Valley Railroad, California
production from the Lila C. Borax Mine began to decline in 1914, plans
were developed to harvest new colemanite deposits that overlooked Furnace
Creek Wash. These sites were originally found by Coleman back in 1886.
John Ryan surveyed a new rail line out of Death Valley Junction and construction was set to begin around Oct. 1913, but Borax Smith's company was in the middle of financial problems and the California Railroad Commission refused to allow Smith to issue bonds to fund the new railroad.
A new company, The Death Valley Railroad Company was formed in Jan 1914 to solve the funding issue.
Construction of the new railroad began in Feb. 1913 with over 350 laborers and 150 mules.
Because of the amount of work involved including the need for trestles and the high heat of Death Valley, the 17 mile railroad was not completed until Dec. of 1914.
One train a day ran from Death Valley Junction to Ryan, bringing water in the morning and ore back in the afternoon.
When the mining finally ceased at Ryan, the miners dormitories were converted into the Death Valley View Hotel. From 1927 till around 1930 the locomotives were used to haul tourists from Death Valley Junction to the Death Valley View Hotel at Ryan.
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