For around six hours, on early Wednesday afternoon to early evening, May 23, 2018, I was able to enjoy some of the best railroading in North America... Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision, commonly famous for the unique Tehachapi Loop, 25 miles to the west of where I railfanned today. I spent the afternoon and early evening taking photos of big-time railroad action between Mileposts 374 and 375, which is known as "Warren" on the timetable. Join me on this Wednesday afternoon for lots of U.P. and B.N.S.F. railroad action, on the busiest single-track railroad in North America.
Photo: BNSF #8608, a GE ES44C4, glides down the steep the 2% grade as she leads an eastbound train composed of oil tankers. It's 12 o'clock on this early Wednesday afternoon, May 23, 2018. I'm spending some enjoyable time, photographing big-time railroad action a half mile east of M.P. 375.0 on Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision.
Photo: U.P. #7737, a GE AC45CCTE "Evolution" Series unit, leads a westbound mixed freight train west of Warren. All of the railroad action posted in this article was photographed about 8 miles east of the small Kern County town of Mojave, CA, on U.P.'s famous Tehachapi Line, officially known as the "Mojave Subdivision."
Photo: Do you like heavy-duty railroad action, with GIANT windmills on the hills in the background? Do you like to watch giant locomotives pulling trains up the super-steep 2% grade on the busiest single-track railroad in North America? Then, Tehachapi is your place to go railfanning!
BNSF #7386, a GE ES44DC, leads a double stack train west, up the grade. The grade is a super-steep 2% all the way from Mojave to Summit Switch, just east of the town of Tehachapi. If 2% doesn't sound like much, consider the fact these engines are pulling dead weight, with steel wheels on steel rails, at a grade that rises 2 feet for every 100 feet. For a super-busy mainline railroad, that's a steep grade!
Photo: UP #2545, another GE AC45CCTE, leads an westbound grain train at Milepost 375. It's a synch to tell the location of this photo!
Photo: On the rear, we have a DPU that's - guess what - another GE "Evolution" Series locomotive, which is indeed a popular breed of locomotive on the Mojave Subdivision.
Photo: Ten minutes after the previous photo was taken, here comes UP #8095, a GE AC45CCTE leading a double stack train west.
Thirty years ago, a scanner tuned to railroad frequencies was a "must-have" when railroading the Mojave Subdivison, in the days when railroads had a caboose at the rear of the train, and there was constant chatter between the engine and the caboose. With the advent of "FRED" - flashing rear end device - and now PTC - Positive Train Control - there isn't much to hear on the radio, except for detectors, that radio the milepost as a train passes by. If you do have a scanner, here are the radio frequencies in use, as of May, 2018:
160.320 MHz - UPLA Dispatcher 54
Photo: Later in the afternoon, I moved slightly west of MP 3750.0 and caught UP 7523, a GE ES44DC, leading a westbound double stack train, as she meets an east merchandise train, at Warren siding.
Photo: BNSF #7804, a GE ES44DC, leads a single stack train east at Warren, Milepost 374. That's busy California State Highway 58 in the background.
Photo: BNSF #7849, another GE ES44DC, leads a very mixed train west up the 2% grade at Warren at 1730 in the afternoon. This is a great photo location in the late afternoon, as the setting sun lights up the nose of westbound train.
Photo: An eastbound merchandise train, led by BNSF #7153, a GE ES44C4, leads a merchandise train down the 2% grade, in full dynamic braking, all the way to Mojave.
Photo: I love this photo location, as it's a small canyon, at the east end of Warren. BNSF 8198 west, a very common GE ES44C4, rolls down the grade, as she leads an eastbound merchandise train.
Photo: At around 1830, the sun begins to fade, and the shadows lengthen, as I photo my last train of the day, an empty eastbound spine train led by BNSF #4691, a GE C44-9W.
It's interesting to note of the 12 photos I've posted, all units on the head end are GE "Evolution" Series, which has become one of the most successful series of locomotives in recent railroad history.
In the six hours I spent in the Warren area, I photographed 16 trains, and missed several due to various reasons, so in that 6 hours or so, about 22 trains passed through the area that I was railfanning. That's a lot of trains, and a lot of big-time railroad action!
No wonder Union Pacific's Mojave Subdivision - Tehachapi Line - is my favorite place to railfan.
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