Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sierra Grade

I've just been looking through the set of photographs of the summit tunnel, the Chinese wall etc. ... fascinating.

Why was the line eventually shut down? It seems strange that it remained in use until 1993, surely if it was unsuitable for modern railway vehicles it would have been shut down alot earlier.

Those other photo's showing where the line used to run are very atmospheric as well.

Are the snowsheds you show in a few photographs modern?

—John van den Akker.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

... The story of the abandonment of Track #1 between Norden (MP 194.7) and Eder (MP 196.7) is a sad one. According to retired SP valuation engineer Lynn Farrar, by far the leading expert on these matters, the decision to remove the original CPRR line through summit tunnels (#6 to #12) and snowsheds to the crossovers at Eder was made at the "urging" of a man named Moyers who had been recruited by Southern Pacific Transportation Company from the Illinois Central. Mr. Moyers apparently believed that the relative paucity of traffic over Donner summit compared to the very high cost of upkeep of the sheds and tunnels (especially during the winter months) on Track #1 in that area (which was the original CPRR line built in the 1860's) made this stretch too expensive to operate efficiently. It was he who called the shot to remove this section of track as well as the second track in Nevada between Parran and Rose Creek (roughly Lovelock to Winnemucca.) The thought was to use the removed material for second track purposes on the Sunset Route between Los Angeles to El Paso, something followed up by the UP after their takeover of the SP in September, 1996. (Mr. Farrar retired from the SP in 1985 but continued consulting for SPT until the UP take over and then helped the UP during the transition period setting up their financial breakdown of the acquisition price.)

All traffic (both East and West) now passes through Tunnel #41 (aka the “Big Hole”), the nearby almost two mile tunnel through Mt. Judah opened on September 19, 1925. Located just South of the original route, this tunnel shortened the original route by 1.29 miles (and lowered the summit crossing by 132.7 feet), but because it also reduces this section of the line to a single track it also can lead to unnecessary delays and more complicated traffic management. (See the USGS topographical on the Donner Summit images page which shows the location of Tunnel #41.)

Virtually all of the sheds still on the line are modern and made of concrete. Almost no wooden snowsheds — which were a constant fire hazard during the days of steam — are left anywhere on the Sierra grade. ...

—Bruce C. Cooper

12/07/2005 8:04 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Photos of the building in question (even as it appears today) would help with the identification.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

[e-mail photo's to]

12/11/2005 10:01 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

An interesting prospect, Mr. Percin, but whether the structure in question is the remains of an "original" Central Pacific Railroad depot – whether of the freight or passenger or combinaton freight & passenger variety (and they were different types of structures entirely) can only be determined through complicated means involving forensics analysis of the core structure.

If the exterior materials are absent whether through replacement or fire destruction, then the ultimate determination may not be possible. Smaller 19th century railroad structures were commonly moved about whole or in part between different sites. The structure at Mogul could be original to the area if not the specific present site, or an alien railroad structure from elsewhere on the CPRR/SPRR system. A qualified historic preservation consultant would have to be contracted to examine the remains, see if its framing matches known CPRR construction practice of any given period between the mid-1860s and circa 1900 and then seek remnant exterior details for historic paint layers that match documented CPRR depots and other structures paint spectrums from one decade to another.

Just researching documentary sources will not prove sufficient for age determination nor site origins. And the documentary sources are few and far between.

—Kevin Bunker

12/11/2005 10:06 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "John Snyder"
cc: "Rebecca Ossa"

In the event you proceed with acquisition and restoration, you'll want to be in touch with the staff at the Nevada Historic Preservation Office. I suggest you contact Rebecca Ossa, the staff architectural historian ... She is also a railroad afficianado/expert, so will be most helpful.

I may also be able to assist in any listing/rehabilitation/restoration efforts, and have a good working relationship with the folks at the Nevada HPO.

Best regards,
John Snyder, Principal
P.S. Preservation Services

12/12/2005 9:44 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Rebecca Ossa"
To: "Mark David Percin"

Our office may not have much information on this building as the area has not been surveyed. However, the Nevada Historical Society might have some info. On the other hand, the Nevada or California RR Museum may be better bets. See Nevada's website.

Would you happen to have a photograph of the building? As John mentioned, our office can offer preservation technical assistance/advice. We use the National Park Service's Preservation Briefs and Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

See the following [National Park Service] websites:
Preservation Briefs and Standards for Rehabilitation

Rebecca R. Ossa
Architectural Historian
State Historic Preservation Office
100 N. Stewart St.
Carson City, NV 89701

775-684-3441 Voice
775-684-3442 Fax

12/12/2005 9:54 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "littlechoochoo81"

In reviewing the station books for 1910 and every ten years thereafter I find the following:

1910 Mogul, Nevada was a class C station defined as "Freight in carload lots or in quantities not exceeding 5,000 lbs. (No piece to be larger than two men can handle.)"
1920 Class C - The platform was shown to be on the right hand side of the track going eastward.
1930, 1940 & 1950 Class C platform on right.
1960 Class G station defined as "No operating or freight handling facilities. Pickup and delivery by P.M T. Co. for account of S.P.Co. to the extent authorized in applicable tariffs only."
1973 (Last station book published by SPT Co.) Class D station defined as "No agent".

It appears that no station building per se ever existed at Mogul, Nevada but there may have been another type of building used by the railroad in some capacity at this location.

—Lynn Farrar

12/15/2005 1:22 PM  

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