The Bodie & Benton Railway

The Bodie & Belton Railway ran between the now ghost towns of Mono Mills and Bodie, CA. Constructed in 1881, its primary traffic was gold and lumber, and was planned (and graded) to connect to Belton, CA, hence the name, although this never came to fruition. (Right of way

Image: David Mayer, Wikipedia Commons. One of numerous historical markers preserving the memory of the railroad outside of Bodie.

Like many railroads that hauled timber, it constructed numerous temporary spurs to tap into the timbers of the northern California forests in the Mono Mills area.

Old Photograph of Bodie train carrying logs. (Scripophily)

The railroad was completely isolated from the rest of the rail network, but was planned to connect to the Carson & Colorado Railroad at Benton, east of Mono Mills on present day CA-120

According to Emil Billeb, "Construction on this extension was begun in 1882 and approximately nine miles were graded before construction ceased abruptly. No tracks were ever laid upon this grade. While the railway never gave an official justification for abandoning the project, the prevailing theory held by locals (at least as late as 1908) was that the owners of the lumber company at Mono Mills feared that access to the wider rail network would cause competition with other lumber operations in the Tahoe area in which they had a financial stake. Although the extension was never completed, the railway kept the name."

While the venture was initially profitable, a decline in metal value during the 1910's, and the World War would case the rails to be more valuable than the line itself, and thus operations would cease in 1917, when the rails and all rolling stock were torn up and sold. Rolling stock was reported to move to both Hawaii and the Philippines, possibly along the Manila Railway

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