TRAINMASTER BY WERNER MEER  US-RAILROAD-SHOP KILCHBERG
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added: February 24, 2017 / updated: July 28, 2071: 062-082

Cajon Pass Sub Photo Collection
2017 - 2022

I am very pleased to show some exclusive photos of these photographers:
Gary G. Gray (GGG)
(more to follow)
A big thank you for sharing these excellent pictures with us.
Note: The copyright belongs to these gentlemen. Do not use any photos without written permission.

Green Tree Blvd. Extension w/new bridge over BNSF
Main Tracks at Victorville, CA

close to: "natural crossover / flyover" at MP 39.1 of the BNSF Cajon Sub
After years of planning and searching for funds, our local Governments have started construction of the fifth roadway between Apple Valley and Hesperia (and / or Victorville). These projects are necessary, not only for normal vehicular traffic but, for emergency traffic in this VERY earthquake prone area. Three of the roadways have existed for many years but one accident would clog the other two roads for hours.

The s
omewhat recent fourth project was the BNSF RR bridge built over the extension of Ranchero Rd -- as previously documented:  http://www.trainmaster.ch/XC-11.htm

The hyper expensive factors in this construction are that all five, of these arterials, must cross the
normally dry Mojave river, its tributaries and the very busy BNSF RR Cajon sub-division. What's important to we Raifans is that this latest construction must cross the tracks very near the "natural crossover / flyover" at MP 39.1 of the BNSF Cajon Sub -- and how the new roads will affect the hill overlooking the flyover (our viewpoint, locally known as "Gray's Hill").

I have edited a couple of local Government maps and added a few pictures showing the project's current status and its PROPOSED route --- which will cross the BNSF. Unless you've visited the area, you may find all of this confusing. GGG

Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, NB = North Bound, SB = South Bound, WB = West Bound

For bigger size photos - please click on the 3-digit number below each photo (the first letters specify the photographer)..

we start our documentation with an overview of the current situation - 1
GGG 6/15/15 Upper Norrows Mojave River
(view from Gray's Hill) - 001
GGG 12/28/15 UP EB at MP. 39.1
(view from Gray's Hill) - 002
Google map of entire project. Phase #1 (Apple Valley) is nearing completion.. Phase II (including the Mojave River Bridge) is complete but not open for traffic. Phase III (left side in purple) is the part of the project for future documentation. The entire East-West Rd will be four lanes with "shoulders". - 003
GGG 11/25/16 Looking EAST (Apple Valley) at phases #1 & #2 (view from Gray's Hill) - 004 GGG 11/25/16 Looking West (Victorville) at the Western section of Phase III (view from Gray's Hill) - 005
Contractor / Victorville map of proposed phase III (BLUE) road route over or through "Gray's Hill". - 006
WM 6/02/10 To a Werner Meer aerial of the BNSF Flyover / Gray's Hill, I've added straight line approximations of where the new roads will traverse the hill. Note that 'the Hill' is steeply sloped and 125+ feet higher than the terrain containing the existing roads being connected. - 007
GGG 11/25/16 From "Gray's Hill" looking at the Western terminus of Phase II, it APPEARS to me that a substantial portion of Gray's Hill must be removed to make this project work. Note the "X" for next picture reference. - 008 GGG 12/02/16 From near the "X" referenced in the previous picture, the present Ridgecrest road will be abandoned and replaced somewhere near the LARGE ARROW (see 007).  -  009
Construction on Phase III should begin late 2017, completion SCHEDULED for 2020..  GGG

 

The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 2
Because we have no idea what will happen to Gray's Hill or even if we'll have access to what's left, I've decided to fully document the area as it stands.   GGG
GGG 2/03/17 The relative heights of the Desert Floor & Gray's Hill, according to GARMIN GPS - 010 GGG 2/03/17 Two views East, from the Desert floor, of Frost and the Mojave River upper narrows - 011
GGG 2/03/17 close up of upper narrows - 012 GGG 11/25/16 BNSF 7575 WB MP 39.1 - 013
GGG 11/25/16 BNSF WB DPU's (same train) - 014 GGG 1/30/17 BNSF 5771 (on the normally EB track) is WB - 015
GGG 11/25/16 UP 6542 with a GE Tier 4 (2nd unit) is WB @ MP 39.1 - 016 GGG 11/25/16 UP 2691 GE Tier 4 DPU WB on same manifest  - 017

updated: October 30, 2019

Green Tree Boulevard extension closer to construction - News - vvdailypress.com - Victorville, CA

