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PG & E "Drum RR"
PG & E "Drum RR"

"Stick Map"

Aerial View

Between 1912 and 1913, Pacific Gas & Electric completed their Spaulding-Drum project. This was a series of resevoirs, canals, penstocks, powerhouses, and powerlines to provide both water
and electricity to Northern California. A small section of this project was the Drum Forebay, Drum Penstock, and Drum Powerhouse.

To bring in supplies and materials for this section, PG & E utilized some new construction railroad and part of a re-vitalized Towle Bros Railroad starting at the old Southern Pacific
station of Orel, now named Forebay on modern maps, to the site of the penstock just below the forebay. I call this line the "Drum RR" for lack of a better term.

Section 1: I-80 to Orel

The following series of photos starts at the eastbound lanes of I-80, approximately across from the old Towle Brothers Kearsarge Mill ruins, and heads south to Orel on the Southern Pacific.
This was all new construction by PG & E.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

At image #6 the line nears Kearsarge Mill Road. Image #7 looks back from the intersection of Kearsarge Mill Rd,
Silvertip Spur Rd, and the rail line. The roadbed continues along Silvertip Spur Rd towards Orel in image #8 and beyond.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15.
16. 17.

The arrows in image #17 show the approximate placement of the PG & E line looking from the location of Orel.

Section 2: I-80 to Penstock (old Towle Bros RR)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

This section runs from within eyesight of I-80 just above Drum Forebay and Culberson Roads up to the first penstock. Image #4 looks back from the penstock. Did PG & E extend their
railroad out to the end of the ridge above the powerhouse as suggested by the arrows in image #5? Inspection does find a grade through there but I haven't been able to explore this possibility.
See also my Towle Brothers RR page.

Section 3: The Penstock Tramway

At the end of the ridge above the powerhouse, the penstock drops straight down into the canyon. To facilitate construction,
a tramway was used to lower pipe sections and equipment.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Image #1 is the foundation for the tramway cable hoist building. Image #2 looks from the top down the tramway. Images #3 and 4
are taken from partway down the tram line. Image #5 looks back across the ridge from the hoist building to the forebay site.

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