Thursday, May 21, 2009

Train Watchers Paradise

After breakfast this morning I took my tripod, folding chair, camera and cooler for water and headed east on a road that parallels the railroad tracks. I had to wait only about five minutes before a Burlington Northern Santa Fe came rolling up the grade doing about 45 mph. I paced the train for a while......

and then I drove on ahead and waited for the train to reach the area where it leaves the road and heads up a canyon to Caliente.

After the train disappeared around the bend, I continued down this two lane road until I hit CA-58 and went east and took the Keene off ramp. This is a continuation of the old road and it winds around the hillsides until it took me to the famous Tehachapi Loop. Along the way, I came across many patches of wildflowers.

I pulled the car off the paved road and walked out across the side of a hill to get a good spot to setup my tripod. Then I found a shady spot where I could unfold my chair and sit and wait for the train that I had taken pictures of earlier in the day.

It did not take long for a train to appear. It was ahead of the train that I had paced down in the valley. I probably took 60 or so pictures there at the loop. I don't have room to post them all but I did stitch three of them togeter so I could show you a panarama of the loop. You will need to click on the picture and then scroll from side to side to get the full impact of seeing the train travel over itself. With today's longer trains, almost all the trains that travel the loop will do this.

As it turned our I was not alone on the hill watching trains. A couple from Switzerland stopped and chatted with me and there was a group of about 8 to 10 guys sitting around watching from the area where the cars were parked. They were not taking photos. They just were watching. I had a great time and will go up there again next week, if the weather permits.

About noon, I packed up and headed into the town of Tehachapi. I wanted to check out the place were the original Southern Pacific Depot had been before it burned to the ground a year ago. I had no trouble finding the spot, which is now just a whole in the ground. I then went into a store that was directly across the street from that location. The name of the store was Trains Etc. I talked with the proprietor and he told me that ground breaking to rebuild the depot will be next month. When completed, it will be a museum operated by the Friends of the Depot.

I also found were someone has a backyard full of old railroad signals of all sorts. Yes, it seems that Tehachapi will remain a railroad town and a train watchers paradise for many years to come.

On the way back to the campground, I stopped at the NAPA store in Bakersfield and picked up my new windshield wiper for the coach. I will install it in the morning when it is not so hot! Now it won't rain for the next three years, just because I now have new wipers.

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