Mojave is a crossroads of railroad lines. Located in
California's high desert area, Mojave is the meeting point of BNSF's Barstow line and
Union Pacific's Tehachapi Pass line. Also, the branch line to Searles (connection
with the Trona Railroad) leaves the main line at Mojave.
The Mojave Yard is located adjacent to
Highway 58 on it's west side. Leaving Mojave Yard's south end is the UP line to
Palmdale. Also south of the Mojave Yard, BNSF's line to Barstow departs the UP line
in a southeasterly direction. The BNSF junction is located directly beneath the Highway 14
overpass about 1/2 mile south of the intersection with Highway 58 East. Near the
north end of the yard, the Searles (also known as the Jawbone) Branch leaves the mainline
and crosses Highway 58 at grade. This branch once ran north to Lone Pine and
connected near that location (at Owenyo) with the SP controlled narrow gauge Carson and
Colorado Railroad. The narrow guage was abandoned in 1960, and the Lone Pine Branch
was mothballed beyond Searles in the early 1980's. The branch between Mojave and
Searles still sees heavy traffic, cosisting of unit coal trains inbound and heavy trains
of soda ash, trona and other mined materials outbound. Because of this heavy
traffic, the Mojave Yard is usually a very busy place.
Mojave is located on Highway 58 approximately
18 miles east of Tehachapi. From Mojave, Highway 58 continues East toward Barstow
and all points east. Highway 14 South of Mojave heads toward Lancaster and Palmdale.
Highway 14 North of Mojave heads toward the Owens Valley, Bishop and Reno, Nevada.
Nearest services: Mojave is a
small roadside town, which has all major services (Gas, food and lodging) available
along a two mile stretch of State Highway 58 through town. For additional retail
businesses, you can travel west (20 miles) to Tehachapi or south (25 miles) to
Lancaster/Palmdale. Barstow is located about 60 miles to the east. If you are
going to follow the Searles Branch north from Mojave, stock up on supplies and fill your
tank. There are relatively no services for the entire length of the branch, and the
locations are isolated from any population centers. North of Searles (About 15-20
Miles) is Ridgecrest, which does have services comparable to Mojave. Although a
relatively large city, it is a town of little appeal to the average railfan.