Not your typical Amtrak detour! Devoid of regularly scheduled passenger traffic since the start of Amtrak in 1971 the rails over Tehachapi Pass have hosted several Amtrak detours over the years, most notably the many Coast Starlight detours run between 2008-2014. However on Wednesday August 17th, 2016 Amtrak's westbound Southwest Chief, train #3, paid a visit to Mojave at the base of the Tehachapi Range. With the train's normal route over Cajon Pass closed due to the 'Blue Cut Wildfire' Amtrak 3 departed its normal route at Barstow, CA using BNSF's, former Santa Fe, Mojave Subdivision between Barstow and Mojave. With the wye move complete Amtrak's detouring Southwest Chief now faces compass south and with a signal out the bottom end of Union Pacific's Mojave Yard the Chief prepares to join UP's Mojave Subdivision for the run to Palmdale, CA. At Palmdale the Chief will join Metrolink's Valley Subdivision, also known as the Antelope Valley Line, for the run into Los Angeles.
California-bound rail travelers from the east have three choices to reach the Golden State: California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle. A look back through the years including the now-defunct Desert Wind