"Trainspotting - The Loop of Tehachapi" Top 5 Page for this destination Tehachapi by gubbi1

Tehachapi Travel Guide: 112 reviews and 429 photos

The train loop of Tehachapi is one of Californias Historical Landmarks. Still in use, any friend of trains will have fun here at this spot. Located very close to the Highway 58 it is an ideal place to stop when heading from the San Francisco area towards Las Vegas.
According to the information plate at a good overlook (already at the highway you will be noticed when to leave it) the rails up towards the Tehachapi Pass have an average gradient of 2.2% over a length of 28 miles. Even you will realize this during your trip in the car. The highway will pass along the railway.
If you are lucky, you will be able to see a train struggeling with the steep rail track. During my half hour visit, there were even two trains. Thanks to a kind couple, with which I came into conversation, I was not leaving too early. Cause the second train completely filled the loop.

The sign says:
"National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line
Constructed 1874 - 1876 Commemorated October 1998
In front of you is the world famous Thachapi Loop which is about halfway upgrade to the Tehachapi Pass. This steep line averages 2.2% in gradient in its 28 miles of length. This feat of civil engineering genius was the crowning achievment of civil engineer William Hood of the Southern Pacific Railway Company. It is one of the seven wonders of the railroad world.

The Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line was cut through solid and decomposed granite by up to 3000 Chinese laborers from Canton China. They used picks, shovels, horse drawn carts and blasting powder. This line, which climbs out of the San Joaquin Valley and through the Tehachapi Mountains had 18 tunnels, 10 bridges and numerous water towers for the old steam locomotives. It was completed in less than 2 years time under the leadership of civil engineer J. B. Harris, Chief of Construction , a remarkable feat.

This line was part of the last and final link of the first railroad line connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles and the State of California.

The single track line, essentially unchanged, is still in constant use today, 122 years after its completion. It passes an average of 36 freight trains each day. This attests to the superior job of both engineering and construction done by the two civil engineers and the Chinese laborers. This plaque is dedicated to them

History & Heritage Committee
Los Angeles Section and Southern San Joaquin Branch
American Society of Civil Engineers"

The 'empty' loop, in the middle of the loop you can see the track appearing out of the ground.

If you are interested in trains, have a look at my Caliente-page! You will like it!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Interesting, historically important
  • In a nutshell:A must for train fans
  • Last visit to Tehachapi: Sep 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (1)

Comments (2)

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    I was just at the Tehachapi Loop and it is hard to see the tracks for the forest. lol

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 PM

    Good tip! Too bad you didn't have more time to explore Tehachapi. Lots to see and do here! Happy Trails!


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