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Updated: September 1, 2015

Tehachapi Photos by Ryan Slaton
2013 - 2014 - 2015
I am very pleased to show some exclusive photos of Ryan Slaton (USA)
A big thank you for sharing these excellent pictures with us.
Note: The copyright belongs to this gentleman. Do not use any photos without written permission.
Abbreviations found on this page: EB = East Bound, NB = North Bound, SB = South Bound, WB = West Bound, MP = Mile Post,
MT-1 = BNSF Main Track 1, MT-2 = BNSF Main Track 2, MT-3 = BNSF Main Track 3, UPT = UP Track (Colton-Palmdale Cutoff),
DPU = Distributed Power Unit (Helpers), EOT = End of Train, DBS = Double Stack Train, TOFC = Trailer on Flat Car (Piggy Back)

 For bigger size photos - please click on the 4-digit number below each photo (the first letters specify the photographer).

November 16, 2013 - Tehachapi Pass - Caliente

After looking at a post of a Santa Fe publicity photo taken at Caliente over on the Nostalgia and History board this evening, it had me looking through some of my Caliente shots from late last year. The section of UP's Mojave Subdivision between Ilmon and Cliff is personally my favorite section of the Mountain, although I really enjoy all of it quite honestly, however when I'm up for the day with no other big plans chances are I can be found around Caliente. Such was the case back on 11/16/2013 as I spent the entire day at Caliente, here are a few shots from that day...

RS 11/16/13 UP 5436 EB Caliente Curve - 4253 RS 11/16/13 Same Train going uphill - 4254 RS 11/16/13 BNSF 4745 EB - 4255

# 4253: After meeting a pair of westbound (northbound) BNSF trains at Caliente, UP 5436 is digging into the grade as it rounds the Caliente horseshoe curve on the point of the QRVWCX-15. UP 5436 has command of still fairly clean C45AH 'Heavies' 8094 and 8098.
# 4254: Later in the afternoon UP 5457-5373-5468 have empty cement hoppers bound for Mojave on the drawbar as they start up the top leg of the Caliente horseshoe, just prior to crossing Tehachapi Creek/Bealville Rd. £
# 4255: The Caliente Valley is rocking to the beat of BNSF motors 4745-767-4350-648 as they lead a lengthy double stack train up the top leg of the Caliente horseshoe and towards tunnel 1. It is truly a sight to watch a train leave Caliente and work its way up to Cliff.

RS 11/16/13 UP 8052 WB Caliente - 4256 RS 11/16/13 BNSF 7087 EB to Caliente - 4257 RS 11/16/13 UP 8093 EB on Loop - 4258

# 4256: About an hour later UP's class 'Heavy' C45AH 8052 is drifting through Caliente with motors 8105-5401-8085-5475 and the MWCRVC-16 pushing against the drawbar. The head-end of the train is turning away from 'downtown' Caliente to head for the twisting confines of the Caliente Creek narrows while the train's rear DPU, whose face is illuminated by the sun, is still up on the top leg of the horseshoe.
# 4257: As the day wore on the traffic stayed strong and a little while after the UP 8052 disappeared from view BNSF ES44C4 7087 came along with a eastbound (southbound) intermodal train. Leaving the Caliente Creek narrows and stretched out along the Mojave Subdivision behind BNSF 7087-5478-6978-6940 the intermodal train will soon be in 'downtown' Caliente where it will begin yet another impressive battle up to Cliff.
# 4258: Some horses down on the Loop Ranch pause to watch the rumble and roar of UP's MFRWC as it rounds the helix known the world ovr (by railfans anyway) as the Tehachapi Loop. A pair of C45AH 'heavy' GEVOs bracket a pair of EMD SD70 products.

 below 2014 Photos

March 28, 2014 - Tehachapi Pass

On Friday March 28th, 2014 Norfolk Southern's original 'Norfolk Southern Railway' heritage unit made an appearance on the Tehachapi Pass as a trailing motor on the Q STOCHI. After getting home Friday evening I managed to post a few shots of the Q STOCHI...(,3364318 )... and as promised here are a few more from that afternoon. With high clouds hanging around the Antelope Valley Friday afternoon when I left for Tehachapi I was not to optimistic that the day would result in any good shots...I was happily proven wrong as it turned out to be a great day up on the mountain. RS

RS 3/28/14 BNSF 976 EB Bealville - 4282 RS 3/28/14 UP 5259 EB before Tunnel 2 - 4283 RS 3/28/14 BNSF 762 EB before Tunnel 2 - 4284

# 4282: Upon arriving at Caliente work windows were still being released and trains down in Bakersfield were being readied to go. After waiting around Caliente for a half hour I relocated up towards Tunnel 2...about the same time the first BNSF train highballed Kern Junction. I did some light hiking above Tunnel 2 looking for a slightly different angle on the situation but as the sun moved to the west I was loosing any decent angle I had. Just before returning to Tunnel 2 the sounds of a working eastbound (southbound) could be heard echoing throughout the Caliente Valley so I paused to capture a eastbound BNSF intermodal behind BNSF 976-7258-669-5221 working up the western slope near the bottom end of Bealville.
# 4283: Returning to Tunnel 2 I met up with several Northern California railfans as well as a local friend who were out in search of the NS heritage unit as well. We were treated to 3 eastbound (southbound) Union Pacific trains at Tunnel 2 before the NS heritage unit came along. Digging into the grade just below Tunnel 2 UP 5259-5266-4220 work a El Paso bound auto reposition train towards an awaiting red signal at Bealville.
# 4284: The red signal encountered by the UP autos at Bealville soon changed and after allowing some space between it and the train ahead UP 5259 began up the mountain again. Soon after BNSF 762 was given a signal to proceed out of Caliente and up the mountain behind the UP 5259. Working up the grade on a yellow BNSF 762-NS 8114-CN 5675 work the Q STOCHI up Tehachapi's western slope just prior to entering Tunnel 2.

RS 3/28/14 NS 8114 (Heritage Loco) - 4285 RS 3/28/14 BNSF 762 EB at Bealville - 4286 RS 3/28/14 BNSF 6801 WB on Loop - 4287

# 4285: No doubt in need of a trip through the wash rack NS 8114 was still sharp looking and a very welcome sight to be had out west. NS 8114 becoming the 4th NS heritage unit to have crossed the Tehachapi Pass.
# 4286: The Q STOCHI would pause at Bealville to allow some space to build up between it and UP 5259 ahead of it. Against the late afternoon sun BNSF 762 strains against the grade getting its train rolling as it heels to the curve that swings trains out of Bealville and into Tunnel 3.
# 4287: The eastbound parade all paused filling most of the sidings between Marcel and Caliente with BNSF 762 taking the siding at Rowen. Soon the reason for the halt came into view as a pair of westbounds (northbounds); one BNSF and one UP were released from Cable to head down grade. First up was BNSF 6801 west which is seen conforming to the trademark curves of Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision at Walong, better known as the Tehachapi Loop. The head end power has just emerged from Tunnel 9 and is swinging back towards the east with the rear of its train up above near the top end of Walong.

RS 3/28/14 BNSF 6801 WB at Woodford - 4288 RS 3/28/14 BNSF 762 EB at Keene - 4290 RS 3/28/14 Same Train at Woodford - 4291

# 4288: As the shadows grow longer the westbound (northbound) BNSF intermodal train entrusted to BNSF GE's 6801-4432-7047-7553 take in the remaining afternoon light as they drift passed the UP 5259...holding the siding at Woodford.
# 4290: In the fading afternoon light BNSF 762 works out of Rowen and towards the bottom end of Woodford with its train conforming to the Woodford horseshoe curve.
# 4291: With only a few minutes of sunlight remaining the unmistakable roar of a eastbound fills the cool mountain air as BNSF 762-NS 8114-CN 5675 fight against gravity to lift the Q STOCHI into Woodford. With its train wrapped around the snaking curves of the Mojave Subdivision down towards Rowen the sun would set on the Mojave Sub before the train's rear DPUs made it to Woodford.
Cutting it close but I'll take it :-)


May 17, 2014 - Tehachapi Pass

So far this year I have made relatively few trips up to Tehachapi but when I had a full day off yesterday (Saturday May 17th) I decided to take advantage of it and made my way up to Tehachapi. Between 0730-1730 I photographed 18 trains...14 of which were BNSF...and 9 of those had foreign power and/or warbonnets in the consist which added some nice color to the day. Not going to share everything from yesterday but here is a summary of the day, which turned out to be a great day on Tehachapi.

