The route north from San Bernardino to the Victor Valley and Mojave Desert is known as the Cajon Pass. Created by the San Andreas Fault thousands of years ago, the Cajon Pass has an elevation of 1,277 meters (4,190 ft.). It provides one of the important transportation links to the Los Angeles Basin.
Construction of the Cajon Pass line began in 1882 from San Bernardino and reached Barstow in 1885 having suffered several delays along the way. The line has a total length of 81.4 miles and, when completed, it filled the final gap in the Southern Pacific transcontinental railroad from San Diego to Chicago.
The Cajon Subdivision mainline is the busiest within Southern California. The mainline is mostly double track with some sections of triple track. With a 2.2% gradient on Track 1 and 3% on Track 2 as the route twists though the mountain terrain, maximum freight speed is restricted to 55mph. Along the way between San Bernardino and Barstow the line passes through more than a dozen settlements that all owe their existence to the presence of the pass over the mountains. Sullivan's Curve is located at MP 62.5, where the original Santa Fe mainline passed through Mormon Rocks. This line followed a 10 degree curve which turned out to be too sharp for today's rolling stock. Thus it was realigned in the early 1980's to 6.5 degrees.
Arriving in San Bernardino the line features a 135 acre Intermodal Facility (one of two such facilities in the Los Angeles Basin) which was constructed in 1993 at a cost of $300 million. The facility consists of 6 loading/unloading tracks, 7 storage tracks and 2,500 parking spaces for trailers. Roughly 420,000 containers pass though the site each year
- Cajon Pass - It is important to stop at Cajon North Track to await confirmation of the cleared rock fall. As soon as you leave San Bernardino and join the main line 8, Cajon North Track will appear as your next destination. The marker for Cajon North Track is only small but as long as any part of your train comes to a complete stop over it then you trigger a success. Aim to stop underneath the motorway bridge as a guide.
- Arriving East - Sometimes in yards the manual switches have been set for you, other times you must throw the switches yourself to set a desired path. In this scenario the first thing you should do before moving is set a path to the mainline. Use the 2D map to guide the blue line of your path to the mainline.
- Slow Climb South - This train has 40 freight cars so the weight is massive. The critical point on the route here is the point where you change from struggling to power uphill to having to restrain the downward momentum of the freight, which occurs around the Summit near Milepost 56.
- The Splitter - The first part of this scenario involves freight loading. To load the first of the double stacked containers onto your flatbed car you do not need to move, simply begin the crane loading. After the first flatbed has been loaded you must slowly move forwards until the next empty flatbed is in position. You may find it useful to use the “detached camera” and fly to the loading point for easier alignment. Continue loading until all load tasks are marked as successful in the Assignment Assistant.
- Relief Freight - This is a simple scenario to introduce yard switching and coupling. There are two settings for coupling which can be changed in the Options menu. Try using manual coupling where you must explicitly carry out the task. Then try switching the option to Automatic Coupling to get that extra help!
- Short, Sharp Shunt Not all scenarios involve travelling great distances. Here you simply need to move three sets of freight cars a short distance down the line. There is no need to rush; be sure to keep to the yard speed.
- A Thorny Matter - There is a lot of freight movement at the start of this scenario. To more easily see the numbers of the freight cars to match them to the numbers in the Assignment Assistant turn on the display of Cajon Pass: San Bernardino to Barstow labels (“F6”) to toggle on labels over engines and sidings, and then press (“F7”) which toggles on the labels over freight cars showing their numbers.
- Be Prepared - In yard switching tasks you might get disorientated on the 2D map and lose track of your engine. The 2D map contains a train icon; if it is red, click it to centre the map on your engine. To allow free map movement once again, click the blue engine icon so it turns red.
- Barstow Backlog - Yards contain lots of sidings packed close together. This can make reading the siding names difficult on the 2D map. You can use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out of the 2D map to get a clearer view. Often the scenario will also offer a description of where the siding is or what freight it contains so you do not have to consult the 2D map if you don’t want to. In this scenario you are told your next freight pick up will be the black hoppers in the siding immediately north of your start position.
- Thorn Reversal You will be swapping between tracks, which is normal operation on the Cajon Pass. As long as you do not exceed the speed limits you will be at safe speeds to cross the junction. The first time this happens will be shortly before Oro Grande to make way for a priority train running on the other line.
- Full Up - Barstow East Diesel Pump 1 is located on a siding directly behind the player. Switches do not need to be set to reach this location so you can reverse straight away, but not too fast as the siding is short and you don’t want to accelerate past into the buffer.