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California \ Louis Voss' Railroad

Louis Voss' Railroad.

By Andrew Brandon

Louis Voss operated a sawmill in Little York Township on a plateau overlooking the sources of the Greenhorn and Deer Creeks, near the town of Remington Hill. In 1883 he constructed a 36 inch gauge tramway to bring logs from the woods to his mill. Utilizing horses as the motive power the line extended 3.5 miles into the woods where Voss owned a stand of sugar pine.

From the mill, finished lumber was moved by wagon down to You Bet Station where the lumber was loaded onto the cars of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad. Soon after opening the tramway, Voss began extending the railroad toward the Nevada City - Red Dog Road crossing of Greenhorn creek.

The railroad operated a single locomotive: a vertical boiler, belt driven contraption, used to bring loaded cars from the woods down to the mill.

In the years following the railroad was extended to a length of eight miles by 1886. Cars utilized gravity to travel from the mill down to the landing at Nevada City – Red Dog road crossing. On the return trip they were hauled by a team of horeses, which made the trip down the grade on their own flat car at the end of the train. At the end of track the lumber was hauled to You Bet station on the NCNG by wagon, a distance of about 5 miles.

Voss’ lumber operation endured several fires, twice losing the lumber stored for seasoning. In another instance his wood yard in Nevada City burned. On both occasions a disgruntled employee was to found to be the culprit.

In 1888 the steam locomotive was retired and loaded cars being moved to the mill were hauled behind horse teams.

Voss operated the line until the 1890 when the available timber was cut. The equipment was sold in 1891 to Charles W. Kitts, who moved the equipment to the northwest for use on his on his Greenhorn Railroad.

Revised:Aug 6, 2017
Best, Gerald M. Nevada County Narrow Gauge Heimburger House Publishing Co. 1998
Brown, Juanita. A Tale of Two Cities and A Train Nevada County Historical Society, 1987

Reference Material Available Online:

California \ Louis Voss' Railroad
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