Written by Gary Dolzall
Now available for Train Simulator, Dovetail Games’ new Tehachapi Pass route delivers the challenges and captivating scenic wonders of an American railroading icon!
In all of American railroading, there are few ribbons of steel more famous, more challenging, and more enthralling than the polished rails that climb over and twist through California’s rugged Tehachapi Mountains. And now, legendary Tehachapi comes to Train Simulator with Dovetail Games’ new Tehachapi Pass route!
The legendary railroad line over Tehachapi Pass, which is among American railroading’s most revered icons, was constructed by the Southern Pacific to connect the Mojave Desert with California’s San Joaquin Valley and, most importantly, to help link Southern California’s Los Angeles Basin and Northern California’s Bay Area. Opened in 1876, the Tehachapi line today is Union Pacific’s bustling Mojave Subdivision and is a heavy tonnage artery for both Union Pacific and BNSF, the latter of which utilizes the line via trackage rights.
The visionary who set down Southern Pacific’s crossing of the Tehachapi Mountains was the railroad’s civil engineer William Hood. His task was daunting – from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley eastward, the line would need gain more than 2,700 feet in elevation in little more than twenty “as the crow flies” miles to reach the Tehachapi summit, then drop more than 1,200 feet in less than twenty miles to reach Mojave. But Hood was up to the challenge, and by laying out a route that clung to the Tehachapi’s mountain’s shelves, employed numerous tunnels, called upon horseshoes at Bealville and Caliente, and set down a full loop – famed Tehachapi Loop – Hood was able to construct the line with reasonable 2.2 percent grades.
For the Southern Pacific, the Tehachapi Pass line quickly became a critical and vital part of its route system. In the late 1800s, western rail giant Santa Fe (AT&SF) – looking to extend its transcontinental reach to the Bay Area – threatened to build its own line across the Tehachapi range, but SP and AT&SF instead in 1899 agreed to a trackage rights agreement which made Tehachapi a bustling line with both Southern Pacific and Santa Fe trains. Through modern mergers (SP was merged into Union Pacific and Santa Fe became part of BNSF in 1996), the joint use of Tehachapi Pass by the two super railroads has remained in place.
Much of the crossing of the rugged Tehachapi Mountains is a challenging journey over steep grades and around twisting curves and operated speeds are in the 25-mph range, but both west from Mojave and east from Bakersfield, the line also features quick, mile-a-minute running over lengthy portions. Westbound trains on the Tehachapi line arrive at Mojave via either Union Pacific’s Palmdale Cutoff (from Colton and the Los Angeles area) or BNSF’s Mojave Subdivision from Barstow, California. Having originated across both of the rail giants’ route systems, the trains utilize the Tehachapi line to connect on its west end with UP’s Fresno Subdivision and BNSF’s Bakersfield Subdivision. Beyond Bakersfield, Union Pacific trains may be destined to (or originate from) as far away as the Pacific Northwest while most BNSF traffic is bound for the railroad’s Bay Area terminal in Stockton, California. The Tehachapi line’s mix of double track and single-track with long passing tracks both keep trains on the move, and the Subdivision dispatchers busy. While passenger trains do not regularly operate on the Tehachapi line, Amtrak’s San Joaquin services linking Bakersfield with northern California call at Bakersfield’s modern station.
The new Tehachapi Pass route for Train Simulator re-creates this historic line in contemporary form from Mojave to Bakersfield, California, a distance of 68 route miles. Anchored by busy yard facilities at both Mojave and Bakersfield (the latter of which hosts large yards of both Union Pacific and BNSF), the route takes you to all of Tehachapi’s numerous renowned locations –the Caliente horseshoe, Bealville, Cliff, Walong siding, Cable, Summit, and, of course, legendary Tehachapi Loop, where the line uses a full loop and tunnel to cross over itself in truly dramatic fashion. The sight of a long freight looping over itself at Tehachapi Loop is indeed one of the great sights of railroading anywhere in the world!
