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swansea

 

southernpacific

Southern Pacific
Jawbone Branch


Thanks to Paul Lamos for loaning me Phil Serpico's book Jawbone, Sunset on the Lone Pine.
All photos and graphics are from Phil Serpico's book Jawbone, Sunset on the Lone Pine
unless otherwise noted.
See USE NOTICE on Home Page.



Southern Pacific Train Service to Owens Valley

Regular train service from Los Angeles to Owenyo via Mojave began October 22, 1910. The cost roundtrip was $15.45; the connection to Laws was $19 .50. Unfortunately, this schedule was not con­ducive to the arrival of the narrow gauge trains at Owenyo, which necessitated an all-night layover, one that even SP men admitted to was not pleasing to val­ley travel. To add insult to the situation, the "hotel" accommodations consisted of a few boxcars. It need scarcely be mentioned that this circumstance created a profitable business for the auto-stages operating between Owenyo and Bishop, and all other valley points as road improvements continued. In fact, some travelers from Los Angeles would take an auto the entire journey and arrive at Bishop in less time than by train when the twelve-hour layover at Owenyo was taken into consideration.

On April 7, 1911 railroad officials arrived in Bishop and met with local businessmen to discuss pos­sible train schedules that would best serve the valley. It was decided that the southbound train from Owenyo be run at night not only to avoid the layover for passengers, but to afford a better connection for shipments of milk, cream and perishable products so they would not have to endure a day journey through the hot desert. The change was made on the narrow gauge effective February 26, 1912 wherein trains were run to allow layovers at Laws and Mina instead of Owenyo and dairy products and perishables would be delivered the same day.


Action on the Jawbone Branch
"Bad Day at Blackrock"


southern pacific
The "Lone Pine local" waits for its crew at the wye track at Owenyo - 1972


A wye or triangular junction, in rail terminology, is a triangular shaped arrangement of rail tracks with a switch or set of points at each corner. In mainline railroads, this can be used at a rail junction, where two rail lines join, in order to allow trains to pass from one line to the other line or to turn the locomotive around.
wye


little lake
The westbound 2751 arriving at Little Lake, CA in 1948.

trackbed
Remains of the Southern Pacific RR trackbed going north heading into the townsite of Little Lake, CA.
(Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea)

southern pacific
Fantrip from Los Angeles to Owenyo in 1954

southern pacific
Engine No. 22 at Owenyo prepares for the return trip to Laws.
It began service in 1929 and was scrapped in 1949.

lone pine station
Engine No. 5310 arriving at Lone Pine depot in 1972

lone pine station
Lone Pine depot. Constructed in 1910 for $5,400.
lone pine depot
Lone Pine depot - 1980

lone pine station

Lone Pine depot today. A private residence. - 2015
(Photo courtesy of Ray DeLea)

20 mule team
Pipe sections of the Los Angeles aqueduct being transferred from the Souithern Pacific Railroad to the 52 mule team.


jawbone branch
The Southern Pacific RR's Owenyo Branch - "The Jawbone" - from Mojave, CA to Owenyo, CA


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Southern Pacific RR Sidings and Depots - Jawbone Branch

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southern pacific
Heading north near Bartlett siding along Owens Lake - 1962


southern pacific
A pair of locomotives near Sykes - 1954

southern pacific
Engine No. 4310 turning on the wye in Lone Pine
for the return trip to Mojave - 1972


olancha
Olancha signboard and loading platform - 1974

southern pacific
Southern Pacific train near Olancha - 1952



lone pine depot
Lone Pine depot - circa 1913

souithern pacific
SP No. 788 arriving at Owenyo in 1940

off the track
Wreck at Ash Creek due to severe cloudburst washing out the tracks - 1920s

cartago
SP Engine No. 2751 at Cartago - 1948

silver spike
Driving of the "silver spike" at Owenyo in 1910 by H. V. Platt

southern pacific
SP Engine No. 9 in action in Owens Valley.

employee train

Special American Potash & Chemical Corporation employees' train on the "Jawbone" line at Cantil, CA in 1952
(Photo courtesy of Rich McCutchan)
big and small
SP Standard Gauge Engine No. 3203 and Narrow Gauge Engine No. 18 at Owenyo in 1951
 
jawbone branch
Narrow gauge Engine No. 9 adjacent to a standard gauge "Jawbone Branch" diesel engine.



Photographs Courtesy of Rich McCutchan Archives

wreck
SP Jawbone Branch engineers checking out the washed out tracks at Ash Creek due to severe cloudburst - 1920s

wreck
Look-e-loos and SP engineers at the SP Jawbone Branch track wash-out at Ash Creek - 1920s

wreck
Look-e-loos at the SP Jawbone Branch track wash-out at Ash Creek - 1920s

wreck
Wreck at Ash Creek due to severe cloudburst washing out the tracks - 1920s

wreck
Wreck on the SP Jawbone Branch at Ash Creek due to a severe cloudburst washing out the tracks - 1920s

wreck
Fatality (the engineer) from the wreck at Ash Creek due to severe cloudburst washing out the tracks - 1920s

wreck
Wreck on the SP Jawbone Branch at Ash Creek due to a severe cloudburst washing out the tracks - 1920s

wreck
Wreck on the SP Jawbone Branch at Ash Creek due to a severe cloudburst washing out the tracks - 1920s

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owenyo station
SP train depot at Owenyo, CA - 1948

owens lake
Owens Lake during the Cerro Gordo mining days - circa 1880s


molly stevens
The Molly Stevens steamer on Owens Lake

mt whitney depot
Mt. Whitney depot - constructed circa 1884.
The depot was closed when the Lone Pine depot
on the SP standard guage line was constructed.

owenyo
Owenyo depot and hotel - circa 1946
Both the depot and the hotel were constructed
from discarded boxcar bodies.

laws
Laws depot circa 1911 with engine No. 5.
One of the original Carson & Colorado RR locomotives

keeler branch
Southern Pacific RR Keeler Branch stations

boxcars at cartago
Southern Pacific boxcars at Cartago
(Eastern California Museum - Virtual Transportation Museum photo)
 

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jawbone branch construction
Construction of the Jawbone Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad - circa 1908
(Photo Courtesy Calisphere)

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owens river crossing
the SP Standard Gauge trestle abutments in Owens Valley crossing the Owens River.
(Photo and text courtesy David Wayne Bailey)

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lone pine depot
Pine SP Lone Pine Depot
(Photo courtesy David Wayne Bailey)

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Further Reading

Jawbone, Sunset on the Lone Pine by Phil Serpico - 2006




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Early Big Pine  

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Early Bishop Residents  

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Mary Austin  
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potThis page was last updated on 03 February 2021pot