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Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad

The Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad was created November 1, 1905, as a merger of the Tonopah Railroad and the Goldfield Railroad. The line carried passengers and freight in the mining areas of southern Nevada between Mina and Goldfield. The railroad ceased operation in 1947.

For more information see David F. Myrick, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Volume 1: The Northern Roads (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1992).

The Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad (T&G) was a short line railroad in the state of Nevada built to service the gold and silver boom towns of Tonopah and Goldfield and connect them with the outside world, by connections with the transcontinental railroad, namely, the Southern Pacific (now UP) in northern Nevada. After the turn of the century gold and, silver, copper and lead were discovered at Tonopah and gold at Goldfield. At this time only stage roads were available to service these exploding communities, and the T&G filled this void. It operated a 109 mile line connecting Goldfield and Tonopah with an SP subsidiary line at Mina, Nevada. During the 30s and 40s the T&G was running a motor train between Goldfield, Tonopah and Mina, and in the 30s a passenger train which connected at Mina with a Pullman sleeper between Mina and Reno, Nevada. By the early 40s this connecting train was a mixed train.

Mining, which peaked at Tonopah in 1913, and earlier at Goldfield, tailed off about the time of WW2 and the T&G closed down in 1947 and the tracks were torn up.
Short history of the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad Company (T&G)
By Richard Parks


The early twentieth-century mining booms at Tonopah, Goldfield and Rhyolite not only produced major economic and social changes in the life of southern and central Nevada, but also brought about a major restructuring of Nevada's transportation system. As the new camps boomed and prospered, they soon outgrew the capacities of mule teams and freighters to meet their demands, and for the first time railroads were enticed into this region of Nevada. The new camps were situated in a rough north-south line which made a new railroad link through Nevada connecting to the major east-west railroads in northern Nevada (SP) and to the south (UP-Santa Fe) possible.

The Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad (T&G), early history
1900-01 - Gold and Silver are found in Nevada at Tonopah Springs, and the town of Tonopah is formed and quickly grows to a city of 3000 people. Tonopah is connected to the rest off the world by stage lines only and needs a railroad.
1902 - Gold was discovered at Goldfield, 31 miles south of Tonopah, in 1902, the year of Tonopah's inception.
1903 - In early 1903 construction began on the 60-mile long Tonopah Railroad Company narrow gauge railroad connecting Tonopah with the Carson and Colorado Branches of the Southern Pacific Railroad at the Sodaville Junction.
1904 - On July 25, Tonopah celebrated the completion of the Tonopah narrow gauge railroad with speeches, sporting events, horse-races down Main Street, and several dances.
1904 - Gold production in Goldfield is 30% of Nevada's production and Goldfield is expanding rapidly.
1905 - The Tonopah Railroad became the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad in late 1905, and shortly thereafter began construction of a line from Tonopah south to Goldfield.
1905 - The T&G tracks were changed to standard Gauge.
1905 - The T&G reaches its northern terminal, 100 miles from Goldfield and 69 miles from Tonopah where the town of Mina is formed and the T&G completed its connections with the Nevada & California Railway, a division of Southern Pacific Railroad and the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.
cir 1910 - Mining in Goldfield is beginning to peak and will fall off shortly thereafter.
1920s - Traffic continues to diminish as mines are closed.

The Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad (BG)
cir 1906 - John Brock, of the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad, also spotted the potential of the Bullfrog District, and announced the formation of another railroad company, the Bullfrog Goldfield (BG). This one would be a nominal extension of the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad, and would extend those lines south from Goldfield into the Bullfrog District.
1906 - BG had finally started work on its line on May 8th, but initial progress had been slow.
1907 - In April the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad completed its line from Goldfield to Beatty where it connected with the Tonopah and Tidewater which ran from Beatty into California to Cucero where it connected with the Los Angeles and Salt Lake (UP) and Ludlow where it made connections with the Santa Fe. The north-south rail line through Nevada was now complete. (see separate page for T&T)
1907 - On October 26, the ceremonial final spike was driven at Goldfield, marking the completion of the Las Vegas & Tonopah tine. Few citizens, however, were in a mood to celebrate. The LV&T was a competitor of the BG.
cir 1910 - Rhyolite and Bullfrog area mines decrease output, while Tonopah is beginning to peak.
1910s - There is not enough business for two competing railroads (BG and LV&T) between Goldfield and southern connections.
1913 - T&G leases Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad for 5 years.
1914 - LV&T and BG share trackage and maintenance to cut costs as volume recedes.
1918 - On October 31st, the last train pulled off the LV&T and the tracks were taken up and sold.
1918 - The T&T and BG continued on in partnership for a number of years.
1920s - Traffic continues to diminish as mines are closed.
1928 - The Bullfrog Goldfield is abandoned.
1930s - Borax traffic sustains T&T.
1940 - On June 14, the Tonopah & Tidewater ceased operations.
1942-3 - T&T tracks torn up for war effort.

The Tonopah and Goldfield, later history.
1931 - Tonopah and Goldfield operate one passenger train, twice weekly, Goldfield through Tonopah to Mina with connections to Pullman sleeper on the SP, and one motor train, five times weekly, on the same line.
1943 - T&G passenger connection north is now a a tri-weekly mixed train and the motor car is tri-weekly.
1947 - The Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad folded and its rails were torn up.

Timelines by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks,
July 7, 2009, revised Nov. 4, 2011
Recovered from Archive.Net - March 17, 2024

Tonopah, Nevada

Goldfield, Nevada

About the T&G RR

The Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad (T&G) was a short-line railroad in Nevada, USA, that played a significant role in the mining boom of the early 20th century. The railroad was chartered in 1903 and began operations in 1905, serving as a vital link between the mining towns of Tonopah and Goldfield and connecting these areas with the main transcontinental lines.

Tonopah and Goldfield - October 1943 - (click for schedule)

Establishment and Expansion

The T&G was established primarily to transport ore and other goods between the rich silver mines of Tonopah and Goldfield and the larger railroad networks. The line extended approximately 100 miles, providing essential transport services for the mining industry, which was booming at the time due to the discovery of silver and gold.

Operations and Influence

During its peak, the T&G Railroad was a bustling line, carrying not only ores but also passengers, mail, and freight, thus facilitating the economic growth of the region. The railroad was crucial for the development of the mining districts, allowing for the efficient movement of the vast mineral wealth to larger markets where it could be processed and sold.

Decline and Abandonment

Like many railroads serving mining regions, the T&G's fortunes were closely tied to the mining industry. As the mines began to deplete and the price of silver and gold fluctuated, the railroad's revenues declined. The Great Depression further impacted the T&G, leading to a decrease in demand for transportation services. By the mid-20th century, the railroad was struggling to remain operational.

In 1940, the railroad ceased operations, and its tracks were eventually dismantled. Today, the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad is remembered as a key component of Nevada's mining heritage, with remnants of its existence still visible in the form of old track beds and station ruins, serving as a testament to the era of railroads and their impact on the development of the American West.

Carson & Colorado Railroad

Beatty, NV.

Ludlow, CA.

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