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Trains at the Tehachapi Loop

by Andrea Greengard

Welcome to world famous Tehachapi Loop in Keene, California USA! This streaming camera is mounted approximately 3/4 mile from the Tehachapi Loop hilltop which gives a very large viewing area of the Loop and surrounding areas.

With its frequent trains and spectacular scenery, the Loop is one of the prime railfan areas in the country. There’s plenty of private property in the area, and trespassers are not welcome. A good (and safe) vantage point is the site of the Tehachapi Loop historical marker.  In 1998, the Loop was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is now California Historical Landmark #508.

One of the engineering feats of its day, the Loop was built by Southern Pacific Railroad beginning in 1874 and opened in 1876. Contributors to the project’s construction include Arthur De Wint Foote and the project’s chief engineer, William Hood.

A large white cross, “The Cross at the Loop”, stands atop the hill in the center of the loop in memory of two Southern Pacific Railroad employees killed on May 12, 1989, in a train derailment in San Bernardino, California.

This stream is brought to you by Tehachapi Live Train Cams through the generous donations of our viewers! Also,  a special thank you goes out to Creative Wireless, Inc. for all of their help and for providing the internet service to run the Tehachapi Loop Live Cam!

Planning a trip?

If you are planning a trip to Tehachapi, instead of staying at a hotel, consider staying with us at the Cable Cam location which is located right between the Loop and Depot Cams!  Click here for more details:  http://BedandTrains.Tehachapi.Live .

Tehachapi Loop Information:

The Tehachapi Loop is a 0.73-mile (1.17 km) long “spiral,” or helix, on the Union Pacific Railroad line through Tehachapi Pass, of the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County, south-central California. The line connects Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley to Mojave in the Mojave Desert. Seeing a daily average of almost 40 trains, the line is one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world.

On the loop, the track passes over itself, lessening the grade. The loop gains 77 feet (23 m) in elevation as the track climbs at a steady 2% grade. A train more than 4,000 feet (1,200 m) long thus passes over itself going around the loop. At the bottom of the loop, the track passes through Tunnel 9, the ninth tunnel built as the railroad worked from Bakersfield.


The siding on the loop was known as Walong after Southern Pacific District Roadmaster W. A. Long.  Union Pacific RR constructed a second track between the east (south) end of Walong siding and the west (north) end of the Marcel siding, creating a 3.1 mile long section of two main tracks between MP 351.1 and MP 354.2.

The Loop became the property of the Union Pacific in 1996, when it absorbed the Southern Pacific. Trains of the BNSF Railway also use the loop under trackage rights. Union Pacific bars passenger trains from the line, which prevents Amtrak’s San Joaquin train from serving Los Angeles. This has been the case since the creation of Amtrak in 1971. An exception is made for the Coast Starlight, which uses the line as a detour if its normal route is closed.

Support the Loop!

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