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Coast Starlight Detour over Altamont Pass and the Tehachapi Loop Part 2

by Chris Guenzler

The train came off the old Western Pacific heading onto the former Southern Pacific to run to Lathrop to wye the entire train.

Curving onto the Fresno Sub.

The train took the Southern Leg of the Lathrop Wye. When we got a signal we started backing up.

The track we were just on.

As the train backed at Lathrop.

Our new pilot crew arrived.

The train got a red over green their meeting a local freight before we crossed over to head south down the Fresno Sub. Dave, Kathy and I had lunch with me having the Angus Beef Burger and Vanilla Ice Cream. After lunch I worked on the story as the train ran to Merced where we switched out the Amtrak Engineers and onto Madera.

The San Joaquin River south of Madera.

A Union Pacific Freight with a Ferromex Engine in its consist. We ran through Fresno but got stopped at Calwa Crossing by a BNSF stack train and Amtrak 714 both crossing in front of us at the same time.

The Relco Switch Engine at the south end of the BNSF Calwa Yard.

A look towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

There was a new engine at Zacky Farms Grain Elevator at Traver.

Looking east at Traver.

The old Zacky Farms CF-7 has seen better days.

Views east south of Traver.

View west south of Traver.

Rail America Train at Goshen.

The engines of Tulare. From here the train ran into Bakersfield for an Amtrak Crew Change.

The SD-9 at Tipton.

View to the west south of Tipton. I walked back and visited with people in the lounge car before I put this part of the story up. The train ran into Bakersfield where we switched Amtrak Crews and UP Pilots then they pulled the train up past the station and gave us a fresh air break.

The Coast Starlight at rest in Bakersfield.

Passengers enjoying the fresh air break.

My good friend Dave Smeko enjoying the fresh air break.

The train left the Bakersfield SP Station and headed for the mountains ahead.

Views between Bakersfield and Sandcut. There we crossed over to run around a BNSF freight train.

The BNSF train we would pass at Bena.

A scene around Bena. The train ran through "The Narrows" and up the grade to Caliente.

Where we would be in a few minutes.

The Coast Starlight at the Caliente Horseshoe Curve.

The train then climbed to Tunnel 1 and then Tunnel 2 taking the train to Bealville..

The train went around the Allard Curve.

The train kept climbing to reach Bealville then ran through Tunnel 3 and by the remains of Tunnel 4.

The train entered Tunnel 5 before running through Cliff then Tunnels 7 and 8 to Rowen. The train then climbed to Woodford.

It was snowing as we reached Woodford.

The train at Woodford.

The train then crossed Tehachapi Creek on the trestle below the Tehachapi Loop.

The Loop came into view as the train finished up the climb to the world famous Tehachapi Loop. Now the trip around the Loop.

Today's trip around the Tehachapi Loop. I will now enjoy the rest of this trip with no more pictures as it is time for dinner. We had an extended Dining Car stay this evening as it lasted through another snowstorm through Tehachapi then on down to Mojave. I had the flat iron steak with Vanilla Ice Cream. The train got stopped by the detector north of Mojave as a UP Freight passed by it. I went back to my room and worked on this story as the train ran through Lancaster and Palmdale. I have been able to use the Internet in the lower level of the Pacific Parlour Car. We got stopped at Palmdale Jct for a Metrolink Train before we headed down Soledad Canyon. It was pitch black as we made our way through Soledad Canyon and at CP Lang we met another Metrolink Train but we got the mainline for this one as I watching the Keith Emerson Band. The train ran through Saugus and Newhall then through the San Fernando Tunnel into the San Fernando Valley. We went through San Fernando, Sun Valley, then slow running as we waited for another Metrolink Train. That was followed by Downtown Burbank and Glendale before we arrived into LAUPT at 9:57 PM ending another interesting detour trip aboard the Coast Starlight. I enjoyed my day with Dave and Kathy as we always have a blast when we are together.

Surfliner 796 4/8/2011

I boarded the Surfliner for the quick night time trip home to Santa Ana. The train left on time and stopped in Fullerton and Anaheim before dropping me off at Santa Ana. From there I drove home ending another excellent Amtrak adventure.