|Union Pacific; Merlin, California; May 1991|
We start out with Union Pacific in the Feather River Canyon. Heading east from Oroville in northern California, the Canyon is the former Western Pacific and features around 70 miles of spectacular scenery, most with good road access. The shot above shows an eastbound train near Merlin, across from a rock formation known as Elephant
Of course, any first time California trip has to include Tehachapi Loop (a bit below Bakersfield). The Loop is one of the best places (if not the best place) to watch trains in the U.S. This first trip was one of the few trips I would make to California before the Southern Pacific was absorbed by Union Pacific. In the shot below, an oil tank train has just circled the loop and is about to enter Tunnel 10; it has just passed through Tunnel 9 (seen near the center of the photo) and looped around to the right. There is no place like Tehachapi.
|Southern Pacific; Tehachapi Loop, Walong, California; May 1991|
Next up we're just above the Bay Area at Benecia as Amtrak's Coast Starlight crosses Carquinez Strait. Interstate 680 is just off to the right, and in the years since a second highway bridge has been added to the left of the railroad bridge. Across the Strait is Martinez, which in 1991 was served by a handful of trains. Today over 30 Amtrak California trains serve the station.
|Amtrak; Benicia, California; May 1991|
|Amador Central; Amador, California; May 1991|
|Southern Pacific 2472; Benicia, California; May 1991|
We'll do more of California from 1991 in next week's Cool Chromes.