The TEhachapi loop is a 3,799 foot long rail circle that was built in 1876 to allow trains to cross the Tehachapi Mountains and travel between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Southbound trains making the loop pass through a tunnel and then complete a tight, counter-clockwise loop, gently climbing 77 feet before crossing back over the tunnel--and above themselves.
The Loop conquered a troublesome ridge near the top of the 4,000 foot Tehachapi Summit by keeping the track grade at 2.2%--the maximum that rail firms were willing to make steam engines climb. Southern Pacific Railroad engineer William Hood designed the loop as part of a 16 mile mountain track segment that included 18 tunnels totaling 8,240 feet in length. Hood's feat is observed everywhere in Tehachapi, located 115 miles north of Los Angeles in Kern County. About 3,000 laborers from Canton, China constructed the tracks. They were paid $26 a month and used 500 one horse carts on the project.
TPR's Tehachapi Route is 118 baseboards in length and took approximately six months to complete.
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