Southern Pacific Beaumont Hill & San Gorgonio Pass Cab Ride

(4 customer reviews)

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Beaumont Hill's San Gorgonio Pass – the mountain gateway to the Sunset Route – has always been a tough proving ground for Southern Pacific's locomotives.

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Beaumont Hill’s San Gorgonio Pass – the mountain gateway to the Sunset Route – was a tough proving ground for Southern Pacific’s locomotives. The demanding grade and extreme weather conditions of this Southern California railroading landmark put SP’s newest locomotives and leased power from other roads to the test. Video Rails spent three years filming great action over Beaumont Hill and the result was two exciting shows that have now been combined on one DVD for your viewing pleasure.

Beaumont Hill
Experience Southern Pacific’s high-speed crossing of San Gorgonio Pass, a daunting grade that demanded mid-train and rear-train helpers for the push to the top. SP employed a vast array of motive power on this route and you’ll see leased units from CSX, Conrail, and many other roads. Ride in the cab of an SD40T-2 rebuild from Colton to Indio aboard one of SP’s hottest trains. See the last runs of the Sugar Beet trains. From flash floods to 120 degree heat, here is mainline railroading at its best! (1 hour 30 minutes)

Beaumont Hill Cab Ride
Climb aboard Southern Pacific engine 8305, an SD40T-2, on Southern Pacific’s hottest train, the LAMFF. Leaving the West Colton yard, you’ll get the crew’s vantage point of beautiful San Gorgonio Pass as your train climbs over Beaumont Hill at track speed! (1 hour)

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4 reviews for Southern Pacific Beaumont Hill & San Gorgonio Pass Cab Ride

