The Ghosts of the T&T

Photographic Creations

Wreck of August 9, 1908

In late summer 1908, about a year after the completion of the Tonopah & Tidewater, the daily southbound "Alkalai Express" headed by the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad's #13 was running in the rain along the eastern side of the Amargosa River. An earlier cloudburst in the Resting Spring Range to the east and up to Eagle Mountain in the north, had sent a torrent of water down the slopes of the range and into the large wash below. Accumulating rapidly as the wash drained northwards before turning west down to the river, the waters tore through the T&T's roadbed.

The waters hit one culvert area in such volume and force that the understructure and raised berm were destroyed. Upon hitting the washout, the locomotive jumped across the gap and landed on its right side, plowing up the earth. The tender flipped over and jack-knifed out onto the desert. The following baggage coach ended up upright, but sideways down in the washout. The first passenger car left the rails on the upslope and tilted over on its left side. The second coach remained on the roadbed.

The following days saw a massive effort to clean up the mess. A small smelter and forge was built and scrap iron was utilized to make some parts or supports to effect the salvage of the equipment. Additional areas were cleared upslope of the engine possibly as a shoo-fly or wrecker access.

After the cleanup and repair to the roadbed and tracks, the T&T enlarged the drainage of the area, moving it some 60 feet north to a wooden buffered and much larger culvert. In addition they built a diverting berm to direct the water to a holding area just above the roadbed. The smaller wash was partly filled in and re-sloped to meet the large wash from the Resting Springs Range at the desired drainage point.

Years later this spot would become the terminus of the Gerstly Baby Gauge. The Ore Bins would be adjacent to the passenger coach and engine on the left and a loading trestle would run across the image from the hillside off-camera to the right.

See the image database under "Gerstley" for more pictures.

Newspaper Articles


Wreck of BG #13 at Gerstley


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