Playing with Trains

Location: Desert east of San Diego. Subject: abandoned train.

I decided to head to a secret spot east of San Diego after some research indicated that two of my high priorities might be in the same place: Indian petroglyphs and abandoned trains. I wandered the desert for hours on foot and couldn’t come up with any petroglyphs in the target area (the second time this has happened in the same general vicinity), but did get to spend some time with an abandoned train. Well, the area may have been off limits, so these may or may not actually be photos from a friend who may or may not exist.

Oh, and just a weird aside: I had the most unbelievable coincidence happen on this trip. Fun fact about me: while driving I often memorize license plates and recite them backwards without looking as a memory exercise. I know…. Anyways, about half way to my destination I got cut off by a small sedan loaded to the hilt with passengers as it veered towards the car pool lane. I took note of the plate and played my mental game before losing sight of it. On the way back, more than a day later, about half way back home the same car cut me off getting back into the car pool lane. The license plate was familiar, plus the packed car, coloring, and rear-view shade confirmed it was the same. The odds of that happening must be astronomical.

I was already nervous about going inside the train, and the green glow didn’t help. It looked like something from one of Cameron’s “Alien” films.

As often happens, the vignette is the result of shooting at 10mm with my graduated ND filter on.

My view as I set off back for camp.

6 Responses to Playing with Trains

  1. Becky July 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    You really are an adventurer, aren’t you? :) Nice work my friend, as always!

  2. Heather July 20, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Your friend does amazing work! ;)
    Good job Jake

  3. Bill Noon November 12, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Your photography and talents are without equal. Simply magnificent!

    Would you be kind enough to tell me how to find this area in San Diego.

    My family and I live in the area and my youngest and oldest sons are train buffs to the extreme.

    They saw your photos and begged me to try and find out where this is and bring them there.

    Warm regards and many thanks,

    Bill Noon

  4. Jeneene April 6, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Amazing work! I am a film student at SDSU in need of some abandoned train tracks. wondering if you would mind sharing directions to your spot. :) No worries if not. keep up the good work.

    Jeneene Chatowsky

  5. Angela November 24, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Your photography is so inspiring! I am a fashion stylist and am interested in finding where this abandoned train is. I live in East San Diego but have never heard of it, or seen it. If you would be kind enough to share this location with me, it would be greatly appreciated!!


  6. Phe Mason March 26, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I’ve heard about these cars a couple times in the past few years trickled down through the grapevine. But haven’t met anyone who’s actually been so they still remain elusive. Would you be willing to share directions so I can finally fulfill my curiosity. I will definitely share my experience & photos if you are interested.

    Thank you

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