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Keeping Truckee Railroads Alive!

Past Tresle Tours

Joint Truckee Donner Railroad Society/ Truckee Donner Historical Society tour

001Did you know there had been four logging railroads north of Boca reservoir?  Come with us and see the traces of the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company, Boca & Loyalton, and the Verdi Lumber Company logging railroads. 
The first, The Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company had narrow gauge tracks laid principally on the west side of the Little Truckee valley.  The tracks and locomotives were moved to Hobart Mills in 1896 after all the available timber in Incline Village had been harvested.
Nelson Van Gundy will show us the remaining vestiges of these railroads including the old locomotive shops at Hobart Mills, the trestles of the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company railroad and the ice houses of the Boca and Loyalton railroad.

The J.W. Bowker was one of the The Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber 004Company railroad’s locomotives.  It was later used in Cecil B. De Mille’s movie Union Pacific and also the movie version of The Wild, Wild West
The locomotive is now in Sacramento’s California State Railroad Museum.
This narrow gauge railroad hauled logs down to the Hobart Mills sawmill.  The timber was cut to size, and then the standard gauge Hobart Southern railroad hauled the wood to the Southern Pacific railroad connection near the present railyard in Truckee.  Much of the wood was used to build wooden boxes for agricultural crops.  Some of these boxes became California’s classic orange crates.  .  Many remnants of the railroad trestles still exist and we will stop and inspect them.
We will stop and see the foundations of the Hobart Mills locomotive shops.  Not far from these shops, we will also see remains of the flat bed logging cars. As we explore the valley, we’ll come upon evidence of other railroads.

The third, the Verdi Lumber railroad came from the east out of Nevada.   A Central Pacific executive and opera fan named the town after Giuseppe Verdi - the composer of La traviata.  The 006
track wound up the Dog Valley old emigrant route and then crosses the other two railroads near the center of Sardine Meadows.  The steep grades up and over the pass from Verdi required the low gears of Shay locomotives. The Verdi Lumber Company operated this railroad from 1900 until the forests were exhausted in 1927.

008 The last logging railroad was the Boca & Loyalton railroad. It ran from what’s today the base of Boca dam north for 46 miles through the Little Truckee valley past the town of Loyalton.  The railroad was opened in 1901 and by 1908 all the useful timber between Boca and Loyalton had been cut down.  In addition to wood, the railroad transported cattle, dairy products, sheep, hay and grain to the Southern Pacific at Boca. While the town of Boca produced both ice and the famous “Boca Beer,” both products were shipped on the transcontinental Southern Pacific railroad and not north on the Boca & Loyalton. In 1916, the Western Pacific bought the Boca & Loyalton at a foreclosure sale and abandoned the line south from Loyalton.
We will end our trip viewing the ice house and railroad foundations of Boca.

We recommend hiking gear: good boots or hiking shoes are a minimum. This is a backwoods adventure, so come dressed comfortably and prepared for an expedition. We will hike a couple of miles [broken into smaller segments], and the trip will cover 40-50 miles of paved highway, USFS system roads, some   4 wheel—drive trails, and old railroad roadbed.
Cameras are recommended. This trip usually takes from 4-6 hours, depending on road and trail conditions, questions, photo opportunities, debates, wildflowers, serendipitous finds, etc., and is never the same twice. We will never be more than 30 miles from Truckee.

Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Company

Starting near Glenbrook Nevada, we will follow the first part of the D. L. Bliss legacy. From Glenbrook we will go up the hill to follow old grade to a switchback on a trestle overlooking Lake Tahoe. Then it is a short drive to Spooner Meadow and Spooner Summit. This is where the lumber came off the railroad and was put in a V-Flume to float down to Carson City. We will then visit Clear Creek Canyon to see where the 17 mile flume trip went. Finally we will end at Carson City near the site of the old lumber yard. Get the details here.

Verdi Lumber Company

Starting in Verdi at the site of the Verdi Lumber mill, the tour progresses to Dog Valley. The northern and southern portions of the Verdi Lumber RR split here. Proceeding north past “Lazy Station” and the Port Arthur camp cut off, we will stop at the site of Camp Pixley. Over the hill, we head towards Purdy Creek camp and Long Valley camp. Finally we will take a hike up the five legged switchback to Lakeview Station. Get the details here.

Boca and Loyalton Railroad

From the switchback that tied The Boca & Loyalton to the Southern Pacific railroad we see the site of world famous Boca Beer, as well as the location of the ice storage buildings from Union Ice Company. Next, we go north along the Little Truckee River through Stampede Valley and Sardine Valley crossing Verdi Lumber eastern lines as well as Hobart Estates lines. See where Hobart laid narrow gauge rail on standard gauge ties that were left by the Boca and Loyalton. See the remnants of an old lumber camp.

Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Company

The second part of the D. L. Bliss legacy was to develop tourism in the Lake Tahoe area. Starting at the Truckee Railroad Museum we will see where the LTR&TCo. started. Then it is up the Truckee River seeing grade along the way. In the middle of the trip, there is a short walk on old grade along the Truckee river. At the end of the line was a 986 foot wharf on Lake Tahoe. There are remnants of pier poles we will see in the lake.

Hobart Estates

Hobart Estates railroad was tied to the Southern Pacific mainline in downtown Truckee where Truckee Railroad Museum rolling stock is now located. Follow the line to the site of the town of Hobart, 6 miles north of Truckee. See the remains of the engine service facility. From there, it’s out into the woods! See some of the largest trestles still left in the area.

October 4th 2014

Come celebrate Truckee’s logging history with a tour of the area’s logging railroads.  We’ll travel north on highway 89, swing off the highway and see what’s left of the Hobart Mill’s locomotive shop, long abandoned logging car bodies, old trestles, and the traces of roadbeds of the Hobart Southern, the Hobart Estates [Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company], the Boca and Loyalton Ry. {later the Clover Valley lumber Co.], and the Verdi Lumber Co railroads. Preparation: Secure a current copy of the USFS'S Tahoe National Forest Map.
Read David W Myrick's Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California. Volume I [available Locally], pages 416 - .453 , "Logging Railroads-Lake Tahoe and Truckee River Basin”, and then additionally pages 398-409 "BOCA AND LOYALTON RAILROAD” and pages 410-415, '"VERDI LUMBER COMPANY.”
This will help prepare you for the test. LOL







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