Your Next Weekend Adventure Awaits – Eagle Mountain Railroad

by Coachella Valley | September 4, 2017 1:27 pm

Coachella Valley’s Abandoned Eagle Mountain Railroad

Cover photo by Jill Hayes

The Eagle Mountain Railroad, owned by Kaiser Steel Corporation, is a 51-mile branch line that serves the iron mines in and around Eagle Mountain, near California’s Salton Sea. It branches from the Union Pacific’s transcontinental route (ex-Southern Pacific) near Niland, CA, at a location named “Ferrum”, at which a small 5-track staging yard and turning wye are also located.

Footage of the Eagle Mountain Railroad Trestle from our Jeep run on part of the Bradshaw Trail. This 60-foot tall bridge has been abandoned for over 20 years and is an amazing sight to see. ~ NotaRubicon Production

Video by NotaRubicon Production

Construction on the line started in August of 1947 and was completed the following year, it was used until 1986 to haul iron ore from Kaiser’s Eagle Mountain Mine in the Colorado Desert to an interchange with the Southern Pacific Transportation Company in the Coachella Valley.  At first, the iron mines produce great quantities of iron ore, all of which were hauled away in Southern Pacific gondolas twice daily. As demand for the iron ore declined, so did the freight traffic, until the 1980s, when the line saw only one train a week. The last revenue train ran over the rails in 1986.

Jill Hayes - Eagle Mountain Railroad[1]

Jill Hayes – Eagle Mountain Railroad

A majority of the track remains today, but time has taken its toll on some portions of the line. Source

In January–February 1966, Columbia Pictures filmed many scenes for the motion picture The Professionals on the railroad.

In March–April 1986, Touchstones Films, a Walt Disney subsidiary, filmed the movie Tough Guys on a portion of the railroad.

Here is what Coachella Valley’s Jill Hayes says about her adventure to Eagle Mountain Railroad – Ok this was quite the adrenaline Rush,.. walking across this Abandon Eagle Mine railroad bridge with Hana to the other side, I can’t say i wasn’t a little scared but i loved it …only thing was some of the railroad ties were splitting and as i walked on each one they would make a creaking sound and the wind was a little unnerving way up there but now I’m glad i did it because i lived to tell the tale …check out this awesome video by Randy .. i have to say Randy made this abandon Eagle mine railroad look so beautiful out here in the Middle of the desert.

Old Eagle mountain railroad by Jill Hayes[2]

Old Eagle mountain railroad by Jill Hayes


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