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728The Carters and the NCNG

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  • Andrew Brandon
    Jan 26, 2010
      The following are two newspaper reports which shed light on the Carter
      Bros. involvement on the NCNG.
      All are from:

      The Grass Valley Daily Union, 1875.

      July 10th Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad. Gus Markham, writes
      from Grass Valley to the Monterey Herald about our railroad, and as he
      is of the engineer corps, we give an extract from his letter, dated
      June 27th:

      As soon as it is demonstrated that a railroad could be built the
      contract for locating, engineering, building and equipping the entire
      road, irrespective of rights of way, was let by the Company for
      $150,000 to Mr. M.F. Beaty, backed by Hon. Thos. Finley, the well
      known Nevada county banker, and popular candidate before the
      Democratic Convention for Governor of California, to whom the credit
      of building the road is principally due. In January last Mr. Beatty
      appointed our mutual friend and well known engineer, Mr. J.F. Kidder,
      to the post of Chief Engineer of Construction, with orders to go ahead
      with the work, and to build the road properly through not one cent
      should be made. According on the first of February Mr. Kidder commence
      locating and twenty days thereafter Messrs. Turton & Knox, the well
      known contractors, commenced the work of grading with a force of 200
      Chinese, which force was soon raised to 500, the present number of
      men, white and Chinese, employed on the road.

      Since that time over 260,000 yards of material has been removed, sixty
      thousand of which has been rock. The road is twenty-two and a half
      miles long; sixteen and a half from Colfax to Grass Valley and six
      from Grass Valley to Nevada City. The maximum grade, in direction of
      freight movement, between Colfax and Grass Valley is 106 feet to the
      mile, between Grass Valley and Nevada 121 feet, and the biggest grade
      in the counter direction is 121 to the mile, while the minimum radius
      on the curvature is 19 degrees, the longest tangent is less than half
      a mile. There are two tunnels, one between Colfax and Grass Valley 283
      feet and one between Grass Valley and Nevada 430 feet long; two
      bridges, one over Bear River, consisting one Howe truss, 150 span, 97
      feet above the water, with 600 feet of high trestle, and one over
      Green Horn River, also a Howe Truss, 150 feet span, 90 feet above the
      water, and 400 feet of high trestle, besides which there is 1200 feet
      of addition trestle, averaging 55 feet high. The fills range as high
      as 65 feet and the through cuts 55 foot deep. I give you these figures
      to show you how great the undertaking and how heavy the work. The
      grading per mile of this road will reach over four times the cost of
      the M. &. S. V. R. R. per mile. The engines, passenger cars and iron
      has been purchased in the East, and will arrive overland about the
      middle of August; the freight cars will be built here by Mr. Tom.
      Carter, the contractor who built the cars of your road. The iron is 35
      pounds to the yard, with the exception of about five miles , which is

      The bridge and one tunnel are about one-third completed, and Mr.
      Kidder gives me permission to state that the road between Colfax and
      Grass Valley will be finished by the 1st of October, one month ahead
      of contract time, and to Nevada by the last of November, Thus, you
      see, has been inaugurated and pushed forward till completion has been
      nearly reached; another great work that reflects much credit to all
      parties concerned in its management. This road, passing as it does
      through a new and undeveloped region, throws open a vast amount of
      land heretofore useless on account of its inaccessibility, and already
      where of yore was head but the tinkling of turbulent waters or the
      sighing of the winds through the pine trees, can now be heard the busy
      noise of steam saw mills, converting into man's use the mammoth pines
      and cedars by which they are surrounded. Altogether, this whole
      concern, with its Board of Directions, with J.C. Coleman for its
      President; its Chief Engineers, J. H. Bates for the Company and J. F.
      Kidder for the contractor, has been expeditiously forwarded and most
      ably conducted, and when completed will be an ornament to the county
      in point of beauty and local attractions, a grand specimen of railroad
      engineering and a source of considerable profit to those holding its

      Oct 10th.

      Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad.- We stated a day or two ago that
      a passenger car for the Narrow Gauge Railroad had arrived at Colfax.
      The bodies of one passenger car and of a smoking and baggage car
      combined, have arrived, but the narrow gauge trucks, on which they are
      to run, have not yet been received. The cars came out on the standard
      gauge trucks, and will be lifted onto their own running gear when the
      latter arrives. One more passenger car and one more combined smoking
      and baggage car are yet to arrive. The passenger car now at Colfax is
      named "Colfax." These cars are all built by F. E. Canda & Co.,
      Chicago. The cars have the Miller patent safety platforms and the
      Westinghouse patent air brakes.

      Turton and Knox have finished their contract for grading, and are now
      engaged exclusively in the work of track laying and in "surfacing up"
      the track as far as it has been laid. They have sent 100 of their
      hands, heretofore employed in grading, over to the Colfax end of the
      line, and these will be employed at "surfacing up" the track.

      M. Cloonan has finished his contract, for grading the road bed, one
      mile each way from Grass Valley, and he is now engaged in grading for
      the turn-table and engine house at the Grass Valley depot. Mr. Carter
      will be in Grass Valley next week, for the purpose of putting up the
      turn-table. Peter Brunstetter has the contract for building the engine
      house, the passenger and freight depot, at this place, and he will
      finish the work in the shortest possible time. At the Nevada city end
      of the line work is progressing favorably. Canfield and Talbot have
      finished their grading contract: W. J. Organ's grading contract is
      completed, excepting the trestle work at Gold Flat, and all the
      timbers are there and ready for that part of the work; T. L. Hughes
      will complete his part of the grading work in about three weeks; the
      Town Talk tunnel is making fine progress.

      At Greenhorn creek work is going on rapidly, in the way of bridge
      building. The two piers were finished last evening, and all the men
      who can find room to work on the bridge are employed. It is calculated
      that the Greenhorn bridge will be finished in two weeks time.

      Track laying from Colfax this way is going ahead steadily, and last
      night the track layers reached Bear rive(sic), a distance of about
      three miles. It is safe to predict that the track will be laid to
      Grass Valley depot by the 15th of next month, and soon after that time
      will be ready for business.

      The platform for the transfer of freight and passengers and the
      necessary sheds at Colfax station are complete.

      I have more written down at home, this is what I have with me at the
      moment. Among the articles I have noted state that the 15 flatcars
      have been completed and the boxcars were up next, as well as a large
      water tank in Colfax. Through the timing of these articles, it is
      important to note that the flat cars were constructed while there was
      no trackage physically in Colfax. At the time these are finished, the
      track laying gangs are only getting organized. I'll share this and
      more later this evening.


      -=Andrew Brandon=-