RS 5/17/14 UP 3918 EB Tunnel 15 - 4244 RS 5/17/14 BNSF 4356 EB - 4245 RS 5/17/14 BNSF 7180 WB at Cable - 4246

# 4244: I started off the morning just before 0700 doing a hike I have been wanting to try for some time. My first train of the morning was UP's hotshot ZBRLC-15 led by SD70M 3918. UP 3918 has just burst out of the east portal of Tunnel 15 high above the Tehachapi Creek.
# 4245: Following a few minutes behind the UP Z was a southbound BNSF double stack train running 2x2. Working hard up the grade just below the start of double track at Cable BNSF 4356-6660 are just out of Tunnel 17 with their train strung out through Tunnels 16, 15, and 14.
# 4246: After the two southbounds cleared dispatcher 54 lined two northbounds down the hill at Cable. The second of the two was led by BNSF 7180-6683-761. Conforming to the curves at Cable the head end of the 7180 rattles across the 6th crossing of Tehachapi Creek just below the switch at Cable.

RS 5/17/14 BNSF 6899 EB at Marcel - 4247 RS 5/17/14 BNSF 7246 EB at Walong - 4248 RS 5/17/14 BNSF 4899 EB atSandcut - 4249

# 4247: Working out of Tunnel 10 and up towards Marcel this manifest had BNSF 6599-BNSF 5473-KCS 3910-BNSF 162-BNSF 7124-NS 7617-BNSF 4800 up front.
# 4248: As I pushed west I came across a short BNSF manifest rounding the Tehachapi Loop at Walong behind BNSF 7246-BNSF 1121-CSXT 4531.
# 4249: Later in the morning as high sun began to take hold BNSF 4899-CP 9512-CP 8852 roars over the top of the Sandcut grade with a vehicle train. The rear face of UP 5464 can be seen rounding the curve on the rear of UP's MWCRV.

RS 5/17/14 BNSF 4806 WB at Sandcut - 4250 RS 5/17/14 BNSF 4899 EB at Maecel - 4251 RS 5/17/14 BNSF 4941 WB at Marcel - 4252

# 4250: Following three other westbounds (northbounds) BNSF 4806-BNSF 1000-CEFX 6016-BNSF 1019 work out of Bena and into Sandcut.
# 4251: After lunch I again caught up with BNSF 4899-CP 9512-CP 8852 working up Tehachapi's western slope just above Marcel.
# 4252: Taken from the top of 'Comb's Hill' BNSF 4941-CIT 6004-BNSF 5438-BNSF 5129 drift down grade near the bottom end of Marcel.


June 21, 2014 - Tehachapi Pass
Ryan Slaton is famous for his great images from high above.
It has been a couple weeks now since I have done a weekly photo email, so here is the 1st day of Summer report for this weeks photo set.
With yesterday being the first day of Summer I decided I would head up to Tehachapi. My original game plan was to hike up onto a hill above the east end of the Caliente creek narrows, one that I had hiked up last year, to retry a shot of a EB working out of the narrows. However as I was coming up on the Keene exit I began to think of another hike I have wanted to try for awhile, one that would benefit from the sun being as far to the north as its going to get. So I made a last minute change in plans and headed for Rowen. From Rowen I headed towards Rowen 'butte' located north of the Mojave Subdivision and started up to the top. I will have to say this was probably the toughest hike I have ever done on Tehachapi. The total distance traveled was not the issue but rather the fact that it seemed I was do some 'vertical' hiking as I got close to the top. But make it to the top I did....and the view was well worth the price of admission! From the top you could see portions of Marcel and Walong, all of Woodford, Rowen, and down to Cliff. A portion of Caliente was also viewable and yes, you could also see Bakersfield over the mountain top. It turned into a fairly busy morning and there was hardly a time that I didn't have at least one train in my view.
Thanks for looking,  ~Ryan
RS 6/21/14 Rowen - 4068 RS 6/21/14 Keene - 4069 RS 6/21/14 Keene - 4070
# 4068: I wasn't quite to the top when I noticed a UP eastbound working up the mountain at Cliff. So I took a much needed pause to grab a shot of Gatorade and get the camera out. Stretched out between switches at Rowen UP 8104 is the lead motor on the eastbound MFRWC-20.
# 4069: After the MFRWC cleared the west end of Woodford the dispatcher lined BNSF 7103 west, a loaded grain train running 4x3x2, out of the siding and down the mountain. Its head end has just rolled off the Woodford horseshoe curve while its train is strung around the horseshoe and still rolling out from under the CA58 overpass.
# 4070: A brief lull came over the portion of the mountain I could see but that soon changed as a UP cement train came into view at Marcel...with a BNSF eastbound coming into view down at Cliff. BNSF 7772 east held the siding at Rowen for the westbound UP cement train and was then lined out of Rowen. As BNSF 7772 works up the bottom leg of the Woodford horseshoe in the foreground BNSF's STOBAR manifest can be seen drifting down grade on the siding at Woodford.
RS 6/21/14 Cliff - 4071 RS 6/21/14 Rowen - 4072 RS 6/22/14 Warren - 4073
# 4071: After the 7772 cleared Woodford the STOBAR behind BNSF 8058 was lined down to Rowen where it would meet the next eastbound. Soon that eastbound appeared in the form of BNSF 8234. The head end of 8234 has just emerged from the rock cut east of Tunnel 8 with its train of stacks/mech. reefers/trailers/auto racks strung out through Tunnels 8 and 7 with the rear end just above Cliff siding. Just above the rear of the train and down in the valley below sits Caliente.
# 4072: What was once BNSF's Z FRSCHI (now I believe its the Q RICWSP) led my clean C4 8234 prepares to meet the STOBAR with equally clean C4 8058 on the point at the west end of Rowen. The 8234's train still up on the Cliff side between Tunnels 8 and 7. Above the mountain side in the upper left corner sits Bakersfield.....way, way down below.
                   # 4073: This morning I made another brief Tehachapi trip, this time however I stayed much closer to sea level ;-) After spending the morning sitting at the Loop overlook I decided to follow the BNSF 5215 east back home, which had a CN cowl unit trailing in the consist. This was my first time up on the 'morning' hill at Warren since the large wind turbines were put in. After a short wait BNSF 5215-4953-8022-CN 5543-BNSF 7086 came along which brought the weekends railfanning adventures to an end. Not exactly sure what the CN 5543 is, a SD50F or SD60F (???), will have to look it up. What ever it is, it has been a long time since I have seen one down here!


July 2, 2014 - The Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Blue Unit Circus train on Tehachapi
Over the last 2-3 years I have not made much of an effort to go out and photograph the passage of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus train here in Southern California, usually only getting trackside to catch it en route to Los Angeles from Fresno when it passes through the AV in the afternoon. It is an interesting train to see to be sure but normally it seems that our schedules aren't coordinated to allow for me to catch it a few times up on Tehachapi. Well yesterday afternoon that changed, just after getting out of work I checked and found the train was just departing Phelan, CA to make the High Desert dash over to Palmdale en route to Fresno, CA from Phoenix, AZ. After getting a few things done at home I grabbed my camera and headed out the door at 1400. I caught up with the RBBX-BU at Oban where it was holding the main to meet a eastbound Roseville-West Colton manifest. I got out ahead of him and set up on a hill side between Ansel and Fleta, roughly MP 385, where I would wait for the train. It was a lovely 104 degrees in the High Desert yesterday but thankfully there was a nice breeze blowing to keep things from getting to warm. After getting the Circus south of Mojave I followed it up and over the mountain down to Caliente, where I ended the day. It was nice to finally photograph the train in some nice afternoon light all the way over Tehachapi.
I believe they were a 'little' behind schedule because after Oban they had a green light just damn near all the way over the mountain. Even made a nicely executed rolling meet with a BNSF Q train at Bealville, neither had to stop and everyone just kept rolling along nicely :-)
Also, I am trying something a little different. I know that the 1020x680 resized image isn't the best for really getting in to see details for those of you who care to do so. The two circus train shots are sized down to 1800x1200 so they are still cut down by more than half but gives the option of seeing the shots a little better. Just click on the photo # above.
RS 7/02/14 UP 5117 w/Circus Train at MP 386 (Mojave Sub) - 4080
RS 7/02/14 UP 5117 w/Circus Train at Caliente - 4081 RS 7/02/14 UP 5117 w/Circus Train at Cable - 4082
# 4080: Amid the vast High Desert UP 5117 works the westbound Circus away from Ansel and towards Fleta, passing MP 386 on the Mojave Sub. # 4081: Caliente, which was living up to its name, would be my final destination of the day. I hiked up onto a hill side overlooking the entrance to the Caliente Creek Narrows and took cover under a near by tree until the Circus train came along. With its train strung out along the Mojave Sub back into 'downtown' Caliente UP 5117-7963-5188 lead their train into the narrows. #4082: Nice view at Cable as the Circus Train just left the Town of Tehachapi (above is Hwy 58)  -   Thanks for looking,  ~Ryan


August 31, 2014 - UP 2010 and UP 7400 C45ACCTE Locos at Ilmon and Rosamond

Yesterday morning I received word from a friend that two of Union Pacific's commemorative C45ACCTEs would be together on the MFRWC-30, a Fresno, CA to West Colton, CA manifest. UP 2010 (Boy Scouts of America) would be the lead motor, while UP 7400 (Susan G. Komen/Pink Ribbon) would be trailing. So with this information in mind I figured a trip up to Tehachapi was in order and I had an idea of where I wanted to spend the morning. High winds had a few southbounds holding on the western slope early on but soon those restrictions (which were on the eastern slope between Mojave and Tehachapi Summit) were lifted and traffic was very respectable for the rest of the morning. Getting down to Ilmon around 0800 I hiked up onto a hill side that I had tried out this time last year. Last year I had overcast skies to deal with for most of the morning and a broken rail up on the mountain limited the number of trains being turned loose out of Bakersfield until the rail was fixed. Ironically there was a broken rail at Cliff this morning but fortunately it was on the main line between siding switches, allowing trains to run around the brake on the siding. So enough with the back story, here are a few photos from this morning...

