Water damage at the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum
Friends of the Tehachapi Depot
September 2, 2023
Tropical storm Hilary had a tremendous impact on Southern California and the Tehachapi Valley. Most obvious was the impact it had on curtailing Mountain Festival activities. Less obvious was the impact the storm had on the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum.
While not quite as horrific as the 1932 rains and floods, Hilary was more subtle. Most people are not aware that under the freight room of the depot, there is a basement. In the basement there is a drain in the floor created to capture any condensation from the air conditioning units. The moisture is allowed to runoff into a leach pipe that discharges under the lawn between the depot and Tehachapi Boulevard.
In the case of Hilary, the rain dripped off the roof and onto the lawn and accumulated making water from the lawn drain into the basement. As a result, the depot basement was flooded with up to a foot of water, damaging numerous collectible items that were being sorted, cataloged and stored there. Many hours of volunteer time and effort had been expended in caring for the items.
This is a setback for the Friends of Tehachapi Depot team that is striving to preserve and present these items of railroad history for our visitors. This may explain why you see some sad faces the next time you visit the depot. Starting in September, the Tehachapi Depot Museum will again be open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make plans to stop in and cheer us on as we clean up after Hilary and move forward with our efforts to maintain the depot as the "Jewel of Tehachapi."