OTHER Your favorite ghost shortline & why?

John Barnhill Oct 20, 2006

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    With all the new folks coming aboard daily and it having been awhile since we've asked this, What is your favorite fallen shortline?? Lets have some fun and hear from everyone.

    I'll start. I actually have two. The Mountain Quarries RR and the Michigan-California Lumber Co. Both are nearby to my hometown and have been abandoned many many years. Despite this, there are tons of evidence of there existance left.

    I grew up here in Auburn,CA. In the nearby canyon, there is a large 3 arch bridge. As a kid nobody really knew or cared what it was left over from. Well in my later years after I got into trains, I found out it is an old RR bridge from the Mountain Quarries RR. This little 7 mile shortline ran from a connection on the SP in Auburn (a place called Flint) down into the river canyon and across this old bridge to a huge quarry near Cool,Ca. Fasicnating little RR used 18 trestles, a switchback and the large cement bridge to make this journey. I had to find out more. I've hiked its length several times and the neat part is where the trestles were. All the abutments are still there. Turns out my mom used to play on the trestles when she was a kid! Cool!!! :D Well anyhow, as I got more and more into it and collected more info and pics, I decided to build a website about it. Now you all know it as Foothill Rails. By the way, the cover pic on the front page is of this three arch bridge know locally as "No Hands Bridge". :)

    Alrighty, whos next? Tell us about your favorite fallen shortline. :)
  2. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

    Rio Grande Southern

    I love the Rio Grande Southern because it was the epitome of mountain railroading in Colorado. Scenic, beautiful -- in some places almost mythical, innovative and hard-working. Narrow-gauge engines swaying on timber trestles over precipitous drops. Initial opulence followed by decades of poverty...what's not to love?

    I also have a special place in my heart for the Silverton shortlines as well.
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hmmm. Of recent decades, it would still be the Seattle & North Coast RR. But if I went back in time, most likely a Maine Two Footer such as the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington.


    Boxcab E50
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    I would have to say that my (nostalgic) favorite would be the Beebe River Railroad out of Campton, NH. It was a logging railroad owned and controlled by the Draper Corporation to initially harvest pine through WW-I, then hardwoods until the end of WW-II. The BBRR followed the Beebe River up into the Sandwich and Squam Ranges of the White Mountains.

    Sometime in the late 1920's, the General Manager of the Campton plant, a distant cousin, invited my Father and Mother to accompany him and his wife for the first BBRR inspection trip of the Spring. The equipment were two Model-Ts, both equipped with flanged wheels...early Hi-Rails? The first vehicle had a truck bed that carried a makeshift wooden turntable for turning the cars at the end of the line. The second "T" had seats for "Company Officials".

    The driver of the second car, not needing to steer, spent his time turned backwards chatting with my Mother and the manager's wife. The turntable truck stopped abruptly at a rockslide that had covered the tracks, and the second car ran smack into it, at least until the 10x10 turntable beams struck its firewall. Mother told me that one turntable beam knocked off the radiator, which rolled down into the Beebe River ravine, then sheared the tops off all four spark plugs.

    The driver, being your run-of-the mill resourceful New Hampshire moutainman, merely asked the Ladies for four hairpins, which he then poked into what remained of the spark plugs. He then went down the ravine, recovered the radiator, an used some baling wire to put it back into place ...sorta.

    Mother said that once the rockslide had been cleared, they continued up the mountain as if nothing had happened. Though she did say that they had to stop every few minutes to add water to the radiator.:angel:

    As a kid in the late 40's and early 50's, I hiked portions of the BBRR roadbed. The rails had all been pulled for scrap, but the ties were still there, as were some rotting sheds and such.:sad:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2006
  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Denver, Northwestern & Pacific--the REAL Moffat Road, before Moffat Tunnel.
    4% grades, 11,660' Rollins Pass, white hell on the Hill, rotaries mandatory 9 months of the year, 5-mallet trains, snowfighting, and did I mention multiple week blockades, avalanches, and rockslides?
    A brutal railroad to work, fantastically scenic, deadly weather extremes; and names like Giant's Ladder, Devil's Slide, Yankee Doodle Lake, Rifle Sight Notch, Corona, ad nauseum... To quote coloradorailroads: 'What's not to love?'
  6. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member

    I have always been a sucker for west coast timber railroads...especially those operating in the long rain shadow behind the Cascade Mountains.

    My favorite ghost always will be the McCloud River. Yeah, I know it continued operations under another name...but it wasn't quite the same.

    The Arcata & Mad River operated in the fog country on the coast...seven and a half miles that included three or four large trestles and one long five or six span bridge. A trio of orange GE 44-tonners provided most of the needed power through the diesel age. The railroad closed in 1983 after the only connection (the Northwestern Pacific) suspended operations north of Willits.

