Loading Tanks on Flatcars

The Santa Fe freight train on which Jack Delano is riding has reached Goffs, California (located a bit west of Needles). As usual Mr. Delano has taken this stop to explore the surroundings. And here he’s found a string of flatcars being loaded with military tanks from nearby U.S. Army Camp Goffs. Judging from the line of tanks over on the right, more flatcars will be needed to move the rest of the battalion. This is March of 1943, and the war effort is in full swing, with railroads hauling a constant stream of men, equipment and material for the military.

That appears to be a two-story depot at left, with a semaphore train order signal in front. To the right a searchlight style track signal can barely be discerned. And between those signals I think I can make out a water penstock. Crews must have spent a lot of time here “in the hole” (waiting) judging by the number of conical water cups littering the roadbed in the foreground.

Per Wikipedia: “Goffs, an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County, California, is a nearly empty one-time railroad town at the route’s high point in the Mojave Desert. Goffs was a stop on famous U.S. Route 66 until 1931 when a more direct road opened between Needles and Essex”.

Note the whistle post near center in the photo, likely for the Route 66 track crossing. Though the BNSF railroad still has a presence in Goffs, not much else can be seen from the aerial views on Google Maps.

Loading Tanks on Flatcars

2 thoughts on “Loading Tanks on Flatcars

  1. I wonder how close Camp Goffs is to Camp Cook?
    Camp Cook is now a municipal airport outside of Santa Maria, CA.
    Camp cook was U.S. Army base some years ago.
    History is the game!

    • Goffs is located over near the eastern edge of California, while Santa Maria is near the coast. I think it’s well over 350 miles between those points. I don’t think Camp Goffs exists any longer.

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