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Western Railroad Discussion > US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)


Date: 03/19/20 13:02
US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: cchan006

I visited San Diego in January like I did the year before. I found a decent deal on a rental car, so I chose to head east for some foaming, if not the US Gypsum operation, maybe the Sunset Route along the Salton Sea.

Rental car agency allowed me to choose from a selection of cars and SUVs. There were 3 SUVs available (Nissan, Hyundai, Ford), and I picked the smallest one with AWD, the Ford EcoSport out of curiosity. 

The EcoSport, with sufficient ground clearance and lightweight was very capable for what I ended up doing, chasing the US Gypsum narrow gauge train on a whim, conquering sandtraps easily.

I drove straight to Plaster City from San Diego airport, and only found DL-535E #112 at the shop. So I took the EcoSport out to the desert to hunt down #111, which I eventually found running light engine, crossing the long bridge toward the plant.

Here's a video of the chase of the train on its trip back to Plaster City. This is the chase I wanted to do last time, but due to having a compact car for rental, I was not able to navigate nimbly enough to get all these locations in one try.

That's all folks.

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Date: 03/19/20 13:16
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: wjpyper

Nice stuff. thanks for posting. Those empties were really rockin' 'n rollin'. It is curious to see all that grafitti out in the middle of nowhere.
Bill Pyper
Lacey, WA
 



Date: 03/19/20 13:20
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: cchan006

wjpyper Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those empties were really rockin' 'n rollin'.

They were loads. Tough to tell in other clips, but you might see the loads in the first clip, where I got a bit of elevation.

> It is curious to see all that grafitti out in the middle of nowhere.

That bridge is a popular gathering spot for ATVs and dirt bikers. 



Date: 03/19/20 13:36
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: FiveChime

Charles:

Thanks for the rental car information, I'll remember that if I ever get to travel again!

Regards, Jim Evans



Date: 03/19/20 15:04
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: F7sForever

I've often wondered about this operation, and access. Looking at maps, I was under the impression that this was more of an in-plant railroad with minimal to no public access. Sounds like that's no the case? What's the experience like getting in/out?

Thanks!

Jody



Date: 03/19/20 16:16
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: cchan006

F7sForever Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've often wondered about this operation, and
> access. Looking at maps, I was under the
> impression that this was more of an in-plant
> railroad with minimal to no public access. Sounds
> like that's no the case? What's the experience
> like getting in/out?

The offroad trail that's adjacent to the narrow gauge ROW the entire way is public. On the southern/eastern portion, Navy's bombing range borders the road to the east, so you should exercise caution along that stretch. As the trail nears the plant to the north & west, the trail gets a little gravely and rocky, but vehicles with good ground clearance should be able to manage that without problems.

If you plan to shoot the train near the facility at Plaster City, it's recommended you go to the office to get permission, so the crew knows you're out and about. They will tell you where to avoid (hardhat zones). They told me if I was to chase the train along the offroad trail, no permission is necessary.

I have not entered the Gypsum mine side of the operation. I'd hang out outside the gate, and it seems the staff has no problem with that. TO member Dave has posted numerous reports and photos of the operation, so he can probably provide more details about access.

Road conditions change often on the offroad trail due to sand drifts. I had to retreat, even with a Jeep Liberty due to a massive sandtrap many years ago, which is now gone. I got stuck in a 2WD Toyota RAV4 on a different sandtrap another time. The road has been maintained better since that time, so you should be able to get by as long as you have decent ground clearance.



Date: 03/19/20 16:24
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: tomstp

Who built that locomotive?



Date: 03/19/20 16:43
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: callum_out

Montreal Locomotive Works Div Bombardier.

Out 



Date: 03/24/20 18:12
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: AustinSD

Wow. Excellent photos. Any tips on spotting this train?

Austin

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/25/20 18:28
Re: US Gypsum Again (Plaster City, CA)
Author: SLORailfanning

How do you know when they run?



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