Track Construction with maps (PDF):
Please check also my own Photo Gallery about California: click here
Lots of photos about Cajon Pass by Santiago Homsi jr, 
Southern California Rail Fan by Dave Toussaint:
New Cajon Pass Book by Dave Toussaint:
Here are photos of the 2 tunnels before construction started: click here

In Memory of Chard L. Walker (1922 - 2007) - click here

The History of Hill 582 by Don E. Toles - click here

Below are links to all 9 pages of the BNSF 3rd Main Track Project

Page 1: 3rd MT Project - click here Page 2: 3rd MT Project - click here Page 3: 3rd MT Project - click here
Page 4: 3rd MT Project - click here Page 5: 3rd MT Project - click here Page 6: 3rd MT Project - click here
Page 7: 3rd MT Project - click here Page 8: 3rd MT Project - click here Page 9: 3rd MT Project - click here

Go back to 3rd MT Main Page - click here

Go back to Cajon Pass Main Page - click here

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