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Tehachapi Loop, Tehachapi

#1 of 13 in Things to do in Tehachapi
Must see · Historic Site · Tourist Spot
The Tehachapi Loop is a 3,779 feet (0.72 mi; 1.15 km) long spiral, or helix, on the Union Pacific Railroad Mojave Subdivision 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.

Rising at a steady two percent grade, the track gains 77 feet (23 m) in elevation making a 1,210-foot (370 m) diameter circle in the Loop. Any train at least as long as the loop 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.

The line averages approximately 36 freight trains each day; passenger services such as Amtrak's San Joaquin are normally banned from using the loop. Due to its frequent trains and scenic setting, the Tehachapi Loop is popular with railfans. In 1998 it was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is designated as California Historical Landmark #508.
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Tehachapi Loop reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
229 reviews
  • Followed Google maps to loop, and ended up in the middle of loop after crossing train tracks, not what you want to do. We got out of there before any trains showed up. Go to the National Park site...  more »
  • This was an awesome experience to watch a long train make the loop and go under itself using a tunnel and coming out the other end while it was still passing by us at the observation area. Cool...  more »
  • One of my absolute favorite places from my childhood. Strange to think that 2 decades ago you could walk up to the tracks without worry, now its all fenced off. Still a great place to go and watch trains, just from the hill above. I guess I was a kid at the right time!
  • Of you like trains, you will like this place. Civil engineering masterpiece. Over 100 trains per day go through this pass.

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