We Missed The Last Train to Eagle MT.
I have mentioned before that I and my friends went up into the Cajon Pass and did a lot of train watching. But that's not the only area we went to. One of our favorite spots to visit was the tracks running north of highway 10 from the Indo area and up pass Eagle MT peak and then down into what was at the time the main mine for Kaiser Steel located in Fontana.
As recently as 1980, Kaiser spent over $10 million installing concrete ties. Also of note, is that General George Patton would bring his troops up here to Eagle MT and the sand dunes north of Indo to train especially in the summer time to get them ready for the Africa Invasion in WWII.
The mine at Eagle MT was started in 1941 by Henry Kaiser with the aim of supplying tons of metal for the building of hundreds of Liberty and V ships for our war efforts.
In the 1986 (I think) we went to Eagle MT to watch trains and waited all day. None came. We called our friends in other areas and new knew to much about why there we no trains running. We found out later that the trains had stopped running with the closure of Kaiser in Fontana.
Today, even though nothing moves on the tracks into the Eagle MT area, the county of Riverside and the state have gotten together and reopened the mine area and the town that was once home to more than 4,000 people as a private Prison owned by Eagle MT correctional facitly, much like Glen Helen is run in Devore.
You have to get permission from Eagle MT first but you can go into the town and mine area and wonder around. There is some talk of opening the town as a tourist attraction but those are just talks. Nothing concrete as of yet.
All of the buildings are still there, as is the mine, but the trains that once ran 10 times daily to and from Fontana are still quite and the tacks and ties weed grown. It was great place to watch the big coal trains come through especially in the fall and winter time. If they ever decided to reopen the town to tourists I hope I have the chance to make it out there one more time.
Gary Hall, the ghostpainter.