The photos on this page were taken on September 27, 1986 of a train traveling between Ashland, Oregon and Hornbrook, California, crossing the Siskiyou Mountains. The first scenes show a 5-unit locomotive putting together what eventually became the rear portion of the train. This locomotive functioned as a mid-train helper during the Siskiyou crossing.
At length, a three-unit locomotive brought in more cars from the west. This locomotive, with the cars it brought, coupled on ahead of the five-unit locomotive. The total length of the train was roughly 90 cars. All these locomotives . . . totaling roughly 26,400 hp . . . were needed due to the steep grades on the Siskiyou crossing. The grades on both sides of the summit are roughly 3.3%, with shorter stretches up to 3.7%. In this scene, the locomotives on the front end are crossing over Interstate 5.
I waylaid the train part way up the north slope. With all eight locomotives working all out, they made a lot of noise.
I crossed the summit of the Siskiyous on Interstate 5, a caught up with the train at Hilt. This was one of the last lines in the USA to use semaphore signals.
I photographed the train coming down Bailey Hill, a gradient of 2.2%. On downhill grades, the dynamic brakes these diesels are equipped with help keep the train under control.
I was unable to outrace the train to Hornbrook. I did photograph a single-unit SD9 there, perhaps waiting to help a northbound freight over the Siskiyous.