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Tehachapi Loop, Tehachapi

4.6
The Tehachapi Loop is a 0.73mi long spiral, or helix, on the Union Pacific Railroad line through Tehachapi Pass, of the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County, south-central California. The line connects Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley to Mojave in the Mojave Desert. The line, which sees an average of almost 40 trains each day, is one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world.With its frequent trains and spectacular scenery, the Loop is one of the prime railfan areas in the country. In 1998, the Loop was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is now California Historical Landmark #508.HistoryOne of the engineering feats of its day, the Loop was built by Southern Pacific Railroad to ease the grade over Tehachapi Pass. Construction began in 1874, and the line opened in 1876. Contributors to the project's construction include Arthur De Wint Foote and the project's chief engineer, William Hood.Rising at a steady 2% grade, the track gains in elevation in the Loop. A train more than long passes over itself going around the loop. At the bottom of the loop, the track passes through Tunnel 9, the ninth tunnel built as the railroad worked from Bakersfield.
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Tehachapi Loop Reviews
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4.7
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  • We parked on the side of the road to wait for the train to come thru. Although it was a bit of a wait, it was well worth it. So much fun to see this wonder of the train world.  more »
  • My daughter’s family and I drove to Tehachapi for a day visit. I had found the ‘loop’ on Trip Advisor and was pretty excited to show the grandkids. We drove up the expressway as the Google Maps and Tr...  more »
  • Seeing a long train not just loop under itself but also at the same time going past itself in the opposite direction transfixes you. There are no facilities here except a parking lay-by big enough for...  more »
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  • This place is a must-see. It's an engineering marvel. It's one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world. An average of 40 trains per day pass over itself in The Loop. It is designated California Historical Landmark #508. It took two years to build, opening in 1876. Many people wonder why this was built...well, a train can't go up a hill that is more than a 3% grade. The Tehachapi's are a beautiful mountain range, with an elevation of 4000 feet at the peak of Highway 58. Bakersfield is at 400 feet in elevation. The other end of the tracks is at 2500 feet in Mojave, CA in the Mojave Desert. So engineers came up with a 2% grade around a hill, and putting in a tunnel where it loops around itself as the train gains elevation to make it through the mountain pass. The train also goes through a series of nine tunnels. What is interesting to see are the double-decked train cars. You'll see three or four engines to pull, sometimes two or three in the middle as helpers, and three or four at the end to help push. These are for fully loaded train cars. When returning train cars that are empty, they don't need as many engines. Because the train line is so busy, trains line up to wait to go through the Loop. For this reason, unfortunately, there are no passenger trains going through The Loop.
  • The Tehachapi loop is an engineering marvel. It is recognized as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and a California Historical Landmark. Built in 1874-1876 it solved the problem of getting trains from the central valley up the hill to Tehachapi. To visit the Loop and See / read the historical plaques take the Keene off ramp and follow the Signs. There are up to 400 trains a day using the loop, so you probably won't have to wait long to see the trains in action as the train actually can pass over itself as it makes the loop. For train fanciers it is a must see, for engineers it is a must marvel. and for the rest of us it is a wonderful curiosity to ponder. Remember There is also a train museum in Tehachapi and the Cesar Chavez memorial is also near the Loop turn off at Keene
  • The Brusio Viaduct in Switzerland is better. That train goes up a 7 percent slope with no bank engines, whereas these trains here go up a 3 percent with at least 3 bank engines on each train. Plus, the trains of Rhatische Bahn don't have tons of graffiti like these trains.
  • I have visited here many times and if you are into train watching then this is the place for you. You have both the Union Pacific and Burlington Sante Fe Railways traversing this main line. There are no public facilities here.
  • Worldz wndrful rlwy rod...¥¥¤£

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