3-14-99 UPDATE ON SALVAGE OPERATIONS OF THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC LONE PINE (CA) BRANCH
Investigated salvage progress along the Lone Pine Branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad, the "Jawbone." I kept my exploration to the portion of the line between Pearsonville and the northern end of the line, the old Pittsburgh-Liberty glass plant, which has been mothballed for several decades.
Salvage of the 72 mile line is now for the most part complete. In all areas the grade is clean and bare, compacted by movements of heavy equipment. On my last visit in January, tracks and ties were still in place for much of the distance between Little Lake and Haiwee Reservoir. That is not the case now. There were a couple of miles of embedded ties along Haiwee Reservoir on my last visit north of the end of the tracks, but these too, were gone.
I did find several stacks of rails, especially north of Rose Valley. I also found one truck with a hydraulic picking arm picking up rail just south of Gill Station (Coso Junction).
Both tie yards, at Pearsonville and Haiwee Reservoir, are quite heavy with ties, both bundled and bound and loose stacks. I found equipment working at both yards.
I did recently drive by the southern end of the abandoned section of the line (recall that about 50 miles of the line is still active, between Mojave and Searles Station where the Trona Railway ties in) near Searles and found the grade completely salvaged.
I heard that a recent newspaper article noted that salvage crews will begin removing culverts, bridges and trestles. I attempted to find this newspaper article and was unsuccessful. The Bureau of Land Management (who is keeping an eye on the project since the route of the railroad crosses much of land controlled by them) has told me that bridges were to be left intact. I did not find any evidence of removal at this time.
David A. Wright