Chard Walker's Cajon, Rail Passage to the Pacific, Chard Walker author, Signature Press publisher
Completion of a rail route over Cajon Pass, by the California Southern Railroad, was accomplished in November, 1885. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe had backed construction of the California Southern, and by 1906 would absorb it into the Santa Fe. Meanwhile, in 1905 the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad began using the pass under trackage rights; the SPLA&SL would later become part of the Union Pacific system.
The ruling grade of 2.2 percent on the west side of the pass (originally 3 percent) required helper locomotives from the beginning; usually they were turned at Summit. Even the east side, with a ruling grade of 1.6 percent, can be an operating challenge. In 1967, Southern Pacific completed its own route over Cajon Pass, also with a ruling grade of 2.2 percent.
The construction and particularly the operation of this line are presented in some detail in this book. Included are chapters on weather, runaways, helper operations, and life at Summit, together with a foreword by Don Sims. Numerous recollections by railroaders and railfans who were there further enrich the book. Supplementing the text are 11 fine maps by John Signor, and some 334 photos (25 in color). A bibliography and index round out this volume.
The result is an atmospheric and quite complete look at one of the busiest and most dramatic railroad passes in America, from an author well suited to tell the story. Railroad history buffs generally, and Santa Fe fans in particular, will be sure to enjoy this book.
The author, a legendary operator for years at the Summit depot at the top of Cajon Pass, has drawn upon original railroad records, his own extensive experiences, and the recollections of old-timers to create this interesting railroad narrative. Long out of print, the return of this classic railroad account is welcome to historians and fans of Union Pacific, Southern Pacific and especially Santa Fe.
Size: 256 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 334 photos (25 in color); 14 maps and graphics, index
ISBN: 978-1-930013-00-1 Publication date: November 1, 2007