A Western Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad


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The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad (T&T)
was a short line railroad in the states of California and Nevada which had hoped to build to service the gold and silver boom towns of Tonopah, Goldfield, and Rhyolite, Nevada and connect them with the southern transcontinental railroads in California. The T&T operated from Ludlow, California to Beatty Nevada, 169 miles. It never reached north to Tonopah or Goldfield since competitors roads arrived first. However the T&T cooperated with the Bulldog Goldfield Railroad (Tonopah and Goldfield) to reach Goldfield. It also connected at Crucero, California with the SP (Los Angeles and Salt Lake) and at Ludlow with the Santa Fe. The T&T hauled much borax from California until the late 1920's when the bulk of the traffic went to the Santa Fe as more easily recoverable and higher grade ore was discovered nearer to the Santa Fe at Boron, California. The BG connection north closed down in 1928 and as the borax traffic fell so did the T&T. By the 30s the T&T passenger services had diminished to a once a week motor train between Ludlow amd Death Valley Jct. and a bi-weekly mixed train between Ludlow and Beatty. The T&T closed in 1940 and the rails were torn up for the war effort in 1942.

T&T
Tonopah and Tidewater - 1931

T&T
Tonopah and Tidewater - Jun 25, 1931

Short history of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Company (T&T)

Introduction
The early twentieth century mining booms at Tonopah, Goldfield and Rhyolite not only produced major economic and social changes in the life of southern and central Nevada, but also brought about a major restructuring of Nevada's transportation system. As the new camps boomed and prospered, they soon outgrew the capacities of mule teams and freighters to meet their demands, and for the first time railroads were enticed into this region of Nevada. The new camps were situated in a rough north-south line which made a new railroad link through Nevada connecting to the major east-west railroads in northern Nevada (SP) and to the south (UP-Santa Fe) possible.

The Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad (T&G) (See separate page also)
1900-01 - Gold and Silver are found in Nevada at Tonopah Springs, and the town of Tonopah is formed and quickly grows to a city of 3000 people. Tonopah is connected to the rest off the world by stage lines only and needs a railroad.
1902 - Gold was discovered at Goldfield, 31 miles south of Tonopah, in 1902, Tonopah's year of inception.
1904 - On July 25, Tonopah celebrated the completion of the Tonopah narrow gauge railroad with speeches, sporting events, horse-races down Main Street, and several dances.
1904 - Gold production in Goldfield is 30% of Nevada's production and Goldfield is expanding rapidly.
1905 - The Tonopah Railroad became the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad in late 1905, and shortly thereafter began construction of a line from Tonopah south to Goldfield.
1905 - The T&G tracks were changed to standard Gauge.

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad
1905 - Mining increases in the Rhyolite and Bullfrog areas south of Goldfield encouraging more railroad planning.
1905 - Borax Smith announced the formation of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad planned to run from Las Vegas north to Tonopah.
1905 - Senator William Clark (of Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad) announced the formation of a rival company, the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad.
1905 - Construction on the T&Tand LV&T began in the fall of 1905.
cir 1906 - As a result of disagreements with competitor Clark (LV&T) Smith moves headquarters of T&T to Ludlow, California to connect with the Santa Fe and to tap the borax potential of Southern California.
1906 - "Borax" Smith's Tonopah and Tidewater railroad was inching out of Ludlow.
mid 1906 - The T&T had extended its rails seventy-five miles out from Ludlow, but the heat of the summer put a halt to its construction work.
1907 - T&T completes line to Gold Center, Nevada.
1907 - In April the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad completed its line from Goldfield to Beatty. It connected with the T&T at Gold Center.
1907 - The T&T now reached Beatty and Rhyolite by arrangrments with the BG, and into California to Cucero where it connected with the Los Angeles and Salt Lake (UP) and Ludlow where it made connections with the Santa Fe. The north-south rail line through Nevada was now complete.
1907 - On October 26, the LV&T reached north from Las Vegas to Goldfield, starting competition with the
BG-T&T.
cir 1910 - Rhyolite and Bullfrog area mines decrease output, while Tonopah is beginning to peak.
1918 - The T&T and BG continued on in partnership for a number of years.
1920s - Traffic continues to diminish as precious metal mimes are closed.
1927 - Borax traffic moves to Santa Fe at Boron, California.
1928 - The Bullfrog Goldfield is abandoned except for the T&T connection to Beatty.
early 1930s - T&T soldiers on, now moving special clay from the Ash Meadows pits in Nevada through a converted boraxx plant at Death Valley Jct.
1931 - The T&T passenger services had diminished to a once a week motor train between Ludlow amd Death Valley Jct. and a bi-weekly mixed train between Ludlow and Beatty.
1940 - On June 14, the Tonopah & Tidewater ceased operations.
1942-3 - T&T tracks torn up for war effort.

The Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad (BG) (See also the Tonopah and Goldfield))
cir 1906 - John Brock, of the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad, also spotted the potential of the Bullfrog District, and announced the formation of another railroad company, the Bullfrog Goldfield (BG). This one would be a nominal extension of the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad, and would extend those lines south from Goldfield into the Bullfrog District. It soon became obvious to all parties involved, that the first railroad to complete its line would have the greatest chance of success and a race ensued.
1906 - BG had finally started work on its line on May 8th, but initial progress had been slow.
1907 - In April the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad completed its line from Goldfield to Beatty. It connected with the T&T at Gold Center.
1907 - The T&T now reached Beatty and Rhyolite by arrangrments with the BG.
1907 - The LV&T reached north from Las Vegas to Goldfield, starting competition with the BG-T&T.
cir 1910 - Rhyolite and Bullfrog area mines decrease output, while Tonopah is beginning to peak.
1913 - LV&T assumes operations of the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad.
1914 - LV&T and BG made one track, BG from Beatty to Bonnie Clare then LV&T into Goldfield. The poorest trackage was torn up.
1918 - On October 31st, the last train pulled off the LV&T and the line shut down. The tracks were taken up and sold.
1918 - The T&T and BG continued on in partnership for a number of years.
1920s - Traffic continues to diminish as precious metal mimes are closed.
1928 - The Bullfrog Goldfield is abandoned except for the T&T connection to Beatty.

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- various editions
Wm. J. Metscher Collection
Historic Resource Study A History of Mining
John McCulloch - ttrr.org
The Tincal Trail by Travis & Cocks

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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, updated April 8, 2011, revised Nov. 4, 2011