RS 8/31/14 SP 187 (UP) at Ilmon - 4234 RS 8/31/14 Same consist - 4235 RS 8/31/14 BNSF 6777 SB at Ilmon - 4236

# 4234: Although I was after the UP 2010/7400/MFRWC the train of the day turned out to be my first northbound of the morning. After photographing a southbound UP baretable I noticed that a auto train was approaching the end of double track at Ilmon. As the train got closer I noticed that a old SP AC4400 was running point on this auto train and as it came closer still I began to see white numerals under the cab vs. a yellow 'patch' with red UP numbers. SP 187 had the auto train under its care as it leaves Ilmon, now on a brief section of single track that will take it down to Bena.
# 4235: This certainly wasn't the spot to be for a northbound but you've got to take what you can get and I was more than happy to see this old SP machine leading over the mountain.
# 4236: After the SP 187 cleared Bena, the gates were opened to southbounds and I had three back to back. The 3rd of 3 back to back trains was this BNSF manifest with BNSF 6777-BNSF 7056-NS 1114-NS 9442 roaring up the western slope of the Tehachapi grade towards Ilmon, crossing the Caliente creek.

RS 8/31/14 UP 2010 SB at Ilmon - 4237 RS 8/31/14 Same train - 4238 RS 8/31/14 UP 2010 at Rosamond - 4239

# 4237: UP 2010 received permission to leave Bakersfield about 1000 this morning but by then the light was starting to move on me. Still I waited it out and soon enough the MFRWC came along right around 1045 with the two commemorative GEVOs in the consist.
# 4238: Here is a broadside shot of the power as it crosses Caliente Creek and heads towards Ilmon, followed by the start of the Caliente Creek narrows. Consist was UP 2010-8068-5442-4980-7174-7400-2413.
After passing me and hiking back down to the car I was headed up the hill. Over the scanner I heard the BNSF 6777 call out they were stopped on the siding at Bealville as a work crew was heading up to Cliff to repair the broken rail. UP 2010 was informed that they were heading into the bottom end of Bealville and would hold behind the BNSF 6777. With this in mind and high sun already out I figured it was time to head home. I kept an ear out for the 2010 and just about 1440 this afternoon I heard the train hit the MP 377 detector north of Mojave. So I grabbed up the camera and got up to Rosamond where I started a brief chase back down to Lancaster. The UP 2010 was lined in and out of the siding at Oban to meet the northbound 'Lathrop' Z train, this worked out great as the train's slower speed allowed for a few photo opportunities.
# 4239: Rolling off Ansel hill and through Rosamond the MFRWC is headed for a meet with the northbound 'Lathrop' at Oban. The old Rosamond siding is in the foreground, a few years ago this was still in service and used to store cars but it has since been cut from the mains.

RS 8/31/14 A roster shot of UP 7400 as it sails through Rosamond. - 4240


September 25, 2014 - SP Patch AC4400 UP 6210 (ex. SP 116)

Getting out of work yesterday morning I had a tip from a friend that 'SPatch' AC4400 UP 6210 (ex-SP 116) was leading the IMQLTR-22 towards Tehachapi. With no other plans for the afternoon I ran home, grabbed the camera, and started for Tehachapi. To borrow a term from my friend Charles (cchan006 here on TO) I was looking to do some 'revenge railfanning' yesterday afternoon while chasing the UP 6210. For those who don't know Charles and 'revenge railfanning' it is basically making up for messing up a photo or chase and getting revenge on your own fail. A few weeks back I had hiked up onto a hill below Ilmon where I was waiting for a few southbound trains coming out of Bakersfield. While there I was surprised by the appearance of SP 187 which was leading a northbound auto repo train, there was no good shot of a northbound from where I was and being down at Ilmon there was no getting ahead of it for another shot on Tehachapi. So yesterday afternoon I was really looking to make up for missing a good shot of the SP 187, sure the AC4400 yesterday was patched but it was still great to see leading over Tehachapi.

RS 9/25/14 BNSF 4890 Mojave - 4208 RS 9/25/14 UP 6210 at Warren - 4209 RS 9/25/14 UP 6210 Tehachapi Summit - 4210

# 4208: Leaving Lancaster I caught up with the UP 6210 north between there and Oban siding. The 6210 was slowing in preparation for a meet with the southbound MFRWC manifest up at Ansel. This allowed for plenty of time to get out ahead of it and up towards Warren. While passing through Mojave a BNSF stack train was joining UP rails at South Mojave with a nice head-end consist which would make for a nice warm up train. I couldn't beat the BNSF train to the big curve at Warren so I hiked up this hill near MP 376 as the tracks curve out of the open desert and into the mountains. Pulling hard on the point are BNSF 4890-NS 9607-BNSF 250-BNSF 989.
# 4209: After the BNSF 4890 cleared I headed back to the big curve at Warren. Thinking I had more time to get up on top of 'afternoon hill' I decided to go for a slightly different angle on the big curve. As I was hiking up the hill I found that UP 6210 was a lot closer then I had first thought. Although I wasn't as high up as I wanted to be I was high enough to capture UP 6210-UP 4541 working the Mesquite, TX to Lathrop, CA container reposition move through the big curve at Warren.
# 4210: Next it was up to Tehachapi Summit.
After getting my photos at Tehachapi Summit I was ready to push on towards Cable. Just as I was entering downtown Tehachapi UP 6210 passed a southbound BNSF stack train which had new SD70ACe 8421 leading. BNSF SD70ACes are fairly rare out here in California so now I had a choice...go get a picture of the BNSF ACe or keep after the 'SPatch'. Since I have only a handful of shots of BNSF EMDs leading, let alone a new one, I decided to gamble with my chase plans. Hoping that the UP 6210 would get held at Cable for a few more southbounds I made a U-turn and high tailed it down to Warren.

RS 9/25/14 BNSF 8421 at Warren - 4211 RS 9/25/14 Same Train at Mojave - 4212 RS 9/25/14 BNSF 4890 at Rowen - 4213

# 4211: I hiked up 'afternoon hill' for this image of BNSF 8421-4573-7116 as they hold back their stack train. BNSF 8421 is rolling across Cache Creek.
# 4212: I went for one more shot of the new BNSF ACe and headed for South Mojave. Crossing over from main 1 on UP's Mojave Subdivision to BNSF's Mojave Subdivision connector the southbound stack train becomes a eastbound as it prepares for the desert dash over to Barstow, CA. UP is working on the track here at South Mojave as well as putting up new tri-light signals that will soon be replacing the old SP era searchlights. The last searchlights on Tehachapi are making their final stand between Warren and South Mojave.

After getting my photos of the new BNSF ACe it was time to get back after the 'SPatch'. I figured worst case scenario was I could probably still catch it around Caliente for one more shot. My Irish luck was with me however and I found the 6210 holding at Cable, waiting on UP's southbound Lathrop Z.

# 4213: Getting off the freeway at Keene I found the BNSF 4890 had just highballed the southbound Lathrop and was ready to proceed north. I headed back to Rowen and captured the BNSF 4890 drifting down grade across the 2nd of 7 rail crossings of the Tehachapi Creek.

RS 9/25/14 UP 6210 at Marcel - 4214 RS 9/25/14 UP 6210 ex. SP 116 Rown - 4215 RS 9/25/14 Last shot of UP 6210 - 4216

# 4214: I worked my way back up to Marcel where I found some elevation to catch the UP 6210 as it continued its northbound run. After leaving Cable the 6210 had clear blocks all the way down to Caliente. Conforming to Marcel's snake like curves UP 6210 eases down the western slope of the Tehachapi grade.
# 4215: Back down to Rowen the IMQLTR is forming to the shape of the Woodford horseshoe curve as UP 6210 begins to cross Tehachapi Creek. The tall white building in the distance is the Cesar Chavez visitor center.
# 4216: At Caliente I caught the UP 6210 one last time. As the head end turns out of 'downtown' Caliente to head for the Caliente Creek narrows the train of 53' containers is still wrapped around the Caliente horseshoe curve.


