Nye County, Nevada HISTORY

Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad

History Page

Goldfield grew from barren desert to a city of 10,000 people with no fewer than 3 railroad lines in less than 5 years.  Tonopah’s boom, 1900, preceded Goldfield’s by about 3 years.  But it took until July 23, 1904 for the arrival of the first train into Tonopah – via a link to the Carson & Colorado Railroad at a point south of Mina.  That was the Tonopah Railroad.  The actual date was Sept. 12, 1905; the first depot was just west of the intersection of today’s US Highway 95 and Aluminum St.  Imagine the thrill as Goldfield Railroad engine #1, a shiny new Baldwin steam locomotive, chugged into town from Tonopah!

Not surprisingly many of the same prime movers of that railroad soon formed a syndicate, separate from the Tonopah Railroad, to start plans for an extension to Goldfield, the two were combined into the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad in November, 1905. .


T&G was a major presence for many years in Goldfield – a depot, initially at the spot mentioned above and later in Columbia north of the Goldfield town limits; and a major rail facility north of Aluminum Street between North Main and Broadway, complete with an 8-stall roundhouse, turntable, and freight yard.  And for a short time, T&G was the only rail service out of Goldfield. The rich strike in Rhyolite in 1905 caused considerable enthusiasm to build a railroad to that camp, and with Goldfield booming only 60 miles north, a link between the two became a certainty.

In a contest, Senator William Clark’s Las Vegas & Tonopah (LV&T) railroad started building from Las Vegas to Beatty, and later to Goldfield.  John Brock’s Bullfrog Goldfield (BG) Railroad commenced a line from Goldfield to Beatty which paraleled the LV&T.  And meanwhile “Borax” Smith was building his Tonopah & Tidewater (T&T) line from Ludlow, CA to Beatty. BG won by a few months:  its first train traveled between Goldfield and Beatty in May, 1907.  LV&T’s first train arrived in Goldfield in October of that year.

At left
is a Tonopah & Tidewater Club Care
But as with most mining camps, not only did Rhyolite’s mines play out quickly, but so eventually did most of those at Tonopah and Goldfield.  And rail service to those towns was a related casualty.  LV&T ceased operations in October, 1918, but the then combined single route south of Goldfield (BG + LV&T) operated until January, 1928.  At that point in time, Goldfield’s rail service reverted to a single rail link – the T&G to Tonopah.  That lasted until October, 1947.  There hasn’t been a train on steel rail in Goldfield since then.

by Jim Price at: http://www.geocities.com/goldfieldhistoricnewsletter/railroadjimprice1.html

Tonopah and Tidewater images: http://www.ttrr.org/tt_tocs.html

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