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Nostalgia & History > Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft


Date: 11/08/12 14:26
Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: kstevens

Attached are photos taken in July of 2000 along the far west reaches of the Sunset Railway line. As far as I know (haven't ventured out that way in a few years) there is no track remaining in the locations shown.

Photo #1 shows the tracks leading into the City of Taft looking West.

Photo #2 shows a tree growing between the rails just West of the Hwy. 119 grade crossing.

Photo #3 shows the signal box for the SR 119 grade crossing, still stencilled as "US 399". Also stencilled on the box is MP8, which is the location of the crossing on the "Sunset Western" which had seperate milepost readings for the line between Pentland and Taft (earlier through Taft to Fellows).








Date: 11/08/12 14:30
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: kstevens

Photo #4 is looking toward the South and East at the tracks leaving Taft as they crossed SR 119

Photo #5 shows a location a couple miles South of Taft along Petroleum Club Road. The photo is looking back toward Taft.

Photo #6 is the same location as Photo #5 only looking the other direction toward Pentland.








Date: 11/08/12 14:35
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: kstevens

Photo #7 shows a section of the line between Levee and Pentland at the Copus Road crossing. View is looking North and East toward Levee and shows some severe settling in the roadbead.

Photo #8 is of a SJVR train bound for Heritage Railcar at Levee taken on 11/28/2000 leaving Conner and about to pass under Interstate 5.

Sorry for the photo quality - photos are flatbed print scans taken during a time when I temporarily stopped taking slides and used print film.






Date: 11/08/12 15:01
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: FiveChime

Thanks for posting. A place we rarely see in photos!

Regards, Jim Evans



Date: 11/08/12 15:08
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: zephyrus

AFAIK from last trip through that area, all rails beyond Santiago Road have been lifted long ago (and all the little bridges, too). Some of the ROW in Taft is now a trail and greenway. ROW still very visible.

Several industries that once had spurs looked to still be going, busy operations. Lots of oil operations around there, of course.

What ended the traffic out of Taft? Just no one needing rail, failing rail structure, bad service?

Z



Date: 11/08/12 15:34
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: chrisbutts

Pretty much, all of the above AFAIK.

The industry in the background of pic #5 was one of the last shippers, I think. Clay mining.

zephyrus Wrote:
> What ended the traffic out of Taft? Just no one
> needing rail, failing rail structure, bad
> service?
>
> Z



Date: 11/08/12 15:39
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: iliketrains

Your photos 4, 5 & 6 look EXACTLY like the SD&AE near Coyote Wells, just off I-8 in the desert.



Date: 11/08/12 16:30
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: coach

It climbed west out of the Bakersfield basin into the Tremblor Range of foothills west of current I-5. This is the same area as filmed / discussed in the recent big screen movie "THERE WILL BE BLOOD" starring Daniel Day Lewis. Very interesting little line, with decent grades. With returning empties, must have been a good little show climbing to Taft.

I visited this site about 10 years ago, and thought it would be a great little tourist line, except there's little to see. It would be fun for a rail buff, not a true tourist.

If you ever get the chance, take a drive on CA HWY. 33 all along this area--you'd think you're in West Texas. Oil rigs EVERYWHERE, with sandy, dusty, desert-like vistas like West Texas. No wonder Bakersfield has it's own brand of honky-tonk country music...

Given all the oil development in the Bakken fields right now in the Dakotas, I can now understand why this line used to be so busy during California's oil boom. Lots of oil was pumped here and shipped elsewhere during WWII. I think alot of it went to both LA and SF refineries, if I recall correctly. Lots of SP oil trains back then, and this line was part of all that.



Date: 11/08/12 16:54
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: rehunn

The line actually used to extend beyond Taft for some distance into the neighboring
oil field.



Date: 11/08/12 17:46
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: tomstp

Picture 4 reminds me of the famous picture of a highway department painting the center yellow line that had a dead opossumlying perfectly across the center line and it had a yellow painted stripe on it to!



Date: 11/08/12 23:00
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: Harlock

Thanks for posting this. Just read a nice history of the area in a local (southeast kern) publication called The Fence Post that included mention of the railroad in its various forms.

Mike Massee
Mojave, CA
Photography, Railroading and more..



Date: 11/08/12 23:01
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: doge_of_pocopson

There still may well be a good deal of gas and oil there yet....B



Date: 11/09/12 15:44
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: rehunn

Not may, IS! Some of the producing wells are very shallow. The field is an excellent gas producer and the co-gen groups
(read GE) have had a field day. I don't remember exactly what out control loop filter business was for the Frame 6 and 7's
but it was sizable.



Date: 11/10/12 09:04
Re: Sunset Railway - Long After the last train to Taft
Author: lamta_jay

I think the Sunset Railway went to Fellows.


As an interesting note....the original name of Taft was Morro but that was confused with Morro Bay and then they changed the name to Moron until somebody realized that that name was defined as a person of less intelligence!!! Check it out !!! :-O


Jay



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