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This is "out there" in the Mojave Desert, close to Ludlow, about an hour's drive east of Barstow.  This was part of my first territory as an Official, and it looks like it is just east of town, between Ludlow and Ash Hill.

The Tonapah & Tidewater Railroad used to terminate in Ludlow and interchanged with Santa Fe, until T&T's demise in 1945.  T&T had a loop track around the town, so that its engine was properly oriented for its next trip.  The town has a few hard core desert dwellers, a cafe, motel, and two gas stations, and that's all it is today.  But that's off-topic.

Historically, pile-ups like this one in the California desert have been caused by burned off journals.  However the modern versions of hot journal detectors have done a good job of reducing accidents, so that, whereas in 1970 there were several, today there are almost none.

This  could cause a detour of the Southwest Chief, but not necessarily.  They can drag the derailed cars to the side and get the main tracks open in a relatively short time.  Picking up the derailed cars and removing them will take much longer.

I will keep my ear to the ground for a cause.

Last edited by Number 90

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