You are in the CarrTracks website Picture Gallery.

Picture Gallery of
Southern Pacific Railroad and
Santa Fe Railway trains
in the Tehachapi Mountains

Southern Pacific train comes by the last CTC signal at Tehachapi in the winter and has almost conquered the Tehachapi Mountains. Photo by Steve Carr

This is the largest section in the CarrTracks Picture Gallery. It has 138 pages and 356 of my pictures plus 41 from Steve Carr, my brother. Some pages have a link to the Santa Fe Hot 27.

For this series we will follow Southern Pacific trackage from Bakersfield southeast over the Tehachapi Mountains to Mojave. The SP pushed the line down the San Joaquin Valley in 1874 and began building over the Tehachapi in 1875. Tunnels were the biggest holdup for construction. The longest of the 18 tunnels on the stretch between Bakersfield and Tehachapi was Tunnel 5 at 1,156ft and wasn't completed until March 1876. At the same time crews were building northward from Los Angeles. The longest tunnel was the San Fernando tunnel at 6,966ft. Work began on that tunnel in March 1875 and it was completed in July 1876. The two lines met at Lang in Soledad Canyon on September 5, 1876. The Southern Pacific then had a line connecting central California with Los Angeles. In 1882, the SP started building a line to Needles to head off the Atlantic & Pacific. This was completed in 1883. The main objective was to keep competitors out of California. Through some horse trading the line to Needles became part of the Santa Fe. In 1899, the Santa Fe secured trackage rights over the Southern Pacific between Mojave and Bakersfield.

Here is a little history on the signals system. The original lower quadrant semaphore signal installed in 1901 on Tehachapi had only one arm. In 1915 there were sidings at Edison and Sivert, Tehachapi, Summit, Proctor (between Monolith and Eric), Cameron, Larose, Warren, and Fram. In 1919 the SP added a second track and completed installation of block signals to 12 miles of double track between Kern Jct and Sivert. In 1922 it installed 24 US&S style B lower quadrant semaphore signals to a 17 mile segment of double track between Cameron and Mojave. The signal installation between Bakersfield and Mojave was completed in August 1923. SP completed the extension of double track west from Cameron to Tehachapi in June 1924.

The original tunnels were 18 feet high and were timber lined except in sections of solid rock. A five year $1M project to increase tunnel size and line each tunnel with concrete was completed in 1922. The height of each tunnel was raised to 22 feet, minimum width was 16 feet on tangent and 17 feet on curves. Tunnel 12 and 13 were bypassed in a short line relocation in 1921.

During 1928, the SP did an extensive upgrade on the line over Tehachapi. It extended the second track from Sivert (Sandcut) to Bena. The track work was finished in October 1928. SP also changed the signal system by adding 11 power switches and 13 spring switches. Power switches could move from normal to reverse or back in 17 seconds and were controlled by the local station agents. Power switches were at east and west Caliente, east Allard, east and west Bealville, east and west Woodford, east and west Marcel, and a crossover at Tehachapi. Spring switches were at end of double track west of Tehachapi, west Cable, east and west Marcel, west Walong, west Cliff, east and west Bealville, west Allard, east and west Caliente, east end of double track and siding switch at Bena. At the time Caliente, Bealville, and Marcel had double sidings. The line also had M and S indicators on signals at hand operated switches. M meant hold on main track and S meant head into siding. For example the station at Bealville controlled the east Allard, east, and west Bealville power switches and the M and S take siding lights at the west end of Allard. Also the siding at Cliff was extended from 27 to 71 car lengths and Cable was extended from 67 to 81 car lengths.

Traffic on the line in 1928 was 10 SP passenger, 4 ATSF passenger, and freight trains averaged 18.4, plus 8 to 15 light engine moves each day. However during October 1928 freight train counts exceeded 30 trains a day. Several sidings were lengthened in order to hold 71 cars. Both the SP and ATSF added more cars to each train and instead of two helper engines began using three. As a result the average tonnage of eastbound trains increased from 5,070 tons in 1927 to 5,947 tons in 1928. The average time for an eastbound freight train to go from Bena to Tehachapi decreased from 3 hours 54 minutes to 3 hours 17 minutes. Westbound trains tend to be lighter averaging 3,222 tons in 1927 and 3,918 in 1928. Speeds also increased for westbound trains from 3 hours 55 minutes in 1927 to 3 hours 21 minutes in 1928. Westbound trains have to stop occasionally to allow wheels to cool and that is why an eastbound train can go up the hill faster than a westbound can come down the mountain. Due to flood damage, the main line between Ilmon and Caliente was moved to slightly higher ground and a new tunnel was added in 1936. Since the new tunnel was before tunnel 1, it was numbered 1/2. Prior to 1943 the siding at Cliff was extended again to 102 car lengths.

CTC was completed between Bena and Tehachapi, 32.3 miles, in June 1943. The SP shut down the train order offices at Bena, Caliente, Bealville, Woodford, and Marcel. The Fresno to Bakersfield and the Sandcut to Summit CTC machines were located in the Bakersfield passenger depot. Also that year, the 158 feet long Tunnel 11 between Walong and Marcel was daylighted.

After the Tehachapi earthquake in 1952, tunnel 6 was daylighted and Cliff siding extended around the corner to near tunnel 5 making it 112 car lengths. In the early 1950s the middle siding at Warren was removed.

In 1956, SP installed a US&S interlocking at Mojave depot to control four signals and nine power switches at East Mojave. Around 1959 CTC was extended from Bena to Sandcut with the installation of a double crossover and the middle siding at Bena removed. The eastbound siding at Bealville was removed and the westward siding connected to Allard siding. This gave Bealville the longest siding on the hill at 271 car lengths. Also Cable siding was extended from 85 to 149 car lenghts and the crossover was removed at Rowen and track rearranged so that the siding was 165 car lengths. In 1960, SP added control of five signals to the interlocking at Mojave. I think this was in conjunction with the removal of the north end switch tender job at Mojave. Trains now had to line themselves into or out of the yard. In 1961, the south track between Mojave and Cameron was upgraded with signals for trains in either direction controlled of the operator at Mojave. In 1963, double track was extended west from Tehachapi to Cable. In 1975, the long siding at Woodford was extend to near the bridge over Tehachapi Creek. Caliente and Ilmon sidings were connected after the flood in 1983 and tunnel 1/2 eliminated. Walong and Marcel sidings were connected in October 2016.

All of my pictures in this series are on disks 40 through 48. You can purchase a disk and printout any of the pictures for your own use to dress up your train room or add color to a house that just cries out for more train pictures. As a reference, I've added a Mojave Subdivision timetable.

Kern Jct (Bakersfield)
Tunnel 1
Tunnel 2
Tunnel 3
Tunnel 5
Tunnel 7
Tehachapi Loop
Tunnels 14, 15, 16, and 17
Summit Switch
East Mojave

SP freight train at Bealville