Does MP zero exist along the tracks in Barstow?

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  • Member since
    July 2018
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Does MP zero exist along the tracks in Barstow?
Posted by fredly on Monday, July 9, 2018 4:01 PM

Hi, I'm new to this, so please pardon my ignorance. I would love to visit Barstow and take a picture of MP zero, including a selfie, if that is possible.

I would gladly settle for MP one, if zero isn't accessible. I do have a nice long telephoto lens. if that'd be necessary.

Or maybe, if neither MP is accessible, someone already has photos of either milepost, ideally with a train going by. If I could take my own pictures, that would be best. I'd like to visit the RR museum there while I'm at it, because there's no doubt some nice history.

I live in San Clemente, and we have a local surfing beach that surfers call "204" because it's located at MP 204 along the track at an at-grade crossing. Someone told me years ago that MP zero is at Barstow. I am a local San Clemente journalist (and surfing enthusiast) and would love to write a fun local piece tracing our surfing beach back to MP zero.

While searching online, I found a 2011 thread that suggests milepost 0 is a half-mile east of the Barstow station.

My guess is that our MP 204 will backtrack to LA Union Station, then east to San Bernardino and then up to Barstow. I tried replicating it by looking up driving directions online along those three segments, but I came up short of 204 miles. Maybe some of that is Cajon pass curves. Can anyone please help me figure this out? I'd love to learn a little of the history, too. But locating zero and photographing milepost 0 would be top priority so I could pair it with a photo of our 204 surfing beach.

Our track at MP 204 dates to 1888, I'm told. Thanks!

Tags: Barstow , mileposts
  • Member since
    November 2016
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Posted by UPENG95 on Monday, July 9, 2018 5:14 PM

Actually it's complicated. (lol)

On the BNSF Cajon Subdivision, Barstow = MP 0.0.  Then southward (railroad west) San Bernardino is MP 81.3.  At San Bernardino the milepost changes and resets to MP 0.0 on the San Bernardino Subdivision and continuing westward the milepost numbers increase until Fullerton Jct. which is MP 45.6.  But at Fullerton Jct. the mileposts change again and Fullerton Jct. is also MP 165.4.  Continuing westward the mileposts then decrease and Hobart (yard) near Los Angeles is MP 145.1.

OK so now lets go back to Fullerton Jct. MP 165.4 and leave the BNSF San Bernardino Subdivision and head south on the Metrolink Orange Subdivision.  Fullerton Jct. = MP 165.54 and San Clemente Pier is MP 204.8.

With all of that said you can see it is not a continuous 204 miles from Barstow but doing the math it is actually 125.9 miles on BNSF from Barstow to Fullerton and then 39 miles on Metrolink from Fullerton to San Clemente, total 165 miles.  Throwing another curve in the total miles is the Metrolink Olive Subdivision which would be the proper routing for trains from San Bernardino to San Clemente and the total miles would be BNSF Barstow to Atwood 121.9 miles and then Metrolink Olive and Orange Subdivisions 37 miles to San Clemente which totals 159 miles.

I hope this helps.


  • Member since
    July 2018
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Posted by fredly on Monday, July 9, 2018 5:25 PM

Thanks.  I wonder where Fullerton's 165.4 MP backtracks to zero. Maybe that is what I really need to be looking for!

  • Member since
    November 2016
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Posted by UPENG95 on Monday, July 9, 2018 5:46 PM

That goes back to the Santa Fe days.  From the Santa Fe 1982 Los Angeles Division Timetable:

First District - Barstow MP 0.0 to San Bernardino MP 81.3

Second District - San Bernardino MP 81.3

                         Pomona - MP 106.7

                         Pasadena - MP 131.7

                         Mission Tower/LAUPT - MP 140.0

Third District - Mission Tower/LAUPT - MP 140.0

                      Hobart - MP 146.0

                      Fullerton - MP 165.0

Fourth District - Fullerton - MP 165.0

                        San Clemente - MP 204.8

And there you have your 204 miles.  From San Clemente to Los Angeles, then to Pasadena, Pomona, San Bernardino, and finally Barstow.  Of course the Los Angeles to San Bernardino route via Pasadena no longer exists in its entirety.

  • Member since
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Posted by fredly on Monday, July 9, 2018 6:30 PM
Bingo! You solved my riddle, and so quickly! The route that you mapped makes total sense. Thanks much.
My other question was whether a MP 0.0 sign exists at Barstow, or perhaps MP 1.0. I would love to photograph either milepost, if I could find one or both, just something to show the folks at home, look, this is why we call our surf spot 204 and show it next to a photo of our local 204 MP, together with a bit of history I bet I can find at the RR museum.
Thanks again!
  • Member since
    July 2018
  • 4 posts
Posted by fredly on Saturday, July 28, 2018 1:35 PM

Hi again. Thanks for explaining the mileposts. I'm planning to take Amtrak into Barstow and was wondering what side of the train it's best to sit on to spot mileposts, as we approach Barstow.


Of course, it will be at night, but I imagine you can still see the mileposts.


Thanks much.



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