|RAILFANNING AT TEHACHAPI LOOP
About a mile above the loop, we found a train waiting at a siding, and soon it headed
down-hill for the Loop. Charlotte was waving and the engineer was blasting away at his
We raced a half mile down the road and caught this view of the train entering Tunnel 10.
We knew he would be descending the Loop in a few minutes. We raced down the winding
road to set up for the next photo. Here the lead engines have exited the tunnel while the rear
helpers are above them, with the train between them long enough to cross over itself.
After it exits the loop tunnel, the train winds around a horseshoe and then approaches
our next vantage point. Another railfan was there and warned us to watch out for
rattle-snakes, so we called this place Rattlesnake Point. But I didn't see a single snake!
Back in the car, past Keene, north on Route 58, 2 miles down Bealeville Road, and a left
after the underpass got us to a nice vantage point for Tunnel No. 1, a short tunnel in the
middle of a horseshoe curve. When the train came out of the tunnel, my camera batteries
were dead, so I quickly changed the batteries so at least I could photograph the back of the
The train winds down a couple of curves and heads for the big horseshoe at Caliente.
Beyond Caliente, the train enters a valley by way of an S curve. It happens that we can
photograph the train from a spot just a quarter mile from the spot above. The train will
soon be on flat level track headed for Bakersfield, and we will head back to the Loop.
Tehachapi Loop is legendary among railfans, for it's the only main line in the country where a
train can loop over itself. Also traffic is relatively heavy and it's interesting scenery. Thanks to
good maps and a bit of driving around, we found a number of good vantage points for watching
Just for fun, let's follow a train down the hill.