October 28, 2014 - GE Tier 4 ES44AC Demo

Yesterday General Electric Tier 4 compliant ES44AC demonstrator 2024 made its first run over the Tehachapi Grade as it led a Oakland, CA bound container repo train over the mountain. Getting a heads up that the train was grinding up Cajon Pass at 0600 and having the day off I decided to spend the morning following the 2024 over Tehachapi. Here are my results from another great day on Tehachapi.

RS 10/28/14 GECX 2024 at MP 392 - 4198 RS 10/28/14 Same at Cable Cross Over - 4199 RS 10/28/14 ES44AC Demo at Cable - 4200

# 4198: Getting trackside in the Antelope Valley just after 0800 I spotted the head lights on the GECX 2024 coming into Lancaster so I hustled up to Ansel. Leaving the valley floor of the high desert, GECX 2024 and UP 9372 work the IDIOAX up Ansel Hill at roughly MP 392. In another mile the train will rattle across the south end of Ansel siding.
# 4199: After getting my shots (posted yesterday) of the 2024 working under the signal bridge at MP 377 I made my way over to a spot just below the Cable Cross-over. With a slow moving UP manifest struggling up the mountain and a pending work window down between Walong and Woodford GECX 2024 was told they could pause and get some coffee before rolling down to the end of double track at Cable. Now on the western slope of the Tehachapi Grade GECX 2024 is coasting towards an awaiting red signal at Cable, where they will wait out the work window.
# 4200: A roster shot of GECX 2024, this location is just below the Cable Cross-Over. The bridge that the 2024 is rolling across is the 7th and final crossing of Tehachapi Creek, now mostly filled up.

RS 10/28/14 at Woodford - 4201 RS 10/28/14 at Caliente - 4203 RS 10/28/14 GECX 2024 at Mojave - 4204

# 4201: The work window between Walong and Woodford was open for just over 2 hours, so at noon the crews cleared and returned the railroad to the dispatcher. First out was GECX 2024 which was released from Cable just a few minutes before 12. Drifting down grade GECX 2024 rolls across the 4th of 7 bridge crossings of the Tehachapi Creek just before finding itself at the top end of Woodford, where it will meet a southbound BNSF empty grain train.
# 4203: From above Caliente the train is now passing through 'downtown' Caliente and about to turn towards the Caliente Creek narrows.

This morning a heads up from a friend alerted me that GE Tier 4 demonstrator 2024 was leading the IDIOAX up Cajon Pass and heading my direction, en route to Oakland, CA. With the day off I decided to try my luck and went out for a chase up and over Tehachapi. To my knowledge this is the first run of the new GE ES44AC Tier 4 technology over Tehachapi.

# 4204: After getting my first shot of the bright blue GE down at Ansel, I made my way up to Mojave, there I knew exactly where to set up for my next photo. Getting up to MP 377 I captured the vanguard of tomorrow's diesel power lifting its train out of the vast Mojave Desert and into the Tehachapi's, passing a silent guardian that has stood watch over the Mojave Subdivision for decades. As of this writing the signal bridge at MP 377 is the last SP era signal bridge on the Mojave Subdivision, standing along with a handful of remaining searchlights between Warren and South Mojave. By the time Tier 4 technology becomes mandatory and these new machines are being cranked out by General Electric shop forces the remaining searchlights on Tehachapi will likely have entered the pages of history. Still, for the moment this classic fixture of Tehachapi's eastern slope can claim to have witnessed one more change in the ever changing railroad scene.


November 7, 2014 - Part 1 - Boron and Trona

Sunday evening I wrapped up a long weekend trackside here in Southern California. My weekend started on Friday 11/7/2014 when I went out to Boron and Trona to try my luck with BNSF's Boron local and the Trona Railway Friday afternoon. Saturday had a brief trip up to Tehachapi and Sunday I was back at it again on Tehachapi, meeting up with a few friends who had come up for the day. In this first part I am sharing a few images from Friday November 7th...

RS 11/07/14 BNSF 1575 Rich Spur Boron - 4187 RS 11/07/14 BNSF w/SF Caboose - 4188 RS 11/07/14 BNSF 1571 SD40-2R - 4189

# 4187: Getting out to Boron about 0900 I found BNSF's Boron local working the Trona ash loading facility at Rich Spur. Here Trona-ash is brought over from Trona in trucks and loaded into covered hoppers which are spotted first thing every weekday morning. Collecting the entire string of hoppers to make its pulls and re-spots BNSF SD40-2Rs 1575-1571-1574 dig in as they slowly drag the long cut of hoppers forward. BNSF SD40-2Rs are the 'usual suspects' on the Boron local, these rebuilt motors started life as Santa Fe SD45-2s.
# 4188: Having finished their work at Rich Spur the Boron local returns to town, diverging off the main and onto the siding at West Boron. Here the local will build up its train before shoving out to the Borax plant located northwest of Boron. At right the Boron's shoving platform, Santa Fe CE-11 waycar 999798, sits on the lead to the Borax plant which curves off to the right.
# 4189: BNSF 1571 has an interesting history. It was delivered as Santa Fe 5702 and is known for being one of five Bicentennial painted SD45-2s. When Santa Fe upgraded their fleet of SD45-2s 5702 became ATSF 5842, later becoming BNSF 6492 after the merger. Today it is the only active former Santa Fe Bicentennial motor turning a wheel for BNSF.

RS 11/07/14 TRC 2009 at Pinnacles - 4190 RS 11/07/14 TRC 2009 at Searles - 4191 RS 11/07/14 TRC near Searles - 4192

After getting a few photos of the Boron local I made my way out to Trona, CA hoping to find the Trona Railway's daily westbound train to Searles. I found Trona's power down switching the facility at Westend with the empty 'coal buckets' sitting on the main. Thinking I had a little time to kill I headed west towards Navy Siding and followed Pinnacles Rd back east to Pinnacles where I planned to catch the Trona heading west.
# 4190: On my way out to Pinnacles I was checking out a few locations along the way for future trips, a lot of nice photo possibilities out there! I ended up taking a little to much time and Trona's westbound empty coal train almost beat me to Pinnacles. After making a mad dash on foot over towards the tracks I was able to catch Trona's seven 2nd generation EMD SD40 products as they lifted the empties through Pinnacles with the Searles Lake Valley just visible in the right distance.
# 4191: After driving back out to CA178 I started for Searles and arrived just in time to see the Trona pulling in. Working up into Searles the siding and water tank at Garden City (where there is no garden or city :-) can be seen at right.
# 4192: After pulling the empties off Trona Railway trackage and into UP's Searles yard the train would be shoved out onto what is left of UP's Lone Pine Branch east of Searles, there it would be tied down awaiting a pick up by UP. Being a fan of SP history and having looked out at the old abandoned Lone Pine Branch right of way on family trips up and down US 395 I have always found the Lone Pine Branch an interesting bit of SP history. This shot of the empties being shoved out the old Lone Pine Branch brings to mind what things might look like if the tracks were still in place out to Lone Pine, CA. And if there was traffic out towards Lone Pine that could have built a train of this size maybe it still would be in service :-) Just day dreaming.

RS 11/07/14 TRC 2007 at Searles - 4193 RS 11/07/14 TRC 2007 at Pinnacles - 4194 RS 11/07/14 Sunset at Pinnacles - 4195

# 4193: After spotting their train east of Searles the Trona power returned to the yard to pick up empty hoppers to take back to Trona for loading. Hooked onto the first row of hoppers in the Searles yard the crew will soon be ready to build their train to take back to Trona.
# 4194: I took a chance and hustled back out to Pinnacles hoping for last light on the train as it returned home. This time of year the days are just to short for this but I did get lucky and caught them heading east through the last patch of sunlight at Pinnacles. A few of the land mark Pinnacles are visible in the background.
# 4195: A minute or two after the train passed the sun set on Pinnacles. This was only my second trip out to get photos of the Trona operation, definitely looking forward to longer days to return for another trip out there.

RS 11/07/14 Signal Bridge MP 377 at Mojave - 4196 RS 11/07/14 BNSF WB passing the same Signal Bridge - 4197

After finishing up at Trona I drove back to Mojave where I caught some dinner. After dinner I couldn't resist heading up to the signal bridge at MP 377 for a few night shots. The rumor mill seems to be hinting at UP cutting in the new signals between Warren and South Mojave sometime between November 17th-22nd. With the cut over to new signals on this section of the mountain the era of US&S searchlight signals on Tehachapi will draw to a close. Time moves on and progress is progress but for someone who has grown up on Tehachapi with these signals it is sad to see them go, following the SP and Santa Fe into the pages of history. Still, I am glad to have witness the searchlight era and to have the pictures of them that I do.

