Cima Hill

Located south of Las Vegas on the Union Pacific's Salt Lake City to Los Angeles line, Cima Hill presents some great photo opportunities as long as you don't mind the desert, a North South orientation and a ubiquitous telephone/code line.  Compared to the BNSF main across the California Desert that runs a few miles south of Kelso, trains are less frequent and - at the moment - considerably less colorful.  The pay back is getting a shot you like after working a whole lot harder for it.  Hope you enjoy the effort!

a map is located at the bottom of  page 2


After you check out these pictures, try

 "The other side of Cima"

Cima summit
CEMALO1.jpg (75119 bytes) Obviously, UP thinks Cima Hill is steep!

photo courtesy of Jan Olejnik.

Telephoto lens not withstanding, the steepness of the west side of Cima is apparent.  Downhill trains move almost as slowly as uphills. 9stacks.jpg (171551 bytes) up3154cima.jpg (103493 bytes)
9summit.jpg (148512 bytes) UP3411Cima.jpg (120999 bytes) up3936cima.jpg (126266 bytes)
up9454cima.jpg (121181 bytes) cnw8660.jpg (67424 bytes) up7043cima.jpg (106780 bytes) up5062cima.jpg (105859 bytes)
UP3370Cima.jpg (95433 bytes) up3939cima.jpg (94618 bytes)
9uphill.jpg (90366 bytes) 9dunes.jpg (111885 bytes) The climb to Cima summit is a tough one for east bounds.  UP provides just enough power to make it.  In the picture on the left, Kelso dunes are visible in the morning light.
up3370acima.jpg (79431 bytes) up3154b.jpg (79617 bytes) UP6342.jpg (119764 bytes) bmp8614ccima.jpg (88548 bytes)
up6121bcima.jpg (100325 bytes) Kelso Dunes form a great background for trains climbing Cima Hill
kelsosunset.jpg (117314 bytes) cnw8614.jpg (91347 bytes) kelsostation.jpg (126436 bytes) Kelso station has a long history and has recently opened as the Headquarters for the Mojave National Preserve.

Barry Robinson contributed this shot of UP's Challenger on Cima.  Even though I don't normally put other folks pictures on the page, this one fits too well not to share it.  It was taken on the Tuesday before Memorial Day 1994. cimasteam.jpg (133572 bytes)

It is surely sacrilegious to feature a BNSF locomotive on a page about UP's Cima Hill. We can't, however, let the unusual event chronicled below pass without notice.  In the summer of 1998, UP allowed the BNSF Barstow-Pasco manifest to make its journey North via Cima Hill, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and the Blue Mountains of Oregon.  This unique situation occurred when UP opened long and absolute work windows on Tehachapi.  The shots below are taken around dawn in mid June 1998.

bnsf749bcima.jpg (72467 bytes) bnsf749ccima.jpg (102611 bytes) bnsf749cima.jpg (58109 bytes)

Looking for a place to stay while looking around Cima Hill and Mojave Desert Preserve?  Check out Hotel Nipton.  Its location on the UP main is enough to remind the dedicated railfan of the Izaack Walton Inn.  Nice people, good location, rooms and camping if you want to.  The Nipton Web Page is a good place to start.