Fontana2 March 2023
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 Fontana Road Trip PAGE 2: March - April 2023 
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Cameras: Nikon D-3200, Nikon D-90 (ant macros), & Sony HX-60
Images & Text Updated by W.P. Armstrong 4 April 2023
  Formica Ant Near Cajon Pass Transmission Tower   
  Transmission Lines Open Space In Fontana  
  Transmission Lines At Cajon Pass   
  Freight Trains At Cajon Pass   

On 30 March 2023 I returned to the undeveloped land under high voltage transmission lines passing through dense housing development in Fontana, California. My objective was to find an active Pheidole nest with major workers at my previous GPS location from last February (Fontana Page 1). With all the recent cold weather and heavy rains, the GPS nest locations were inactive. The nearby San Gabriel Mountains, including stunning 8,862 ft. Cucamonga Peak, were heavily laden with snow and picturesque. In fact, in all the years I lived in the nearby city of Arcadia, I don't ever remember this much snow.

I decided to follow the transmission lines over the foothills into Cajon Pass that separates the San Gabriel Mtns. from The San Bernardino Mtns. To my surprise, the fields ants (Formica) were very active. This is a very large ant genus that I have encountered on many mountains of the western U.S. & Canada, including 10,000 ft. in the White Mtns. of CA. I photographed the snow-covered north side of San Gabriel Mtns., including 10,000 ft. Mt. San Antonio (Baldy), colorful freight trains, and transmission lines crossing the scenic mountains.

Two different species of Formica in mortal combat at Julian Cemetery in San Diego County. They apparently "smell" differently to each other (i.e. they give off different chemical scents). F. francoeuri (right) is common at Cajon Pass. It has abundant, erect (bristly) hairs on all body parts. F. moki (left) occurs on Owens Peak in San Diego County. It is mostly glabrous on thorax, head and legs.

These 2 deceased Formica francoeuri workers were being carried by a 3rd worker on Cajon Pass near transmission tower. I took the picture to show the abundant, erect, (bristly) hairs of this species.

  See Wayne's Word Links To Formica Species  

Undeveloped Land Where Transmission Lines Pass Through Fontana

Transmission lines north of Baseline Avenue, Fontana. The snow-covered San Gabriel Mtns. in distance with stunning Cucamonga Peak (8,862 ft.).

Transmission lines south of Baseline Avenue, Fontana. This image was taken near my GPS location for the minute Pheidole ant nests.

Transmission Towers & Freight Trains In Cajon Pass

Transmission lines extending over foothills into Cajon Pass. Cucamonga Peak & Mt. San Antonio in distance.

Train Images With 10,000 ft. Mt. San Antonio (Baldy) In Distance

Some of these freight trains had more than 160 cars. They needed 5 or 6 engines to pull this extraordinary load up the steep grade to the summit.

Depending on the load, it takes 5 - 7 large 100+ ton engines to pull a train with 100 cars up this 2.2 percent Cajon Pass grade, each generating 5,000 to 6,000 horsepower. The trains are over a mile long and weigh thousands of tons! This area is along the San Andreas Fault. One track has a section with a 3 percent grade which is the limit for long freight trains. Numerous very long freight trains with 120 cars or more go over Cajon Pass each day. Some trains have 7 large engines, 5 in front and 2 at the rear. With a conservative estimate of 5,000 horsepower per engine, each train generates about 35,000 hp. With engines that weigh well over 100 tons each and freight cars with load capacities of over 100 tons, the trains have a potential total weight of almost 11,000 tons. I doubt if 35,000 horses could pull this load up the Cajon Pass grade! [Note: The GE AC6000CW 6 axle locomotive generates 6,000 hp and weighs about 200 tons (432,000 pounds). One Internet site compares this weight with 108 adult male hippos each weighing 4,000 lbs! I suppose you could also use rhinos or elephants for interesting weight comparisons.]