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
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
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.