VICTORVILLE — Barring obstacles, the third phase of a multi-million dollar roadway project connecting Victorville to Apple Valley will begin in July 2020.
The City of Victorville announced that it has received the necessary permits and permissions needed from BNSF for the Green Tree Boulevard extension project that would include an overpass constructed over the BNSF railroad tracks and wash adjacent to tracks.
The nearly one-mile project will connect Yates and Ridgecrest roads in Victorville, located near Mojave Narrows Regional Park and Spring Valley Lake, with the intersection of Hesperia Road and Green Tree Boulevard, also located in Victorville.

With construction and improvements to the Green Tree Boulevard and Hesperia Road intersection, the estimated cost to extend Green Tree Boulevard is $45 million. The city will be responsible for 49% of the project’s overall cost, with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority providing the rest.
The SBCTA will loan up to two-thirds of the funding — estimated at $12.5 million — for the city’s share, with the city paying back the agency in road development impact fees, the city reported.
The city will also receive funding from the Town of Apple Valley and the county totaling about $4.8 million. An additional $4.2 million from federal funds will also assist the project.
The Green Tree Boulevard Extension is considered Phase III of the Yucca Loma Road/Yates Road/Green Tree Boulevard Transportation Improvement Project.
Phase I of the overall project included the construction of the Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River, which connects Apple Valley to Victorville. This phase also included the widening and improvement to Yates Road in Victorville, which skirts the north end of SVL.
This portion of construction involved the Town of Apple Valley and the County of San Bernardino.
Phase 2, dubbed the Yucca Loma Road Widening Project, expanded the roadway from two to four lanes on the stretch from Apple Valley Road to Kasanka Trail. It also provided other improvements and a traffic signal at Yucca Loma and Havasu roads in Apple Valley.
In May 2017, the Yucca Loma Bridge was opened, with Phase I and II of the project completed. Since that time, many have applauded the partial completion of the project for the addition roadway that connects Bear Valley Road and the SVL area to Apple Valley.
Others have voiced frustration over the uncompleted project that has increased traffic congestion near SVL and for commuters driving eastbound on Bear Valley Road as they attempt to turn left onto Ridgecrest Road.

Reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com, Instagram@renegadereporter, Twitter @DP_ReneDeLa

updated: July 5, 2020

The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 3
If anyone remembers 'The Demise of Gray's Hill' photographic project started in 2016 ??
 
It looks like 'they' (Victorville) are finally getting serious about "The Demise of Gray's Hill" and the completion of the latest road from VictorVille to Apple Valley.
 
Drove up to "Gray's Hill" today (7/05/20) and there is activity between Hesperia Rd (to the West) and the BNSF tracks.
Of course, the slowest & most expensive part of this project will be the Bridge over the BNSF.
Two projects going -- I may earn my COVID BREAD & WATER.
GGG 7/05/20 Green Tree Blvd. East - 018 GGG 7/05/20 edited copy - 019

updated: July 26, 2020

The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 4

Back in 2016, I started a new photo series “The Demise of Gray’s Hill” in conjunction with a rather large local Government project to provide a fifth roadway between Apple Valley and Victorville / Hesperia / I-15.
 
These projects are necessary, not only for normal vehicular traffic but, for emergency traffic in this earthquake prone area. Three of the roadways have existed for many years but one accident would clog the other two roads for hours. 
 
The hyper expensive factors in this construction are that all five, of these arterials, must cross the normally dry Mojave River, its tributaries and the very busy BNSF RR Cajon sub-division. What's important to we Raifans is that this latest construction must bridge the tracks very near the "natural crossover / flyover" at MP 39.1 of the BNSF Cajon Sub---and how the new road will affect the hill overlooking the flyover (our photographic viewpoint, locally known as "Gray's Hill"). 
 
