Track 12 - Selected Short Lines

The major Class 1 railroads comprised only a part of the rail transportation picture in North America.  There were dozens if not hundreds of narrow gauge and short line railroads scattered throughout the continent.  Some, such as the Nevada Northern, were intentionally designed and built to service a single community or industry.  Others, such as the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity, and Sabine, began life with great aspirations only to run into the roadblock of harsh reality before their builders' dreams could be realized.  Regardless, in the years before the hegemony of the automobile and the taxpayer-subsidized highway became absolute, they were an important piece of the transportation picture for the communities they served.

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The Trains:

Camas Prairie Railroad Passenger Service

This short line was created as a joint venture between Union Pacific and Northern Pacific to tap the potential of the rich timberlands in eastern Washington state and western Idaho. It operated this passenger service into the mid-1950s.
Camas Prairie Railroad Passenger Service - July, 1954

The Chili Line

General William Palmer originally intended for his Denver & Rio Grande to enter Mexico City—but it never reached any farther south than this branch line to Santa Fe.
Chili Line - June, 1941

The "Chippy"

This unofficially named motor train served the residents living along Missouri Pacific's freight route on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River south of St. Louis into early 1950.
The "Chippy": - December, 1949

Georgia Railroad Mixed Trains 1 and 2

This mixed train service between Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia lasted into the 1980s.
Georgia Railroad Mixed Trains 1 and 2 - April, 1971

Long Island Rail Road Service

The LIRR operated an extensive commuter network on its namesake territory and was—and is—an essential part of the transportation picture in and around the New York City metropolitan area.
The Cannonball/Long Island Rail Road service - April, 1971

Santa Fe Mixed Local Trains 71 and 72

An otherwise nondescript mixed local between Wichita and Englewood, Kansas in the twilight years of branch line passenger service...which sometimes operated with a highly unofficial "full service" lounge....
Santa Fe Mixed Local Trains 71 and 72 - June, 1968

The Silverton

This line from Durango to Silverton was built to tap the great mining riches of the area--but its spectacular scenery would keep its passenger service alive long after the Denver & Rio Grande Western's other narrow-gauge lines had been reduced to freight-only service and then abandoned.  It prospers even today under new management.
The Silverton - June 1941
The Silverton - August, 1950

The Steptoe Valley Flyer

The Nevada Northern, built to connect the copper mines of Ely, Nevada to the outside world, maintained this passenger service through late 1941.
Steptoe Valley Flyer - June, 1941

Virginia & Truckee Railway Passenger Service

The legendary line born of the gold and silver rush in the Comstock Lode would operate for eighty years in Western Nevada.
V. & T. Ry. Passenger Service - January, 1927

W.B.T. & S. Trains 14, 15, 17, and 18

The Waco, Beaumont, Trinity, and Sabine Railway began life as a logging railroad with high hopes of becoming an East Texas bridge route--and ended an ignominious footnote in the record books with the longest duration in bankruptcy in the history of Texas railroading.
W.B.T. & S. Trains 14, 15, 17, & 18 - September, 1938


All comments, original material and page design copyright 2006-2015 by Eric H. Bowen. Updated 2015-07-27.