Read The Birth of California Narrow Gauge by Bruce MacGregor Online


This long awaited study, the magnum opus of a leading railroad historian, describes the conception, construction, and early operation of the first narrow gauge railroads in northern California It is lavishly illustrated by some 600 photographs and drawings, almost three quarters of which have never before been published The topic is approached through an unusual lens the history of the relatively small but extraordinarily inventive contracting and engineering firm of the brothers Thomas and Martin Carter The Carters were able to reduce the cost and complexity of light railroad construction to the point where local narrow gauge lines could initially compete with the state s notorious railroad monopolies Pioneering a mobile manufacturing operation that could supply locally funded short lines with rolling stock which traditionally came from East Coast manufacturers , the Carter Brothers began with a line to serve Salinas Valley wheat farmers, desperate to achieve an independent means for conveying their crops to the wharf in Monterey The narrow gauge railroad that resulted was an act of political and economic defiance, but ultimately a hopeless assault on the Octopus the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads Rallying around the example set in Monterey, a narrow gauge movement in California flourished in the mid 1870s, with the rapid launching of five companies the North Pacific Coast, the Santa Cruz Railroad, the Santa Cruz Felton, the Nevada County Narrow Gauge, and the South Pacific Coast all of which drew on the Carter Brothers for manufacturing and engineering Soon, Thomas and Martin Carter were not only selling railroad supplies and engineering to all six short lines, but had won management positions with the strongest, the South Pacific Coast Until personal and financial disaster overtook them in 1880, the Carters were at the forefront of not just a new business, but a new technology....

Title : The Birth of California Narrow Gauge
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0804735506
Format Type : Hardcover
Language : English
Publisher : Stanford University Press 1 edition August 11, 2003
Number of Pages : 720 pages
File Size : 875 KB
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Birth of California Narrow Gauge Reviews

  • Mary
    2019-02-25 00:46

    My husband loves Narrow Gauge, so this was right down his track! He was thrilled and excited and wondered how I found it! Amazon, of course, and Amazon prompted me to the buy.

  • GunnyFrank
    2019-03-07 05:59

    If you ever wondered how California prospered and grew from the 49er's until now you have to read this heavy volumned book. You will find obscure little railroads and the more recognized later standard gauged railroads that brought about transportation for not only the gold rush but the later on and still flurishing agricultural industry. Small railroads and their towns are identified and their locations given. Commodities that still make the "Golden State" one of the leading areas of production are identified and the railroads that serviced them are located and mapped. This book is heavy, thick, through and the information in it is the reason why. A must have for narrow gauge railroad lovers.

  • Amazon Customer
    2019-02-21 00:55


  • Nick
    2019-03-06 06:00

    Information overload! If you like history and reading, you'll love this book. It's very detailed. Some great old photos and maps.

  • Kathleen W Foreman
    2019-03-04 01:44

    My husband loves all the details of the history of the railroad in the West. He was very happy with this book. It was in perfect condition, and delivered quickly.

  • Stan
    2019-03-20 01:06

    A wonderful book on the history of logging railroads in California, their business structure and where they are today.

  • William H Maxwell III
    2019-03-07 01:56

    Best book on the market that describes the affects of economic changes affecting California within the railroad industry after the Civil War.

  • Randall Charles Hees
    2019-03-13 01:42

    This massive volume charts the development of early California railroads, both narrow and standard gauge, by following the lives of two Irish immigrant brothers, Thomas and Martin Carter. It is much more than just a railroad history as it explores how they gained the skills and knowledge to build railroad cars, bridges, and even the railroads themselves, and how they used innovative leveraged financing (which in retrospect seems surprisingly modern) to build their company. The cars that they built some 100 years ago can still be found, still in San Francisco, Alaska, and in numerous railroad museums across the western United States.