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Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

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Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby GSkid » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:01 am

So for the last couple weeks I've been hitting train spots I've never been to for my YouTube channel.. On this trip I have so far filmed Mullan Pass, Soldier Summit, UP's Cima Sub, BNSF's Needles sub and the Cajon Pass/Palmdale cutoff.

So today I met up on Cajon Pass with a railfan I met on Tehachapi Pass from the Cal Trains railfan meet up last April. Normally UP doesn't allow Amtrak trains over Tehachapi Pass unless UP's Coast Line route is unavailable to use for some reason and a detour is needed. This only happens a few times a year at most and usually only on short notice. Because of this fact, most railfans don't have enough lead time to get a ticket for these relatively rare events. In this case, the Cal Trains group got very early info from someone inside Amtrak that a planned detour is coming.

So because of this early info, the group is taking a private railcar fom LA to Seattle and back on the Coast Starlight this Saturday the 28th. My friend and I are taking it only from LA to Oakland, CA. Then the next day we are taking the southbound Coast Starlight and going business class on that train. So we should be going over the mountain pass twice and in different directions. I'm being told there will be only about 14 of us, so it should be a rather intimate experience. I'm gonna try and do a continuous rear camera view if I can. We will see.

We are apparently riding in this old former CN car that was refurbished and is called Tioga Pass.......


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Should be fun! !*YAAA*!
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby ErikGorbiHamilton » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:50 am

GSkid wrote:So for the last couple weeks I've been hitting train spots I've never been to for my YouTube channel.. On this trip I have so far filmed Mullan Pass, Soldier Summit, UP's Cima Sub, BNSF's Needles sub and the Cajon Pass/Palmdale cutoff.

So today I met up on Cajon Pass with a railfan I met on Tehachapi Pass from the Cal Trains railfan meet up last April. Normally UP doesn't allow Amtrak trains over Tehachapi Pass unless UP's Coast Line route is unavailable to use for some reason and a detour is needed. This only happens a few times a year at most and usually only on short notice. Because of this fact, most railfans don't have enough lead time to get a ticket for these relatively rare events. In this case, the Cal Trains group got very early info from someone inside Amtrak that a planned detour is coming.

So because of this early info, the group is taking a private railcar fom LA to Seattle and back on the Coast Starlight this Saturday the 28th. My friend and I are taking it only from LA to Oakland, CA. Then the next day we are taking the southbound Coast Starlight and going business class on that train. So we should be going over the mountain pass twice and in different directions. I'm being told there will be only about 14 of us, so it should be a rather intimate experience. I'm gonna try and do a continuous rear camera view if I can. We will see.

We are apparently riding in this old former CN car that was refurbished and is called Tioga Pass.......


Image


Should be fun! !*YAAA*!


Ahh Cool! The Tioga Pass is coming up to Seattle!

This car was the one I rode in most of the time on my first Railfan outing down to Klamath Falls. IIRC the car was still in it's old Via blue paint. This was around ca. 2004-2005.

Hope you enjoy the ride!
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby PNWR1854 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:33 pm

I thought amtrak wasn't allowing private cars anymore. !**conf**! Sounds awesome anyways!
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby ET44C4 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:31 pm

I've been aboard the Warren R. Henry and Evelyn A. Henry private cars when they were sitting in Fort Worth, TX back in December of 2016. It was a cold blustery morning, and walking into the warm and cozy coach felt so nice...

I bet a ride on a private car would be so nice and relaxing. I hope you enjoy your trip! !!howdy!!
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby GSkid » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:43 pm

PNWR1854 wrote:I thought amtrak wasn't allowing private cars anymore. !**conf**! Sounds awesome anyways!


It was explained to me that the main reason for this private car trip was for the rare chance to go over Tehachapi Pass in style. The Coast Starlight goes from Los Angeles to Seattle and then turns around and goes back to Los Angeles. Amtrak would only allow the private car if it goes the entire route and back. Anything shorter than that or a car transfer to a different Amtrak route was apparently out of the question. I’m guessing since the car is going to stick with the train the entire trip with no logistical issues or transfers, then Amtrak is okay with it.

The people who are going to take the entire trip and back are paying much more than I am.
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby GSkid » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:12 pm

Well I just got home from the trip and it was awesome! !!*ok*!!

