Tehachapi - the name conjures up images of The Loop wherever railfans and modelers gather throughout the world. But railroading in Tehachapi is much more than just the loop alone. It involves the entire 70 miles of railroad between Bakersfield and Mojave. Building a replica of this line has challenged modelers just as the pass itself challenged the railroad barons of a century ago.
The La Mesa Model Railroad Club has responded to this challenge by building an HO scale (1/87th actual size) model of this joint Southern Pacific - Santa Fe line with nearly curve-for-curve and switch-for-switch accuracy. This single track railroad, built through a notch in the Tehachapi Mountains, carries nearly all north-south rail traffic between central and southern California. It is also the eastern outlet for most of the produce grown in the San Joaquin Valley.
Two of the most attractive things about the Tehachapi are the mountain scenery and the nearly continuous series of sharp reverse curves forced upon the railroad by the rugged terrain. The famous Loop is located at Walong siding, where an engine of a 100 car train spirals up to cross directly over its caboose 70 feet below. In several places the line doubles back upon itself, making it an ideal candidate for modeling. The model is unique not only for its size but for its geographic fidelity. Literally thousands of photographs of the prototype have been used to ensure that each detail closely models the features of the actual area. The La Mesa Model Railroad Club meets every Tuesday at 7:00 pm and Monday work session are from 10am-6pm.