    There are a cluster of shortlines in eastern Oregon that have always fascinated me- the Oregon California & Eastern, Oregon & Northwestern, Condon Kinzua & Southern, Big Creek & Telocaset, and Union Railroad of Oregon. All of these are ghosts now, mostly due to the sharp decline in the once mighty timber industry in the region. All of these roads- plus several others- are featured on my High Desert Rails page, located at http://www.trainweb.org/highdesertrails

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV
  7. Glenn Woodle

    Glenn Woodle TrainBoard Member

    Tennessee Central

    My current favorite is the TC. At least it had a song written about it. TC#9 written by Beasley Smith & performed by Roy Acuff. Found a CD at Tower Records, redone by Varese Vintage record label, Sony ATV@2006. Sounds like it was recorded yesterday, not in 1965!

    The TC has a good museum & operation on S side of Nashville. It's the home of the Music City Star commuter train. Funny that the first line to lose service in the 50's would be the first to get some service in 2006. Ridership is slowly growing after the first month of service.

    http://www.musiccitystar.org/ Get info & pictures here!
    Y'all invited to check out & ride our little train! C&NW commuter fans will feel at home riding the vintage gallery coach/cabs pulled by ex-Amtrak F40's!

    The old TS was part of a dream to build an Atlantic & Pacific line thru Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis & western. That dream became I-40, that nearly killed the TC. There are many miles of tough grades to lift the line from the Nashville bowl up & over the TN plateau & mountains.
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Well, duh. I forgot the second part of John's question!

    The S&NC would be due to it's being in a favorite area of my world. Family ties, etc. Plus, it was previously Milwaukee Road. And the quaint third hand F units were neat! And, I'm going to be modeling that area as part of my new N empire.

    My WW&F reference would be due to influence of the Linwood Moody book, and Hayden & Frary modeling. Plus a love for such diminutive railroads as a whole.


    Boxcab E50
  9. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    WOW! We've got a nice variety from across the country of some really cool fallen shortlines. Way to go! I'm loving hearing about them all.

    Whos up next? :D Can't wait! :D
  10. fitz

    fitz TrainBoard Member

    Mine would be the defunct Little Falls & Dolgeville, between the two cities named, in New York. Several factories and agriculture concerns in Dolgeville shipped products to Little Falls to be picked up by the New York Central.

    Several trestles existed on the line, and as a boy I used to walk across the one that was in the Little Falls city limits. Most times I was terrified of falling between the ties or getting caught on the trestle when a train came along. Yes, I was dumb.

    CHARGER TrainBoard Member

    Not sure if this qualifies as a shortline,
    SP Narrow Gauge Keely branch line up the high desert in California. When I was a young boy headed to mammoth lakes, always wondered where these tracks went as they crossed HWY 395 and why would they be built way out in the middle of nothing. Hey a quick look on Google maps and the tracks are still there although I am pretty sure they were torn up long ago.

  12. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    The Quanah, Acme & PAcific, which ran between Quanah and Floydada, TX, in the Panhandle. Was a part of Frisco for a long time, and was the route of the QLA, QSF and eastbound hotshot counterparts which ran on the Frisco from Birmingham, AL to Quanah, then on QA&P to Floydada and a Santa Fe interchange there to Lubbock, and westward.

    This routing was dropped in favor of the Tulsa-Avard line (interchanged with Santa Fe, crew changed at Waynoka on the Santa Fe), and fortunes went down. Last run in 1980, scrapped shortly thereafter.

    Yes, I know, it's a Class 1 subsidiary for most of its life (so back off, ye nitpickers), but it had pretty much its own identity. and the HQ building at Quanah still stands. Even had three GP7s lettered from the line at one time.
  13. SP Cabforward

    SP Cabforward TrainBoard Member

    I'd have to that I'd have three (at least). My first would have to the Anderson & Bella Vista Railroad. This was line ran the 15 miles between Anderson and Bella Vista in Norhtern California. It was built to a lumber mill in Bella Vista which had a 30 mile flume that brought logs down to it from Round Mountain in the east. The A&BV crossed over the Sacramento River just north of Anderson. When the line was orginally opened they used a barge to get the trains across the river. When the river was low they would raise up the cribbing on the barge. Well it got top heavy and they lost their first locomotive in the river. It still sits in the river under about 15 feet sand and gravel. It was found in the 1970's when they were building a new bridge for Deschutes road which used to the A&BV's bridge that was later built, but the nobody knew what to do with the locomotive so they threw it back. Attempts have been made to retreive it, but they have all failed.

    My other favorites are the Sacramento Valley & Eastern which ran from a connection with the Southern Pacific at Pitt and ran up the the Pitt River to Copper City were it served the DeLamar copper mines and smelters up on Bully Hill. The entire ROW is know under the waters of Shasta Lake.

