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Foothill Rails--Misc.--Towle Bros
Towle Brothers Lumber Co

Equipment Roster
Number Type Builder Bldr.# Built History & Notes Dispositon
#1 0-4-0ST Porter #268 1877 to Read Lmbr;
to Lake Valley Lmbr
#2 0-4-0ST & T Porter #291 1878 to Read Lumber #23;
to Lake Valley Lmbr
#3 0-4-0ST Porter #453 1881 ex Lyon Mill & Mining #2 Fred to Booth & Co;
to Read Lmbr;
to Lake Valley Lmbr
#4 0-4-0ST Porter #633 1884 to Read Lmbr;
to Lake Valley Lmbr
#5 0-4-2T & T Porter #1238 1891 to Read Lmbr;
to Lake Valley Lmbr, 11-1920
#25 4-4-0 Rhode Island #2173 1889 ex Virginia & Truckee #25:1,
nee Union Pacific #655
to American Fruit Express,
scrapped 1937
caboose display Dutch Flat,CA
flat car


1. 2. 3.
1. 1902 topo map showing the first Towle lines.
2. Aerial view of the old site of Towle.
3. Once a bustling lumber town, Towle is nothing but a memory today. This is where the Towle Bros railroad began.
4. 5. 6.
4. The only Towle Bros caboose, built from one of their flat cars, is on display in Dutch Flat,CA.
5. Drawing of the Bear Valley Mill. (John Barnhill Collection)
6. Drawing of the Kearsarge Mill. (John Barnhill Collection)

Located on Drum Forebay Road, these are possibly the ruins of the original Kearsarge Mill and hoisting works.

Remnants Along The Line

1. 2. 3. 4.
1.-4. This first 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. Also this section was revitalized by PG & E during the construction of the Drum forebay and penstock.
See my PG & E "Drum RR" page for more info.
5. 6. 7. 8.
Once past the first penstock, the right of way becomes a typical forest dirt road winding its way into the Bear River canyon.
A short distance past the second penstock is a very nice cut, image 6. Shortly after image 7, the right of way and road separate
with the line ending up below the road and going through a small cut just before crossing over the road, image 8, view looks back toward south.
9. 10. 11. 12.
Now that the roadbed and road have separated, one starts to see more railroad related stuff such as ties, image 9.
Just around the next bend is a nice little trestle site, image 10 which leads to another great cut, image 11.
Once past this cut, the way becomes very hard to travel due to immense brush growth and harsh terrain. Photos were
basically impossible. The tie count sure increases though. Eventually the right of way breaks out into an overgrown
clearcut. Across the plot can be seen what appears to be the right of way and a modern logging landing. However, the
trail is easily lost here. Once the right of way is picked up again, the remains of a trestle can be found, image 12.
13. 14.
Image 13 is another shot of the trestle remains. From here on the brush becomes so impossible the right of way is not walkable.
However, if you keep goin, the trail soon breaks out onto an old logging road with a view of the next cut, image 14. Brush once again
chokes off any travel on the other side of the cut just before the right of way drops off the edge of a side canyon. From this point,
it is unsure which grade through the forest on the opposite side is the roadbed so no further photos were taken.

North of the Bear River

1. 2. 3.
1. Just opposite from the Bear river crossing, the right of way crosses Ziebright Mine Road heading north.
2.-3. A couple shots along the right of way near Skillman Flat looking back towards the south. (Rachael Jenson images)

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