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California \ Pacific Coast Borax Company: Gerstley Mine Railroad

Gerstley Mine Railroad.

Pacific Coast Borax Company.

By Randy Hees

T he Gerstley Mine was discovered in 1922 by prospector Johnny Sheridan, who was reportedly living in a cave which he shared with a chuchwalla (a local lizard) and a hydrophobic skunk. Sheridan sold his claim to Clarence Rasor a mining engineer, who perfected the title and by 1924 sold it to the Pacific Coast Borax Company. The ore was a variety of Ulexite, particularly noted as an ingredient in fire retardant and ceramic glazes.

PCB built a 3 mile long “baby gauge” railroad to connect the mine with the Tonopah & Tidewater at a new siding at Gerstley, mile post 101.26, about 4 miles north of Shoshone. The at Gerstley siding the narrow gauge spilt, one line serving an ore bin, and a second parallel to the T&T to allow transfer of inbound supplies, particularly water.

The railroad used a Milwaukee gasoline locomotive. Rolling stock consisted of “about” eight, 3-ton ore cars and a primitive tank car. They also apparently had a small battery locomotive, which is currently displayed at Ryan.

The mine was closed in Oct 1927, and the railroad rail and equipment transferred to the then new PCB mine at Boron. The buildings were moved to Furnace Creek where they became part of the new Furnace Creek Ranch tourist development.

Revised: December 29, 2015
Myrick David, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Vol 2, Berkeley, Howell North, 1963
Serpico Phil, Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, The Nevada Shortline, Palmdale, Omni Publications, 2013

Reference Material Available Online:


The Route of the Pacific Coast Borax Company: Gerstley Mine Railroad for Google Earth by Andrew Brandon.

California \ Pacific Coast Borax Company: Gerstley Mine Railroad
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