As I mentioned earlier, we love the Tehachapi Mountains and driving Hwy 58 over the Tehachapi pass. We have driven over the pass daylight and dark, summer and winter. We are spellbound every time.
We have stopped at the town of Tehachapi at Flying J and Love's a few times but we had never explored the town or the area. This trip to California, we took a few days to change that.
We knew the train track that runs alongside 58 was busy. There is almost always a train along the route at some point as we drive along. We did not know the importance and historical significance of the tracks.
The train route that connects Southern California with the rest of the US runs through Tehachapi. Tehachapi pass is at 4000' elevation and Bakersfield to the west is something like 1000'. Regular railroads can not climb steep hills so the tracks that were built across these mountains were engineering marvels in the 1870s and still are today.
The 78 miles between Tehachapi and Bakersfield has 18 tunnels, 10 bridges and a tremendous loop that gains/loses 77' of elevation depending on direction. Long trains actually cross over themselves when going around the loop. It is a sight to behold and we did just that. We watched a few trains pass and videoed one of them from start to finish.
I have it running just a little faster than normal speed through the magic of video editing. I did that to make the video a little shorter. The train loop is fascinating to me.
Tehachapi also has a train museum that is small, but cool. It is in the old depot.
Southern Pacific Railroad had concrete phone booths along the line. Each booth had a phone with a wood encased telephone, a hand cranked generator and a push to talk button.
This is a map of the train loop west of town. This was in the museum.
This is the loop on Google Maps and I traced the loop in red.
We parked in the only suitable RV park in town. It is part of the airport. This airport offers glider flights and we have enjoyed watching the planes take off towing the gliders. I posted a four minute video of that Tuesday.
We drove all over the hills and back roads around town, marveling at the huge windmills and we ate some good food. All around, Tehachapi is a nice little city.
We hope to spend more time here in the future. Thank you for spending a little time with us.