The owner of the private rail car is named Norm and is 75 years old. He worked for both Southern Pacific and Santa Fe. He told me how he got the car and it was all by chance. He owned a Mail Boxes Etc. and this guy Rudy walked in asking him if he can have anything shipped. Norm said yes. The guy then asked if he could ship a rail car and Norm said yes. It was shipped from Edmonton to Barstow in January, 1993, but Rudy died just months after it was delivered and never got a chance to ride it.

The car sat stored in Barstow for awhile and Norm did the upkeep like charging the batteries and keeping it clean and critter free as a courtesy to Rudy's widowed wife. Norm slowly started to want the car himself, but the widow wanted too much money for it. Over time, she eventually lowered the price enough and sold that and some properties to Norm. He then started the process of restoring it to the state it is today.

Here is the link to the car's webpage with pictures (Norm is the guy in the blue shirt on the back deck picture) and it's backstory.....

http://www.larail.com/our-rail-cars/tio ... car/#story

He did in fact confirm to me that he originally wanted to take this trip only to Oakland and back, but Amtrak said he would have to go all the way to Seattle or they wouldn't take us at all.

The Coast Starlight was detoured for 3 days and was known 3 weeks in advance I was told. We met a guy from New York at Union Station that knew about the detour, but sadly not the private rail car. He has flown out twice before to ride Amrtak over Tehachapi Pass, but both times the train ended up going over it's normal coastal route at the last minute. The third time was the charm. We also had a guy fly-in from Maryland.

The sunny weather could not have been better going from Los Angeles to Oakland. Near Lockheed's Skunk Works at the Palmdale airport, we very briefly held the main while a UP Z-train passed us on the siding. That would be the one and only train that we would have to stop to allow by. Otherwise we were the priority train the whole rest of the ride to Oakland. We didn't encounter our first meet on the pass until Caliente and it was a odd BNSF manifest train that had 6 engines and only 17 cars sitting on the siding. The rail fans were out in force taking pictures and video of us over the entirety of Tehachapi Pass. I'll try to post links to their videos after they have a chance to upload them and I can find them.

We noticed for whatever reason that UP's tracks on the northern half of the San Joaquin Valley are not quite as good as the southern half. Going through some of those switches and grade crossings had it violently jarring the rail car laterally very hard at times to the point that it would almost knock you off your feet if your reflexes weren't fast enough. The worst section by far was from Niles Canyon to Oakland which includes wood ties. But for most of the trip, the tracks were fine for the most part.

At the Lathrop wye, the train is backed up so it can be sent to the tracks that go over Altamont Pass and onto Oakland. One of the UP crews that pilots this train between L.A. and Oakland tried to blow the air whistle on the back of our private car as it was backing up and instead they accidentally opened the wrong valve and dumped all the air. !!bang!! !*roll-laugh*!

My return trip back over Tehachapi Pass on the 11 (without the private rail car) was almost as fun except the weather was cloudy in the mountains. The train was pretty empty, which made it almost as intimate as the private rail car experience. The crew was fun and festive. They started the morning by playing "Love Train" by The O'Jays over the speakers. We had many more meets on the pass this time around and they had us once again as the priority train even over the Z-trains.

I managed to mount my camcorder on the back railing of our private car. To my knowledge.....I'm the only person on YouTube with non-stop 4K footage on the back of a train from Mojave to Bakersfield. The plan is to post the video on YouTube twice. Once with sound as it was originally filmed. The second one I will reverse the video in order to simulate it climbing out of Bakersfield from the front porch view of a locomotive. That one will not have sound.

One little hiccup in all this. (Of course!)
*!rolleyes!* **!!bang!!**

So I announced prior to departure from Union Station to the entire rail car that I'd have this camera running continuous on the back of the train and that it would be posted on my YouTube channel. I told them to watch what they say if it's something they don't want the world to hear and can possibly identify them as having said it since there are no faces on camera. Everybody said they were cool with that and all seemed excited to see the final result.

