The Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad

The Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad was one of many railroads in the State of Nevada that was built early in the 20th century, first beginning operations in 1905.

Tonopah was something of a railroad hub in the state in the early 20th century, with numerous Nevada railroads connecting to it, either directly or indirectly, such as the aforementioned T&G, but also the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad and the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad.

This was all the result of a short-lived rush of gold and other precious metals in the area that would fizzle out, rendering much of the T&G's competition obsolete.

Fuel Train on the Tonopah & Goldfield. "Built during the gold rush years of 1904-05, Nevada’s Tonopah & Goldfield ran 100 miles southeast from an SP connection in the desert near the California border. An Air Force base near Goldfield brought traffic to the road during World War II — these two slide-valve 2-8-0s are hauling aviation fuel — but the boom didn’t last and the T&G was abandoned in 1947." (Trains Magazine)

Operating between Mina and Goldfield and connecting to other railroads at Tonopah, the T&G was the product of a consolidation of the Tonopah Railroad and the Goldfield Railroad, which were part of a larger Gold ore and Silver ore speculation.

Map and timetable of the T&G

The T&G would be the longest lasting of these lines originally built for the mines, and would attempt to adapt to the world beyond the Great Depression, by introducing motive power to replace steam for some operations. The railroad found a new use during World War II, as it carried traffic to and from the wartime Tonopah Army Air Field.

Goldfield Railroad Engine No. 1 and its crew September, 1905. (Goldfield Historical Society)

While it would last longer than some of its competitors, namely the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, as mining operations declined, and faced with completion from the automobile industry, the line would cease operations in 1947.


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