Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tehachapi Train Depot

This morning, I drove up to Tehachapi in hopes of taking pictures of trains going through town, but none went through in the two hours that I waited. Upon talking with the owner of the train store, Trains Etc., I learned that Mondays are usually maintenance days for the Union Pacific. Although today is Tuesday and the trains should be running, yesterday was a holiday so today is "Monday" for the railroad.

I learned a little more about the fire at the depot a year ago. I was told that a contractor had just finished installing a fire sprinkler system the day before the fire in the depot as part of the refurbishing of the building. The contractor had scheduled the city inspector to witness the pressure test on the next morning. Can you imagine what was going through the contractor's mind when he drove up the next morning and there was no depot?

When I asked if they ever found out how the fire started I was told that two drunks were shooting off bottle-rockets at passing trains and one of them landed under the depot and set it on fire. A passing newspaper delivery person reported the fire around 3:00 am, but by the time the fire department arrived from three blocks away, the depot was fully involved in flame. There were some propane tanks inside from the construction and they exploded. This blow out windows in the stores across the street. The fire department could only take a defensive stand and protect the surrounding buildings from catching fire. The following picture is of the town clock that stands at the sidewalk about 20 feet from the depot. As you can see, the heat did a number on the clock.

This is one of the many banners that are all around the town that promote the rebuilding and the opening of a rebuilt depot and museum.

On my way back to the campground in Bakersfield, I saw a section gang working on the railroad where it goes through a series of tunnels right along US-58. That was the reason for No Trains. That just give me a reason to come back at a later date.

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