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Gerlach was developed as a watering station for the Western Pacific Railroad (WPRR).

Western Pacific - Feather River Route


Union Pacific Crossing Hotline: 1-800-848-8715

  • SR447 = 833-409F
  • dunes = 833-410A (rumored to have been closed)
  • Frog = 833-411A
  • Trego = 833-412N


Sidings listed West to East.

  1. Calneva, California
  2. Flanigan
    1. Kepler - Defunct siding listed in the WPRR 1910 Timetable showing "Keppler" and as Kepler in the right|thumb|c. 1914 map of the W.P.R.R.
  3. Sand Pass
    1. Bryant - not show in the WPRR 1910 Timetable, nor in the right|thumb|c. 1914 map of the W.P.R.R.
    2. Fresco - Defunct siding listed in the WPRR 1910 Timetable
  4. Sano - 1954 Head on collision at Sano kills 1
  5. Reynard - Location of a proposed but never built line to the Surprise Valley
  6. Bronte
  7. Phil
  8. Gerlach
  9. Ascalon
  10. Trego
  11. Cholona
  12. Ronda
  13. Sulphur
  14. Floka - Fatal Train accident at Floka," 1970
  15. Antelope - Location of boiler explosion that claimed three lives.
  16. Jungo
  17. Venado - listed in older maps
  18. Gaskell
  19. Pronto
  20. Raglan
  21. Krum
  22. Marcus
  23. Winnemucca

(Source: http://www.notyourdomain.com/oldwest/places/wprr.htm)

c. 1914 map of the W.P.R.R. showing sidings


Train Safety Warning at Black Rock Desert


Virginia & Tonopah #13

The Virgina & Tonopah #13 was used between Gerlach and Empire from 1924 until 1931

... The locomotive was placed in storage and retired in 1918 because of declining business on the V&T. It was sold in 1924 to the Pacific Portland Cement Company of Gerlach, Nevada where it saw service as PPC Co. switcher No. 501 until 1931. In 1938 the Empire was donated to the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. There it remained until 1966 when it underwent a cosmetic restoration at Bethlehem Steel Corporation's San Francisco shipbuilding yards. ...

5 2-6-0 18x24 48" 124000 Baldwin 1908 Purchased new. Sold to Pacific Portland Cement Company as No. 2 in 1920; Operated at Pacific Portland Cement (PPC) plant, San Juan Bautista, 1927-1929, as No. 5; Operated at PPC plant Gerlach, Nevada as No. 5.

Gerlach Train Station

GE 70 Ton #101 and #501

The US Gypsum plant at Empire used two GE 70 Ton switchers (Holmes).

California Zephyr

The California Zephyr passed through Gerlach.


  • One derailment resulted in Folger's Coffee and Pendelton Shirts being distributed far and wide amongst the locals.[1]
  • In 1968, fourteen cars derailed in the Gerlach freight yard.[2]

Original Resources


  • Nevada Heritage -- May 1907: Construction began on the Western Pacific Railroad, third and last transcontinental rail line to cross Nevada. The Western Pacific Railroad Company, incorporated in 1903, planned to link Salt Lake City and Oakland, California, along the route of the National Wagon Road of 1856. The railroad was completed in 1909; crossed Sierra Nevada Mountains at Beckwourth Pass.
  • www.wplives.com/operations/divisions Western Pacific divisions
  • http://www.scripophily.net/weparaco19.html
  • Western Pacific Railroad Historical Society
  • Roy D. Graves Pictorial Collection, Volume 94: Western Pacific Railroad -- Stations and Scenes -- Sacramento Northern
  • http://www.trainweb.org/chris/Trip_PacificLimited.html -- (w/ pictures, July 1992) ... Following a great show by the 3985 we continued west snaking our way to Antelope. We turned northwest across the barren desert to Floka were we made a curve by Pulpit Rock to Sulphur. We passed there siding at Ronda before we got stopped by a red signal just east of Cholona with the Pahsupp Mountains to the south. A call went out to the dispatcher who was having trouble clearing the signal. Telling the crew it might be ten minutes or more, they asked if they could do a photo runby while they waited. ... A positive answer was given, we all detrained, the 3985 backed before charging by us staying in the red block. As soon as we were all back on the train, the signal turned green and off we went west. We passed the Trejo Hot Spring prior to Trejo then ran along the edge of the Black Rock Desert before we arrived at our servicing stop at Gerlach. We Granite Point to the north we left Gerlach heading across the valley before we turned to the northwest to Phil where we rounded the north end of the Fox Range. Here we entered the Smoke Creek Desert as we ran southwest to Reynard before turning south to Sano. From here we climbed the grade to Sand Pass. we pulled down to the curve to turn west where we stopped for our third runby of the day. It was well over the hundred degree mark as we detrained and all climbed up a steep slope to stand for the runby which just also happened to be the location of one of the largest rattlesnake dens in the world. There were holes everywhere but with the heat we hoped that we would not meet any of those creatures. ... The train backed far around the curve and with the Smoke Creek Desert in the background came charging and smoking around the curve below. It was one of the most impressive locations for a runby ever and as we all walked back down to the train everyone was talking about how great that runby was. ...
  1. "Croofoot Lumber Company," Roots of Motive Power, Volume 29, Number 2, August 2009. (archive.org).
  2. "Train Derailed at Gerlach," Nevada State Journal, November 27, 1968.