Fernley and Lassen Railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fernley & Lassen
LocaleFernley, Nevada - Westwood, California
Dates of operation1914–1978
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Bizz Johnson Rail Trail, October 2012

The Fernley & Lassen was a rail line of the Southern Pacific Railroad constructed in 1912–14 between Fernley, Nevada and Westwood, California, near Susanville, a distance of approximately 112 miles (180 km). The railroad was constructed to connect the Red River Lumber Company's facilities in Westwood with the Southern Pacific's main line running through Fernley.[1] After the railroad's construction, it was heavily used by other nearby lumber companies; the Fruit Growers Supply Company maintained the longest-lived railroad connection with the Fernley & Lassen, with an active connection present between 1920–1953. Due to the Great Depression, which significantly lowered freight volume, and the completion of Western Pacific's competing branch to Westwood, however, the Fernley & Lassen's days were numbered. By 1934, passenger traffic service had been discontinued, with local rail freighting following it in 1956. In 1978, the Interstate Commerce Commission approved the Southern Pacific's petition for removal.[2]


Coming from Fernley, the Fernley & Lassen roughly follows modern-day Nevada State Route 427 to Wadsworth, then parallels Nevada State Route 447 until the railroad veers westward just south of Nixon. From there, it briefly parallels Nevada State Route 446 until it merges with Pyramid Highway. From there, it parallels Pyramid Highway through Sutcliffe and Zenobia, until it veers sharply to the west and starts paralleling High Rock Road. In Flanigan, the Fernley & Lassen intersects the original Western Pacific Railroad, then continues on to Wendel, California. From Wendel, it heads due west, passing by the northern coast of Honey Lake, then through Litchfield and Leavitt, until finally reaching Susanville. From Susanville, the right-of-way continues into the Sierra Nevada range and on to Westwood.

In Fernley, the Fernley and Lassen Railway Depot has been restored[3] as has the depot in Susanville.[4] From Susanville to Westwood, the right-of-way, including the grading and original bridges, has been converted into the Bizz Johnson Trail, a National Recreation Trail.[5]

Surviving Track[edit]

A short section (approximately one mile) of track is still in use, connecting the Nevada Cement plant in Fernley to the Union Pacific line.


Incomplete list:


  1. ^ (14 September 1913). First Regular Passenger Train Reaches Susanville, Sacramento Union, p. 33, col. 3.
  2. ^ "A Guide to the Records of Jim Bryant, Collection No. 91-16". Archived from the original on 2010-06-06. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  3. ^ "The Fernley Depot". Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  4. ^ "Lassen Land & Trails Trust - Visitors Center". Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  5. ^ "TrailLink :: Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail". Retrieved 2010-03-29.

External links[edit]