Siskiyous 1986

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.


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