Sunday, June 06, 2010

CPRR depot at Reno c. 1885

From: "Malcolm Easton"

I am researching the CPRR depot at Reno around 1885. The freight depot and passenger depot were separated by a triple track, according to maps. Is it plausible there was a walkway to cross the tracks, and if so what is the correct term for it? Thanks.

—M. Easton


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

Off the top of my head, I recall only two photographs of the 1879-1889 Reno depot (the 3-story, manstard-roofed version with tower). They appear in Beebe's Central Pacific-Southern Pacific p. 125 and Myrick's RRs of Nevada p. 14. Only the one in Beebe shows any of the yard, which appears to have at least four tracks. It does not show any walkway. Two Watkins photographs (which can be found in Signor's Donner Pass, pp. 32-33), looking either direction from the depot roof, taken in about 1876, show a three-track yard (and the V&T track on the south side). The photo facing east shows a dirt grade crossing east of the depot, while the one facing west shows a couple plank walkways across the street and V&T track. It is not clear that these extend across the CPRR tracks, though there are steps leading to the top of the freight house platform more-or-less opposite one of these walkways. The west-facing view also shows the car scale – before the gauntlet track was built in March 1877.


6/06/2010 3:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I'm pretty certain that there was no elevated walkway across the tracks at Reno. And as to ground level, I suspect people were either expected to cross at the road crossings (east or west of the depot), or else step over the tracks. I certainly see no board crossing in front of the depot in the one view I've seen from that period.

—Kyle Wyatt

6/07/2010 2:08 AM  
Anonymous Malcolm said...

Thanks for excellent information!

6/07/2010 11:41 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

Regarding Reno: a Central Pacific Station plat dating to about 1881 and last updated in January 1885 that I believe is held by the Nevada Historical Society details the depot area and shows no overpass, nor even duckboards crossing the track. The plat map largely mirrors the photograph of this area found in John Signor’s "SP's Salt Lake Division," p. 52, apparently taken from the roof of the CP’s large depot whose ridge line was equidistant between the CP Mainline tracks and those of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. (This is my best explanation as to how the camera achieved such a high elevation. The two lesser buildings shown to the left of the picture are not shown in the 1880s plat). The only early CP crosswalk I am aware of traversed the CP Yards in San Francisco and dates to about 1873.

—Larry Mullaly

6/07/2010 4:27 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I would have a look at the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for Reno. If there was any kind of walkway, it would almost certainly be depicted on the maps. Nevada's historic Sanborn Maps are available on microfilm at the State Library & Archives in Carson City. I would also suggest looking at the historic station plat for Reno, the original of which is at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.

—John Snyder, White Ensign Models

6/08/2010 10:14 AM  

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