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California \ United States Gypsum

United States Gypsum.

T he United States Gypsum Corporation (USG) currently operates an active 20.5 mile industrial narrow gauge railroad connecting their gypsum quarry to their plant at Plaster City (formerly Maria). The line hauls gypsum rock from the quarry to the plant.

The line was originally built by the Imperial Gypsum Company, owned by the Imperial Valley Gypsum and Oil Corporation. The railroad built from the junction with the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway (Southern Pacific) at Plaster City north to the quarry. Surveying commenced in April 1921, grading on October 3, 1921 and construction was completed on September 15, 1922. Commercial operation commenced on October 14, 1922.

Two years after completion of the line (1924), the company was sold to the Pacific Portland Cement Company. U.S. Gypsum purchased the operation from the Pacific Portland Cement Company in 1946.

As of 2014 the line continues in operation.

Revised: November 11, 2015
Turner, George. California High Country Narrow Gauge Railroads (originally published as Narrow Gauge Nostalgia). Hamilton: Oso Publishing, 2001.
O’Herin, Charles. White Gold Railroad, Plaster City Narrow Gauge. Fife: Link Pen Publications, 2008.
Brueckman, Henry. "Plaster City Railroad – United States Gypsum Company." Pacific News, August 1970.
Lustig, David. "Plaster City’s New Narrow Gauge Alcos." Railfan and Railroad, July 1991.
"Roster of Plaster City Narrow Gauge locomotives." Trains Magazine, 2009.

Reference Data Available Online:


The Route of the U.S. Gypsum for Google Earth.
by Andrew Brandon.


U.S. Gyspum (Plaster City) Locomotives and equipment.
Compiled by Randy Hees.


Collected U.S. Gypsum Photographs.
Images collected from private collections, libraries and historical societies.

California \ United States Gypsum
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