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Nicknames on rails.

The sliced metal cry of brakes and flanges parries and punches its way through the clenched billows of diesel exhaust. The Tehachapi Mountain crossing by two railroads, the originals from the 19th century and now the mega-companies that represent the west coast, is dramatic and very well noted.

And accidents erupt. The tenant company runs far more trains than the owner and odds favor they put a car or two on the ground as they did a few days ago. Several trains have detoured on the line which runs in my neighborhood, a line which goes on to see the ocean and make a shorter but still hallowed climb inland to Steinbeck's valley.

Out of the Salinas Valley comes a train nicknamed the "cans", as in "oil". It carries very sludgy petroleum to the L. A. Harbor for export and eventual asphalt manufacture. A similar train ran over the Theachapi's out of Bakersfield but a pipeline replaced the drama of the most difficult 171 miles in North American railroading with the static presence of a pipeline.

Due to the derailment a train from the accident's imprimator, the BNSF, came by here just after sunrise this morning. Its nickname is the "coils", as in steel coils from the appropriately named town of Pitsburgh, California.

I parked on Raymer street to give it a look; nearby was another fortuitous name, "The Foam Company". "Foamers" is a name railroaders assigned to the buffs, exact genesis story all over the place---just like the junk along Raymer.

The coils are going to the inland empire to be turned into all sorts of items, and know if some of it will end up along a street. Maybe this one. With steely resolve, we foam on.

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