This latest project is being built in three phases: 
 
Phase #1: (Apple Valley) includes widening & improving Yucca Loma Rd and building a 4 lane vehicular bridge across the Mojave River --- COMPLETED
 
Phase #2: (County of San Bernardino) includes widening & improving  Yates Rd --- COMPLETED
 
Phase #3: (Victorville) will include extending Greentree BLVD and building a 4 lane vehicular bridge across the BNSF CAJON SUB --- under construction

Edited Google Earth of entire project. - 020
In the Phase #3 are --- Greentree BLVD extension (PURPLE), the area of the new vehicular bridge, and “Gray’s” Hill are shown. The “G” at the lower center is the approx. location of the Gray residence.

GGG 7/26/20 An edited image of the Greentree BLVD extension. - 021 GGG 7/26/20 Close up view of Greentree BLVD extension area. - 022

updated: September 20, 2020

9/15/20: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 5
Marc & I finished our odyssey with a stop at Gray's hill to spot any progress on the extension of GreenTree Blvd.  So, from HEAVILY SMOKY California, here are a few images.   GGG & MF
MF 9/15/20 - 023
Upon arrival, Marc spotted a "meet" at the BNSF Flyover with UP 7630 WB. 
MF 9/15/20 - 024
UP 7630 WB passes Gray's Hill.
Since the first of the year, a homeless encampment has been GROWING across the tracks - to the West of the Hill. Last time we were on Gray's Hill, the camp occupied 2-3 acres and contained 10+ junker automobiles, 3 junker motor homes and tons of trash and debris. Victorville obviously tired of the mess and mounted a cleanup campaign. The City brought in 4 Sheriff's patrol cars, 5 large dumpsters, and a front-end loader to cleanup the mess.
MF 9/15/20 - 025
UP 6762 (DPU for UP 7630) is WB. Noting how much higher the tracks are above the creek bed and that they are about level with the hill to the West, we are wondering just how far back the Bridge will start on the Western approach.
GGG 9/15/20 - 027
Closeup image of the cleanup project. There are 2 Sheriff's patrol cars visible on this picture.
GGG 9/15/20 - 026  Overview of the cleanup project.
GGG 9/15/20 - 028
Everything will be loaded into the dumpsters with a front end loader
GGG 9/15/20 - 029
The finished cleanup  -   THREE CHEERS FOR VICTORVILLE

updated: October 1, 2020

9/24/20: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 6
It was one of those 'nothing to do so let us go try to figure out where the GreenTree Rd extension bridge will cross the BNSF tracks' days.  GGG & MF
 
 So, your two non-trained, non-expert & non-experienced bridge engineers immediately left for Gray's Hill.
 MF 7/26/20 - 030 The same view as on # 031 but from a lower level on Gray's Hill. The BNSF tracks are at about the same level as the PAD.
LOOKING COMPASS WEST FROM GRAY"S HILL through the thickening SMOKE: -----
My thinking is that Victorville will start a longer, flatter & more expensive bridge at Letter "A". Marc thinks that they will build a shorter steeper bridge starting a letter "B". We also question why the "excess" dirt was used to build the "pad"?
MF 9/15/20 - 031
See description of letter "A" and "B" above.
UP 6762 DBU for UP 7630 WB from Gray's Hill.
MF 9/24/20 -  032
Looking Compass East at Gray's hill from the PAD, at the approximate location of the future vehicle bridge. Of course, the bridge will be 5-10 feet higher than the double stacks.
MF 9/24/20 -  033
The edge of Gray's Hill from the PAD
MF 9/24/20 -  034
Looking compass South (RR West). Those folks have a great view of a junkyard, the HUGE Goodyear Tire & Mars Candy distribution facilities, and a Dog Food Factory. Oh by the way, 40-60 trains a day either pulling hard up the 1% or with screaming dynamics retarding their speed!
MF 9/24/20 -  035
Meet at Flyover BNSF 6837 WB
MF 9/24/20 -  036
BNSF 6837 headend at MP 39.4
# 035 - 038: The saving event, for this visit, was a meet at the flyover which featured a 2.5+ mile long West Bound double stack led by BNSF 6837.
MF 9/24/20 -  037
BNSF 7703 & 6622 Mid-Train helpers for BNSF 6837 West.
MF 9/24/20 -  038
BNSF 3738 & 6547 rear end DPU's for BNSF 6836 West.