# 4196: 10) As I was setting up my camera a UP southbound rolled by and came to a stop just above Mojave, sitting behind a BNSF train that was waiting for a northbound BNSF to come off the desert. After the northbound passed through town the southbounds slowly got moving but even after the northbound cleared MP 377 the last southbound was still in the block, keeping the signal bridge lit. It stayed lit just long enough to run through the colors on main 2. Here the signal bridge stands against the night sky with the Tehachapi's standing in the background. A scene that has become a trademark of Tehachapi's eastern slope.
# 4197: 11) As I stood at MP 377 looking at the signal bridge where I have framed so many pictures over the years my mind began to wonder off to all of the photographers who have captured the action at this location over the decades. The thousands of images that will one day soon become irreplaceable, a scene that will just not quite look the same without the iron black frame of this classic SP structure dividing the Tehachapi mountains from the Mojave Desert. I was brought back from my wondering thoughts as life came to the signal bridge, reminding me it was not dead yet, followed by that oh so familiar roar from a northbound working up grade behind me. A string of empty center beam flats streak passed the camera as this northbound BNSF manifest climbs into the Tehachapi mountains.


November 8, 2014 - Part 2 - Tehachapi

Of my 4 'out and about' reports this one is going to be the briefest. Having plans Saturday afternoon I wasn't planning to get trackside however the prospect of two BNSF eastbounds (southbounds) with nice consists could warrant a brief run up to the Mountain Saturday morning. The first train with CREX-CSXT-CREX power ran over the mountain well before sunrise however friend 'DRGW' caught up with it out on the Needles Subdivision (,3571477 ). The second train of interest was reported to have warbonnet painted SD75I 8301 leading and with it reporting to be passed Bealville just before 0500 it was worth checking out.

RS 11/08/14 BNSF 7637 NB - 4184 RS 11/08/14 BNSF 7715 - 4185 RS 11/08/14 UP 6894 east of Sanborn - 4186

# 4184: Cutting through the cool morning air having just topped Tehachapi Summit a trio of BNSF GEs drift towards downtown Tehachapi with a northbound vehicle train.
# 4185: A few minutes after the BNSF 7637 north passed through, the signals at MP 362.0 lit up in advance of a southbound. As the train approached I noted it had a orange leader so at first I figured it wasn't my train but as it got closer I noticed the SD75I tucked in behind the orange GEVO.
# 4186: I had originally planned on following the 8301 back down to Mojave but frustrated with the graffitied 7700 leader I decided to wait for the next southbound. I waited and waited but when nothing came along I figured it was time to start back. As I was approaching Cameron on my way home I heard UP 6894 talking with DS54 about coming off the Lone Pine Branch and heading east towards Yermo. UP 6894 and 6295 (ex-SP 218) 'pour on the coals' as they accelerate the CTRSK-08 east out of Sanborn on BNSF's Mojave Subdivision.


November 9, 2014 - Part 3 - Tehachapi

Continuing with my 'Out and about in So Cal' mini series we move on to Sunday November 9th, 2014. On Sunday I met up with a few friends who had come up for the day bright and early at the MP 377 signal bridge in Mojave. Going into the morning we had no set game plan as to where we wanted to go and what shots we were looking to get. With the western slope of the grade locked in under a haze we decided to stick to the eastern slope where we had sunny sky's for most of the day. I have been eyeing the ridge above the Warren/Cameron area for some time now as a good place for photos, so since we were sticking to the eastern slope I suggested we hike the ridge starting at 'afternoon hill' at Warren (MP 375 on the Mojave Sub) and follow it west towards Cameron. Here is a sample of pictures from another Sunday excursion to the Tehachapi Pass.

RS 11/09/14 UP 5368 at Mojave - 4178 RS 11/09/14 BNSF 7272 MP 372 - 4179 RS 11/09/14 UP 3794 at Warren - 4180

# 4178: I met up with friends Matt and Luke at MP 377 just after sunrise Sunday morning. After getting a northbound BNSF manifest we were treated to UP 5368 south on the point of lumber heavy QRVWCC-07.
# 4179: After capturing our first two trains of the morning at MP 377 it was off to Warren to begin the days hike. Starting at the 'afternoon hill' at Warren we followed the goat paths along the top of the ridge west eventually getting to roughly MP 372.5 where we paused for two back to back southbounds. Afterwards we got a southbound BNSF vehicle train behind BNSF 7272 (as seen on this photo).
# 4180: After catching the BNSF 7272 south we were also treated to one northbound BNSF manifest before Union Pacific maintenance forces got time to shoot a few welds on main 2 at MP 373. During this break in the traffic we explored the ridge a bit and eventually settled above an S curve located just west of Warren. Some well placed rocks provided a place to kick back for the hour long work window, by noon however trains again took center stage on Tehachapi's eastern slope. First up was this northbound UP work train heading for Oroville, CA behind SD70M 3794 and C6044AC 7054. At the right of the picture is Cache Creek, home to SP gondola 320105.

RS 11/09/14 UP Worktrain MP 373.3 - 4181 RS 11/09/14 BNSF 4680 NB - 4182 RS 11/09/14 BNSF 7553 MP 373 - 4183

# 4181: A going away shot of the WCLOVG-08 which has MP caboose 7512 bringing up the rear.
# 4182: Following the UP work train up the hill was this northbound BNSF stack/vehicle train with motors 4680-211-4490 up front.
# 4183: As BNSF 4680 north continues its battle up the eastern slope it is passed by a southbound Z STOCHI behind BNSF 7553. The head end of 7553 is passing MP 373, the location of two new tri-lights that are awaiting to be cut in.


November 16 & 23: Tehachapi / Palmdale
# 4146: Back on 11/16/2014 as we were spending time on Tehachapi documenting the final day of the searchlights there was also time to work in a hike. My friend Davis and I hoofed it up the mountain ridge south of the tracks between Warren and Cameron, getting down to MP 371.5 just as the tracks swing into Cameron. It was somewhat of a miserable wait for a train as the wind and wind guests were hitting us right in the face as we looked down at the tracks. Not about to give up we waited it out and were finally rewarded with BNSF's westbound G MNXSWA5-08A. The train was running 3x3x2 with BNSF 'goat boat' C44-9W 1114 leading, both the mid and end train DPUs can be seen as the train works up the eastern slope.
# 4150: This morning I stayed close to 'my neck of the woods' and did some hiking along the former SP Saugus line, now Metrolink's Valley Subdivision. I was looking to get a picture of UP's loaded Vulcan Rock train as it made its way down to Sun Valley. As it turned out the 'Rocks' ran earlier then I was expecting so I missed them but did get a few Metrolink commuters for my troubles. Having just highballed Vincent train 261 coasts down grade towards Palmdale with MP36 891 on the point. #891 has a PTC equipped decal on its nose, the first Metrolink unit I have seen with such a decal. When I first saw the decal I thought it was a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot ;-) Though I often overlook Metrolink this is an interesting time to get photos of them as they are still transitioning between the old-new passenger cars and old-new paint scheme.
RS 11/16/14 BNSF WB at MP 371.5 between Warren and Cameron - 4146 RS 11/16/14 Metrolink MP36 toward Palmdale - 4150


Added January 5, 2015: Tehachapi: Ilmon & Warren (12/27 & 12/28, 2014)
# 4162: Running up above the northern bank of Caliente Creek a eastbound BNSF Z rumbles through Ilmon and towards the twisting confines of the Caliente Narrows. Prior to the 1983 flood Ilmon was the location of a passing siding, the east end of which was once located just up from the head end of the Z. Just to the right of the train's lead motor (BNSF 4931) the old siding right of way diverged from the mainline to briefly hug the hillside before returning to run side by side with the mainline down towards the west end, where the siding again briefly diverged to run up along the hill side north of the tracks. This alignment survived the 1983 flood and was for a time a portion of the double tracked alignment but was eventually straightened to the alignment we see today. Although all 4 motors are GEs they are all 4 different models; BNSF C44-9W 4931, UP C41-8W 9359, UP C40-8 9320, and BNSF ES44DC 7362.
# 4166: The first train on the morning of Saturday December 27th, 2014 which found itself in my viewfinder was this eastbound BNSF 'earthworm' empty grain train. The trio of GEs running point are rattling across the switch that marks the start of double track through the Caliente Narrows. Just west of Ilmon the tracks cross from the south bank of Caliente Creek to run along its northern bank up to Caliente.
RS 12/27/14 BNSF 4931 above Caliente Creek at Ilmon - 4162 RS 12/27/14 BNSF EB at Ilmon - 4166

# 4167: Following the ridge of a hill up to the top I had an impressive overview of the area. Nearly the entire railroad between Ilmon and Cliff was in view. After a brief wait I had two back to back BNSF westbounds (northbounds), the first of which was BNSF 5345. Looking into the sun from my hill top location we see BNSF 5345 easing its train towards the bottom end of Bealville. There are three levels of railroad visible in this photo, evidence of the railroads struggle to gain elevation on the western face of the mountain.
# 4168: A few minutes later BNSF 5345 is again front and center in the viewfinder as it drifts down out of Caliente and into the narrows. Warbonnets 880 and 735 are trailing in the head-end consist.

