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Date: 03/26/23 14:16
Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

Last weekend I finally got a chance, after more than 20 years of trying, to head out to Plaster City and chase the USGypsum railroad.  My best friend Chris went with me and, along the way, we got to visit the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum at Campo and look around El Centro and San Diego.

Our first stop was PSRM where we met up with Jim Lundquist and Randy Houk.  Randy was the engineer for the day and we got an amazing cab ride on the old San Diego and Arizona Eastern.  Then we got to look around the museum before heading to El Centro for the night.

1 - Black Widow SP GP9 3873 pulls the excursion train into Campo Station.
2 - Beautiful SD&AE fire truck.
3 - Interior of their restored Santa Fe RPO 74.  Amazing car.

Photos by Eugene Vicknair​ unless noted.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/23 14:38 by zephyrus.








Date: 03/26/23 14:22
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

We didn't see much around El Centro, although the two UP GPs we photographed together in the morning were seperated the night before.  When we got to town, UP GP40-2 1413 was on the wye for the remains of the Holton Interurban and the GP60 was down by the yard office.  In the morning, before heading to Plaster City, the 1413 was gone but we could not find it.  When we rolled back into town to wait for the USGypsum to run, 1413 was tied down behind the GP60 as seen in the photo.

4 - Sitting in El Centro were Union Pacific GP60 2019, built as Southern Pacific 9720 in April 1991, and UP GP40-2 1413, built as SP 7662 in March 1980.

We had rolled out to Plaster City for 9 AM and found out the mine train would not run until about 12 noon.  The folks around the USGypsum facility were friendly and obviously knew the narrow gauge line is something special and of interest.  Chris and I headed back to El Centro to get more supplies and poke around the UP a bit.  Coming up empty, we headed back west and waited for the main event.

5 - Chris demonstrates how windy it was.
6 - The crew needed to clear up a tamper before train time.

 








Date: 03/26/23 14:26
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

USGypsum 111, a 1982 built Bombardier / Montreal Locomotive Works DL535E(W) was the power for today.  We had been waiting to hear its engine turn over as it was outside next to the locomotive shop, out of sight from the road.  But the first we heard was the horn blasting as it popped out from behind the building.  The chase was on.  Unfortunately, due to the afternoon run and where the public road was, almost every photo had us on the shady side of the equipment.  Tried to make the best of it.

7 - USG 111 pulls past some of the big production towers in the plant.
8 - Crossing the highway that bisects the plant.
9 - Picking up the crew and getting a look at the 3 ft gauge track.
 








Date: 03/26/23 14:29
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

The locomotive headed around the west side of the plant and then toward the cut of hoppers and water car that were waiting.  The mine has no potable water, so most trains take full tank of water with them.

10 - The 111 is backing down the track where the tank car is filling.  You can see the hose is till attached to the car.
11 - With the tank car gravity rolled onto the end of the train, the 111 heads up the line of hoppers.
12 - Coupling onto the train.








Date: 03/26/23 14:33
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

We had rented an AWD SUV in deference to the dirt and sand road that parallels the line.  It would prove to be not quite enough, but allowed for a great pacing chase until the sand got too deep.  I also got a chance to get some video with my new GoPro 11, but turns out I need a video card update to edit the footage.  Coming later...

13 - Train heading over Bridge 2.
14 - Part of the line runs through a Naval Bombing Range, some of which is also a horned lizard protection area.  Photo by Christopher Kapreilian.
15 - Pacing the train through the bomb range.








Date: 03/26/23 14:35
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

16 - A moving roster shot.
17 - Cab detail.
18 - After passing out of the bomb range, we set up for an approaching shot.
 








Date: 03/26/23 14:38
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

About 2/3 of the way to the mine, the sand got too deep for our liking.  I am a pretty experienced off-road driver and it felt like we were going to fishtail off the trail and / or get stuck even with careful handling.  We decided to take the safe course and turned on a more rocky area and decided to head back to Plaster City, getting one last part shot in the process.

19 - Heading off to the mine.

The next day we explored the awesome Santa Fe depot in San Diego.

20 - Depot interior
21 - Detail of tile work.

Hope you enjoyed the show!

Z








Date: 03/26/23 16:20
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: TheNavigator

Looks like you had a productive outing; good to see the NG in action.
GK



Date: 03/26/23 16:54
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: casco17

Interesting pics all around.  At Campo, did the train run west or east from the depot?  My last ride there ran west; a ride several years earlier ran east.
Great to see all those USGypum pics along the route.



Date: 03/26/23 16:55
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: atsf121

Fun chase

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/26/23 17:56
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

casco17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting pics all around.  At Campo, did the
> train run west or east from the depot?  My last
> ride there ran west; a ride several years earlier
> ran east.
> Great to see all those USGypum pics along the
> route.

They ran west toward Tecate and I think we stopped near the Mountain Empire Campground, about 1 mile from Tunnel 4, which I understand is now blocked.  There is a trestle about 1 mile east of the museum that needs work before trains can run that way again.

With all the rain, everything was green.  Was a gorgeous ride.

Z



Date: 03/26/23 17:59
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: NiagaraMike

Nice shots!

So you can't run over the lizards but you can bomb them ??????????



Date: 03/26/23 18:35
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

Yeah, kinda puzzled us as well....

Thank you!

Z

NiagaraMike Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice shots!
>
> So you can't run over the lizards but you can bomb
> them ??????????



Date: 03/27/23 06:48
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: mococomike

Next time air down your tires to about 18 PSI and bring a portable pump to refill them



Date: 03/27/23 09:13
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

Good point, Mike.  We briefly considered this, but we did that out in the desert and had not thought about bringing a pump ahead of time.

Based on reports I had gotten from others, we simply did not anticipate the depth of sand we found and had thought we could make it the entire way to the mine.  Live and learn!

Z


mococomike Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Next time air down your tires to about 18 PSI and
> bring a portable pump to refill them



Date: 03/27/23 09:23
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: pedrop

Fantastic series. Great pics. I loved the SF tiles. Thanks for sharing the pictures with us. Any video?

Posted from Android

Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano MG,
https://youtube.com/c/minasgeraisrailways1



Date: 03/27/23 11:14
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

I used my new GoPro 11 for the first time and got some pacing shots of the train, but it turns out I need an upgraded graphics card to edit the footage properly.

That is coming in a couple weeks.

Thank you!  Glad you liked the pics.

Z


pedrop Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Fantastic series. Great pics. I loved the SF
> tiles. Thanks for sharing the pictures with us.
> Any video?
>
> Posted from Android



Date: 03/27/23 11:23
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: callum_out

I saw the cross posting on the NGDF, this is unacceptable. Now you need to go down and take a whole new
set of shots to post here! And as to that fine piece of roadwork next to the tracks, there's an about a couple
hundred yard stretch beyond where you stopped where the silt is like 18" deep, be glad you missed it!

Out 



Date: 03/27/23 13:27
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: zephyrus

Apologies, Out!  Will get right on that!  :-D

Yikes.  Yes, glad we bailed when we did.

Z

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I saw the cross posting on the NGDF, this is
> unacceptable. Now you need to go down and take a
> whole new
> set of shots to post here! And as to that fine
> piece of roadwork next to the tracks, there's an
> about a couple
> hundred yard stretch beyond where you stopped
> where the silt is like 18" deep, be glad you
> missed it!
>
> Out 



Date: 03/27/23 13:50
Re: Chasing the USGypsum and poking around Southern California
Author: masterphots

That UP 1413 is a beaut



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