My Train Page!
Info and photos on some old railroad history from Eastern California and other places including....
The Carson & Colorado
Epsom Salts Monorail
Jawbone Branch & Tunnel 29
On a recent trip(2004) to the desert and my old stompin' grounds, I drove around looking for remnants of some railroad history. Beginning with the Carson & Colorado/SP Narrow guage and the "Slim Princess", I was amazed at some of what is still there and also at what is gone! I will list page numbers with some of the photographs below that correspond with pages in the two book set "Railroads of Eastern California and Nevada" for comparison. Beginning at Keeler, this little town still has a lot around! The depot is still standing and not in too bad of shape and there is railroad evidence all around the town. Many old C&C cars around being used for storage and in some cases, living quarters!
The old Keeler Depo still stands, but doesn't get much use...........Some old ties imbeded in hard grease..Page 194
(L)Looking down railroad ave..page193..
(R)Tracks at a crossing N. of Keeler still visible. Taken from opposite direction of page 200.
Heading North towards Owenyo, I was surprised to find nothing left of the town except a couple of foundations and the timber bases for the old NG dump ramp used to empty the NG ore cars into the Standard guage cars of the Jawbone branch.
The old C&C grade is on the left of the foundation and the SG Jawbone branch to the right. ..Nothing but some trees and foundations left of Owenyo.
Kinda sad that there is not even so much as a historical marker for one of the busiest little railroad stops in the area at one time. It was also the site for the movie "Bad Day at Blackrock"
Heading farther North, the C&C grade is very visible most of the way to Laws. The Owens River crossing South of Tinnemaha res. is still partly visible, but the North crossing is completely gone. There is however a nearly complete tressel at the Red Pine Canal near Fish Springs that is visible from US 395.
The River crossing just South of Tinnemaha Res.
The Red Pine canal crossing near Fish Springs. US 395 in the background to the right.
Found this marker near the old Zurich station.......this is about all that's left.
For more infor on the C&C Railroad, click here!
The "Slim Princess" at the park in Independence. Still looks great! I heard they recently steamed her up and blew the whistle!! Wish I was there! Too bad she doesn't have anywhere to stretch her legs!
The SP Jawbone Branch
This line was abandoned in the early '80s between Lone Pine and Searles. There is still a lot of history left on the line.
(L)The Owens River crossing between Owenyo and Lone Pine. The trees in the distance are the Lone Pine Depot.
(R)The bridge as seen in the beginning of "Bad Day at Blackrock" filmed in 1953 along with many other points along the Jawbone Branch.(Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment) Notice the Lone Pine depot in the background of both shots.
This bridge was torn down shortly after the C&C/SP Narrow Guage was abandoned in 1960. Looks to be about 300' long and about 60' high! The bridge shown here in the movie was steel.
The Lone Pine depot is now a private residence but looks to be in good shape!........ A tressel between Inyokern and Searles.
Tracks left in an old crossing in old US 395 South of Inyokern...
(L)Today, a few miles south of Inyokern.
(R)The same area 50 years ago in the beginning of "Blackrock"..only with tracks and a train! ca. 1953. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment.) Landscape hasn't changed much!
Looking North towards Inyokern.
The "BlackrockTrain" near the lava flow just south of Little Lake. ca. 1953(Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)
LEFT: The Blackrock Train" pulling into the movie town of Blackrock ca. 1953 (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment) Originally, I thought the movie was filmed in Owneyo, but this little stop was just about 1/4 mi North of the steel bridge. As of 6/08, there is no sign there was ever a stop there (RIGHT) other than a couple of tin cans. Pretty sure this was just a movie set. The trees in the far distance and to the left of the tracks is actually the town of Owenyo. I did notice the number on the front of the train in the beginning of the movie is 0151 and at the end it is X6386, although the 0151 train still had 6386 on the side of the engine in both shots.
The line now ends just North of Searles Station, the point where the Trona Railway takes over.
(L)The old water tank on the Trona Railway cutoff still stands at what used to be Garden City.....
.(R)View looking North from the top of tnl 29. Searles Station and the old line heading North to Owenyo heading straight North with the line to Trona heading off to the right. A good portion of the tunnel was "daylighted", as can be seen here, after the fire and partial collapse in the '70s. The cars off to the left are parked on part of the old "dog leg" that was used to bypass the tunnel during the fire and repair.
Tunnel 29, the South end today. Also on page 207 in the early 50s. Hasn't changed much!
The current end of the Jawbone/Owenyo line just before the 395 crossing North of Searles.
This small railroad has been in operation for over 80 years and still sends 200+ cars a week thru tunnel 29! If you ever get to Trona, they have a small railway museum......very small, but nice!
Trona Railway Caboose at the Trona Railway Museum.
Epsom Salts Monorail
NEW!! Click HERE for a great slideshow of the monorail remains!
I thought I would find no evidence of the old monorail system, but after a couple hours of searching, I found an obvious debris field stretching as far as the eye could see! Most of the old system is on a closed military base.
(L) View looking West back at Trona across Searles Lake..(R) Looking East up Layton Canyon onto the Military base. If you look close in the distance, you can make out the grade up the hill. I tried to follow the debris field across the lake bed, but the dry looking surface of this lake "floats" and is very dangerous. I got about 200' out from where I took this picture and began to sink about a foot into the surface......just made it out! I heard that the heavier monorail trains used to have the same problem with the supports sinking into the lake under the weight.
I was lucky enough to run into a photographer that worked on the military base and he said there were still a few sections of it standing! He sent me to his website and there they were!! One of these pics was taken at the old salt works that is now open to the public. The other is deep within the base where nobody can harm or disturb the remains. Thanks to http://www.pbase.com/token for these! There are also many great pics of the monorail in operation at the Trona Museum...NOT the railroad museum.
Not much evidence left of this other than the grade which is very visible along 395 from Johannesburg South to Kramer Jctn.
Hard to see in the picture, but this is the old RR grade next to US 395 on the curve just heading South out of Johannesburg. Still some culverts in this mound which is about 4' high at this point. The Grade is visible in many other spots heading South to Kramer. For a GREAT web page dedicated to the Randsburg RR, Check out http://www.randsburg-railway.com/ Lots of great photos, maps and other info.
This page is still under construction so check back!!
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