But hours after I had finished filming and as we were going over Niles Canyon at the end of the trip.....2 people had second thoughts. They didn't want their voices heard on the video. Now I kept my yap shut during the filming, but the rest were talking freely. I heard everything they said and it was nothing to be embarrassed about. Nobody was confessing to cheating on their wife or anything of that nature. Just your normal train related foamer talk.

So I told these 2 people I would try to muffle or filter the sound with my audio editor to make the voices on the video as unidentifiable or unintelligible as possible or have no sound at all (the track sounds coverup a lot of the convos to the point you can't understand a lot that is being said). They seemed okay with that. Well the next day, one of those two people told me on the return trip that they were now more open to leaving it as is. That they are going to trust my judgement. They said they didn't care what they said on video and that their objection was based solely on the fact that they (as do many people) can't stand the way their voice sounds in recorded audio.

I consulted with a few of the other rail fans that were on the private car and they told me to just upload it as is despite the objections. That nothing bad was said on video and that everybody was warned ahead of time and there were no objections prior to filming. So I'm going to mess around with it and see the results. If it works, fine. If it doesn't to my satisfaction, I'm just going to post it as is and just have to live with at least one rail fan in this world angry with me.


I'll let you guys know when it's posted. *!greengrin!*
Last edited by GSkid on Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby thebigroyboyski » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:38 pm

Jealous is an understatement right now !!*ok*!!
I'm looking foward to your video.
Frontrunner in the file library now!
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby GSkid » Thu May 24, 2018 11:35 pm

Well I have edited the video (it looks great!) and I'm in the process of uploading it along with the other videos I recorded on my roughly 3 week railfan trip. Should be 53 new videos in all. They are over 166GB+ in total, so it's gonna take a bit to upload them all, write descriptions and tags for them. But it should be up in the next week or so and I'll let you guys know. !!*ok*!!


I said if I find videos of this trip from OTHER people on YouTube, I would post them..... so here they are to hold you off in the meantime.....








EMD 2-strokes rule! My all time favorite: SD45X also love the SD40-2/SD40T-2/SD45-2/SD45T-2/DD35A/DDA40X/SD70ACe/SD80ACe

Southern Pacific RR! Bloody nose/Serif lettering - Donner Pass/Tehachapi Pass/Cajon Pass/UP Coast Line

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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby thebigroyboyski » Sat May 26, 2018 11:19 am

Brilliant GSkid !!*ok*!!
I'll check them out tonight
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby GSkid » Mon May 28, 2018 2:33 pm

Here they are...

Locations and timecodes included in the beginning titles so you can jump to a location on the route if you want.

The ORIGINAL video from Mojave to Bakersfield w/SOUND

The REVERSED video from Bakersfield to Mojave w/NO SOUND
EMD 2-strokes rule! My all time favorite: SD45X also love the SD40-2/SD40T-2/SD45-2/SD45T-2/DD35A/DDA40X/SD70ACe/SD80ACe

Southern Pacific RR! Bloody nose/Serif lettering - Donner Pass/Tehachapi Pass/Cajon Pass/UP Coast Line

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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby _o_OOOO_oo-Kanawha » Mon May 28, 2018 3:55 pm

Tx, will try streaming them on my new OLED TV.
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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby GSkid » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:02 pm

At 400+ views in just 3 weeks, I want to thank everybody for helping make this the quickest view count tally of any video on my channel to date by a wide margin. *!!thnx!!*

Just a couple comments about it.....

Watch from 33:15-33:45 and you can hear a railfan blowing a train horn at us from his house on the hill at Cable.

The biggest concentration of railfans on the route was from 27:05-27:22 at Tehachapi where you can hear us and the railfans cheering to each other. The other spots on the video with lots of railfans is at Cameron, Woodford/Rowen, Bealville, Tunnel #2, Caliente and at Sandcut.
EMD 2-strokes rule! My all time favorite: SD45X also love the SD40-2/SD40T-2/SD45-2/SD45T-2/DD35A/DDA40X/SD70ACe/SD80ACe

Southern Pacific RR! Bloody nose/Serif lettering - Donner Pass/Tehachapi Pass/Cajon Pass/UP Coast Line

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Re: Going over Tehachapi Pass in a private railcar!

Unread postby ET44C4 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:17 pm

Great quality videos! Any plans on doing some sort of time-lapse? *!!wink!!*
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