LONE PINE (CA) BRANCH
OF THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD
This is an update to my original
news item of October 17, 1998, outlining
salvage operations to the historical Jawbone Branch
of the Southern
Pacific Railroad, north of Searles Station and the interchange
Salvage operators have continued
rail removal operations in Inyo County,
south of Olancha, California. This phase of the operation had
halted at the order of the Bureau of Land Management in August,
October 30, 1998, I noted that rails were removed on the old
crossing about five miles south of Olancha. On my prior trip
area, about two weeks prior, the grade was unmolested. At that
rails were removed, though ties were still in place.
On November 15, 1998, I stopped in
several locations to note progress on
the salvage operations. The tie yard at Pearsonville has grown
and I noted people and equipment working there.
Rails are still on the ground and undisturbed north of Pearsonville.
the old Louisiana Pacific lumber mill site, rails are undisturbed.
Little Lake, rails are as they always have been, except for flood
from two flashfloods occurring a couple of weeks apart in 1997.
site of Gill Siding (Coso Junction), rails are in place, except
for a 50
foot section of the mainline missing, which was the case when
stopped in 1992. At South Haiwee Road (road to the power plant
dam), rails were in place.
Today, November 16th, I checked removal
at Merritt Cut, three miles north
of South Haiwee Road. Merritt Cut is a mile long cut running
rough country east of US395 and west of the shore of Haiwee Reservoir
is about 15 to 25 feet deep. At the access road running from
operators have already removed rails and most ties. At the south
Merritt Cut, a short section of grade can be seen from US395
and if void
of rails. That section of grade then enters another short cut
there. However, on the south side of the second cut, the grade
holds rails and ties. Apparently salvage operators and equipment
hidden inside that small cut. I could not check on that situation
there is no access road from US395 and time restraints precluded
taking a short walk to verify.
As for the south end of the salvage
operations, which was six miles south
of Inyokern on October 17th, I have not verified if rails have
removed for the remainder of the distance to Searles Station.
As for removal of rails between Searles
Station and north to the first
US395 crossing, I theorize that the approximately two miles of
be left in place, as both Union Pacific and Trona Railway utilize
section of the old mainline for car storage.
Further updates will come as I continue
to record salvage operations
David A. Wright
Great Basin Research