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Welcome to Dunsmuir!
Dunsmuir is located in California near the Oregon border on the former Southern Pacific Shasta Line and is the main rail line between California and the Pacific Northwest. The town is situated in a Canyon on the Sacramento River within a lush alpine setting at an elevation of 2,000 feet above sea level. Seventy five years ago the town's economy depended on the railroad which employed most of the town's men. Today with the steam engine gone and the consolidation of maintenance facilities, Dunsmuir is no longer a company town. However, it's still used as a crew base, with engine men working the line between Dunsmuir and Klamath Falls, Oregon. South of Dunsmuir, trains are controlled by crews from the Roseville crew base near Sacramento.
Union Pacific's Shasta Route is also known as the I-5 corridor because it approximately follows the route of Interstate Highway 5 between Southern California and Northern Oregon. The tracks also host Amtrak's Coast Starlight which passes during darkness.
Leaving Southern California, most trains begin their journey at West Colton near San Bernardino and proceed over Cajon and Tehachapi Passes' before continuing through the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys to Redding. There, trains begin ascending a 1% grade towards Dunsmuir. The first 30 miles were constructed in 1942 when the original line dating back to the 1880's was submerged following the construction of Lake Shasta. At a former station named Delta, the rails cling to the banks of the Sacramento River which in previous years have taken the rails during severe winters. For the next 30 miles the rails curve through the river canyon before arriving at Dunsmuir.
Leaving town, the grade steepens and climbs the 2.2% maximum grade, at Cantara Loop, the most rugged point of the line, the rails cross the Sacramento River and curve 180 degrees to climb out of the canyon.
About the Dunsmuir RailCam
The Dunsmuir RailCam is a joint project of the Dunsmuir RR Depot Historical Society and Trainorders.com. Dunsmuir hosts a number of motels, restaurants and Town Social Events, it is also a great place to stay while railfanning the former Shasta Route. Visitors from outside the area can fly into Sacramento Metropolitan airport which is served by most major carriers including Southwest, American, and United. From Sacramento, Dunsmuir is less than a four hour drive on Interstate 5.
The camera is located at the northern end of the Dunsmuir rail yard at the site of the former Railroad Depot which also Hosts the Amtrak station and the Museum. Directly in front of the camera is the Union Pacific Railroad Mainline and siding. In the background is one of the last remaining turntables in California. The Sacramento River flows South just past the buildings in the background, Dunsmuirís Sacramento Avenue is off camera to the right, the Sacramento River Canyon continues North, to the left and behind the camera. In the winter, Union Pacific Railroad Snow Service equipment is parked near the turntable, in front of the Dunsmuir Cam. Interesting Things to Look For
"What is the main commodity moved on this route?"
The I-5 corridor host lots of lumber and paper products from the Pacific Northwest carried on Center Beam equipped Flat cars or in large capacity traditional shaped Box cars. The ëI-5 Corridorí market includes Intermodal Trains of International and Domestic containers on Doublestack cars as well as Highway trailers and Domestic containers on any and all configurations of Intermodal railroad car. As with any modern Railroad, various other commodities also pass the camera in freight cars with paint schemes of many other railroads from across the Continent.
"Why does the train stop in front of the Dunsmuir Rail Cam?"
The Roseville and Klamath Falls Crew Districts exchange crews at this location, the Northbound Trains bound for Klamath Falls, Oregon often stop in front of the camera while the Southbound trains bound for Roseville, California stop off camera to the left. The Crew change may also occur in the Rail Yard south of the camera and the train would pass by the camera without stopping.
"When does Amtrak pass the Dunsmuir Rail Cam?"
Amtrak #11 and #14 stop at Dunsmuir, the Northbound train can be seen stopping in the early morning hours. The Southbound train is scheduled at midnight and passes after the camera has been turned off for the night (9 pm to 5 am).