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Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad

carson n colorado

Beginnings
Benton
Hammil
Dehy
Shealy
Chalfant
Tom

train


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


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 The Birth of a Railroad in Owens Valley

 slim rails

 BALZAR
Decked out in the "uniform of the day," Fred Balzar typified the early day conductor. Mr. Balzar went on to greater things, becoming the Governor of Nevada in 1932.

 
legends
Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg aboard the Virginia & Truckee car
"The Virginia City" being served by steward Clarence Watkins.

railway pass
Carson & Colorado Railway Pass.
 
virginia and truckee

 
The Carson & Colorado Railroad was originated, planned and built by the Virginia & Truckee Railway. It was Lucius Beebe and his partner, Charles Clegg, who enshrined both roads in their writing and photography, much of it accomplished while living aboard their private car "Gold Coast" in the V&T's Carson yards.


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 "Route of the Carson & Colorado RR"

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carson and colorado line

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Detailed Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Route
By Andrew Brandon


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slim princess
Carson & Colorado No. 3 at Mound House - circa 1883.
laws railroad museum
Carson & Colorado Engine #9 at the Laws Railroad Museum
(Photo courtesy and copyright of Ed Simms)
narrow gauge route
Carson & Colorado Railway Route from Mound House, NV to Keeler, CA
slim rails
In Candelaria, Nevada - circa 1898
L/R: Bill Robinson (Engineer), C. Meadows (Mail Clerk), Fred Barnes (Conductor),
John McGillis (Fireman), and Frank Regan (Brakeman)

Lock used on the Carson and Colorado Railroad, elsewhere?
[Photos curtesy of Don Kosur]

lock

lock

Since the lock pictured here (from Don Kosur) is disputed as to whether or not it is really from the famed Owens Valley Carson & Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroad I am offering up the following for further reading on the subject of railroad locks.
Antique Railroad Padlocks
Railroad Collectors Association Incorporated
Railroad Locks
 

claim ticket

Carson & Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroad baggage claim ticket.
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

train in mountains



 "Chronology of the Carson & Colorado RR"[pdf]
by George Turner




san francisco call
"Uncle Collis Purchases One More Railroad"
The San Francisco CALL - February 15, 1900


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railway ticket
Carson & Colorado Railway Ticket


narrow gauge

slim princess

Mina yards and three-rail tracks - 1935.
carson and colorado pass
Carson & Colorado Railroad pass.

 
owenyo agent

Agent W.T. Tommer stands at the semaphore handles. Tommer controlled the operations of the narrow gauge for so long that people referred to the line as "Mr. Tommer's Railroad."

 owenyo clerk
Freight clerk Josephine Cole was the only woman employee of the narrow gauge.
rj laws
R.J. Laws, memorable superintendent of the Carson & Colorado R.R.

engine number 3
Engine No. 3 awaits departure time.

slim princess

The "Slim Princess" in action in Owens Valley
 

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box cars

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 "Narrow Gauge in a Wilderness"[pdf]
by George Turner




number 18
The "Slim Princess" #18 in Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)


spng number 11
SPNG #11
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

burke
The "Slim Princess" in Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

burke
The "Slim Princess" in Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

slim princess

SPNG #18 cruising over the Owens River with a train of high cars.
(Text and Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

narrow gauge
The "Slim Princess" traversing the sands of Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

slim princess
Slim Princess crossing the Owens River

(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

owens river
SPNG #18 cruising over the Owens River with a train of high cars.
(Text and Photo courtesy of eBay)

burke

Conductor Brennan heating up his coffee in SP Narrow Gauge caboose 401 on a wonderful looking vintage stove. Different meaning to coffee on the go!
(Text and Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

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slim princess
Looking back from the cab of SPNG #9 in the Owens Valley.
(Text and Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

slim princess
The Slim Princess somewhere in Owens Valley.
(Photo courtesy of Dennis Burke)

daton

Somewhere along the C&C RR in Owens Valley.
track switch
Sketch of a "Harp Switch" - used on the C&C up until WWII.

laws

SP railroad depot at Laws, CA - circa 1910
 

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Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge at a Glance - 1950
Southern Pacific's Narrow Gauge Owens Valley Line

TRACKAGE:
 
Laws to Keeler, California 70.4 miles. Three Foot gauge.
STATIONS:
 


Laws (MP 506.8 Frame Depot) Closed 2/1959. Elevation - 4,115'.
Kearsarge (MP 550.1) Frame Depot. Torn down 12/1955. Elevation - 3,925 '.
Owenyo (MP 559.8) Frame Building. Closed 4/1960. Elevation - 3,690'.
Keeler (MP 576.5) Frame Depot. Closed 8/1957. Elevation - 3,610'.
Former Station Names:
Laws, formerly Bishop Creek
Zurich, formerly Alvord
Aberdeen, formerly Tibbets
Keasarge, formerly Independence, then Citrus Keeler, formerly Hawley

TURNTABLES:
 
Laws: Gallows type, built in 1883
Owenyo: Gallows type, moved here from Keeler in 1910. Dismantled in 1948.
Keeler: Gallows type, built in 1883 and moved to Owenyo in 1910.

ENGINEHOUSE:
 
Keeler, single stall. Burned in 1946. With advent of diesel (1954) servicing was done at Owenyo.
WATER TANKS:
 
Laws: originally windmill powered.
Aberdeen: windmill powered until 1953
Kearsarge
Owenyo: used standard gauge water supply via pipe.
Keeler
FUEL OIL:
 
Laws
Owenyo
TRANSFERS:
 


Owenyo:
Trestle: with narrow gauge above standard gauge.
Gantry: (Queen Truss) hand powered gears.
Dock: manual labor used to transfer materials.


PRODUCTS HAULED:
 
Cattle, sheep, soda, pumice, talc, clay, soapstone, dolomite, slate, pyrophylite (crop dusting), lead,
melatenterite, aluminum silicate, silver ore, potatoes, hay and farm products, sugar beets

LOCOMOTIVES:
 
Three Baldwin 4-6-0's. Number 8, 9, 18.
ROLLING STOCK:
 
Box - 91, Combination Box/Stock - 14, Stock - 35, Flat - 8
Gondola - 36, Ballast - 38, Tank - 4
Caboose - 1, Baggage & Express - 1, Work - 4

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daton
Somewhere along the C&C RR in Owens Valley.
(Close-up view)


in owens valley
Engine #18 steaming along somewhere in Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of Tales Along El Camino Sierra)


spng
SPNG engines No. 9 steaming along in Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of eBay)

receipt

Carson & Colorado RR receipt - 1888

receipt
Carson & Colorado RR receipt - 1888

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Further Reading on the Carson & Colorado Railroad
  Slim Rails Through the Sand by George Turner (1964)
Narrow Gauge Nostalgia by George Turner (1965)
Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge by Mallory Hope Ferrell (1982)
Steamcars to the Comstock by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg (1957)
Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California (Vol. 1) by David F. Myrick (1962)
Jawbone: Sunset on the Lone Pine by Phil Serpico (2006)
The Slim Princess by John B. Hungerford (1961)
Making "out of print" and "hard to find" books easier to find.
 


laws museum



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Early Big Pine  

left
Early Bishop Residents  

left
Mary Austin  
 

 More, Owens Valley - Carson & Colorado Railroad

right
 
Saline Valley Saltworks Tramway
right
 

 High Sierra Pack Stations

right
 

 Willie A. Chalfant

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potThis page was last updated on 03 February 2021pot