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carson n colorado

Carson & Colorado
Narrow Gauge
Railroad
 

water tower




All material courtesy of Rich McCutchan unless otherwise noted.
See USE NOTICE on Home Page.
train and tower


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last run

Ceremonial "Last Run" (April 29, 1960) of the famed Southern Pacific
Carson & Colorado narrow gauge railway - Engine #9, the "Slim Princess".
Engine #9 is currently in the Laws Railroad Museum in Laws, CA.
(Photo courtesy Inyo County Sesquicentennial)


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Carson & Colorado Railroad Names that Echo in Time


mike pearsal
"From Nowhere to Nowhere" by Mike Pearsall

benton
flash flood
Digging out the rails after a flash flood at Keeler in 1919.
kesarge water tower
Engine No. 8 taking on water at Kearsarge water tower in 1951.
hammil
engine number 18
Engine No. 18 steaming through the Owens Valley
keeler work crew
The Inyo Development Company engine No. 1 at work at Keeler in 1904.
(Eastern California Museum)
dehy

heading home to keeler
Engine No. 9 steaming home to Keeler with a five car consist in the late afternoon of December 18, 1948.
carson and colorado pass
Carson & Colorado Railroad pass.
shealy

hauling talc
Engine No. 8 steaming out of Keeler with a short consist.
chalfant

hauling talc
Engine No. 18 heading north out of Keeler with 14, 495' Mt. Whitney (far right) towering in the distance.
tom
kearsarge tower
Kearsarge water tank standing as a sentinel in Owens Valley.
engine number 3
Engine No. 3 awaits departure time.
laws
keeler yard
Engine facilities at Keeler, California.
rj laws
R.J. Laws, memorable superintendent of the Carson & Colorado R.R.
polita

laws station
Laws, California, during the regime of the Nevada & California. Originally called Bishop Creek, the community's name was later changed in honor of R.J. Laws.
(
narrow gauge
bigelow

manzanar station
Engine No. 18 at Manzanar crossing in the Owens Valley.
railway ticket
Carson & Colorado Railway Ticket
black canyon

dolomite siding

Engine No. 18 switches at the Limestone Quarry at Dolomite in 1949.
zurich
inyo development company
The Inyo Development Company was formed in 1885 by D.O. Mills to recover soda ash from Owens Lake. In 1902 the firm purchased a Eureka & Palisade 2-6-0 from the Bodie & Benton, and had the Mogul rebuilt by the Virginia & Truckee's Carson Shop. The I.D.C. locomotive (above) is en route to Keeler 1902.

sagebrush and sand
Sagebrush and Sand
alvord

keeler tram terminus

Cerro Gordo aerial tram terminus at Keeler. Built in 1908 by the Cerro Gordo Mines Company, it connected the silver mine with the railroad.
water tower
tibbets
tram house
Here empty cars await the turning of the tram cable wheels at the Keeler terminus. The tramway was dismantled in 1960 and transported bolt and board to Candelaria, Nevada to participate in a modern day mining promotion.
narrow gauge
Engine #18 leaves Laws for Keeler
monola
tram terminus
Built in 1915, the Cerro Gordo tramway was operated until 1927. For the next 33 years, the ore buckets (some still full) quietly hung as silent sentinels reminiscent of the bonanza passed.

engine #18

Engine #18 - now completely restored
at the Eastern California Museum.
beneme

stacked bullion

A portion of the $213,392,000 in silver bullion produced by the Cerro Gordo mine between 1880 and 1948 stacked up on the shores of Owens Lake awaiting shipment to Los Angeles.
(Eastern California Museum) 

taking on water
Engine #18 takes on water at Laws Station - 1953
elna

cerro gordo tram

Suspended ore buckets on the Cerro Gordo aerial tram. 
tram terminus
The aerial tram in 1939 with baggage car 12 and combine 7.
aberdeen

cerro gordo
Discovered in 1865, the Cerro Gordo Mine and town still boasted many buildings in 1917. The American Hotel is shown at the lower right; the main mine buildings are in the center; the upper tramway terminus is shown at the left center.
kearsarge

keeler station
Keeler Station looking towards the Panamint Mountains
keeler station
Keeler Station with a Southern Pacific boxcar standing by.
(Eastern California Museum Collection) 
manzanar

keeler shop

Keeler Station "open shop" engine facilities

slim rails
The actual "end of the line" for the Carson & Colorado Railroad.
The Natural Soda Products Company spur 2 miles south of Keeler.
Circa 1948
owenyo

downpour at keeler

Engine No. 17 riding down the street at Keeler - the result of a torrential downpour.
mt whitney

engine no 18
Engine No. 18 on a run in Owens Valley
 
alico

Zurich Station
 
dolomite
keeler station
Keeler Station in 1935
mock

kearsarge station

Kearsarge Station - standing in a wilderness near Independence, CA
swansea
kearsarge station
saline


1916 Sierra Club "High Trippers" taking a break in baggage car 363 before heading home after their trip.
(Photo was taken from a photo album by an L.R. Kessing of Alameda, CA, acquired by Rich McCutchan, which chronicled the 1916 Sierra Club High Trip)
cerro gordo

sierra club at kearsarge
1916 Sierra Club "High Trippers" loading their dunnage into baggage car 449 for their trip home.
(Photo was taken from a photo album by an L.R. Kessing of Alameda, CA, acquired by Rich McCutchan, which chronicled the 1916 Sierra Club High Trip)
Keeler

transfer dock

Narrow Gauge Engine overhaul Transfer Dock at Owenyo.
benton
transferring cargo
Transferring freight on the Narrow Gauge.

slim princess

The "Slim Princess" in action in Owens Valley
hammil

harp switch

"Harp Switch" at Zurich Station was in use on the Carson & Colorado RR up until WWII.

laws railroad yard
Laws Railroad Yard
keeler station
Keeler Railroad Yard




hauling wood to the carson and colorado railroad
On the early runs of the Slim Princess a lot of pinon wood was heaved into the firebox of the engines for producing the needed steam. This picture, taken in 1902, shows the Charley Rose crew and team making a delivery of wood.






