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California \ Pacific Coast Borax Company: Lila C. Tramway

Lila C. Tramway.

Pacific Coast Borax Company.

By Randy Hees

T he Lila C. Tramway was built as a 6.7 mile long standard gauge branch of the Tonopah & Tidewater, 1907. In 1914, the Lower 3.2 miles (Death Valley Junction to Horton) was converted to dual gauge by Death Valley Railroad. By 1916, the upper 3.5 miles abandoned and scraped, third rail removed from lower 3.2 miles.

In January 1920, following new ore discoveries at the Lila C. mine, a agreement was reached, between PCB, the T&T, and the DVRR to rebuild the upper 3.5 miles of the line as a light narrow gauge1 railroad, relaid over the old standard gauge roadbed (still owned by the T&T), with trackage rights over the DVRR from Horton to DVJ. This line was apparently operated by the Tonopah & Tidewater, under their rules2 in cooperation with DVRR, according to Myrick, using a Milwaukee gas locomotive. The last ore was shipped from the Lila C. mine in November 1925, and the railroad was scrapped in early 1926.

Revised: December 30, 2016
1. The gauge of the rebuild line is uncertain. The PCB Company had several 2’ gauge railroad lines several with Milwaukee locomotives, but use of the DVRR suggests 3’ gauge.
2. Phil Serpico, Tonopah & Tidewater, The Nevada Shortline, reports T&T employee timetable No 25, effective June 1, 1922 includes rules for “Lila C. Trains”.

Myrick, David, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Vol 2, Berkeley, Howell North, 1963
Palazzo, Robert P., Railroads of Death Valley, Charleston, Arcadia Publishing, 2011
Serpico Phil, Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, The Nevada Shortline, Palmdale, Omni Publications, 2013

Reference Material Available Online:


The Route of the Pacific Coast Borax: Lila C. Tramway for Google Earth by Andrew Brandon.


Collected Pacific Coast Borax Company: Lila C. Tramway Photographs.
Images collected from private collections, libraries and historical societies.


Death Valley Conservancy "Ryan Camp" on Facebook.

Death Valley Conservancy.

California \ Pacific Coast Borax Company: Lila C. Tramway
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