Caliente is a former Southern Pacific depot site and also location of a small community. Caliente, at 1,291 feet is the start of the stiff Tehachapi grade. Once a siding, Caliente is now the east end of about 5 miles of double track that begins to the west at Ilmon. The main railroad attraction of Caliente is the horseshoe curve where the railroad shifts from the north side of Caliente Creek to the south side where it begins the climb up to the summit of Tehachapi Pass. After traversing the horseshoe curve, the railroad temporarily runs back to the west about 2 miles where it curves back again passing through Tunnel #2 (see map at bottom of page) and once again heads east. The elevation difference between Caliente and Bealville is almost 500 feet, but only 1 mile by car. The railroad takes nearly 5 miles to reach the same location. For this reason, many trains can be photographed easily at both locations without any hurrying at all.
At Caliente, numerous locations for photography can be found in the immediate area (too numerous to list here).
Caliente Map Notes: The location where Hwy. 58 crosses Bena Road is a road crossing only, not an offramp/connection
Directions to Caliente from Bakersfield:
Travel east on Highway 58 from Highway 99 in Bakersfield approximately 20-25 miles to Bealville Road. Travel north on Bealville Road approximately 2 miles; Directly north of the railroad overcrossing you will reach an intersection with Caliente-Bodfish Road; Continue on Bealville Road (which becomes Caliente-Bodfish Road) into the town of Caliente to reach the double track and horseshoe curve; Turn west on Caliente-Bodfish Road at intersection to reach Tunnel #2 (see map below) and several other vantage points of tracks both railroad east and railroad west of Caliente (tracks will be on both sides of you).
Gas/Lodging/Retail Businesses: Bakersfield (west 25 miles) or Tehachapi (east 20 miles)
Food: Bakersfield (west 25 miles), Keene (daytime only, east 10 miles), or Tehachapi (east 20 miles)
Additional location near Caliente: Tunnel #2
Tunnel #2 Map Notes: The location where Hwy. 58 crosses Bena Road is a road crossing only, not an offramp/connection.
Continue West on Caliente-Bodfish Road to Reach Bena and Sandcut.