updated: June 3, 2021

6/02/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 7
For those who were not with us or have forgotten, the project to provide a new road connection between Apple Valley and Victorville was begun in 2015. Phases #1 (Apple Valley) & #2  (San Bernardino County) have been finished, leaving only Victorville's Section (#3) to be completed.  GGG
Phase III - Green Tree Extension - Victor Valley News Group - 039
Visualization of Green Tree Extension Bride over BNSF Tracks - Victor Valley News Group - 040
The following information (from Victor Valley News Group) was released on 1 June 2001 (see belwo).
CITY OF VICTORVILLE TO BREAK GROUND ON GREEN TREE EXTENSION

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — Today, the City of Victorville announced that it will break ground on its Green Tree Extension on June 2. The City will extend Green Tree Boulevard 1.5 miles from Hesperia Road to Ridgecrest/Yates Road connecting the communities of Victorville and Apple Valley. The Green Tree Extension will create another East/West corridor benefitting the Victor Valley and providing much-needed congestion relief to Bear Valley Road.

Today, the City of Victorville hosted a Groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on this capital improvement project. Due to health order restrictions on public gatherings, attendance at the event was limited.   

During the Ceremony, Victorville Mayor Debra Jones expressed the City’s enthusiasm for starting work on this project that has been 50 years in the making.  The Green Tree Extension was first envisioned in the 1970’s. The project was added to the Victorville General Plan in 1988 and became a viable project in 2007. 

Integral to the project is a 600-foot-long bridge that will travel over the BNSF railroad. When complete, it will be the longest bridge in Victorville. City officials estimate more than one million pounds of rebar and 24 million pounds of concrete will be used in the new bridge. 

The City will add a traffic signal where Green Tree Boulevard connects with Ridgecrest Road and widen Ridgecrest to four lanes. The intersection of Green Tree Boulevard and Hesperia Road will also be widened, and new turn lanes will be added.

Bike lanes will be added throughout the length of the project creating a larger bike lane loop nearly seven miles long connecting the Mojave Riverwalk to Hesperia Road and 7th Street.

The City expects to use nearly 55 million pounds of asphalt and close to two billion pounds of dirt for the bridge and roadway combined. 

“To bring an engineering marvel of this magnitude to reality requires not only great engineering, but also great vision, teamwork and collaboration,” said Victorville Mayor, Debra Jones. “We are extremely grateful to the Town of Apple Valley, County of San Bernardino and San Bernardino County Transportation Authority for helping us make this vision a reality.”

The Green Tree Extension will be completed for a total cost of approximately $46.8 million. San Bernardino County Transportation Authority will contribute $22.7 million, the City of Victorville $15 million, the Town of Apple Valley nearly $4 million, and the County of San Bernardino approximately $900,000.  Additionally, a federal earmark of $4.2 million originally designated for the High Desert Corridor was authorized for construction of the Green Tree Extension.

To pay its portion, the City of Victorville has contributed $6.6 million in cash and is financing the remaining portion via a loan agreement with SBCTA that will be paid off utilizing future road development impact fees.

The City’s construction contractor, Skanska USA will break ground on the project June 2. Construction is expected to take 22 months to complete.

