Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad
The Carson and Colorado Railway was incorporated May 10, 1880 to build a narrow gauge rail line from Mound House on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad along the Carson River to a point on the Colorado River, hence Carson & Colorado. Construction started May 31, 1880 and reached Keeler on Owens Lake July 12, 1883. The first train arrived at Keeler August 1, 1883.
The railroad was purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad in March 1900 which continued to operate it as the Carson and Colorado. In October 1904, the Hazen Cut-off was started as standard gauge and the narrow gauge track was changed to standard gauge south to Tonopah Jct., a few miles south of Mina. The new track was finished in August 1905. The name of the railroad was changed to Nevada and California Railway on May 11, 1905. In 1912 the name was again changed to Southern Pacific.
The narrow gauge line from Mina to Benton was abandoned in 1938, and from Benton to Laws in 1942. The rest of the line from Laws to Keeler was abandoned April 30, 1959.
The Southern Pacific standard gauge line from Mojave to Lone Pine was built between May 1908 and October 1910. The line from Lone Pine to Searles was abandoned in 1982.
The line was called the "Slim Princess" by the local population. Until Hwy. 395 was paved and improved along the west side of the Owens Valley, the Slim Princess was a major transportation resource. However, it was built to service mineral resources and it ran down the less habitable east side of the valley. All the "major" population centers of the Owens Valley are spread out along Hwy. 395 so that it was a long trip just to get to the railroad.
The Laws Railroad Museum was established at the site of old Laws depot after abandonment of the railroad. A single 4-6-0 engine and a string of cars still sit there along with many displays of period artifacts. If you are ever in the Owens Valley, stop by Laws, its worth the trip. Another of the narrow gauge engines sits in a park display in Independence, CA right next to Hwy. 395.
Model of Southern Pacific Baldwin No. 8 in 1:22,5 Scale
Oiltender of SP Balwin No. 8 in Model
SP Caboose 401 at the railroad museum at Laws, Ca
Model of SP Caboose No. 401 in 1:22,5 Scale
SP Tankcar 353 at Owenyo, Ca
Model of SP Tank Car No. 353 in 1:22,5 Scale
Southern Pacific Stockcar No. 166
Model of SP Stockcar No. 166
SP open Stockcar No. 218
Model of SP open Stockcar No. 218
SP Boxcar 10 at the railroad museum at Fremont, Ca
Model of Box car No. 10 in 1:22,5 Scale
Model of SP Gondola No. 225 in 1:22,5 Scale