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Tehachapi, CA At the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum, we believe that a museum is not just a place for storing unique objects. This is because education involves active participation which is why we offer a wide array of events and exhibitions that range from celebrational to educational, targeting both adult audiences and the entire family. We invite you to peruse our upcoming schedule and plan a special day with us. Photographs on this page was submitted by Nick Smirnoff. There's something for everyone at the Tehachapi Depot.

With four great rooms to visit, hundreds of train items on exhibit, a working train signal garden, play lot for the kids, free tours, and a beautiful gift shop. Click Here. Photograph by Nick Smirnoff. Tours Bus, Groups All Ages. Be a Volunteer.

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The Museum building and property is owned by the City of Tehachapi. In , integrated groups of activists calling themselves Freedom Riders boarded buses and traveled into the South to see if bus stations were desegregated as ordered. The Freedom Riders were attacked as they traveled, and one of their buses was burned in Alabama. But their efforts pressured the federal government to make states comply with desegregation laws.

Because of these kinds of protests over transportation, laws and social customs began to change throughout the segregated South. This car served two functions, baggage and mail carrying. Only U. Postal Department employees handled mail aboard trains.

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The car includes a Railway Post Office, where mail clerks sorted letters and small packages for delivery to towns along the route. Southern Railway conductor C. Frank Marshall and engineer David L.

Fant compare watches, Greenville, South Carolina, p. It was most important that the conductor keep the train on schedule. To ensure accuracy, watches were inspected regularly by jewelers on contract to the railroad. Conductors accounted for the ticket of each passenger and, when necessary, sold tickets on board.

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Thus a conductor could easily determine who had canceled the ticket. Although they were servants on the job, porters took pride in their professionalism. At home, they were respected members of their communities. Porters traveled extensively and connected their communities to a wider world.

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From the s through the s, porters helped southern blacks migrate by bringing back information on jobs and housing in the North. Porters were also involved in Civil Rights activity. Pullman porter E. Nixon helped plan the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott of — Union leader A. It barred discrimination in defense industries and created the Fair Employment Practices Committee. Later, Randolph was involved planning the civil rights march on Washington. Pullman blankets, normally a salmon color, were dyed blue when worn out and then given to porters.

Railroad Signals, reading and meanings, part 1: The basic three light system

Ordering goods by mail from a catalog became increasingly popular in the s. Through their catalogs, retail marketing became truly national, reaching customers in tiny rural communities as well as in cities. The catalogs included almost any product imaginable, from a toy to a plow to a dress to an entire house in kit form. Delivery was by mail or by the Railway Express Agency.

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In either case, the product came by train. Railroad companies were big businesses, and they generated a vast amount of paperwork. These employees created bills, kept accounts, dealt with the payroll, filed reports with government regulatory agencies, and ordered thousands of supplies for far-flung offices, repair shops, and terminals. Train safety depended on thousands of track workers — including inspectors, track-construction gangs, and bridge builders.

Civil engineers designed structures and track layouts, while maintenance crews replaced worn-out or broken rails and old crossties and aligned track to high precision. Until the s, dispatchers coordinated train movements primarily by telegraphed messages. Orders conveyed by the dots and dashes of Morse code directed trains to use specified routes to avoid collisions and kept dispatchers up to the minute on train locations.

There were no radios, so depot telegraphers personally delivered the orders to train crews as written messages. At major junctions, where many tracks came together from different routes, a tower operator controlled the trains in shifting from track to track. The operator used the long levers to set or change the track switches mechanically. Setting a proper route through a maze of switches took skill. Changing signal lights told train crews the route was safe.


The thousands of packages people sent daily that were too large for the U. Spencer, a suburb of Salisbury, owed its existence to the Southern Railway. The town began in , springing up around acres of land the Southern bought to build a railroad repair-shop complex. Although the railway did not directly develop the town, more than 2, machinists, foundry workers, boilermakers, carpenters, and other shop workers and their families lived in Spencer.

They and the merchants who supplied their needs made Spencer a thriving industrial community.

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Work in the Spencer Shops was hot and hard. The pay was good and workers took pride in their craft. In the s, the shops employed many African Americans as laborers, while at the top of the craft hierarchy stood the white master boilermakers and master machinists. This rivet gun and swages was used to drive small rivets and seal flues. Switching swages allowed for cutting or curling of metal.

A large caliper like this one was used by a machinist when operating a large lathe or vertical boring mill, making very large parts. A machinist could use the dividers in this tool set to transfer a measurement from one part to another being made, or to scribe marks to ensure accuracy in making a part with a lathe, planer, boring mill, milling machine, or other machine tool on the shop floor.

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They employed between 1. But after the war, as Americans embraced cars, trucks, and highways, the role of railroads changed. In the s, diesel locomotives began to be introduced on U. Steam and diesel locomotives ran side by side for a brief time in the s and early s, but new diesel locomotives took over as they radically cut maintenance and operating expenses. Steam locomotive was last repaired at Spencer in All steam locomotives on the Southern were retired by , and Spencer Shops, not easily convertible to diesel work, closed in By , rail traffic was dropping steadily, motivating rail managers to cut costs.

This drop in traffic and the fact that diesels needed far fewer people to maintain them combined to cut rail employment.