Bodie to Mono Mills

The Bodie and Benton Railroad

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This photo shows the monument to the Bodie and Benton RR. It is on CA Route 167 at the location where the former right-of-way was located.

The Bodie and Benton Railroad was a 32-mile narrow-gauge line that plied the mountains and forests between Mono Mills and Benton to the north. Isolated from all other railroads, this short line existed among many other narrow-gauge lines in region. It was built in 1881 and and connected Mono Mills with the mining town of Bodie, via Warm Springs; it never made it to Benton. The town of Bodie, at 8,500 feet elevation, was no less than 2,000 above Mono Mills at the other end of the line. To climb the grade, at least two switchbacks were installed along the route. Mining activity in Bodie declined in the 1910s; indeed the line was dismantled in 1918.

As the line was removed over 90 years ago (as of 2009), it is not surprising that little evidence of this small narrow-gauge exists today. Bodie is considered a ghost town now (although it is the main feature of the Bodie State Historical Park), and only some discarded timbers remain at Mono Mills. However, in recent years, some historians/railfans tracing the former right-of-way discovered a discarded flatcar half-buried in the dirt. The remnants of the car were removed and the car restored; it is now on display at June Lake Marina, a popular vacation spot. (The B&B never served June Lake, but the display site is in a well-traveled public area.)

In summer 2007 we went back to June lake, but I did not see the flatcar there. I have no idea where they moved it.

Mike Palmer
Torrance, CA
11/26/2008

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As of July 2010 the car was at the June lake marina. It is obvious that a tremendous amount of work went into bringing the car back and restoring it.

morris dobbs
vista ca, CA
4/6/2011

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