Tehachapi Loop Field Trip, October 16, 2004
Contest: There are (at least) two clues in this picture telling the viewer which direction the train is moving. Tell us two clues and which direction the train is moving, and you'll be entered to win a Santa Maria Valley Railway Historical Museum hat. If you were on the field trip, you're not eligible. Contest ends October 31, 2004
Answer: This is the rear of the train which is moving away from the viewer. It happens to be just uphill of the Loop itself, the front end having already entered the Loop. The two definitive clues are 1. the presence of an End-of-Train (EOT) marker (just to the right of the coupler; here's a closer view of an EOT marker), and 2. the fact that the two ditch lights are not lit. The ditch lights are beneath the "B" and the "F" of BNSF, behind the railings.
Two people submitted correct, best-answer responses, so both win. Each are Cal Poly folks, one a freshman in electrical engineering and the other a masters graduate in aerospace engineering. Congratulations, your hats are on the way...
Other non-definitive clues:
1. The pale blue smoke in the air (most noticeable on the left side of the picture) is the result of braking, thus indicating that the train is going downhill. If only you could tell for sure which way was downhill...
2. Only two locomotives at this end suggests the rear of the train. Typically, there are three or more locomotives at the front of a train on the Tehachapi Loop, but this is not always the case, and thus not conclusive.
Back to page 2 of the field trip.