It’s more common for trains to zigzag their way through difficult terrain rather than looping around, but loops aren’t unheard of.
There is actually one such loop in Kern County, and Monday marked the anniversary of its opening. It was in 1876 that the Tehachapi Loop opened to trains.
The Southern Pacific Railroad built the line, under the direction of William Hood, to connect Bakersfield and Mojave, about 50 miles away, according to The New York Times.
In gaining elevation around the central hill of the Loop, a 4,000-foot train will cross 77 feet above its rear cars in the tunnel below.
The Tehachapi Loop has been designated as a California Historical Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
John Signor, a rail historian and former conductor, has seen railroads all over California, but for him, there’s something special about the Tehachapi Loop.
“For my money,” he said, “I always liked the Tehachapis because they’re so picturesque.”