Tehachapi Pass...One of the most popular railfan destinations in the United States, arguably in the world, is the Tehachapi Loop in Southern California. Located in the Tehachapi Mountain range, this line is the gateway for the San Joaquin Valley to the Mojave Desert and points east. Built in 1876 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, the helix design help create a more gentle grade during the climb over the mountain. The loop helps trains gain 77 feet in elevation within 4,000 ft.
Today, the loop has seen some changes from its Southern Pacific days. The siding track of Walong, named after after Southern Pacific District Roadmaster W. A. Long, has now been double track to connect Walong and Marcel sidings because of increase traffic. There has also been a white cross added to the top of the loop for the two Southern Pacific employees killed on May 12, 1989 in a derailment in San Bernardino, CA.
On a windy, yet unusually warm January day, a BNSF trackage right train slowly battle the 2% grade around the loop as four GE motors roar with power; echoing throughout the valley. A common sound for these hills. Soon, this train will crest the summit, as it will head to Barstow and finally its final destination of Alliance, TX.