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Taking a trip out to Pioche

North American Narrow Gauge; West of the Rockies (including Canada; Mexico).

Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby V&T Jon » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:47 pm

Hi Everyone,

Over Labor Day weekend I'm heading out to Lincoln County Nevada to help a friend lay a brick wall. I'm hoping to take a detour out to Pioche during the trip. The opportunity to visit Pioche doesn't come up nearly as often as I would like it to, so I thought I better ask you guys for some advice.

My grandfather recently told me that he worked for a time as a gandydancer on the line that ran from Pioche out and around to Caselton. I've spent quite a bit of time researching the railroads in Pioche, but I haven't nearly found much information about this particular line.

Fortunately, the local library has volume 2 of David Myrick's Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California. It had a great section on Pioche & Bullionville and the Pioche Pacific Railroad, but the map that showed the line my grandfather worked on simply had it labelled as "Mine RR". Does anyone here know anything else about this line? My thought is it was simply a spur of the Pioche Pacific and it was probably 3 foot gauge because everything else in the area was too (of course, these are huge assumptions so please jump in and correct me if I'm wrong). I'm going to call my grandfather tonight and see if I can't get some more information. My grandfather may not be around much longer and no one else in my family has an interest in this kind of stuff so I've recently gotten the feeling that I really need to get what I can from him before it's too late.

I'm also hoping to look for signs of the other Pioche railroads during my visit. Although there probably isn't much to see of the Pioche and Bullionville line, it seems like a fair amount of the Pioche Pacific's grade is still around (who knows, maybe I'll kick up an old spike!). If anyone has any suggestions of places to look or things to see I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if anyone here has something in Pioche they want me to take photos of or look for, just let me know.

Finally, I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Pioche Pacific's 10 ton shay. Apparently the line had 3 locomotives. One was a small 10 ton shay, pictured in Myrick's book, another was a mogul that is on display in the middle of town, and #3 was a larger shay that is resting somewhere in the Northwest I believe. #1 apparently was kept running on the Treasure Hill portion of the line because it could negotiate the curves and grades, while #2 made the run out North to Jackrabbit. I came across a website that gave the serial number as 362 and the build date as 06/25/1891. If you plug that serial number into shaylocomotives.com it pulls up the same picture in Myricks book as well as a picture of what appears to be the shay's rotting water tank. It says that the shay was abandoned in the desert. The photo definitely looks like it could be in Pioche somewhere: http://www.shaylocomotives.com/data/lima/sn-362.htm . This would be a great thing to find and take pictures of, but so far I haven't been able to find any more info about it. Google earth is too blurry to make a positive ID, so anymore info you gentlemen might have would be much appreciated.

Sorry for the wandering post, but I'm basically listing everything I know so you can identify gaps and misinformation.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby Andrew Brandon » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:15 am

Jon,

I have not spent much time researching the Pioche Pacific, but I have started assembling a roster based on Myrick's roster in RRs of Nevada Vol 2. This is a work in progress and I am sure there are some corrections to be made.

#1 – Reportedly a D&RG locomotive, purchased in 1891.

#2 – Shay 2Tr, Lima (#362) 6/25/1891
Class: A 10-2
Cylinder: 6x10
Gear Ratio: 2.5
Wheel Diameter: 22”
Gauge: 36”
Boiler Style: Boot
Boiler Diameter: 30”
Empty Weight: 16,200lbs
Fuel: Wood
Fuel Capy: 2.5 cord
Water capy: 232 Gal
Built for: Pioche Consolidated Mining & Reduction Co., Pioche Pacific Transportation Co. #362, later #2.
6-1902 Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelting Corporation, Pioche, NV
Possibly scrapped on site, remains of tender and misc parts reportedly still in Pioche.

? - Porter 0-6-2T Builder#: 4125 Mar 1908
9x14 cylinders
May have been #3 (1st)?
Purchased by Nevada-Utah Mines & Smelting Corporation, lettered NUM&S.
Disposition unknown

#1 2nd Shay 2tr Builder: 892 July 5 1904
8x12 cylinders
26” dia wheels
Class: A 18-2
Gear Ratio: 3.071
Gauge: 36”
Boiler: Boot
Boiler Diameter: 44”
Fuel: Wood
Fuel Capy: 0.75 cord
Water Capy: 800 gal
Weight, Empty: 28,600lbs
Built for Birce and Smart (Smart Station, Ca) in 1904
Sold to PG&E for construction of Lake Spaulding Dam, 1910
Sold to Amalgamated Pioche Mines & Smelters Corporation (Pioche Pacific) 1915(?)
Scrapped: ???

