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Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad

carson n colorado

Independence
Kearsarge
(Formerly Independence/Citrus Keeler/Hawley)
Manzanar

train



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


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taking on water
Taking on water at Kearsarge
(Eastern California Museum - Virtual Transportation Museum photo)
kearsarge depot
Kearsarge Depot - 1953

pausing for a drink

Engine No. 18 pausing for a drink at Kearsarge water tank 1952

kesarge water tower

Engine No. 8 taking on water at Kearsarge water tower in 1951.

kearsarge tower
Kearsarge water tank standing as a sentinel in Owens Valley.

manzanar station
Engine No. 18 at Manzanar crossing in the Owens Valley.

kearsarge station

Kearsarge Station - standing in a wilderness near Independence, CA

near tinemaha

No. 18 going through a deep rock cut near Tinemaha Reservoir - 1952

kearsarge

Stock corrals and loading ramp at Kearsarge - 1955

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kearsarge station



Other SPNG offerings in Owens Valley
tracks
SPNG track switch

carson and colorado
The RR water tank and pump house at Kearsarge looking SW with Sierras off to the right. Kearsarge had the only pump house covered in metal. The wooden tower coming out of the top of the pump house was used to pull the water pump out for maintenance. The concrete block supports for this water tank are still on location.
(text courtesy of Dennis Burke)


Zurich

Zurich looking north. First thing you will notice is one of the loading ramps on the far left where trucks would drop their loads into the waiting gondola cars. Right of that is ex. South Pacific Coast RR combine car # 9 which came to this railroad in 1906 and was rebuilt to baggage car #12 in 1927 and still exists today. The large structure on the right side of the tracks is the section foreman's house. Behind it is the water tank and windmill that provided water to the once population of about 40 persons. Zurich had no water tank to fill the locomotives. Far right are the two poopers and behind them other RR maintenance structures.
(text courtesy of Dennis Burke)


kearsarge
Kearsarge looking North, this would be considered west by the railroad. Depot on left with a string of gondola cars sitting in front on the siding track. On the right closest to the track is the speeder/tool shed and just to the right of it is one of the crew houses. Inyo/White mountains on the far right. The water tank and pump house from photo 1 would be behind the photographer to the left across the tracks.
(text courtesy of Dennis Burke)

zurich

Blue Star Mine operation at Zurich.

zurich

Zurich looking north.

kearsarge

Kearsarge stop along the SPNG in Owens Valley

owens valley
SPNG #9 steaming along in Owens Valley.

owens valley
SPNG #8 in Owens Valley - 1954
richard dayton
Richard C. Dayton (left) along one of the many models he made for the movie industry. This is the day he took the Enterprise model to Desilu Studios.
In case you are interested his book about his modeling career is:
The Enterprise, NCC 1701 and The Model Maker
by N. Datin McDonald and Richard C. Datin Jr.
(Photo and text courtesy of Dennis Burke)

dayton
Here is an photo of Richard C. Datin taking photographs at Kearsarge in 1960. The question came up about why is the car on the ground. (The car in the background is this photo is #206.) For some unknown reason several of the flat bottom gondolas were broken up at this location Nobody seems to know why. There are at least 7 different gondolas, and probably more, broken up at this location. Why? One theory is that many of the flat cars and flat bottom gondolas were used to carry off the dismantled rails. This load was very heavy and broke down the already worn cars quickly. So were these cars used to haul rail at the start and broke apart and discarded here? I don't think this was the reason. The flat bottom gondolas used to haul the rail had their end boards removed so the long rails could over hang the cars.

(Photo and text courtesy of Dennis Burke)

kearsarge

Water tower and flat car on the SPNG in Owens Valley at Kearsarge.


kearsarge

Water tower and flat car #206 on the SPNG in Owens Valley at Kearsarge.

carson & colorado
Snowy mountains confirm the winter 1952 date of SPNG steam locomotive #18 pulling its mixed train of freight and passenger cars. Stanley Snook captures the Ten-Wheeler operating "at speed" over 35 lb. rails it has known for over two decades. But the end is near. The 40-year old steamer is in its final 31 months of operation on the historic "Slim Princess."

SPNG #18 was a December 1911 product of the famous Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia. The technical specifications were Baldwin construction number 37395, three sets of 44-inch diameter drivers, and a rigid wheel base of 9 feet. The two cylinders had a 16-inch diameter and 20-inch stroke. Three pairs of drivers carried 68,000 lbs. and the engine loaded weihed 87,150 lbs. With a working boiler pressure of 180 lbs. per square inch, the oil-burning locomotive had a rated tractive effort of 17,800 lbs.

The 4-6-0 was ordered by the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway as N-C-O #12 along with identical N-C-O #11 bearing Baldwin construction number 37394. The two engines joined eight other similar sized Baldwin N-C-O Ten-Wheelers built between 1899 and 1914. With roots dating to groundbreaking at Reno, Nevada in December 1880, the Nevada-California-Oregon was one of the longest narrow gauge railroads in the United States.

Constructed over four decades, the N-C-O ultimately had 275 miles of track with a three-foot gauge main line extending north from Reno through northeast California and on into central Oregon. Passenger service, cattle, sheep, lumber, petroleum products, woool, grain and hay were the line's primary business. Perennially financially challenged, the N-C-O sold 103 miles of trackage to the Western Pacific in 1917 and Southern Pacific acquired control of the remaining N-C-O property in October 1926. When SP began standard-gauging the line within a year, the handwriting was on the wall for the N-C-O's remaining diminutive 4-6-0s. Effective May 11, 1928, N-C-O #12 was sold for operation between Mina and Keeler, where the SP still utilized narrow gauge equipment.

After abandonment of the line to Mina in 1938 and the portion to Benton in 1943, the SPNG became an isolated 70.4 mile line connecting Laws and Keeler. Located entirely in Inyo County, California, the line was the last common carrier narrow gauge in the far west. Renumbered SP #18, the ex-N-C-O engine was one of a trio of ex-N-C-O Ten-Wheelers providing three times a week service on the SP's Keeler Branch. Between 1944 and 1952, #18 was out-of-service only six months for repairs. The hard working Ten-Wheeler was the SPNG's only steamer with distinctive "monkey-motion" valve gear.

#18 was retired in October 1954 upon the arrival of the SP's "Little Giant" narrow gauge diesel. The 4-6-0 was donated May 13, 1955 to Inyo County. Delivered July 19th to the Eastern California Museum at Independence, the venerable steam engine has remained in Inyo County ever since.

(Photo and text courtesy of Rob Sarberenyi archives - 1952 postcard)

owens valley
SPNG #9 steaming along in Owens Valley
(Photo courtesy of Rob Sarberenyi )

little giant
The "Little Giant" somewhere between Big Pine and Bishop
(Photo courtesy David and Laura Greenberg)


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kearsarge
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)

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)


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potThis page was last updated on 03 February 2021pot