RS 12/27/14 BNSF 5345 NB at Bealville - 4167 RS 12/27/14 BNSF 5345 from Caliente into Narrows - 4168

# 4169: With the sound of dynamic brakes and squealing flanges filling the cool mountain air BNSF 7185-7789-1073 negotiate the curves in the Caliente Creek Narrows, where the railroad sits just above the creek's northern bank.
# 4170: 6) After changing hill tops I was in position for the next eastbound which came in the form of Union Pacific's QRVWCB-26. In this view the train is stretched out at Ilmon approaching the narrows

RS 12/27/14 BNSF 7185 at Caliente Creek Narrows - 4169 RS 12/27/14 UP at Ilmon - 4170

# 4171: Soon the train's 3 lead motors, UP 8171-8150-7358, burst out of the Tunnel 1/2 cut as they fill the air with the pulse of raw horsepower straining against gravity to lift the lumber heavy QRVWCB up the western slope of the Tehachapi grade.
# 4172: Cut in 2/3 the way back in the train UP motors 5468-8129-5332 add to the power struggle as the train crawls through the narrows.

RS 12/27/14 UP 8171 pass Cut Tunnel 1/2 - 4171 RS 12/27/14 UP mid train helpers - 4172

# 4173: A leased Canadian visitor was aiding the 'dynamic' effort on the next westbound (northbound). BNSF 5510-CP 8887-BNSF 7212 have just emerged from the former west end of Tunnel 1/2 with their train wrapped through the twisting curves of the Caliente narrows. Tunnel 1/2 was daylighted during the Ilmon-Caliente double tracking.
# 4174: One final train before I started the hike back to my car came in the form of UP's MFRWC-26 behind the UP 7656.

RS 12/27/14 BNSF 5510 w/CP 8887 - 4173 RS 12/27/14 UP 7656 at Ilmon - 4174

# 4175: After hiking back down to my car I knew there was another westbound BNSF train coming off the mountain so I headed for Bena. The BNSF was held at Ilmon for UP's 'Lathrop' Z which had a pair of new UP SD70AHs sandwiching older GE 5784, which I captured leaving Bena behind UP 8883.
# 4176: After meeting the 'Lathrop' at Ilmon DS54 lined the BNSF 4078 into town

RS 12/27/14 UP 8883 SD70ACe at Bena - 4175 RS 12/27/14 BNSF 4078 at Bena - 4176

# 4177: Making my way back home I followed the UP 8883 (ZLTLC) up the hill. At Woodford the Z was lined into the siding where it would make a last light meet with yet another westbound BNSF train.
# 4163: On a cool and overcast December 28th, 2014 BNSF's eastbound S OIGLPC3-26 eases down the eastern slope of the Tehachapi grade behind motors CREX 1431-BNSF 7295-BNSF 8202.

RS 12/27/14 UP 8883 is meeting BNSF 4536 at Woodford - 4177 RS 12/28/14 BNSF EB w/CREX 1431 leading at Warren - 4163

Well, another year is almost in the books but what a year it was to be trackside. Thanks for tuning in to my posts throughout the last year. Looking forward to what the new year will bring for railfans. I know I'm already looking forward to Spring time on Tehachapi :-) Ryan Slaton

below 2015 Photos

added: April 1, 2015 - Tehachapi - Caliente (3/22/15)

Contrary to my TO screen name Southern California's Tehachapi Pass is my favorite place to spend a day trackside however Tehachapi92 doesn't roll off the tongue as easy ;-)
Anyhow, last weekend with no pressing plans on Sunday I made the short drive up to the Tehachapi Pass and spent some time around Caliente, CA on Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision. Going into the morning clouds were lingering over the mountains which provided me with overcast conditions to work with early on but as the day pressed on the clouds thinned out considerably which allowed for some nice sunlight around mid-day. Trains were in no short supply Sunday as well. A work window was open on main 1 between Cameron and Warren which meant the railroad was down to single track between Summit and Mojave. While this meant trains would be 'fleeted' in groups they were fleeting the right direction for me Sunday morning with UP and BNSF dispatching southbound after southbound out of Bakersfield :-)

RS 3/22/15 BNSF WB and UP EB Meet at Caliente - 5055 RS 3/22/15 BNSF 715 EB at Caliente Curve - 5056

# 5055: Starting the morning hike right around 0700 in the cool of the morning just before sunrise I was alerted to a northbound covering the crossings up at Cliff so I set up to take a few photos of the train rolling into Caliente. Easing down the top leg of the Caliente horseshoe BNSF-NS-BNSF-CSXT GE's hold back their stack train as a Union Pacific drag waits on the opposite leg of the horseshoe in 'downtown' Caliente. This BNSF northbound (westbound back in SP days and westbound once it rejoins home rails in Bakersfield) was one of only two northbound movements I would see during the morning hours.
# 5056: Following the UP manifest seen in photo one up the mountain was a parade of southbound trains which kept me busy for the rest of the morning. Right behind the UP manifest was a BNSF train sporting warbonnet clad C44-9W 715 on the point. 715 along with 3 younger GEs, including one C4 that appeared to be right off the show room floor, are rounding the Caliente horseshoe curve as they prepare for the near 600' climb that in just over 6 miles will take them to Cliff in one of the most amazing shows a fan of mountain railroading will witness out west.

# 5057: The 2nd northbound move I caught later in the morning was a UP light power move which couldn't have been much lighter. Lone C44AC 6185 (ex-SP 137) rolls down into Caliente as a BNSF manifest holds in 'downtown'. Earlier in the morning as I was driving up to Caliente I spotted a UP manifest at Cable which had 3 motors on the point and another 3 on the rear. If I saw things correctly I believe 6185 was one of the 3 motors on the rear. It may have been called out of Bakersfield as a manned helper to assist the UP manifest up the mountain.

(left) RS 3/22/15 UP 6185 WB Helper and BNSF EB at siding - 5057


added: April 1, 2015 - Tehachapi - Cliff (3/29/15)

Last Sunday (March 29th) was predicted to be a beautiful day here in Southern California so with this in mind I made the short drive up to Tehachapi for the day. Getting up to Keene about 0630 I began a hike down the Tehachapi Creek with the intention of getting some photos of Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision suspended high above the creek along a somewhat remote stretch of the famous mountain pass. With only a light breeze it was indeed a wonderful day to be on Tehachapi and moreover the trains were running. As I was following the creek downstream talk on the scanner of a broken rail between Rowen and Cliff caught my attention. As I got some elevation on a nearby hill side north of the Tehachapi Creek I caught a glimpse of a UP boom truck hi-railing towards the break. By 0800 the rail was repaired and the mountain was open for business.
Union Pacific's hotshot ZLCBR was held up by the break at Woodford and was first out of the gate after the break was repaired. Following the ZLCBR down the mountain was a fleet of 4 more northbounds. There were a few more northbounds but they were held as it was now time to get southbounds up the mountain, starting with a trio of back to back Union Pacific trains. Attached are three photos of the first southbound out of the gate Sunday morning.

RS 3/29/15 UP 8068 EB at Cliff - 5058 RS 3/29/15 Same Train from Cliff thru Tunnel 7 - 5059

# 5058: Having fought its way out of Caliente, nestled nearly 600' below in the valley at right, the first southbound for me Sunday morning was UP's lumber heavy QRVWCB-28. Suspended high above the Tehachapi Creek on a narrow cliff side which very appropriately is identified by the name Cliff in the timetable. The train is passing the top end of the siding at Cliff which stretches for 7530' along a slightly wider but just as precarious right of way.

# 5059: A few moments later the thunderous roar emitted from the hard working GEs again fills the Tehachapi Creek valley as UP 8068-5472-5464 burst out of Tunnel 7.

# 5060: Aiding the lumber heavy QRVWCB in its fight with gravity UP 8094-5425-7937 echo the roar emitted by their head end counterparts, also just out of Tunnel 7.

(left) RS 3/29/15 Same UP EB passing Tunnel 7 - 5060


added: April 12, 2015 - Walong - Rowen (4/11/15)

They say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and while in some cases beauty might be universal, in others....not so much. Tehachapi fits that latter category. To some Tehachapi might seem like a overly photographed land where 'dead' brown hills and spotty tree cover is the backdrop to a sea of increasingly uninteresting modern motive power. But to this fan there isn't another railroad route that commands a irresistible lure quite like 'Snake Mountain'. Nestled at the southern most extension of the Sierra Nevada range the Tehachapi mountains proved a seemingly impassable challenge when Southern Pacific started up the mountain range in 1874. Through a series of marvelous track alignments Southern Pacific carved a railroad through the mountains, taking their railroad from the San Joaquin Valley and on towards Los Angeles. Today's railroad is much the same as it was in the early days. Of course over the years motive power changed from steam to internal combustion, signal systems replaced train order operations, and of course the two tenants that were once the rule on the mountain have given way to the modern entities that we see today. But one thing that remains unbroken is the amazement that Tehachapi continues to inspire in those who stand track side to watch today's modern railroads wage the timeless battle with gravity to lift trains up and over the mountain.