    And there is LaMoine Lumber and Trading Company's three foot logging railroad. They had a pretty extensive system for the first 20 years of the 20th century until there was no more available timber. I believe Lamoine was competitor of the McCloud River Lumber Co. at around this time. I hear that quite a few of the trestles reamian and that there are places where there are ties on the grade still.
  14. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Charger and Friscobob, I'd definately say these count. :D Good to hear about them!

    Tim, I've heard of all three of these and am currently keeping my ear open for roster info on all three. I have some on my Foothill Rails site already but really not much. Recently a Sacramento Valley and Eastern steam returned to the area from the NSRM.

    Her current location is at the Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society near Redding.
  15. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Oh and didn't the Anderson & Bella Vista become the California, Shasta & Eastern?? Or are these two completely separate lines??
  16. JDLX

    JDLX TrainBoard Member


    Yes, the A&BV did become the CS&E. This happened during a time when the Terry Lumber Company (owner of the A&BV, the flume, the sawmill, and the logging railroad that extended from the Montgomery Creek/Round Mountain area up the western slope of Hatchet Mountain) went through one of its reorganizations. Terry actually sold the railroad to the Afterthought Copper Company, which operated the smelter and mines up at Ingot (the remains of the smelter are still very visible from Highway 299 below Montgomery Creek). Afterthought planned to extend the railroad from Anderson to Ingot but never did so. Red River Lumber Company took things over shortly after that...the Terry Lumber Company owned a good deal of timber intermingled with Red River holdings, and Red River gradually came to discover that Terry had been helping itself to quite a bit of Red River timber in addition to what it removed from its own lands. Red River ownership followed shortly afterwards, and shortly after taking over the lumber operations Red River took over the CS&E as well.

    Motive power through most of the A&BV/CS&E years consisted of two classy but ancient ex-SP 4-4-0's, #1341 and #1349. Red River sent one of these to Westwood shortly after they took over, with the second one following when they gave up hope and ripped up the railroad. The railroad had been abandoned for several years when it finally occurred to someone that perhaps they should have had the blessings of the Interstate Commerce Commission to actually do the deed...which led to an interesting case of a formal abandonment proceedure conducted on a railroad line that had not technically existed for quite some time.

    And yes, there are many trestle remnants along the old LaMoine line. That was a spectacular operation...and every once in a while one of the local historical societies at least used to lead day hikes up into the mountains to look at the remains.

    If you have an interest I can dig up some more dates for you.

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV
  17. MP333

    MP333 TrainBoard Supporter

    Being a desert rat, I'm a big fan of Arizona's Magma Railroad. Smack in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, in 1914 the Magma Company built a narrow gage line 30 miles between Superior and the SP connection at Webster. There is no water and half of the route is all cuts and fills. Primary cargo was copper ore, but some cattle also. They added standard gage rails by 1923 and sold off the narrow gage locos and cars. After diesels arrived, they continued to run steam engines up into the mid-1960s. The last regularly scheduled revenue run by steam in the continental US was on the Magma in 1967! They occasionally ran steam even after that. Magma steamer No. 5 was used in the 1971 film "How The West Was Won". The last years were dominated by MUs of Alco RS3s, Baldwins, and tired ex-SF geeps. The line closed in the mid-1990s.

    Magma #10

    Here is the Magma line today. The fact the rails are present (though in rough shape), and copper prices on the rise keep me optimistic about this line possibly re-opening.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2008
  18. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Ditto. :) :) :)
  19. Triplex

    Triplex TrainBoard Member

    Since when could Baldwins MU with EMDs and Alcos? I didn't think Magma Arizona's BLWs were re-engined.
  20. SP Cabforward

    SP Cabforward TrainBoard Member


    SV&E's No. 2 was recently brought back to Northern California last spring, March or April I believe. It is on display at the Fawndale Resort RV park just south of Shasta Lake. The SV&E never had an extensive locomotive roster as I believe. They leased an SP 4-4-0 to operate the ine after it was opened before they aquired the No. 2.

    The A&BV lost its first two locomotives in sperate accidents. The first was the J.G. Kellog which was the locomotive that is in the river. The J.G. Kellog is was ex SP no. 1100 built by Stephens in 1868. The A&BV then aquired a 2-4-0 from the Visalia Railroad. The locomotive became A&BV's No. 1 which was known as the "J.E. Terry." This locomotive was destroyed when the engine house in Anderson burned down. It was after this that the A&BV aquired SP No. 1341.

    Another good Shasta County shortline was the three foot Iron Mountain Railroad. This line served the copper mine on Iron Mountian west of Redding and had a connection with the SP at Keswick on the orginal mainline. The Iron Mountain Mine is easily spotted from anywhere in Redding by the a large reddish brown scar on the side of the mountain. The mine wasn't hydraulic but the lack of vegitation is because the Iron Mountian Mine has the worst water in entire country.

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