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Santa Fe Railway Extra 8090 West at Boron, CA

Santa Fe Railway Extra 8090 West at Boron, CA depot

In July 1979 Extra 8090 West rumbles through town and passes the newly repainted Boron depot. Boron is just about the mid point on the line between Mojave and Barstow. Borax deposits were discovered near Kramer in 1913. The town of Boron was soon founded and named for a chemical element in borax. Just northwest of town is a largest open pit mine in California owned and operated by US Borax. The pit is a mile wide, one and one-half miles long and up to 700 feet deep. Production of borax began in 1927. The borax plant produces about one million tons of borax, boric acid and anhydrous products per year and is served by the Boron Local out of Barstow. US Borax has a fleet of nearly 800 rail cars to transport borates to North American customers and the Port of Los Angeles for export. Disk 50

Map of the Santa Fe Railway rerouted around Edwards Air Force Base

The town of Muroc was founded in 1910 and named for the Corum family, but spelled backwards. Muroc Dry Lake was used by the Army Air Corps as a bombing and gunnery range in 1933. Muroc Army Air Field was established Oct. 14, 1946. Renamed Edwards Air Force Base in 1956, the installation was expanded to 470 square miles. Edwards Air Force Base grew most rapidly after World War II when the development of jet propulsion and national security made the isolated base a choice spot for testing experimental aircraft. The dry lakes provided huge natural runways and good flying weather almost year round made Edwards a perfect place for flight tests. The government paid for the Santa Fe to build a new main line around the northern end of the base. The new line started just west of Boron and rejoined the original line near Sanborn siding. It was completed in 1953. The new main line shortened the distance from Mojave to Barstow by 2.5 miles. In the satellite image above the red line is the old alignment through Muroc and the black line is the current route.