Below are trio of images taken on Saturday April 11th, 2015 during an annual Spring get together between George (gjc), Curt, 'Metal' Mike, and myself. This was the last full day of our 2015 trip when trains were in no short supply throughout the day, keeping our focus firmly fixed on the mountain.

RS 4/11/15 BNSF 6694 WB at Walong (the Loop) - 5077 RS 4/11/15 BNSF 6694 WB at Walong - 5078

# 5077: Amidst the golden hills and seasonally green trees BNSF's hotshot Z WSPNBY is carefully piloted down the western slope of the Tehachapi grade at Walong, more commonly known as the Tehachapi Loop. Today's train has drawn ES44C4 6694, C44-9W 4752, SD70MAC 9753, and C44-9W 4601. While the train's head end is preparing to begin the swing back under itself the rear end is still emerging from Tunnel 10 on the upper level of the Loop.

# 5078: Impersonating a snake the hotshot Z is coiled up over itself as it continues the decent down the mountain. The elevation gained/lost between Woodford and Marcel is yet another example of the amazing engineering that went into taking the railroad over the Tehachapi's. In this view 5 levels of railroad can be seen in the 4 miles between the middle of Woodford and the bottom end of Marcel.

# 5079: Slithering up the siding at Rowen luck brings one more eastbound (southbound) stack train to our viewfinders before the sun prepares to call it a day. The day maybe cooling into evening but the rail action is just heating up.

RS 4/11/15 BNSF EB at Rowen (almost sunset) - 5079  


added: April 15, 2015 - Ansel - Rosamond (4/14/15)

This afternoon I had some time to kill after getting off work so I made my way up to Rosamond with the hope of catching a train or two on Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision. As luck would have it one of Union Pacific's lumber laden Roseville to West Colton manifest drags was descending the eastern slope of the Tehachapi's as I arrived into Rosamond. Getting some elevation in the hills north of town I waited it out in the wind and soon enough armor yellow and grey appeared on the horizon heading my direction.

# 5061: For the most part tangent track is the definition of Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision between Phelan and Mojave, CA however some curvature is utilized to tackle the 1.3% (max.) grade that faces trains leaving the desert floor at Rosamond. Oban is the railroad's lowest point in the Antelope Valley and from that point northbounds (westbounds in SP days) are working all the way to Tehachapi Summit, with the major grade starting in Mojave. Still Ansel Hill foreshadows things to come for trains en route to do battle with Tehachapi. Situated at 'the top' of Ansel Hill is Ansel siding, weighting in at 8340' between CPSP389 and CPSP391. Slipping down grade out of Mojave and towards the floor of the Antelope Valley the QRVWC is all stretched out rounding the curve at the south end of Ansel siding.

RS 4/14/15 UP 8102 EB at Ansel - 5061 RS 4/14/15 UP 8102 EB getting closer at Ansel - 5062

# 5062: UP C45AHs 8102 & 8159 sandwich C45ACCTE 5403 as they swing their train back towards the south, preparing to roll down into Rosamond. Now the train is in line for a near 20 mile stretch of tangent track that will lead to Palmdale Junction, there the train will 'diverge' to the east and head for Cajon Pass by way of SP's Palmdale-Colton cutoff.

# 5063: Welcome to Rosamond....also the gateway to Edwards Air Force Base, perhaps those go hand in hand. Two-thirds back in the train UP 5304-5397-7376 coast off Ansel Hill. Once at Oban these units will trade their worth from braking to shoving the lumber drag up to Hiland (SP's Cajon Summit) where they will once again prove invaluable to the dynamic braking effort for the decent into West Colton.

(left) RS 4/14/15 UP 7376 EB w/mid train DPU's at Rosamond - 5063


added: April 25, 2015 - Warren - Mojave - Rosamond (4/22/15)

Yes, there were 626 good reasons to make a quick run up to Mojave, CA this morning :-)
It is once again that seasonal time of year just before the start of Summer when we are super slow at work, as a result I was given today off which worked out really well. A timely heads up this morning from a friend informed me that CSX AC6000 #626 was leading Union Pacific's southbound Fresno to West Colton, CA manifest over Tehachapi. The train was already on the mountain and approaching Sandcut at 0530 so I grabbed up the camera, jumped in the ole Chevy, and made my way up to Warren.

RS 4/22/15 CSXT 626 EB at Warren - 5067 RS 4/22/15 CSX 626 & BNSF 6594 at Mojave - 5068

# 5067: A little after 0830 the MFRWC-21 emerged from Cache Creek canyon west of Warren and took center stage on the Mojave Subdivision, gently coasting down the eastern slope of the Tehachapi grade and conforming to the final mountain face before dropping into the Mojave Desert. Trailing CSXT 626 were a brace of UP motors which included; UP 9606 (x-SP 8142), UP 8748, UP 7456, and UP 7996.

# 5068: Rolling into Mojave the Fresno had a power set out to make before leaving town en route to West Colton. While the crew prepares to cut off their train (which is holding main 1) BNSF 6594 puts to good use the two main track CTC which was cut in last November and slips passed the Fresno on main 2. The eastbound (southbound) Q has a solid set of ES44C4s up front which included 6594-8121-7001. Remember when there were only 25 C4s (6600-6624)??? ;-)

RS 4/22/15 UP 7996 EB at Mojave (South End) - 5069 RS 4/22/15 CSXT 626 EB at Mojave - 5070

# 5069: After clearing the south end of the yard the Fresno's power shoves into the south end of the yard with the train's conductor riding the shove. Once into the yard a Mojave based crewed arrived, working together with the Fresno's crew the set out was promptly made.

# 5070: Having set out the 8748 and 7996 the Fresno's power shoves back up main 1 to tie back onto their train.

# 5071: By 1100 thunder heads were starting to form up over the Tehachapi's and in the Antelope Valley. Drifting down the 1.3% grade of Ansel Hill the Fresno is once again West Colton bound. In a few miles the train will find itself at Oban and the railroad's low point in the Antelope Valley. From Oban the horses will be put back to work to drag the train up to Hiland, some 60 miles away, at the top of Cajon Pass.

(left) RS 4/22/15 CSXT 626 EB at Rosamond - 5071


added: April 25, 2015 - Marcel - Cliff (4/24/15)

Friday I met up with a few friends visiting from Maryland for a day on Tehachapi. The weather early on was overcast but we found plenty of sun as they day wore on. Turned into an excellent day on Tehachapi.
# 5072: Leaving Marcel a westbound BNSF manifest slips down the Tehachapi grade just prior to entering Tunnel 10 behind BNSF motors 8345-7234-7653-4371. This is the 3rd time in two weeks that I have photographed the BNSF 8345 on Tehachapi.
# 5073: The final train of the day was rocking a proper lead motor as we photographed it bursting out of Tunnel 5 at the west end of Cliff siding. This is the first time I have been to this location at Cliff since the searchlights came down in 2012! On another note someone at BNSF's power desk deserves a tall cold one on the house...there has been a rash of warbonnet leaders on Tehachapi as of late. As a matter of fact there have been 4 this month and those are just the ones I have photographed. CitiRail ES44AC 1409 is last out on this eastbound manifest.

RS 4/24/15 BNSF 8345 WB at Marcel - 5072 RS 4/24/15 BNSF 710 WB leaving Tunnel 5 at Cliff - 5073


added: May 4, 2015 - Mojave - Rowen - Cameron (4/24, 4/30, 5/03/15)

# 5080: Here is UP 2379 rocking its new paint scheme early this morning in the Mojave yard. Sure caught my attention seeing an old SD60M wearing the battle flag!
# 5081: Rolling down grade out of Woodford and around the Keene horseshoe curve the westbound ZLCLT has drawn one of Union Pacific's two specially painted Salt Lake City Olympic SD70Ms as its lead motor. We are 13 years removed from the Winter Games in Salt Lake but both UP 2001 and 2002 continue to represent the events that took place, still wearing one of UP's most striking special schemes and wearing it well I might add! The Cesar Chavez visitor center is in the background at left.
# 5082: Last November I made a series of hikes along the mountain ridge that is straddled on its northern slope by Cache Creek and the Mojave Subdivision between Warren and Cameron. Today I returned to the ridge in the Cache Creek narrows to seek out a few locations that were not shoot-able in November due to the low Winter sun angles. Both UP and BNSF sent me two eastbounds each allowing me to get the angles I was looking for. Behind a trio of Union Pacific GEVOs, led by C45AH 8073, a eastbound Roseville to West Colton manifest slips down grade through the serpentine curves along the northern bank of Cache Creek.