 "Narrow Gauge to Nowhere"[pdf]
by Mallory Hope Ferrell




The Slim Princess vs the Little Giant
When the "Little Giant" diesel came on line in 1954 it began to mark the end of an era of steam powered locomotives in the Owens Valley. Nostalgia was heavily in favor of the steam engine, but water towers at very prescribed intervals and the high cost of maintenance of the boilers and steam lines spelled doom to the steam giants.


concensed princess

A "condensed Princess" switches at Owenyo in 1938

 band a playing
The local band played while Engine No. 18 and the new diesel engine were displayed.

 little giant
Engine No. 18 and the new diesel engine on displayed.

 
little giant

The "Little Giant" General Electric diesel takes over in the fall of 1954. Formerly called the X-1, the Little Giant was christened with a bottle of talc!
little giant 
The "Little Giant" diesel engine passing Monola Siding (midway between Laws and Keeler) in 1959. A typical consist for runs in those days.
little giant
Little Giant sets out cars at Zurich in a Hugh Tolford photograph. On April 25, 1960 the diesel hauled Baldwin No. 9 on her final trip to Laws
little giant
Little Giant was christened with a bottle of talc!

little giant hauls baldwin number nine
On April 25, 1960 the Little Giant diesel hauled Baldwin No. 9 on her final trip to Laws as the Carson & Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroad prepared to end operations.

little giant

The "Little Giant" heading a long string of cars north of Lone Pine.
little giant in action
The "Little Giant" switching at Owenyo.

little giant
The "Little Giant" alongside Slim Princess No. 18 at Southern Pacific's Keeler Branch. The "X1" is arriving in October of 1954.



 
owenyo yard

Owenyo Railroad Yard




tibbets
owenyo
Owenyo Railroad Yards looking north from the Narrow Gauge Transfer Trestle
monola
beneme
elna
aberdeen
kearsarge
manzanar
owenyo
mt whitney
alico
dolomite
mock
swansea
saline
cerro gordo
Keeler
 

dennis burke
Atop the transfer trestle at Owenyo
(Dennis Burke Collection, courtesy of Dennis Burke)

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blue star mill

Blue Star Mill and Grinding Company 1946. SPNG locomotive is headed towards the camera.
Zurich Station is on the other side of the mill.

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke and the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Historical Society Inc.)

zurich station
Zurich Station
Zurich was first called Alvord.
The name was changed from Alvord to Zurich because of the stunning view of the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke and the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Historical Society Inc.)

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(Items in this section courtesy of Ray DeLea)
slim princess
(No. 4 at the Candelaria Station in the 1880's by E.S. Hammack)

slim princess
Laws RR yard
slim princess
Desert caboose hop.

slim princess
Carson & Colorado No. 3 at Mound House - circa 1883.
slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)

slim princess
Aberdeen water tank and prairie windmill.

slim princess
Matron or Spinster?

slim princess
Keeping No 9 in good running condition at Owenyo.
slim princess
Engineer W.C. Ferguson in the cab of No. 9.
slim princess
No. 6 at Nevada-California state line in 1882.

slim princess
No 18 steaming along in a barren land. Thanks Los Angeles!
slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)

slim princess
No. 22 in its Owens Valley Days.

slim princess
Cattle crossing and no automobiles.

slim princess
No 18 steaming along in Owens Valley.

slim princess
No. 18 with Lone Pine Peak in the background.

slim princess
Rails overgrown with grass at Laws Station.

slim princess
Heading south at Laws Station.
(W

slim princess
No. 9 taking on water.
slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)

slim princess
Caboose coach built in 1880 and retired in 1939.

slim princess
Keeler Station and truss-rod boxcars.

slim princess
Owenyo Station.

slim princess
Diesel No. 1.

slim princess
Mina yards and three-rail tracks - 1935.

slim princess
The Slim Princess on a busy day.
slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)
slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)
slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)

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 "Farewell to the Slim Princess"[pdf]
by John B. Hungerford
farewell

bar

slim princess
Steaming into the morning with caboose 401.
slim princess
No. 8 with consist crossing the Owens River
(D
slim princess
Crossing buck at Mt. Whitney Siding.

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 "Author's Footnotes to 4th Edition of The Slim Princess"[pdf]
by John B. Hungerford


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slim princess
(Drawing by Carl Fallberg)

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Early Bishop Residents  

Mary Austin  
arrow

 More, Owens Valley - Southern Pacific and Carson & Colorado Railroad

arrow

More Saline Valley Saltworks Tramway
arrow
 

 High Sierra Pack Stations

 

 Willie A. Chalfant



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This page was last updated on 02 September 2017