The Tehachapi Loop is a long spiral or helix stretch of railway in Kern County, California, and located on the Union Pacific Railroad Mojave Subdivision running through Tehachapi Pass. Construction of the loop began in 1874 and was led by Southern Pacific's civil engineer, William Hood. This section of railroad connects Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley to Mojave in the Mojave Desert.
Backstory and Context
One of the engineering feats of its day, the Loop was built by Southern Pacific Railroad to help ease the grade over Tehachapi Pass. Construction began in 1874, and the line opened in 1876.William Hood was the genius behind the loop, which is noted as one of the seven wonders of the railroad world. It is also a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The loop consists of 18 tunnels, 10 bridges, and numerous water towers for the steam locomotives. During the spring, the hillsides surrounding the loop is covered in purple flowers.
It was more than 3,000 Chinese immigrant laborers toiled for two years cutting through the solid granite with blasting powder, and then clearing the debris using picks, shovels, and horse drawn carts, to lay the Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line. The single-track line, accommodates an average of 36 trains a day The Tehachapi Loop, which is about half way upgrade to the Tehachapi Pass, averages 2.2% in gradient across its 28.-mile length. The loop provides an entry tunnel from which the track travels in a complete counterclockwise loop that passes over the tunnel. The loop covers .73 miles.
. Tehachapi Loop. Accessed November 12th 2019. https://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/12/tehachapi-loop.html.