RS 4/24/15 UP 2379 SD60M w/wings and flag at Mojave - 5080

RS 4/30/15 UP 2002 Olympic WB at Rowen - 5081 RS 5/03/15 UP 8073 EB along Hwy 58 near Cameron - 5082


added: May 16, 2015 - Tehachapi - Rowen (5/10/15)

You don't have to go far on Tehachapi's western slope to be amazed at the mountain railroad that Southern Pacific forces carved into being between 1874-1876. Whether it be the serpentine curves or the frequent locations where the railroad clings to a narrow shelf situated high up on a hill side, the railroad today is every bit the achievement that it was then. Today we are fortunate that most of Tehachapi's western slope is not to far away from paved roads however one stretch of the mountain between Rowen and Bealville does lay hidden from the eye of the casual traveler on near by California Highway 58. Leaving Bealville the railroad finds itself precariously perched high above the Tehachapi Creek valley at the appropriately named station of Cliff. From Cliff the railroad's situation remains the same until it reaches the west end of Rowen where the right of way finally regains some 'breathing room' on either side.
This past Sunday with a clear weather forecast I could not pass up a chance to make the journey up to Tehachapi for a few hours. Lacing up the hiking boots I spent the morning fixing my lens on the Mojave Subdivision as it leaves Cliff and makes it way up to the west end of Rowen. After catching a few trains I promptly made my way back home to take my mom out for a Mother's Day lunch. The attached series focuses on the final train that I would fix my lens on Sunday morning. The southbound BNSF intermodal was made up of mech. reefers, stacks, and pigs. I have always liked this configuration with BNSF's modern 'ice boxes' mixed in on intermodal trains. Over the years this has become my favorite BNSF train to watch conquer the Tehachapi's. What's the H2.5 got to do with anything?!? I will get to that in part II :-)

RS 5/10/15 BNSF 4495 EB leaving Cliff - 5083 RS 5/10/15 Same Train at Rowen - 5084

# 5083: Leaving Cliff the Mojave Subdivision finds itself firmly clinging to a narrow shelf carved into the mountain side as it heads for Rowen. Two tunnels were blasted into being as the railroad continued east and today tunnels 7 & 8 bookend the most famous of Tehachapi's long 'drop offs'. Leaving Tunnel 8 trains make a series of snaking 'S' curves before Rowen is at hand. Emerging from a deep rock cut and yet still at times suspended up high above Tehachapi Creek BNSF 4495-7245-7981-4467 work towards Rowen. The east portal of Tunnel 8 can be seen at upper right.

# 5084: Zooming out offers a overall view of this remote stretch of railroad as it leaves Cliff. With the reefers, containers, and pigs highlighting the contour of the Mojave Subdivision the head end prepares to diverge onto the siding at Rowen to make a meet with a northbound BNSF Z train. The rear end of the southbound is still high above the Tehachapi Creek valley between tunnels 7 & 8, the latter of the two is near the center of the image.

RS 5/10/15 Same Train west end of Rowen - 5085 RS 5/10/15 our train continues his journey - 5086

# 5085: A full wide angle view of the west end of Rowen as the southbound climbs into the siding for a meet.

# 5086: After making a meet with a northbound at Rowen green boards guided BNSF 4495 on up the hill. I paused just below the Cable Cross-Overs for one more shot of the southbound hotshot. Although mostly filled up the train's rear motor is crossing the 7th and final bridge crossing of the Tehachapi Creek.

# 5087: Now what's all this H2.5 talk?? Well take a peak at the train's final motor...BNSF C44-9W 4467. BNSF's one off H2.5 paint scheme :-)

(left) RS 5/10/15 BNSF 4467 (rear end DPU) - 5087


added: May 16, 2015 - Fleta - Cable - Ilmon (5/12/15)

Yesterday afternoon found Union Pacific's Missouri-Kansas-Texas heritage SD70ACe venturing through Espee country en route to Lathrop, CA. Having the afternoon free I ventured out into the wind and ended up following the train up and over the Tehachapi mountains. LATC's power desk has really been spoiling us on Tehachapi the last few weeks with special leaders on the 'Lathrop Z'. Here are a few images from yesterday's outing with Ms. Katy...
# 5088: With the wide open Mojave Desert as its backdrop the ZLCLT-12 is just south of Fleta as it works towards Mojave.
# 5089: Having topped Tehachapi Summit the 'Lathrop Z' slithers down grade approaching the end of double track at Cable. The primary colors of the head end consist, which includes: UP 1988-CSXT 5489-UP 6946, adds to the already colorful Z train's make up.
# 5090: With Bakersfield nearly within their sight the ZLCLT swings through the curves leaving Ilmon. With the twisting Tehachapi confines at their back the scene is bathed in low hanging sunlight that will soon be erased by the rolling hills as another day on the mountain nears its end.

RS 5/12/15 UP 1988 EMD SD70ACe WB at Fleta - 5088

RS 5/12/15 Same Train WB at Ilmon - 5090 RS 5/12/15 UP 1988 Katy Heritage Unit at Cable - 5089


added: September 1, 2015 - BNSF on the Mountain (May 2015)

Going through my archives the other day I dusted off a few images from Tehachapi, also respectively referred to as 'the mountain'. Before heading off to work this morning I thought I might share a few images of BNSF trains doing battle with Tehachapi from early May 2015.

5201: Slipping down the eastern slope of the Tehachapi's a eastbound (southbound) BNSF intermodal train is conforming to the northern bank of Cache Creek as it drops down into the vast Mojave Desert. Soon this intermodal train will be but a blur across the desert as it races for Barstow and points east. (May 3rd, 2015)

5202: Contending with gravity a eastbound (southbound) vehicle train absorbs the morning sunshine as the sun reacquaints itself with the golden Tehachapi Hills. The train's head end consist, which consists of BNSF 7118-5370-CSXT 3069, is about to rattle across the switch at the west end of Rowen while the string of auto-racks highlight the Mojave Subdivision's precarious route through Tunnel 8 (near image center) and back towards Cliff. (May 10th, 2015)

5203: Cast in the glow of a fading afternoon a westbound (northbound) BNSF intermodal negotiates the curves through 'downtown' Caliente and will soon find itself twisting through the narrow confines of the Caliente Creek narrows. In the foreground the leftover carnage from a UP WCRV derailment lines the Mojave Sub just out of Tunnel 1's west portal.
(May 16th, 2015)

RS 5/03/15 BNSF 7598 EB pass Cache Creek - 5201

RS 5/10/15 BNSF 7118 at Rowen - 5202 RS 5/16/15 BNSF 8323 WB Caliente Curve - 5203

Bonus Photos - non Tehachapi Pass

Added January 5, 2015: San Vernando Valley (12/26, 2014)
# 4161: Under a spider-web of freeway ramps at the California 14 Freeway and Interstate 5 junction Union Pacific's westbound Saugus local prepares to leave the San Fernando Valley behind and works its way towards the 6740' Tunnel 25 under Newhall Pass. This was once Southern Pacific's Saugus Line between Palmdale and Los Angeles, today the line belongs to Metrolink as their Valley Subdivision.
RS 12/26/14 UP WB Saugus Local below Freeway bridges at San Fernando Valley - 4161

 All Photos copyright by Ryan Slaton, USA

Weekly Southern
California Photos
2014 - 2015

Photos by Ryan Slaton (USA)

Updated: 9/01/15
RS 1/10/15 UP EB at Lugo - 5001 See all photos - click here RS 1/10/15 San Bernardino - 5003


Tehachapi Derailment
May 20, 2013

Photos by Robert Westover (USA)
Ryan Slaton (USA)
Gerold Eckl (Austria)

Updated: 6/27/14
5/20/13 Tunnel No. 10 above the loop - 1283 See all 45 photos - click here 5/20/13 Derailed Auto Carriers MP 353 - 1289

 Tehachapi Photos of other photographers

Tehachapi Pass
and Barstow
April/May, 2013

Photos by Eugen Haenseler

Updated: 6/26/13
5/01/13 Caliente Curve from above - 248 See all 156 photos - click here 5/04/13 SF GP60M in Warbonnet colors - 357


Tehachapi Pass
Aerial Photos

by Dave Crammer, USA

Updated: March 7, 2010
Between Bealville + Cliff, incl. Tunnel 3 + 5 - DC-83 See all 54 photos - click here The famous Tehachapi Loop - DC-67


Southern California

July 3, 2008

by Werner Meer

Updated: 6/23/14
See all 135 photos - just click below


Tehachapi Pass
Daggett - Barstow
Photo Collection

by Werner Meer

Updated: February 28, 2010
Between Ilmon & Caliente 2 Auto trains - 30533 See all 87 photos - click here BNSF EB will enter Tunnel 9 and the Loop - 30621

Here you find more infos about Tehachapi

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Tehachapi Loop photos by Greg Hewgill - 
Tehachapi photos by Christopher Muller (scroll down and click on Tehachapi Loop) - 
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