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Jack's train is passing through Bagdad, milepost 669. During the Spring the Santa Fe would store many of it older reefers here and at other unused sidings in the desert. The dry air would keep the inside of the cars from getting moldy. And the cars could quickly be moved to the major harvest areas if there were problems further east that delayed returning empties.
In 1919 the AT&SF installed automatic block signals on 65 miles of double track between Goffs, CA and Bagdad. That is the Amboy cinder cone off to the right.