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PRS 75 Year Excursion Tehachapi and Palmdale Cutoff Trip Part 3

by Chris Guenzler

Looking down on the BNSF Summit.

A BNSF westbound train at their Summit.

Our train started down the grade into the Mojave Desert at Hiland.

That was one long BNSF train down below.

Hiland is a long siding like all the ones on this line.

Mount San Gorgonio.

The west end of Hiland siding.

Views looking down into the Summit Valley. I left the Pony Express and started working on this story as the train descended the desert side grade of Cajon Pass. The train speed picked up as we headed out into the Mojave Desert.

Views of the Joshua Trees native to the High Desert. The train ran by the sidings at Phelan and Wash with a UP eastbound in the siding there. We ran by Vulcan siding before we closed on Palmdale.

Two views of Palmdale Jct. The train ran alongside of the Metrolink tracks to Lancaster on our way north.

Lockheed Martin Plant in Palmdale. The train passed the siding at Oban and paused for a few minutes at Ansel north of Lancaster.

The High Desert of the Mojave. The train went up Ansel Hill out of the Antelope Valley and I went back to the Great Dome for my first visit and sat at a table.

The hills get interesting the closer we get to Mojave.

The forward view of the Great Dome as we neared Mojave.

The BNSF line from Barstow joined our route for the trip to Bakersfield. I rode that line behind the Santa Fe 3751 back in December in 1991. From here I walked forward back up to the Pony Express and got caught up with Stan Garner the car's owner. We talked most of the way to town of Tehachapi where I made sure Stan saw the station there. Since I had covered the crossing of the Tehachapi Mountains on my Coast Starlight detour trips a few years ago with hundreds of pictures I will limit my picture taking. I returned to my seat and kept working.

At Cable you got a good view of Amtrak 165 leading the train. I relaxed as the train went through Cable then through the Tunnel Section and reached Marcel where we came to a stop for an eastbound BNSF stack train. Once we left Marcel it is one tunnel until we reached the world famous Tehachapi Loop.

The train has reached Tunnel 10. We ran through it and the view became clear of the Tehachapi Loop. We will now take the train around the Tehachapi Loop.

That was our trip around the world famous Tehachapi Loop. I went back to work as the train ran the rest of the way to Kern Junction where we came to a stop to get our BNSF pilot for the rest of trip to the Bakersfield Amtrak Station. After they had a crew meeting we headed westward onto the BNSF.

The train left the former Southern Pacific for the rails of the former Santa Fe. The train slowly made its way to the Bakersfield Amtrak station where our trip today came to an end. I detrained and walked up to the head end for pictures

Our train at rest at Bakersfield.

Amtrak 156 at Bakersfield Amtrak station. I walked across the street to the Best Western Plus Hill House for the night. I finished the story then called Winston to proof it. I met Conductor Larry and he drove us out to his girlfriend Julie's house and the three of us went to T-Bones for dinner and I had a good steak. We stopped at a store on the way back to the Best Western for some Coca-Cola before they dropped me off. I put the corrections into the first three parts of this story then checked the Internet before calling it a night.

Click here for Part 4 of this story