Aerial photo of Tehachapi Loop (south at top)
|Railway(s)||Union Pacific Railroad/BNSF|
The Tehachapi Loop is a .73-mile (1.17 km) 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 Loop became the property of the Union Pacific in 1996, when it absorbed the Southern Pacific. Trains of the BNSF Railway also use the loop under trackage rights. Today, the railway line, with almost 40 daily trains on average, is one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world.
Restricted use 
As of 2012, Union Pacific bars passenger trains from the line, which is preventing Amtrak's San Joaquin train from serving Los Angeles. One exception is the Coast Starlight, which uses the line as a detour if its normal route is closed.
On the loop the track passes over itself, lessening the grade. The loop gains 77 feet (23 m) in elevation as the track climbs at a steady 2% grade. A train more than 4,000 feet (1,200 m) long thus passes over itself going around the loop.
Walong siding 
The siding on the loop is known as Walong, named in honor of Southern Pacific District Roadmaster W. A. Long. At the bottom of the loop the track passes through Tunnel 9, the ninth tunnel built as the railroad worked from Bakersfield.
The Cross at the Loop 
A large white cross has been placed in the center of the loop, at the peak of the hill. Known as "The Cross at the Loop", it is in memory of two Southern Pacific Railroad employees who were killed in a train derailment on May 12, 1989 in San Bernardino, California.
Railfan interest 
The Loop is one of the prime railfan areas in the country with its frequent trains and spectacular scenery. A railroad museum stands in the nearby town of Tehachapi. In 1998 the Loop was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is now California Historical Landmark #508.
- Tehachapi_online - Tehachapi Loop history. accessed 12.1.2011
- Rickard, Thomas Arthur (1922). Interviews with Mining Engineers. San Francisco: Mining and Scientific Press. p. 172. OCLC 2664362.
- "Passenger trains will be diverted over Tehachapi Loop". Tehachapi News. March 1, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- Ande, Howard (2010). "Tehachapi in the 21st Century". NRHS Bulletin (National Railway Historical Society) 75 (Spring 2010): 4–21.
- Jenkins, Jim C. and Jenkins, Ruby Johnson (1995). Exploring the Southern Sierra, West Side. Wilderness Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-89997-181-4.
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names. Quill Driver Books. p. 1124. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
- "Tehachapi Loop". Office of Historical Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tehachapi Loop|
- Trainweb.org: Tehachapi Loop - Map and Railfan Info
- Tehachapi Loop - A Brief History
- Tehachapi Loop Photos
- Photo Gallery of Tehachapi Loop shots
- HO Scale Model at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum
- Stay In The Loop - Tehachapi News & Entertainment
- Aerial video of BNSF train traversing Tehachapi Loop
See also 
- Spiral (railway) for many other loops.