Located in Southern California at the high-point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Victorville is the leading city for both industry and retail in the High Desert region. Victorville is a growing, vibrant community that is home to approximately 125,000 residents and some of the area’s largest employers. Clean air, abundant mountain vistas, family-friendly recreational activities, spectacular sunsets and breathtaking night skies entice locals and visitors alike to fall in love with this city that is within a few hours of SoCal beaches, National Parks, mountain retreats, and other major attractions. Ontario International Airport is less than an hour away. Learn more about the City of Victorville at VictorvilleCA.gov.

updated: June 24, 2021

6/19/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 8
This MAJOR Construction project is less than 1/2 mile from our home.  However, we railfans are most interested in the 600 foot bridge which will span the BNSF transcon & what changes will be made to the viewpoint overlooking the Natural Crossovers / Flyover at BNSF MP 39.1.   (GGG & MF)
Skanska Construction has attacked Gray's Hill with a VENGEANCE, especially on the Western slope which supports the BNSF MainLine.
From the West side of Gray's Hill, looking East - looking into the sun on a very BRIGHT & HOT day:
GGG 6/19/21 - 041
UP 9068 East, under the lip of Gray's Hill, approaches the Flyover.
GGG 6/19/21 - 042
With the flyover overlook at the far left of the hill, the new cut for the GreenTree Rd extension is pictured.
GGG 6/19/21 - 043
A closeup of the cut. The excess dirt is moved to the hill bottom to form a 'ski-jump' configuration, which will hold the Eastern abutment of the Greentree Road bridge over the BNSF.
GGG 6/19/21 - 044
A closeup of the cut. The excess dirt is moved to the hill bottom to form a 'ski-jump' configuration, which will hold the Eastern abutment of the Greentree Road bridge over the BNSF.
GGG 6/19/21 - 045
The new road bridge will span the BNSF tracks at this position.
MF 6/19/21 - 046
BNSF 6817 WB Frost (coming from the Victorville Narrows)
#046 - #049  We had to drive to Frost to cross the tracks, and while there, we caught two BNSF West bound freights.
MF 6/19/21 - 047
BNSF 6817 WB Frost
MF 6/19/21 - 048
BNSF 7028 WB Frost (coming from the Victorville Narrows)
MF 6/19/21 - 049
BNSF 7028 WB Frost
MF 6/19/21 - 050
From the top of Gray's Hill looking West, the route of the GreenTree extension is evident.
MF 6/19/21 - 051
The Skanska Construction Army
MF 6/19/21 - 052
Rear DPU's for WB UP Ore train

updated: July 6, 2021

7/03/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 9
Marc & I were able to visit all areas of Gray's Hill last Saturday (July 3).  GGG & MF
GGG 7/03/21 - 053  Edited a new & uncluttered Google map the area. Of course, the purple denotes the new GreenTree Extension Project.  The numbers indicate our photographic locations.
GGG 7/03/21 - 054
From map location 1.5, the lower & upper Road Bridge Ramps (over the BNSF) are pictured.
GGG 7/03/21 - 055
From Map #2, a closeup of the Upper Ramp with someone camping near the FROST OVERLOOK.
GGG 7/03/21 - 056
What appears to be a stockpile of "I" beams for the new road bridge. 
MF 7/03/21 - 057
 To cross the tracks, we had to drive down to BNSF FROST at the Kemper Campbell Ranch. While there, we were able to photograph BNSF 4214 East crossing over from MT #2 to MT #1.
MF 7/03/21 - 058
 To cross the tracks, we had to drive down to BNSF FROST at the Kemper Campbell Ranch. While there, we were able to photograph BNSF 4214 East crossing over from MT #2 to MT #1.
GGG 7/03/21 - 059
From MAP #3, Marc is giving directions to a hiker--hiking in 107F is NOT my idea of fun!!!!  The camper is parked near the overlook (MAP #5) with generator & AC running--again NOT my idea of communing with nature.
GGG 7/03/21 - 060
Both bridge ramps and the BNSF tracks are pictured from MAP #3. The hiker has almost made it to the edge of the upper Ramp.
GGG 7/03/21 - 061
An offset view of both ramps with a BNSF EB headed to the flyover at MP 39.1.

