In the 1880s, the Santa Fe reached Los Angeles by building a line through Cajon Pass over the mountains that separate Barstow from San Bernardino and Los Angeles. The pass actually separates the San Gabriel Mountains on the northwest from the San Bernardino Mountains on the southeast.
The text on the back of this Fred Harvey postcard exclaims that it takes two powerful locomotives to pull a train over the pass, which is nothing to brag about. The first locomotive is Pacific (4-6-2) number 1374, which was built in 1912. The second one is a 4-8-2 Mountain, number 3748, which was built in 1918. Santa Fe received its first 4-8-4 Northern locomotives in 1927, which makes me suspect this postcard is based on a photo taken between 1918 and 1927.
This postcard is based on a photo taken from the same location as the one above. The two Diesel locomotives are able to pull an eight-car lightweight train over the grade without a helper.
Here a Santa Fe streamliner is at the summit of Cajon Pass. The crude hand of the colorist makes the locomotives in these cards look like toys. At least the colorist remembered to put a red stripe on the second locomotive, unlike the previous card.
This card supposedly shows the streamliner (again sans red stripe on the B locomotive) descending the pass. But the large cut in the background looks suspiciously like the cut shown on both of the first two cards. All of these hand-colored streamliner cards probably date to the 1930s.
Where the hand-colored cards showed two Diesel locomotives per train, these real color photos shows four. Were the trains longer or did they just need more help to get over the pass than shown in the previous cards?