An Afternoon with Chard Walker
By Santiago Homsi Jr.
On February 20, 2006 a group of friends got a once in a life time chance to meet the legendary Chard Walker at his home in Hesperia. Chard served as an Agent for the Santa Fe at Cajon Summit from 1953 to its close in 1968 with the advent of CTC. Chard arrived on the scene during one of the greatest transition periods in railroad history when steam would disappear from main line railroads to the new Diesel era. During his many years as agent he witness rare Southern Pacific Daylight trains, Cab Forwards, propane fired turbine Union Pacific trains, early U25B demonstrators and much more. All the while he was able to find a wife in a remote town and have two daughters that group up in Cajon Summit. He also got to witness alignments of the tracks including the Summit alignment that forever changed how Summit changed.
After meeting Ed, Gary and Tom we head up Power line road, the original road to summit of highway 15 before route 66 was paved. We meet Chard at a restaurant in Hesperia next to the BNSF main tracks. Chard now in his middle 80’s was a very sharp mind and not affected by time. He was able to recall trains and train numbers that he had seen back in the 50’s.