The Eagle Mountain Railroad

The Eagle Mountain Railroad was a privately owned rail line, part of the Kaiser Steel Corporation which transported iron from an interchange with Southern Pacific at Ferrum, CA (itself Latin for Iron) to Eagle Mountain Mine, a distance of 52 miles. (Right of way)

Yard at Ferrum, looking north. UP's Yuma Subdvision is still active here. Photo by John Acosta, April 2009. (Abandoned Rails)

Ferrum is located on the Salton Sea in California's Coachella Valley.

1963 Topo Map of the line. (Wikipedia Commons)

Construction began in 1947 with the line being completed the following year in 1948. It was one of the longer private railroads to be built post World War II in the US, similar to Wyoming's US Steel Railroad, and Arizona's Black Mesa & Lake Powell Railroad, both of which are also abandoned.

The story of its demise was similar to many mining railroads, once the ore dried up, there was no point in continuing service. In the late 1970's, increased environmental concerns at the Fontana Mill and stiff foreign competition resulted in decreased demand for Kaiser Steel products and thus resulted in a reduction of output at the Eagle Mountain Mine. The mining stopped in 1983, but left with a significant stockpile of iron ore, railroad operations kept going for a few years afterwards. It was placed out of service in 1986. and until 2017, still had much of its trackage left, 

This abandoned railway with its track still intact lead this to be a favorite of railbike enthusiasts and explorers. Some great YouTube videos exist of this line, including the one below of a drone flight over the line. Here's a few railbikers below:


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