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 Post subject: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:56 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 8139
Location: Wilton, NY
Here's one I hadn't heard of. The three-foot-gauge Death Valley RR in California had a two-foot-gauge extension that. like the three-footer, hauled tourists after mining played out. Apparently, some of the rails are still in place. It used gasoline mine locomotives.

http://www.ttrr.org/dv_text/bg_p02.html

More on the Death Valley RR found here, including a link to railcar 5, which has since been returned to operation at Laws, California. Two steam locomotives from the road also still exist.

http://www.ttrr.org/dv_text/index.html

All of this is on this excellent website, covering some of the desert mining railroads of eastern California and western Nevada:

http://www.ttrr.org/tt_tocs.html


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1909
A friend was able to visit the Baby Gauge as part of a tour of Death Valley in graduate school. The rolling stock is stored inside one of the tunnels at the former Borax mine site.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1909
Found this imagine in the Online Archives of California, via Google. Still waiting for a reply from a friend who may have a more recent image.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:15 am
Posts: 718
Location: Illinois
Amazing! Those look like Hale & Kilbourn walkover seats; so just flip over the back for the return trip?

And it looks like air hoses between each of those little flatcars. I cannot imagine air brakes on those little cars, or a compressor on the 'locomotive' for that matter. Maybe they are just safety chains to hold the train together in the even of an uncoupling. I do not see an air hose or anything at the rear of the fourth car.

Bob Kutella


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 Post subject: Death Valley RR Number 5
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:01 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:11 am
Posts: 67
Check out the March 2004 issue of Railfan & Railroad for more information on DVRR Number 5.

Later, we were there for the first official rollout and were able to ride this beautifully restored Brill motorcar.


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:31 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 889
Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies / PNW
Recent photos of the line. Still the same story as before. 2' gauge intact in the desert of Death Valley
http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=3739&forum_id=17&page=21
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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:06 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 11:39 am
Posts: 54
Location: California desert
This week a visiting Death Valley employee said that are again discussions going on to operate the Baby Gauge RR as a visitor attraction. There have been ongoing negotiations to transfer the mine camp at Ryan to the Death Valley National Park. Progress on this is slow as there are several parties, both public and private, involved.

The restored and operational motorcar that ran in tourist service on the Death Valley RR from 1927 to abandonment in 1931 is on display at the Laws Railroad Museum.

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Max Cox
Laws Railroad Museum
www.lawsmuseum.org


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:07 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:11 am
Posts: 141
Location: North Carolina USA
If this were a rumor regarding an intact "lost" rail line in the high desert that is favorable to tourism rather than a substantiated fact, I would be hard pressed to believe such a thing. The greater mystery to me (not knowing the circumstances) is why it was left intact and the rails not pulled for their scrap value. Was there some sort of legal entanglement that left this anomaly to be "rediscovered"? Further, what preserved two foot equipment exists that would be available to avail itself of this line (outside of perhaps mine motors), or would equipment have to be fabricated? The latter rather than the former seems likely simply out of my own ignorance.


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1909
The Baby Gauge line is owned by the Borax Corp. or its successors. It has its own gasoline engine as shown in the b/w photo. It was left in place by Borax, for reasons unknown - maybe corporate sentimentality, or just the fact that its remote location made scrapping too expensive?

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:54 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1747
Location: Southern California
A couple of comments.

I have heard that the Death Valley National Park was given a whole bunch of records of the Borax company by the current owners -- the Rio Tinto group.

From my reading the formation of Death Valley National Monument was brought about by efforts of U.S. Borax officers back in the 1920s and 1930s. This was after the mineral production had moved elsewhere. The Borax company was responsible for the development of the Furnace Creek Inn and Furnace Creek Ranch resorts. The Inn was started in the mid 1920s.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: Death Valley RR baby gauge
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:56 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 11:39 am
Posts: 54
Location: California desert
Apparently the mining operations at Ryan were never officially shut down. Not being shut down, it wasn't necessary to clear and reclaim the site. I have talked to a Borax Co. truck driver that made a round trip to Ryan each year with empty sacks and returned with filled bags of ore. The baby gauge train was never lost, but was parked in one of the tunnels. Some say that it wouldn't take too much to get the little loco running again.

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Max Cox
Laws Railroad Museum
www.lawsmuseum.org


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