The Number Three Is Late Again! - [Blue Cut Fire Series] - A late Amtrak Train #3 (Westbound Southwest Chief originating in Chicago Ill.) rounds the turn around Stein's Hill as it descends the Cajon Pass in route to it's next station stop in San Bernardino, a mere 25 miles away. The result of the Blue Cut Fire can be seen in the foreground with the scorched vegetation on both sides of the track and on the hill side behind the train cars. The Blue Cut Fire started on August 16, 2016, near the Blue Cut area on old Highway 66 (Cajon Blvd.) and burned through the Cajon Pass until it was fully contained on August 23, 2016. What is interesting is that the near complete burn off of the head high coastal chapparal has exposed the deep furrows in the desert soil resulting from the extensive hazardous waste clean up and remediation project that followed the 1996 derailment of a Santa Fe mixed manifest train that lost it's brakes coming down the pass on what was then Main #1 (now Main #3) and ended up jumping the 35 mph turn at Stein's Hill at over 70 mph, killing two Santa Fe railroad employees, for which the monument currently stands in their memory.
Additionally, in the consist of today's number three is one of Amtrak's new baggage cars with doors that actually stay closed while the train is in motion.
I don't know how many times I have seen the Chief screaming through the desert at track speed with the baggage car doors wide open.
Suffice it to say, I would never check any luggage on an Amtrak train that I planned on reclaiming on arrival at my final destination.