TEHACHAPI – Nestled in the Tehachapi Mountains is a world-famous engineering marvel which was completed in 1876 by the Southern Pacific Railroad allowing trains to negotiate a steep climb up the Tehachapi Mountains as they make their way from San Francisco to Los Angeles and other areas of the country The marvel is called “The Tehachapi Loop” which a train over 4,000 feet in length can pass over itself as it “loops” up and down the steep grade. The Loop was registered in 1953 as a California Historical Landmark and honored in 1998 as a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark; concrete monuments mark where the best place is to see the trains but the viewing area lacks a spectator safety overlook.
Kern County 2nd District Supervisor Field Representative Laura Lynne Wyatt partnered with the Kern County Public Works Department, the Friends of the Tehachapi Depot and many community volunteers to complete a new viewing platform located at the Tehachapi Loop Historical monuments on Woodford /Tehachapi Road in Tehachapi; with property, fill dirt, concrete and design plans in hand, a small group of Tehachapi residents have united to build a safe viewing overlook for visitors local and worldwide.
“I’ve been working on this project since September 2020; currently, the monument sites and viewing the trains on the Loop is unappealing and a real safety concern; travelers from all over the world visit the Loop each year so creating a safe experience for them is a priority” says Wyatt.
Kern County 2nd District Supervisor Zack Scrivner got the project off the ground according to Wyatt and has been working closely with the community of Tehachapi to make this a reality.
Wyatt went on the explain the steps necessary to complete the project; “During the first phase of our efforts, we accomplished a lot of background work such as engineering plans, California State Parks permission to move the concrete monuments, recorded property easement, donated fill dirt and concrete and have raised just over $50,000 thanks to some generous major donors just to name a few. We have launched our public phase on March 6th of this year and I’m proud to say that we have now raised approximately $62,000 of the $100,000 needed (in addition to pro bono work that will be provided by the county) towards the completion of the project”.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Wyatt says she is proud of how far they’ve come. “This is a legacy project and I couldn’t wait to share the story with all of you; all donations are tax- deductible and all donations big or small are accepted on their website at tehachapidepot.com. Major donors who donations are $10,000 or more will be honored with their name on a beautiful commemorative plaque mounted at the completed Tehachapi Loop Overlook giving permanent recognition for the generous donation.