West Side Lumber Company railway

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West Side Lumber Company railway
Westside Lumber Engine Shed.jpg
The engine shed in 1979.
Locale California
Dates of operation 1898–1962
Successor Westside & Cherry Valley Railroad
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Length 70 miles (110 km)
Headquarters Tuolumne

The West Side Lumber Company railway was the last of the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge logging railroads operating in the American west.[1][2]

History[edit]

The lower section of the Railway in 2003

West Side Flume & Lumber Company[edit]

The West Side Flume & Lumber Company was founded in May 1898 to log 55,000 acres of land outside of the town of Carter's (now called Tuolumne). A 10-mile long 3 ft (914 mm) gauge railroad was laid into the woods east of the town.[3]

Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite Valley Railroad[edit]

In 1900, the lumber company incorporated their railroad as a common carrier called the Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite Valley Railroad. Although it never reached either Hetch Hetchy nor Yosemite valley, they company hoped to attract tourist traffic.[3]

West Side and Cherry Valley Railroad[edit]

West Side and Cherry Valley Railroad No. 7

In the late 1970s, Glen Bell, the founder of the Taco Bell restaurant chain opened a tourist railroad at Tuolumne.[4] This 3 ft (914 mm) gauge railroad used the lower section of the track and several steam locomotives of the West Side Lumber Company railway. The operation also offered boat rides on the old mill pond and RV parking. It closed in the early 1980s after failing to attract enough visitors.[5]

Locomotives[edit]

Narrow gauge[edit]

Name Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes Image
Fido H.K. Porter 0-4-0ST Sold to the Sierra and San Francisco Power Company's Schoettgen Pass railroad
Star H.K. Porter 0-4-0ST ex-Cliff House Railroad, San Francisco
1 Heisler Two Truck 1899 1038 Sold to the Swayne Lumber Company; scrapped 1940
2 Heisler Two Truck 1899 1040 Placed in West Side Memorial Park, Tuolumne, Ca. in 1960
3 Heisler Two Truck 1900 1041 Converted to standard gauge in 1947. Converted back to 3 ft (914 mm) circa 1962. Now Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad No. 2 (operational)
4 Heisler Two Truck 1901 1049 Scrapped 1950
5 Lima Two Truck Shay 1902 730 Scrapped 1950
6 Lima Two Truck Shay 1903 817 Scrapped 1942
7 Lima Three Truck Shay 1911 2465 ex-Butte and Plumas Railway #4; now running on the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad Locomotive #7, running on the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad
8 Lima Three Truck Shay 1922 3176 Now displayed at Cañon City, Colorado at the Santa Fe Depot after service on the Georgetown Loop and static display at the Old Georgetown Station with C&S caboose #1012. Lettered for the Royal Gorge Route. (Was Georgetown Loop 8, Static Display) 1922 Shay locomotive, West Side Lumber Co. #8, on display in Cañon City, Colorado
9 Lima Three Truck Shay 1923 3199 Operable at Midwest Midwest Central Railroad, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Lettered for West Side Lumber Company. Trucked to Silver Plume, CO, arrived February 2, 2011. Colorado Historical Society will rebuild 9 to operate on Georgetown Loop Railroad - estimated completion 2012. The 12, a Baldwin 2-6-2, will go to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, after #9 enters service on the Georgetown Loop RR. 1923 Lima #9, now with the Midwest Central Railroad.
10 Lima Three Truck Shay 1928 3315 Now running on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. Reportedly the largest narrow-gauge shay locomotive ever built.
12 Lima Three Truck Shay 1927 3302 ex-Swayne Lumber Company railway #6. Now at Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, CO after service on the Georgetown Loop. (Was Georgetown Loop 12, Operational)
14 Lima Three Truck Shay 1916 2835 ex-Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company #10. Now at Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, CO after service on the Georgetown Loop. Lettered for Argentine Central. (Was Georgetown Loop 14, Operational)
15 Lima Three Truck Shay 1913 2645 ex-Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company #9. Operable at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.

Standard gauge[edit]

Name Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes
Old Betsie H.K. Porter 0-6-0 tender 1886 770 Built as a 2-6-0 for the Prescott and Arizona Central Railroad [6]
1 Heisler Two Truck 1899 1036 ex-Sierra Railway #9
3 Heisler Two Truck 1901 1049 converted from 3 ft (914 mm) gauge in 1947 (see above)
14 Baldwin 4-4-0 tender 1882 5851 ex-Sierra Railway #4

Various artifacts of the railroad and photographs are preserved at the Tuolumne City Memorial Museum in Tuolumne, CA. The museum also arranges annual field trips to West Side logging camps in the woods.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ferrell, Mallory Hope, West Side: Narrow Gauge in the Sierra, pp. 1-32, 293-312, Pacific Fast Mail, 1979.
  2. ^ "West Side Lumber Company," Tuolumne City Memorial Museum Web site (http://tuolumnecity.wordpress.com/4-museum-exhibits/westside-lumber-company/), Retrieved 9-22-2011.
  3. ^ a b "The West Side Lumber Company". Pacific Narrow Gauge. 
  4. ^ Cook, Walt (19 January 2010). "Taco Bell founder remembered". The Union Democrat. 
  5. ^ Rowland, Marijke (3 September 2015). "Strawberry Music Festival returns to Tuolumne". Modesto Bee. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Kauppi, Art, “Annual Field Trip Will Travel to Site of West Side’s Camp 44, Active in 1940’s,” Tuolumne City Memorial Museum Newsletter, pp. 1-2, Summer, 2011, Tuolumne, CA.
  • Krieg, Allan (1962). The Last of the 3 Foot Loggers. Golden West. 

External links[edit]