#3 Shay 2tr (#2194) July 1909
8x8 Cylinders (3)
48,000 lbs
26.5” dia wheels
Class: B 24-2
Gear Ratio: 3.071
Fuel: Wood
Fuel Capy: 1 cord
Water Capy: 830 gal
Empty Weight: 51,000
Built for Santa Barbara Tie & Pole Co. #1, Hodges, NM. (AT&SF subsidiary)
Sold ???: to Walter A. Zelnicker Supply Co. (D), St. Louis, MO
Sold: 1917 to Little Cottonwood Transportation Co. #3, Wasatch, UT
Sold: 7-25-1924 to Geo. H. Watson & Co., Wasatch, UT
Sold: 7-25-1924 For sale.
Sold: Alta Scenic Ry #1, Wasatch, UT
Sold: Pioche Pacific RR (Amalgamated Pioche Mines & Smelters Corp.), #3, Pioche, NV
Bristol Silver Mines Co. #3, Pioche, NV
Sold: Robert Caudill 194X?
On Display at Frontier Village (Last Frontier Hotel), Las Vegas, NV
Later, Hacienda Hotel & Casino, Boulder City, NV
Sold: 11-2003 to West Side Narrow Gauge Railway Preservation, #16, Tuolumne, CA
Sold: 2004 to Brad Milne, McKenna, WA

#279 Schenectedy 2-6-0 (#50829) 1912
Former Chicago & North Western #279
Operated by Bristol Mines Co.
On display at Lincoln County Court House, Pioche NV.

The Birce and Smart shay I cannot pin specific dates down for just yet, I am still working on a history of the Birce and Smart itself. The dam was completed by PG&E in 1913, but I do not know how long the railroad lasted after completion. There are clear photographs of this shay in John Signor's "Donner Pass" and Steve Hubbard's "Powerhouses of the Sierra Nevada".
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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby Brian Norden » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:56 pm

Andrew Brandon wrote:#279 Schenectedy 2-6-0 (#50829) 1912
Former Chicago & North Western #279
Operated by Bristol Mines Co.
On display at Lander County Court House, Pioche NV.


Brandon, that should be Lincoln County court House.

Lander is the county with Battle Mountain and Austin -- the home of the Nevada Central (second road with the name). The first road with the name Nevada Central was in Lincoln County.
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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby Andrew Brandon » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:53 pm

Thank you Brian, I've corrected the mistake.
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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby speeder3 » Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:19 am

V&T Jon wrote:It says that the shay was abandoned in the desert. The photo definitely looks like it could be in Pioche somewhere: http://www.shaylocomotives.com/data/lima/sn-362.htm . This would be a great thing to find and take pictures of, but so far I haven't been able to find any more info about it. Google earth is too blurry to make a positive ID, so anymore info you gentlemen might have would be much appreciated.


Thanks in advance for your help!


This is a pretty old thread, but I recently joined the group and noticed that no one gave a good answer. I visited Pioche back in the late-80's and saw and photographed the remains of the Shay in question. The T-boiler and cistern were (at least at that time) located on the hill by the No. 1 shaft. At that location you can easily find the concrete floor of a single-stall engine house just below the shaft head frame. The Shay parts were on the hillside below the concrete slab. After that trip, I contacted the curator of the Nevada State Railroad Museum about possibly preserving the items (particularly the rare T-boiler), but never got a response. I have no idea if anyone at NSRM even followed up on this.

In other news, the Shay that was at Boulder City, NV, and subsequently owned by Brad Milne in Washington state, has been sold to another private individual in the Puget Sound region. I'm told he intends to rebuild it for operation on private property.

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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby Andrew Brandon » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:18 pm

Brian,

Thank you for the information on the T-boiler. I'd been curious what was left for many years now. It's a shame someone didn't save what was left. I live near Lake Spaulding where it worked for PG&E during construction of the dam. If anything remains it might be nice to bring it back to Nevada County if there is no interest at NSRM, locals willing of course.

It is good to hear the Santa Barbara shay is still being restored. I had not heard any news about that locomotive in some time.
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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby Loco112 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:53 am

I really like the K&J (Kilbourne & Jacobs) hoppers that were on the P&P, and the DVRY. I believe they were slightly different between the two groups of hoppers. They must have all been scrapped because no one has ever found one to take modern photos of.

There is a K&J, three I-beam bolster, 3' gauge, truck in the DV area somewhere that matches the hopper trucks. I think it was at the "Furnace" area.

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Re: Taking a trip out to Pioche

Postby Randy Hees » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:46 pm

I believe the trucks in question (from K&J ore cars) are at the Laws museum near Bishop. They were acquired when they got the Brill motorcar from Carlsbad.

The only remains at Furnace Creek is Death Valley Baldwin 2-8-0, plus some "Baby Gage" (local name and spelling for the 2' gauge railroad equipment used by Pacific Coast Borax) equipment, including a Plymouth AL and a mucker built on a 2nd Plymouth AL as well as a gable bottom ore car, possibly from Boron. There is additional "Baby Gage" equipment at Ryan including an operable Plymouth BL and some cars, some from Ryan, some from Boron.

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