Beatty, NV to Ludlow, CA

The Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad

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Tonopah & Tidewater right-of-way facing north at Baker Airport. The grade runs parallel to CA Route 127 in this area. Photo by Mike Palmer, June 2003.

The Tonopah & Tidewater was originally constructed in the early 1900s, along with several other lines in Esmeralda and Nye Counties in Nevada. They served the gold and other mines in the area. The T&T never actually made it to "Tidewater" in southern California, but it did interchange with the Union Pacific (at Crucero) and the Santa Fe (at Ludlow). The line was abandoned in the early 1940s. Much of the former right of way is intact because of the remote area that it travels through.

Heading south from Beatty, the line passed through Gold Center, Ashton and Leeland, NV, and Jenifer, Scranton, Bradford, Death Valley Jct., Evelyn, Gerstley, Shoshone, Zabriskie, Tecopa, Acme, Sperry, Dumont, Valjean, Riggs, Silver Lake, Baker, Soda, Resor, Crucero, Mesquite, Broadwell and Ludlow, CA.

I just received a card from Phil Serpico, Omni Publications http://www.omniRR.com December 2008

"Needed for upcoming project: Please contact us if you have any material, photos, paper ephemera, etc. for the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad."

Paul McGuffin
Green Valley, AZ
12/8/2008

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Some of the track from the T&T wound up at Norton Air Force base on the east side of San Bernardino during World War II. After the base was cut off from rail service in the 1970s or early 80s, GE 44 ton switcher USAF 8580 was acquired by Orange Empire Railway Museum. Then the Museum's volunteer salvage crew removed the base railroad. Some of the rails have been put back into service in Barn 7 (Ruffulo Car House), where they hold a wide assortment of vintage rolling stock.

Bob Davis
San Gabriel, CA
1/20/2013

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I am a So. Cal Edison retiree who worked in and around eastern California. Timbers from the T&T RR were reportedly used in the construction of the bar at the Apple Valley Inn, Apple Valley, CA. in the 1950's. In 1999 there was an old boxcar on the north end of Baker, Ca. said to be the last of the T&T RR rolling stock in UP livery.

Ken Linville
Guthrie, OK
7/23/2013

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The T&T boxcar, which I photographed at Baker back in 1979, is now at Orange Empire. It's either on display in Barn 4 or stored in Barn 7.

Bob Davis
San Gabriel, CA
7/23/2013

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Sept. 18, 2013 - The new T&T book is available at www.omnirr.com

Phil Serpico
Palmdale, CA
9/18/2013

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The T&T reached Beatty in 1907. Technically it ended at Gold Center and then used the Bullfrog Golfdfield track to continue into Beatty and North to Goldfield. Lots of old RR grades around Beatty.

Mark Holloway
Beatty, NV
4/5/2014

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Want to add that using the Bullfrog Goldfield tracks at Gold Center the T&T could also go to Bullfrog and Rhyolite where the track ended. There was a wye at Bullfrog that they used so the the train could back into Rhyolite. The map on this page shows a spur going to the Montgomery Shoshone Mine. Actually that spur was off of the Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad. The LV&T depot still stands in Rhyolite.

Mark Holloway
Beatty, NV
4/5/2014

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During the summer of 1942, I was a 16 year old working on construction of Kaiser Steel in Fontans CA. Kaiser purchased at least some of the T&T locomotives, using them in the plant.

Roy W Jones
Pomona, CA
8/3/2014

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old spikes & broken rail bolts can still be found on the right of way. the spikes are smaller than standard.

mitchell hesse
morro bay, CA
2/10/2015

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I lived in Yucca Valley, Ca. from 1954 to 1975. In the summer of 1957, we (Johnny Kee, Charley Kee, Roy Kee, Lyman Sweet and myself went to the roadbed N. of Ludlow, halfway to Crucero and got a Semi trailer and Flatbed truck load of ties from the T & T. Hot and we had a severe windstorm after we were loaded and in turning the semi around to go back to Yucca, we broke a ffont spindle on the tractor. The tractor was 90deg. to the trailer and the wind almost blew the trailer over---we were loaded about 7ft. high and 40ft. long so there was a lot of surface area for the wind to act on. Charley and I stayed with the semi, Lyman stayed with the flatbed and Johnny and Roy went to Barstow in Roy's jeep and got a spindle. We had the truck jacked up and the old spindle off by the time they got back. We all were sun and windburned pretty good while doing that and we decided that from then on, we'd get the ties in the winter. There were tie plates and spikes along the right-of-way and a few other artifacts. Went to Crucero several times after that and got acquainted with the colored agent and his family that lived there---I forget their names (riley, I think) They had a late 40's Buick 4dr. Good old days---wouldn't think of doing that now, but almost 60yrs. ago it was fair game. I have a Switch key from the T&T (an Adlake) and I carried it for years as a key fob. Anyone know what happened to #99 doodlebug after it was stranded in Crucero by the flood?

Swede Johnson
Monroe, OR
4/14/2016

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