Tehachapi and San Joaquin Valley Capsule History

The first route down the San Joaquin Valley and across Tehachapi was built by the Southern Pacific in the 1870s. It had a monopoly in that region for some 25 years. Then, local San Francisco interests started to build a competing line from the bay area port of Richmond across the coastal mountains and south through the San Joaquin Valley. Before the line was completed, it was taken over by the Santa Fe and became that railroad’s Valley Division, completed shortly after the turn of the 19th/20th century. The new line used trackage rights on SP to cross Tehachapi, the negotiations for which only succeeded after Santa Fe made active plans for its own separate line across the mountains between Bakersfield and the Mojave desert.