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Steam & Excursion > Even After This Line Was Re-Gauged, This Was A Spring Ritual!


Date: 01/07/19 04:02
Even After This Line Was Re-Gauged, This Was A Spring Ritual!
Author: LoggerHogger

Originally built by the Bliss family as the 3' gauge  Lake Tahoe  Railway & Transportation Company this line ran tourists and some logs and freight between Tahoe City on the shores of Lake Tahoe and the Southern Pacific connection at Truckee, California.  Given it's location in the high Sierra, winters brought with them plenty of snows that lasted for months.  For this reason, the line would typically shut down for a couple months each year in the winter and the crews on the narrow gauge wood burners would have to use plows in the spring to break the line back open.

In 1925 the SP leased the line and set about plans to standard gauge it.  By 1927 the narrow gauge was no more and what was left was the standard gauge Tahoe Branch of the SP.  Even with the standard gauging of the line, the SP had to deal with the same heavy winter snows that had plagued the Bliss family before them.  For this reason the SP also made the decision to leave the line closed in the heaviest snow time of winter.  However, unlike the Bliss family, the SP had available to them a fleet or steam powered rotary plows to assist in the opening of the line in the spring.

In these photos we see one of SP's rotaries battling the drifts on the branch alongside the Truckee River on their way to the end of the line at Tahoe City in the spring of 1937.  Power for the train was supplied by SP 2-8-0  #2769, who poses for her portrait in the first photo in a snow cut left by the big rotary.

Unfortunately, even SP finally gave up on the Tahoe Branch and today much of the line that had been started as narrow gauge by the Bliss family is now simply a bike path.  Needless to say few of  those that use that path today would know what a spectacular steam show was put on there every spring in the years past.

Martin



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/19 04:20 by LoggerHogger.






Date: 01/07/19 08:40
Re: Even After This Line Was Re-Gauged, This Was A Spring Ritual!
Author: E25

I get the feeling that the fellow looking at the camera in the second photo is in for a "refreshing" face wash in about five seconds.  And he is dressed to climb Mt. Everest in a snowstorm.  LOL!

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ



Date: 01/07/19 11:03
Re: Even After This Line Was Re-Gauged, This Was A Spring Ritual!
Author: cewherry

SP ceased operations over the branch after the outbreak of WWII and abandoned the line on November 10, 1943. The December 1943 issue
of Trains magazine carried a short mention that abandonment 'proposals' before the ICC had been commenced.

Charlie



Date: 01/07/19 13:22
Re: Even After This Line Was Re-Gauged, This Was A Spring Ritual!
Author: johnsweetser

> Unfortunately, even SP finally gave up on the Tahoe Branch and today much of the line that had been started as narrow gauge by the Bliss family is now simply a bike path.  

I've read that Caliornia Highway 267 is built on the right of way of the former Tahoe Branch.



Date: 01/07/19 15:28
Re: Tahoe br
Author: timz

There was a highway along the river before 1942;
probably no reason to move it to the RR r/w?



Date: 01/07/19 17:00
Re: Even After This Line Was Re-Gauged, This Was A Spring Ritual!
Author: Betsy

johnsweetser Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I've read that Caliornia Highway 267 is built on
> the right of way of the former Tahoe Branch.

Highway 267 heads southeast out of Truckee, arriving at the lake in the town of Kings Beach.  The former Lake Tahoe Railway followed the path of the Truckee River, along which also runs Highway 89, past the entrance to Squaw Valley and into Tahoe City. 

Elizabeth



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