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Tehachapi Loop, Tehachapi
(4.6/5 based on 130+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It's not really a destination unto itself, but I think it's cool. An engineering marvel and you'll see a train go through if you wait long enough. It's a busy track so you're probably sure to see one ...  more »
  • A bit tricky to park, it is just a cut off on the road, but worth it. The view is spectacular, and the tablets describing the location are informative. It is definitely worth the trip if in the area. 
  • Oh my word if you ever get a chance to see this do so, my husband loves trains and he so wanted to do this and see a train on the loop, it was truly amazing, the train foes a full 360 deg loop passing...  more »
Google
  • Interesting historical landmark! It is a "must see " if you like to watch trains. I wish there are some park bench on top of the hill. (35.196972, -118.532469 Google map GPS coordinates)That is the best spot to watch loop and trains. It can be a very good vista point.
  • Really cool place to come and watch trains. Mondays seem to be a bit slower than the rest of the week. Watch out for rattlesnakes, saw 3 during our 2 days there.
  • Amazing to see what ingenuity and back-breaking work combined to produce! You may have to wait for a train but it is worth it! Beautiful area as well any time of the year.
  • Watched three trains pass through here in the span of an hour with one sitting on the siding going down hill as one passed going uphill. Absolutely fantastic feat of engineering (no pun intended).
  • Simply fascinating to watch the spectacle of an engineering feet more than 100 years old. We arrived just as the train was starting it's ascend and truthfully my mind was blown --seeing the front of the train on top of the back of the train...a must go see!