updated: July 25, 2021

7/18/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 10
The Demise of Gray's Hill is well underway with many tons of dirt being removed or rearranged.  -  GGG & MF
GGG 7/18/21 - 063  Even more 'interesting' news is evidenced in #062 & 063. The Map shows the apartment complex location and the numbers indicate our photo locations.
GGG 7/18/21 - 062
Received this poorly reproduced City of Victorville Planning Commission announcement of a proposed apartment complex on the untouched Southern portion of Gray's Hill.
GGG 7/18/21 - 066
Road bridge piling placement (pounding) has begun.
MF 7/18/21 - 064
UP 5883 is EB under the proposed location of the apartment complex--from near MAP location #2.
GGG 7/18/21 - 065
From Map #2 looking East - the lower & upper bridge ramps and the future GreenTree road route are pictured.
GGG 7/18/21 - 067
 Looking West from Map #3, the lower ramp and the GreenTree Rd extension are pictured.
GGG 7/18/21 - 068
In nice photo sun, the Mojave River Upper Narrows are shown.
MF 7/18/21 - 069
From beside the FLYOVER, the new GreenTree Road Bridge placement is diagrammed.
MF 7/18/21 - 070
From map #3, the flyover overlook has not had its elevation changed ---YET. However, the new road will run just to the right of this image.

updated: July 28, 2021

7/22/21: The Demise of Gray's Hill  -  Part 11
Last Thursday (July 22), Marc & I spent a couple of hours around Gray's Hill. Since it was a workday, we did not go near the actual work zone. The following images were taken at BNSF FROST (MP-38) and at the BNSF FLYOVER (MP-39.1). GGG + MF
 
071-073: BNSF 7045 East (with combat air support) approaches Frost and heads into the Mojave River Upper Narrows.
MF 7/22/21 - 071
BNSF 7045 EB at Frost coming from the Flyover
MF 7/22/21 - 072
BNSF 7045 EB at Frost
MF 7/22/21 - 073
BNSF 7045 EB at Frost heading toward the Narrows
MF 7/22/21 - 074
The edited Google Map with our photo locations labeled or numbered.
075-077: Gray's Hill from a few feet Compass East of the Flyover. The steep RAMP at the left is the future extension of GreenTree Rd approaching its joint with Yates Rd (MAP location #4). We did not notice the 'object' (arrow in 06 & blow-up in 07) until reviewing the pictures later. Will check it out ?????  The Gray's Hill overlook is UNTOUCHED --- SO FAR !
MF 7/22/21 - 075
Gray's Hill
MF 7/22/21 - 076
Gray's Hill . closeup
MF 7/22/21 - 077
What is it ?
MF 7/22/21 - 078
BNSF 7699 EB (w/double train)
078-081: BNSF 7699 East is actually leading a double train with mid-train and trailing DPU's - powering a full train of stacks and a full train of empty ethanol cars. In 08 & 09, BNSF 7699 approaches and crosses the flyover from MT #2 to MT #1. The lower train in 09, also EB, is crossing from MT #1 to MT #2 & has a RED at Frost to allow BNSF 7699 to proceed to Barstow, without stopping. 
MF 7/22/21 - 079
BNSF 7699 EB MT2 to MT1
MF 7/22/21 - 080
BNSF 8000 EB DPU for BNSF 7649
MF 7/22/21 - 081
Rear DPU for BNSF 2699
MF 7/22/21 - 082
The Pile Driver doing its thing at the new vehicular bridge site.

more photos will be coming soon, just check back

Page 1 with 2006 photos - click here Page 2 with 2007 photos - click here Page 3 with 2008 photos - click here
Page 4 with 2009 photos - click here Page 5 with 2010 photos - click here Page 6 with 2011 photos - click here
Page 7 with 2012 photos - click here Page 8 with 2013 photos - click here Page 9 with 2014 photos - click here
Page 10 with 2015 photos - click here Page 11 with 2016 photos - click here Page 12 with 2017 photos - click here
Page 13 with 2018 photos - click here Page 14 with 2019 photos - click here Page 15 with 2020 photos - click here
History of Hill 582 photos - click here Ranchero Road Project - click here Colton Flyover Project - click here

 

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
New 7/19: Accurate Map of Cajon Pass as of 2018 by Steve Jessup & Todd Gillette (RR Illustrated) - click here

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