Derailment photo posted on Flickr account of "Rail explorer"
  • Derailment photo posted on Flickr account of "Rail explorer"
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According to internal emails and photos, several abandoned bilevel rail cars have been derailed east of Jacumba at a place named Dubbers Spur. The derailed cars, stripped of brakes, shocks, and other items, could possibly be damaging the track and are unstable and unsafe.

"This is a major issue. This needs to be addressed ASAP," reads an internal email obtained by the Reader from Carrizo Gorge police chief Mark Langlais to executives at Pacific Imperial Railroad, the company that leases the track from Metropolitan Transit System.

"You [PIR] need to document this and get the cars moved off of mainline track," adds Langlais. "This is a major public safety issue. People might be injured or killed on this unstable equipment…. We have no idea as to the damage to the MTS tracks or the switch. As you know without funding for the past year the police have been unable to patrol the railroad right-of-way or respond to incidents. We have no idea as to any other damage or tampering on the railroad system wide.

"I am still unsure who is running/in charge of [the railroad] or who would handle operations, dispatch or [maintenance]."

"This is a safety issue and needs to be addressed by someone. If anyone reaches out to me I will try to assist as best I can."

Word of the derailed cars and the possible fouling up of the line also spread on social media site Flickr.

"A cut of Metra cars, that was sitting on the spur at Dubbers, near the De Anza Springs Campground, on the old SDA&E line, was moved and derailed in such a way as to foul both the main line and the spur," reads the February 22 post.

"I would say this was intentional. The cars were on the spur which is downhill from the main. Someone pulled the cut uphill and got the first set of wheels through the switch before it rolled back through and derailed. The switch was not aligned for the spur when the move was made so now the switch is out of commission…. The key question is who did it?"

Pacific Imperial's spokesperson Jack Berkman was not aware of the abandoned cars until this correspondent contacted him with questions. Metropolitan Transit System also did not respond to questions.

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Comments

Ken Harrison Feb. 26, 2015 @ 5:34 p.m.

Is there a word for someone who deliberately sabotages their own train tracks, as in a failed business owner becoming an arsonist and burning down his own business? I think since the line has the potential to be a major transportation corridor, perhaps a charge of domestic terrorism would be in order, and get MTA to wake up.

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Visduh Feb. 26, 2015 @ 7:24 p.m.

Ken, keep in mind that those cars have been there for years, and that the track has been out of service since about 2007. Whether the "main" is blocked is of little significance now, and will not matter until someone actually goes to work to reopen the line. MTS needs to wake up, but for the time being, the rent payments which now total $2 million are enough to keep MTS happy and bought off.

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Matt9074 Feb. 26, 2015 @ 7:46 p.m.

The corridor is from a by-gone era. It needs multi-million dollar government required upgrades on every trestle and tunnel. Since it traversed the border twice, DHS would have to be used for every shipment adding a great cost to each trip. It is a beautiful and scenic corridor but the the cost of a realistic rehabilitation to bring it to a functional level that is profitable is laughable at best. The sabotage was more likely nothing more that people screwing around and vandalizing private property. Once the wheel chocks were removed, the downhill run of the spur gave it enough momentum to push it up onto the tracks. Once the forward momentum stopped, it dragged itself back down the hill, causing the derailment. It is unfortunate that such a scenic jewel may be lost because of scum.

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AlexClarke Feb. 27, 2015 @ 6:14 a.m.

Carrizo Gorge has a police department? As far as these rail cars being a safety issue they will pose no problem as this scam railroad will never be viable or active. The MTSB clowns should be removed and prosecuted.

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CaptainObvious Feb. 27, 2015 @ 7:34 p.m.

A bit of clarification, please. Were the missing parts stripped by vandals or the railroad?

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