Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad

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Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad
Reporting mark CPLT
Locale Placerville, California
Dates of operation 1904–1986
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Camino, California

The Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad (reporting mark CPLT) was an 8-mile (13 km) Class III short-line railroad operating in the Sierra Nevada in California, east of Sacramento. It was built primarily to haul lumber from the El Dorado National Forest. The standard gauge line ran east for 8 miles (13 km) to Camino from a connection with the Placerville Branch of the Southern Pacific Company at Placerville.

History[edit]

The CPLT's history starts in 1903 with its predecessor, the Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railway. The Placerville & Lake Tahoe Railway started grading on or about September 15, 1903. On April 11, 1904, the Placerville and Lake Tahoe was incorporated and the line was opened that same year. At Camino, the Placerville & Lake Tahoe went to narrow-gauge (operated as the El Dorado Lumber Company Narrow Gauge Lines) where it extended another 65 miles (105 km) into the forest in the area of Old Pino, Pino Grande and Pilot Creek (Tallac). From 1910-1911 the Placerville and Lake Tahoe did not operate. In 1911 the Placerville and Lake Tahoe was sold at foreclosure for $62,714.58 and was reorganized on December 28, 1911 as the Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad.

The CPLT was owned by the Michigan-California Lumber Company. In 1986 the Southern Pacific abandoned the Placerville Branch, eliminating CPLT's access to the national rail network. Scrapping of the CPLT commenced on September 3, 1986.

Other railroads operating in the narrow gauge forest were the American River Land and Lumber Company, that built a line through the forest in 1892. American River Land & Lumber was sold to El Dorado Lumber Company (Narrow Gauge Lines) in 1901 and extended the line to 34 miles (55 km). In 1917, the El Dorado Lumber Company was sold to the Michigan-California Lumber Company.

Chart of History of Area Lines[edit]

Standard Gauge 8 mile line[edit]

  • Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railroad 1911-1986 Standard Gauge 8 miles (Owned by Michigan-California Lumber)
    • Placerville and Lake Tahoe Railway — Standard & Narrow Gauge 1904-1911

Narrow Gauge 50 mile line[edit]

  • From Camino — Pino Grande.
  • Michigan-California Lumber Company 1917-1951 (50 miles (80 km), later abandoned)
    • El Dorado Lumber Company 1901-1917 (34 miles)
      • American River Land and Lumber Company 1982-1901 Mill-timber
      • R.E. Danaher Lumber Company / C.D. Danaher Pine Company 1911-1915 Pino Grande-Pilot Creek (15 miles)

References[edit]

  • Roberston, Donald B. (1998). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History — Volume IV — California. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers. ISBN 0-87004-385-4. 
  • "Foothill Rails". Michigan-California Lumber Company. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  • Polkinghorn, R. Stephen (1966). Pino Grande; logging railroads of the Michigan-California Lumber Company. Howell-North Books. ASIN B0006BP08A.