3985 On the Move! The City of Los Angeles Returns

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The legendary City of Los Angeles returns.

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The legendary City of Los Angeles returns! In May, 1994, the Pacific Limited Group sponsored the City of Los Angeles excursion train from Salt Lake City to Ontario, California. Union Pacific’s Challenger, the world’s largest operating steam locomotive, was joined by the newly restored Union Pacific streamliner E9s to provide a unique and historic combination of restored diesel and steam locomotives to pull this train. Valhalla Video was there to record the action from Rainbow Canyon, Nevada to Ontario, two special Cajon Pass excursions, and 3985’s departure for the trip home.

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5 reviews for 3985 On the Move! The City of Los Angeles Returns

  1. rickyfreni

    In this 25 year old video, the program starts with 3985 crossing the tracks and whistles for the crossing. Not only is 3985 heading to Los Angeles, but E units 949, 951 and B unit 963 also appears on the same train. The coverage begins on May 14, 1994, and 3985 is at rainbow canyon in Elgin Nevada with some pacing going on. Next the challenger exits the tunnel crosses a bridge, and makes a bend. While the e units took the passengers to the gambling city of Las Vegas, 3985 is carrying 2 water tenders, a diesel helper, a boxcar, a baggage car and a generator car. The next day May 15, 3985 and the e units depart Vegas heading to Ontario California. Keep In mind that during that time, Amtrak’s Desert wind used to stop in Las Vegas. Today only visitors can travel by bus, and airplane to get to the what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas location. Various freight trains also serve the city of gambling. West of Vegas 3985 and the E units are at Sloan passing by a tunnel as it makes a bend through the cliffs. Next the special rolls through the hilly desert. After crossing the state line, there is more pacing going on. This time it is between Cima and Kelso California. After a service or passenger stop at Kelso, 3985 and the E units depart the depot, with a waiting freight on a siding next to the challenger. From Kelso to Barstow, 3985 crosses the Mojave river 3 times at Afton canyon. Leaving the canyon behind, 3985 picks up the pace. After a service stop in Barstow, the challenger heads onto the Santa Fe Rails (one year before the September 1995 merger with Burlington Northern that is still today’s BNSF) to Victorville, and heads for Cajon Pass. At Cajon, 3985 overtakes the 3 unit freight. Arriving at San Bernardino, some metrolink commuter trains and a Red and Silver Santa Fe warbonet idling is shown as the challenger switches tracks. Dark clouds loomed in the sky as 3985 highballs through Pedley. As night falls, a look at the rear of the dome car: city of Los Angeles is shown. The cajon pass steam specials ran on May 21 and 22 1994. A repeat of the opening scene is shown as a jaywalker ignores the safety rules of the railroad as he jogs across the tracks, before 3985 kills the misunderstanding resident. Thankfully, he made it safe before 3985 approaches very close to the crossing. Arriving at east Ontario California, 3985 makes a passenger stop, then the challenger and the E units depart the station. At west riverside, the special switches to Santa Fe tracks, as 3985 whistles for the crossing. This scene shows another example on why you should never cross the tracks with the locomotive moving. Next, the challenger whistles at another crossing. Filmed from the pedestrian bridge, the special is picking up the pace. At Devore, everyone wanted to get a chance to photograph the once largest opposite steam locomotive in the world, which is now replaced by big boy 4014. There is plenty Of onboard footage going on as 3985 and the E units go under the highway bridge. On the north track, the special is approaching the Summit of Cajon Pass, as a single automobile is on a dirt road pacing the 1940s and 50s built locomotives. The special must stop to let several freights go by. Passing by the challenger is a Quartet Of red and silver Santa Fe Warbonnets. With the AT&SF freight cleared, both the special and the regular Union Pacific freight created a meet at the crossovers. Leaving the pass, 3985 heads for Barstow. The following Sunday May 22, 1994, the challenger and the E units created a Photo runby at Frost. Before 3985 makes a runby, a Santa Fe Doublestack led by a warbonet and 4 Old school blue and yellow units. The doublestack and 3985 makes an unexpected communication call. While the doublestack continues to roll over the special, 3985 and the E units continues to go backwards, out of sight, and once the freight is gone, the special whistles by the visitors. After the runby, there is some pacing going on. Next 3985 whistles through Lenwood. At Barstow, the special is turned slowly on the wye. On the return trip, the challenger and the E units pass by West R Yard. Afterwards, it is making a bend at Lugo. The wind is picking up the dust. Also at lugo the special makes another runby. The actual runby was taken from Yesterday’s trip. Once everyone got back onboard, the specials resumes its journey to Los Angeles. The second runby is shown on the Sunday trip. During the runby, the special is downgrade near the tunnels. In the late afternoon sun, 3985 is whistling by various onlookers at Cajon. A man is making a salute to the challenger and the E units at Devore. West of San Bernardino, the special makes a bend at panorama. After everyone got off the special At east Ontario, the diesels ran around the train so 3985 recoupled to the west end of the coaches for the wye at pedley. Listen for the air horns from 949 and 951 going in opposite directions. While turning on the wye, Bob McMillan does the minimal narration on the challenger. After turning on the wye, the diesels pull the train with 3985 on the opposite end as the sun is still setting. The following Tuesday May 24, 3985 heads for east Ontario, as it is heading home for Cheyenne Wyoming. The gray clouds loom overhead as the challenger and the E units pass by Rana near Colton. Over cajon pass from San Bernardino, there is a lot of close up pacing going on. At Devore, 3985 and the E units pass by a few onlookers at a crossing. Leaving Yermo, the challenger and the diesels continues to the state line in Las Vegas, and it’ll have many many miles before it reaches home at the Cheyenne shops.

  2. Alan Ross

    Boy howdy, what a great movie. What a trip it is. Best trip ever. This is an historical trip. Great Dvd for fans of the 3985, and at a great price.

  3. rrdude77

    I didn’t know this video existed until recently, but daaaang! It gives a great account of the trip and what a trip it was! The 90s are now history, and this historical documentary of a historical unit is fab!

  4. NRH

    The video was good, not the best one, but fun to watch.

  5. J. Darrel “Spook” Cason

    I was one of the fireman on that trip, along with Barry Robinson and the late great, Lynn, “Nasty”, Nystrum. This is the most complete and best video of that trip bar none. If you’re a 3985 fan you owe it to yourself to get it, you won’t be disappointed.

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