Tehachapi Mountains, CA Caliente Creek Cloudburst Flood and Train Wreck, Oct 1932

Caliente Creek Train Wreck and Flood Tehachapi CA Engine Found.JPG Tehachapi CA Engine Marker.jpg



Bakersfield, Calif., Oct. 1. -- (AP) -- Twelve bodies had been recovered tonight in the mountainous Tehachapi pass region where upwards of 40 persons are believed to have perished in last night's cloudburst.
The deluge flooded canyons and streams, wrecked two freight trains at Woodford, hurled a 45-foot wall of water down the pass, tore up hundreds of yards of railroad track, washed out at least nine bridges and flooded at least half a dozen villages.
The bodies were taken from the wreckage of a Southern Pacific freight train, six cars and the locomotive of which fell through a trestle at Woodford. The victims are believed to have been itinerant men and boys riding the train. As many as sixty were reported to have been on it.
No effort was made at identification tonight, searchers returning here said.
Other bodies were visible in the water and highway patrol officials estimated that possibly 30 plunged to their deaths.
At least thirteen other persons are reported dead. These include A. H. ROSS of Bakersfield, engineer, and HARRY MOORE, brakeman, of the wrecked train.
The others are the PETER KADD family of four at Woodford; MRS. NELL COOPER, telegraph operator at Caliente and a two-year-old niece; three patients at the Kern county tubercular hospital at Keene, and two unidentified men.
Ten of the 15 persons who took refuge at the KAAD service station at Woodford were still unaccounted for, but is was believed possible tonight that most of them escaped.
The body of one of the two KAAD sons, PETER, JR., was recovered today. It was the only one identified.
The stricken area was completely cut off from wire and rail communication and the 40-mile journey from here over washed out highways required an hour and a half, highway patrolmen reported.
Efforts were continued tonight to recover additional bodies from the train wreckage, but highway officials said hoisting apparatus may have to be used.
Two freight trains bore the brunt of the flood's first onslaught at Woodford. Southern Pacific passenger train No. 52 had passed only three minutes before the torrent hit the bridge.
A Santa Fe freight was on the newly constructed siding. Beside it on the main line was Sunset freight train No. 829 of the Southern Pacific. Water from the cloudburst had banked up to a depth of 50 feet against a concrete abutment or trestle on which the trains were standing. Suddenly this gave way directly in the center with a roar that could be heard above the deafening noise of the storm.
A "helper" locomotive in the center of the Southern Pacific train to aid if across the mountain pass, plunged into the torrent, pulling six cars with it. The Santa Fe locomotive also plunged in, but the train remained on the track.
Reports available here indicated that possibly seven villages were flooded -- Woodford, Arvin, Mojave, Caliente, Monolith, Keene and Techachapi -- with loss of life being confined, as far as known to Woodford, Keene and Caliente.
Harry W. McGee, United Air Lines pilot, arrived at United airport, Burbank, reported that Tahachapi seemed to have been inundated. He flew over the village en route from San Francisco with 10 passengers, dlying out of his way to avoid recurrent storms. Mud and debris were visible in the Tehachapi streets, he said.
There was an unconfirmed report that several buildings had been demolished in the little community of Oak Creek, north of Mojave, but that all the residents escaped.

Ogden Standard Examiner Utah 1932-10-02