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Tropical storm Hilary

Tropical storm Hilary had an impact on Southern California and the Tehachapi Valley.  Most obvious was the impact on curtailing the Mountain Festival activities.  A less obvious impact was on the Tehachapi Depot.  While not quite as horrific as the 1932 rains and floods of that era, Hilary was more subtle.  Most may not know that under the freight room of the depot there is a basement.  In the basement there is a drain in the floor to capture potential condensation from the air conditioning units and the moisture is allowed to run off into a leach pipe that discharges under the lawn between the depot and Tehachapi Boulevard.  In the case of Hilary, the rain dripped off the roof and onto the lawn and accumulated to the existent that the water from the outside drained into the basement.  As a result, the depot basement was flooded with up to a foot of water and damaged numerous collectible items that were being sorted, catalogued and stored in the basement.  Many hours of volunteer time and effort were laid to waste.  This is a set-back for the Friends of the Tehachapi Depot team that strived to preserve and present these items of railroad history to our visitors.  So next time you visit the depot, Thursday through Mondays 11am to 4pm (Note the restoring of Thursday visitation starting in September), this will explain why you may see some sad faces lamenting the loss.  Make plans to stop in and cheer us on as we clean up from Hilary and move forward with our efforts of maintaining the depot as the “Jewel of Tehachapi”.


Presidents' Day

Presidents’ Day (the third Monday of February) is the celebration of the birth of our first President, George Washington (born on 22 Feb) and our sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln (born on 12 Feb). During Washington’s administration, railroads were still in the future. During Lincoln’s administration railroads were well established East of the Mississippi River, but not to the West. However, in July of 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act which launched the building of the first transcontinental railroad with the Union Pacific building from the East and the Central Pacific from the West. The Western terminus of that railroad was Sacramento, California. Once the transcontinental railroad was completed in May of 1869. The Central Pacific was merged with the Southern Pacific (SP) railroad in the 1870s and a second transcontinental rail line was begun by the SP going South out of Northern California through the San Joaquin Valley. As the line reached the Southern end of the San Joaquin Valley the Tehachapi Mountain range posed a challenge. However, Chief Engineer for the SP, overcame that challenge by designing the Tehachapi Loop. It is estimated that 3,000 Chinese workers equipped with little more than hand tools, picks, shovels, horse-drawn carts and blasting powder cut through solid and decomposed granite to create the helix-shaped 0.72-mile loop with grades averaging about 2.2 percent and an elevation gain of 77 feet. The loop was completed in two years from 1874 to 1876. With the challenge conquered the SP gained access to Southern California and eventually was able to establish a rail connection with Los Angeles, California and even on to New Orleans, Louisiana. So, it is more than appropriate that the Friends of the Tehachapi Depot (FOTD) place the flag of our country on the Tehachapi Loop Overlook. While you are celebrating Presidents Day, why not stop by and watch today’s trains utilize this almost century and a half old engineering marvel. And after you have checked out the Loop, makes plans to stop by the Tehachapi Depot Museum that will be open on Presidents Day from 11 AM to 4 PM. Details and directions may found on our website:
                                                                       By Marlan Woodside, Board Member
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