  1. rickyfreni

    In this 1993 video, there is a ton of action on the southern pacific action, which is recorded way before the merger with Union Pacific in 1996. First the program starts with an animated map from West Colton to Indio the climb begins at Colton, passing to Redlands and ordway, then it’ll go east to El Casco and Beaumont. East of the summit it descends the grade to Cabazon, passing through garnet, thousand palms and Indio. The climb upwards from Colton to Beaumont is at 1.899% colton’s Elevation is 964ft. Beaumont is at 2559ft. Descending the slope, it’ll be at 1.992% with Garnet’s elevation of 680ft. From here it’ll be at 1.499% to thousand palms at an elevation of 210ft. Finally, it’ll arrive at Indio after .686% with only 20ft below sea level. The classification yard is SP’s only yard in Southern California. Inside the yard, there is some hump action, as well as a look inside the tower. At the yard there are 48 waiting tracks, as multiple freight cars roll to their assigned trains at the hump. There are 1800 cars a day and this yard was one of the largest classification yards in America. Next a 3 unit lash up arrives at the yard. Followed by a meet with a double stack and a mixed manifest. Colton is also a crew change point. West Colton is the termination of the Palmdale cutoff. A 6 unit lash up with a Rio Grande unit arrives at the yard carrying mostly hi cube boxcars. Santa Fe runs a local transfer into west Colton to interchange with southern pacific, as a pair of blue and yellow units arrive. Union Pacific also makes some daily appearances at west Colton from Yermo. This 3 unit lash up led by standard cab C40-8 number 9201 is running backwards. GATX has a car repair shop as rows of tankers are waiting for their aid. A 65 toner is also included. Next one of the final runs of the sugar beet trains arrives at west Colton. Afterwards 2 trains are waiting as a westbound has the right of way to go through the switches and the bypass track. At the 10 minute mark, the journey over the hill had officially begun as the freight crosses the double track Santa Fe line. Next a 3 unit lash up with SP, CSX, and GATX passes by. Afterwards we are at Bryn mar as a 5 unit lash up with SP, cotton belt , Burlington northern, GATX and Rio Grande hauls a freight with 3 helpers on the rear. The concrete foundation of the Bryn mar station is still there despite the building has since been demolished. Next the LA to Dallas corridor runs by the abandoned foundation. This 4 unit lash up had a Rio Grande unit in it. At Redlands, the freight speeds through the crossovers led by B40-8 number 8066. This one also has a Rio Grande unit in it. Throughout this program, there are many freights with Rio Grande units. Next a freight led by 9693 is stopping at the crossovers to wait for another freight train to go by. Another meet is shown with 7448 waiting, and 9693 passing By. Into the canyon a westbound manifest rolls through. Next another freight rolls by with a meet led by B40-8 number 8047. At Redlands a BN unit is sandwiched between the SP units. Next some Rio Grande power hauls a freight with an RS3L horn. At ordway, a pair of booster units are sandwiched between the Main units as it heads eastbound over the hill with 4 helpers on the rear, that also has a Rio Grande unit. Next a weed sprayer train led by GP9 number 3380 is shown in these next 3 scenes. Afterwards a double stack is included with 2 Santa Fe units one being a blue and yellow B36-7 and a failed SP SF 1985 merger unit. Next a 6 unit lash up is shown with units from General Motors, Illinois Central, Union Pacific And CSX. At a curve, a double stack passes by. Then comes the twin B40-8s at an unprotected crossing. Next a 3 unit freight led by 9737 is losing power at El Casco. This one had a BN unit in it. Next a westbound doublestack is coming down the number 1 track which also has a BN unit in this one. Once stopped, the helpers from the westbound train are cut off and would have to couple up to 9737 for the climb to Beaumont. Next a really wide shot of a mixed train is shown, which includes a race with the other train on the other track. On the date of January 19, 1993, a flash flood raged down the San timiteo creek at ordway. Emergency repair work got started as heavy rain was falling down, and some caterpillar machines load up the rocks for the big work. This work train is led by 2 engines. A caterpillar excavator is shown at the creek. The first westbound train now passes through on the repaired number 2 track. The Georgetown railroad specialized dump train from Texas is shown at the reconstruction of the mainline. The conveyor belt can unload at the rate of 2000 tons an hour. During the big construction, SP was detoured over Cajon Pass on the Santa Fe. Next a Houston bound manifest heads for the climb uphill. Afterwards, a different freight is shown with a Wisconsin Central unit in it. Through the S curves at El Casco, a double stack winds it’s way uphill, as it contains a meet at the namesake lake. At milepost 557.4, a cantilever signal is shown as a freight rolls by. Next a doublestack rolls through with units from cotton belt, conrail, SP, General Motors, Illinois Central and CSX. As the multi-road name train passes by, a mixed train rolls by on the number 2 track. This one has 3 mid train helpers. Another hot shot with a CSX unit climbs through the crossovers. Next, a little bit of pacing with a BN unit is shown, followed by a 5 unit double stack. Afterwards a 4 unit piggyback rolls by. Approaching Beaumont, a 6 unit double stack arrives at the big curve. Another stack train arrives from the opposite direction. A passenger special led by 2 SD60s number 5740 and 5742 is shown at the curve picking up speed at 50mph. Next a Chicago bound train heads for the crossovers with the 2 Santa Fe units in it. At Beaumont depot, there is a parade of trains both east and west rolling into the station. Leaving the hill, it is mostly single track going east, as a 6 unit lash up is shown. Next, multiple USA flags are shown as another 6 unit lash up rolls by. Afterwards, one of the last imperial valley sugar beet trains are included with an Illinois Central unit inside, as well as 3 helpers on the rear. At Cabazon, a multi unit doublestack rolls by with Cotton belt, SP, Rio Grande and CSX. Another doublestack is shown this time with conrail, Santa Fe And cotton belt power as it glides by milepost 575. With full dynamics, a doublestack descends the grade. A heavy westbound slowly grinds its way up the hill. This one has helpers on the rear. The dinosaur statues of Cabazon are also included. The east side of the hill is single track with multiple sidings. A westbound freight is having some fuel troubles. Out of the siding, a westbound enters owl. Next a 5 unit double stack is shown with the 2 CSX units. Another westbound with 2 different CSX units passes by. Next a different freight is shown on the whitewater river. Afterwards an auto rack is shown. Wind is a major factor as early windmills are shown as another double stack passes by with a chessie system unit. Here it’ll have to wait to let another one go by. Multiple windmills are shown at Garnet. Next a 4 unit lash up rolls by with power on SP, SF, and CSX. Next a 7 unit lash up rolls by wit SP, CSX, GM And Seaboard system. Here it’ll have to wait for another one to go by which has a Union Pacific unit in it. garnet is the only location on the line with 2 sidings. A 5 unit doublestack arrives. A 10 unit light power move heads to Yuma Arizona, with seaboard, Union Pacific, SP, Rio Grande cotton belt and Amtrak 665. A fast westbound is shown with SP, Amtrak, Rio Grande and CSX. Next a head on shot of the container train is included. With a Rio Grande unit, and 2 helpers. At salvia, a 4 unit lash up is shown with a CSX unit in this one. Next a fast one rolls by at maximum speed. Extra 9654 arrives at thousand palms with a meet that has 2 GM units. At the final Destination of Indio, the now discontinued ringling brothers circus train heads for Los Angeles led by 2 B40-8s. 4 helpers are added for the climb up the pass. Next a 2 unit train with a CSX unit rolls by on a fast freight that includes a meet with the double stack. The 1921 Steam era round house is included. At sunset, the driver drops the profile sheets to the waiting crew. The 2 helpers couple up to the westbound train. The program concludes with a cab ride aboard SD40T-2 number 8305 as it leaves the yard, and heads down the line. Some commentary from the engineer is included as well as some switching chores. You can see the extended cut of this journey in Beaumont hill cab ride.

  2. Dylan

    Great film. Shows a lot of Action in the last couple of year of “The Friendly.” Amazing footage and well documented. Highly recommended to any railfan of the Southern Pacific.

  3. Arthur Patzwald

    Nice show shot back in the day when SP paint still ran on the line before UP take over

  4. Kevin Willie

    Great Video

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