Carson and Colorado Railway

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Carson and Colorado Railway
Locale California and Nevada
Dates of operation 1880–1960
Successor Southern Pacific Company
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Length c. 300 miles (480 km)

The Carson and Colorado Railway was a U.S. 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad that ran from Mound House, Nevada, to Keeler, California below the Cerro Gordo Mines. It was incorporated on May 10, 1880 as the Carson and Colorado Railroad, and construction on the railroad began on May 31, 1880. 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge track was chosen to reduce cost. Much of the route parallels U.S. Route 95 Alternate, U.S. Route 95, Nevada State Route 360 or U.S. Route 6

The Carson & Colorado began operations with a single Baldwin 4-4-0, the Candelaria. The first train arrived at Keeler on August 1, 1883. The 300-mile route reached an altitude of 7100 feet in Montgomery Pass.[1] The railroad served an arid area heavily dependent on mineral resources for economic activity. The line was reorganized as the Carson and Colorado Railway in 1892 to reduce accumulated debt.[2]

Sale to the Southern Pacific[edit]

The Virginia and Truckee Railroad, the parent company of the C&C, sold the line to the Southern Pacific Company in 1900. Silver and gold discoveries at Tonopah, Nevada and Goldfield, Nevada provided a major boost of revenues shortly after the Southern Pacific purchase.[2] The northern 140 miles from Mound House to Mina, Nevada was converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge in 1905; and the C&C was merged into the Southern Pacific's 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge subsidiary, the Nevada and California Railroad.[3] The Nevada and California Railroad was reorganized into the Central Pacific Railroad in 1912.[3] In the early 20th century, it operated under the name "Southern Pacific Keeler Branch". Portions of the line were abandoned in the 1930s and the 1940s, and the last narrow gauge common carrier made its final run on April 29, 1960.[4] The rails were removed in January, 1961. The former parent company, the V&T, is currently being reconstructed.

Locomotives[edit]

Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes
1st #1 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1880 5285 sold to Eureka and Palisade Railroad 1907
2nd #1 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-8-0 1919 41300 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #14 acquired 1928 sold to Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad #9 1933
3rd #1 General Electric Diesel 1954 32226 sold 1961
2 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1881 5428 scrapped 1907
1st #3 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1881 5430 scrapped 1908
2nd #3 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1887 8791 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #3 acquired 1928 scrapped 1934
1st #4 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1881 55782 sold to Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad #7 1929
2nd #4 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1899 17124 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #4 acquired 1928 scrapped 1934
1st #5 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1882 6089 scrapped 1932
2nd #5 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1899 17123 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #5 acquired 1928 scrapped 1934
1st #6 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1882 6090 scrapped 1907
2nd #6 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1877 4223 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #6 merged 1905 scrapped 1926
3rd #6 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1903 22020 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #6 acquired 1928 scrapped 1934
1st #7 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1883 6687 scrapped 1932
2nd #7 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1903 22012 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #7 acquired 1928 scrapped 1935
1st #8 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1883 6689 scrapped 1932
2nd #8 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1907 31445 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #8 acquired 1928 donated to Sparks, Nevada 1955
1st #9 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1885 7604 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #16 merged 1905 scrapped 1911
2nd #9 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1909 34035 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #9 acquired 1928 donated to Laws, California 1960
10 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-4-0 1885 7605 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #17 merged 1905 scrapped 1933
11 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1881 5649 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #11 merged 1905 rebuilt to 4-6-0 1924 scrapped 1934
12 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1881 5650 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #12 merged 1905 rebuilt to 4-6-0 1924 scrapped 1934
13 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-8-0 1882 6157 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #13 merged 1905 scrapped 1927
14 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1886 7939 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #18 merged 1905 retired 1945
15 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1889 9929 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #22 merged 1905 scrapped 1935
16 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1886 7941 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #19 merged 1905 scrapped 1935
17 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1887 8487 ex-South Pacific Coast Railroad #21 merged 1905 retired 1945
18 Baldwin Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1911 37395 ex-Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #12 acquired 1928 donated to Independence, California 1955
22 Schenectady Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1899 5399 ex- Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad then Nevada-California-Oregon Railway #22 acquired 1929 scrapped 1949

Towns served by the C&C[edit]

Restoration Effort[edit]

In Independence, California, a non-profit group re-incorporated the Carson and Colorado Railway, with an eye to restore the narrow gauge line from Independence to Owenyo, outside of Lone Pine. They are currently restoring locomotive #18, which was left in Independence in excellent condition, considering it sat in the park from 1960 onward to today. They have been acquiring land, buildings, ties, rails, and cars to go along with this locomotive, and they have a plan in place to begin laying rail soon.[7]

Gallery of C&C equipment[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  • Turner, George (1974). Slim Rails through the Sand (3rd edition). Trans-Anglo Books. ISBN 0-87046-016-1. 
  • Likes, Robert C. (1975). From This Mountain. Community Printing & Publishing. ISBN 0-912494-15-8. 
  1. ^ Turner 1974 p.2
  2. ^ a b Turner 1974 p.4
  3. ^ a b Turner 1974 p.6
  4. ^ Likes 1975 p.83
  5. ^ "Carson and Colorado Route Map". Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge, officially known as the Keeler Branch". Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  7. ^ http://www.carsoncolorado.com

Research resources[edit]