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Southern Pacific Railroad Mojave Flyer at Tunnel 1/2

Southern Pacific Mojave Flyer at Tunnel 1/2

On November 18, 1977 I decided to walk into the fairly inaccessible part of the Tehachapi grade between and Caliente and Ilmon. I wouldn't do this at any other time of the year, as there are plenty of rattlesnakes in this area. Engine 9128 leads the Mojave Flyer up grade in the narrow canyon between Ilmon and Caliente. The train is about to enter Tunnel 1/2. This tunnel was added after a washout in 1885 and the tracks were relocated from the south side of Caliente Creek to slightly higher ground on the north side. In the three hours I was in the canyon, this was the only eastbound. I did get four westbound trains plus three sets of helpers returning to Bakersfield or the helper spur at Bena.

Southern Pacific Railroad train 375 approaches Tunnel 1/2 with B&O 4125 on the point photo of Southern Pacific train 375 approaching Tunnel 1/2 with B&O 4125 on the point

The second section of train 375 approaches Tunnel 1/2 with B&O 4125 on the point. After the flood of 1983, the railroad eliminated this tunnel and extended Ilmon siding up the canyon to connect with the siding at Caliente. The siding at Ilmon was straightened out and part of the second siding at Caliente was removed. This gave the railroad a four mile section of double track. The grade increases south of the old tunnel 1/2 to 2 percent for about a mile and then settles back to about 1 percent or a little better into Caliente. Disk 40