Tehachapi has always been prowled by big motive power (in steam days, it was a regular haunt of Southern Pacific’s Cab-Forward 4-8-8-2s and Santa Fe’s burly 2-10-2s). Today, with a steady stream of freight traffic tackling its twisting grades of 2.2 percent, Tehachapi hosts potent third-generation diesels, and the new Train Simulator route features Union Pacific’s General Electric AC4400CW and ES44AC diesels along with UP Electro-Motive SD70ACe and GP40-2 diesels, plus the BNSF GE ES44DC. The route includes a variety of contemporary intermodal and freight rolling stock and a selection of six challenging career scenarios and two entertaining railfan scenarios.
Note: The Tehachapi Pass route is available worldwide. Due to licensing restrictions, BNSF markings will appear only on content distributed to U. S. customers.
Experience iconic American railroading – where the task at hand is lifting thousands of tons of freight up to the summit of California’s Tehachapi Mountains, then safely descending on twisting, steep and unforgiving grades – with the new Tehachapi Pass route for Train Simulator, now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores! – Gary Dolzall
Head to Steam - 10% Launch Discount
In all of American railroading, there are few ribbons of steel more famous, challenging, and enthralling than the polished rails that climb over California’s rugged Tehachapi Mountains. And now, legendary Tehachapi comes to Train Simulator with Dovetail Games’ new Tehachapi Pass route! Near Marcel, California, a Union Pacific stack train behind General Electric AC4400CWs is easing down the west slope of Tehachapi Pass. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
The new Tehachapi Pass route for Train Simulator re-creates this iconic line in contemporary form from Bakersfield to Mojave California, a distance of 68 route miles. In Bakersfield, a BNSF intermodal makes it way past BNSF’s large Bakersfield yard complex (above), then moments later swings onto Union Pacific’s Mojave Subdivision at Kern Junction (below). Note: Screenshots may depict content while in development.
Kern Junction is also home to UP’s large Bakersfield-area yard facility, where a pair of UP EMD GP40-2s are handling yard duties (above). A few miles further east along the Mojave Subdivision, Edison, California is home to a number of lineside shippers (below).
The western slope of Tehachapi Pass is one of the engineering – and scenic – marvels of the railroading world. At Caliente, California, the front end of a Union Pacific eastbound stack train has just rounded the Caliente horseshoe while its rear DPU still navigates the curve.
Making the spectacular ascent of Tehachapi’s west slope on the now available Train Simulator Tehachapi Pass route, a BNSF tank train curls through a sweeping curve at Cliff (above), then a short time later rounds Tehachapi Loop (below). The head-end of the train is at Walong and passing Tunnel No. 10 while its rear DPU in the foreground is swinging around the Loop.
The summit of the Tehachapi Pass route is at, where else, Tehachapi, California. A westbound BNSF intermodal powered by GE ES44DCs rolls past the preserved depot (above), then later carefully makes its twisting descent of the west slope near Cable (below). The new Train Simulator route features Union Pacific’s General Electric AC4400CW and ES44AC diesels along with UP Electro-Motive SD70ACe and GP40-2 diesels, plus the BNSF GE ES44DC.
Monolith, California, located about five miles east of Tehachapi, is home to a massive cement plant served by the Union Pacific. On the now available Train Simulator Tehachapi Pass route, the cement plant easily dwarfs a duo of UP GEs which have arrived with a string of covered hoppers. In the six career scenarios included with the route, you’ll have main line, local, and switching duties to perform.
Much of the crossing of the rugged Tehachapi Mountains is a daunting and challenging journey over steep grades and around twisting curves, but both west from Mojave and east from Bakersfield, the line also features mile-a-minute running. Having departed Mojave, Union Pacific GE AC4400CWs are hustling a westbound manifest through high desert country near Cameron, California (above). At Mojave Yard, a pair of UP GE ES44ACs diesels await duty while a duo of EMD SD70ACe diesels lug cement hoppers off the wye track (below).
On the ever-busy Tehachapi Pass route, Union Pacific freights meet at Rowen, California. Experience iconic American railroading – where the task at hand is lifting thousands of tons of freight up to the summit of California’s Tehachapi Mountains, then safely descending on twisting, steep and unforgiving grades – with the new Tehachapi Pass route for Train Simulator, now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores!