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Most people who model in 1/24 scale and run on gauge #1 track in the United States, model 36" gauge prototypes and turn a blind eye to the fact that in 1/24 scale the gauge is actually 42". That’s perfectly fine with me, to each his own. I, however, decided early on that, since I’m modeling freelance and am basically creating my own prototype, that I would consider it to be the correct 42" gauge.

When asked, most train oriented folks will tell you that 42" gauge was not very popular in the United States, used primarily by interurban and public transportation systems and is or was common is such places Australia and other parts of the world. While this is basically true, there actually were some railroads, both common carrier and industrial that were originally built to 42" gauge in the United States. Most, at some point in there history, were converted to standard gauge or just disappeared. This was also the case for many 36" gauge lines as well.

What got me interested in tracking down information of 42" gauge lines was some research I was doing on geared locomotives. While perusing Ben Kline’s book on Heisler locomotives, I noticed there seemed to be a larger number than I might have expected that were built for 42" gauge and not all of these were built for export outside of the United States. At this point I got out Hilton’s narrow gauge book and started doing some serious reading. While it is true 36" gauge was indeed the most popular narrow gauge, there were more miles of 42" gauge constructed than there were 24" gauge lines. This surprised me from that standpoint that I always felt that with the popularity of 24" gauge among hobbyists, there would have been more miles of it built. The figures below are from a chart that is in Hilton’s book showing mileage’s built in the most common narrow gauges. Unfortunately the chart is not really explained in the book as to whether these are all time totals or totals at some point in time. Based on the total for 36" gauge trackage, I assume it was probably an all time total but if someone has other knowledge about this I would be interested in hearing it.

36" Gauge

17,608

95.35%

42" Gauge

487

2.63%

24" Gauge

216

1.17%

38" Gauge

83

.45%

30" Gauge

40

.22%

Other

29

.16%

As can be seen from the chart, nearly twice as many miles of 42" gauge trackage was built as there were 24" gauge.


On this page I am compiling a list of railroads both common carrier and industrial that were at some point in time 42" gauge. I found that some of the names sounded more like something that a garden railroader might name his own line. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. I will continue expanding the list as I find others. If anyone has any input on these, I would appreciate hearing from you.

All of the Industrial lines listed at this point in time owned either Shay, Climax or Heisler locomotives gauged at 42". As a side note at least 6 Heislers were sold gauged at 38", all went to a limestone quarry operation in Youngstown, Ohio, 3 were sold gauged at 45 1/2" to the Northern Redwood Lumber Co. in Korbel, CA, 2 were sold gauged at 48", one to the Hayes Run Fire Brick Co. in Oriviston, PA and one to the Vera Pocahontas Coal Company, Iager, WV, 1 was built in 30" gauge for Lukens Steel Co., Coatsville, PA and 1 was built in 24" gauge for the Laguna Corp. Campeche, Mexico.

If anyone has information that could be included here, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Industrial (Logging, Mining, Etc.)

The following companies used Heisler locomotives.

Webster - Griffith Co., Ebensburg, PA

Crawford Coal & Coke Co., Lekrone, PA

Foreman - Blades Lumber Co., Elizabeth City, NC

Southern Lumber & Timber Co., Hillsdale, MI

Mowbray & Robinson Co., Quicksand, KY

Bee Tree Lumber Co., Massies Mills,VA

McClean - Arkansas Lumber Co., Bierne, AR

Emory River Lumber Co., Gobey, TN

Mahon - Ellison Lumber Co., Lansing, TN]

Vanderbilt Coal & Coke Co., Connellsville, PA

United Electric Coal Co., Farmersburg, IN

Hill & Suender, Natalie & Frankville, PA

The following companies used Shay locomotives

W. C. Chamberlain, Brookhaven, MS

Tunis - Eccles & Co., Norfolk, VA

Bull's Eye Spring Narrow Gauge R. R. (3), Grayson, KY

D. E. Wing & Sons, Ashton, MI

L. J. Hand & Co., Jemison, AL

Bivings, Duke & Co., Clanton, AL

Francis Deloy, Cammal, PA

Sistrunk & Jordan, Sistrunk, AL

Clarkson & Christopher Lumber Co., Donaldson, AR

L. R. Rollins, Wadsworth, AL

J. L. Rumbarger Lumber Co., Dobbin, WV

D. W. Alderman & Co., Tris, SC

Slocumb & Nimocks, Hope Mills, NC

Ellisville Lumber Co., Ellisville, MS

Florida Developement Co., Avon Park, FL

Rust - Owen Lumber Co., Drummond, WI

R. C. Carter, (3) Pashuta, MS

Thomas Burger & Sons, Douglas, WV

A. W. Campbell, Coleman, KY

A. W. Campbell, (2) Wyoming, WV

W. G. Ward, Ironton, OH

Ault Wooden Ware

Adam J. Gattsdrall, Renova, PA

Greenleaf - Johnson Lumber Co., Vaugh, NC

Coal Creek Logging Co., Eufaula, WV

U. G. Parsley, Simpson, KY

L. Smith & Sons, Cooper, MS

Vincent Lumber Co., Denholm, PA

Portland Lumber Co., Rainier OR

Beach Lumber Co., Coffee, GA

Inman - Poulson Lumber Co., (3) Eufaula, WA

American Trading Co., New York, NY

J. F. Halstead, Petonia, WA

M. T. O'Connell Lumber Co., Winlock, WA

Mann Lumber Co., Henderson, MT

The Pendergast Co., Scofield, TN

W. M. Ritter Lumber Co., Devon, WA

R. Chaffey, Williams, WV

Gibson Lumber Co., Masontown, WV

W. H. Green, Coalton, WV

Laurel River Logging, Runion, NC

Kentucky Lumber Co., Peabody, TN

Whitmer - Steele Co., Clearfield, PA

T. C. McVey Lumber & Tie Co., Sanderson, WV

Big Sandy Lumber Co., Hull, AL

Southern Lumber Co., Hillsdale, MS

Yellow Poplar Lumber Co., (3) Crum, WV

Admirality Logging Co., Meadowdale, WA

Indepenent Coal & Coke, Kenilworth, UT

Panhandle Lumber Co., (2) Ruby, ID

In case you lost count that's 49 owners and 60 Shays that were delivered gauged at 42".

All of the information on Shays was derived from Rick Henderson's online publication

Additional information on Shays listed above may be found at this most excellent resource.

The following companies used Climax locomotives.

Pardee Lumber Company, Pardee Station, PA

Kulp Lumber Company, Milroy, PA

Laurelton Lumber Company, Laurel Park, PA

W. M. Ritter Lumber Company, Devon, WV

Yellow Poplar Lumber Company, Barts Lick, VA

C. L. Ritter Lumber Company, Dundon, WV

Reichley Brothers & Company, Milroy, PA

Harter Brothers Lumber Company, Harter, WV

Yeon & Pelton Company, Rainier, OR

Wm. P Zartman Lumber Company, Pillow, PA

T. S. Morgan, Guyan, WV

Hosterman Lumber Company, Hosterman, WV

Pauly & Eagleton, Colcord, WV

Kentucky River Hardwood, Quicksand, KY

Leatherwood Lumber Company, Leatherwood KY

Dungannon Lumber Company, Dungannoon, VA

H. Fugate Company, Pilot Mountain, TN

Morse Brothers Lumber Company, Helen, GA

Emory River Lumber Company, Gobey, TN

I. N. Travell & Company, Phillipsburg, PA

Crosby & Beckley Company, WV

McNitt Brothers & Company, Helca, PA

T. T. Adams Lumber Company, Sevier, NC

Freedom Coal Mining Company, PA

South Fork Lumber Company, Moorefield, WV

Board Lumber Company, Longbottom, WV

New River Lumber Company, Longbottom, WV

Sharprack Lumber Company, Verner, WV

Mountain State Lumber Company, WV

Adam J. Gotshall, Poe Mills, PA

Raleigh Lumber Company, Raleigh, WV

American Column & Lumber Company, Colcord, WV

L. E. McWhorter, Charleston, WV

J. Penn Conrad, Philadelphia, PA

Charles F. Avery, New York, NY

Hyde Brothers, Pittsburgh, PA

Kentucky Lumber Company, Williamsburg, KY

Fearon Lumber & Veneer Company, Ironton, OH

H. T. Lambert Company, Huntington, WV

Fisher - Elmer Company, Ironton, OH

Hodgson Machinery Company, Knoxville, TN

Bowman Lumber Company, St. Albans, WV

Note: There were over 500 Climax locomotives built for which no record of the gauge exists so it is possible that many more were built to 42" gauge.

The information on Climax locomotive was gleaned from "The Climax Locomotive" by Dennis Blake, Richard Dunn and Steve Hauff, published by Oso Publishing Company. This is a most excellent book and resource for anyone looking for information on Climax locomotives and I highly recommend it.

Common Carrier Lines

Iron Mountain & Helena, Helena, AR

Moline & Southeastern, Moline, IL

Aroostook River Railroad, ME

Mississippi Valley & Ship Island, MI

Natchez, Jackson & Columbus, MI

Covington, Columbus & Blackhills, NE

Herkime, Newport & Poland, NY

Rio Grande Railroad, TX

Big Sandy & Cumberland, VA

Dismal Swamp Railroad, VA

Suffolk & Carolina Railroad, VA

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Updated 2/17/03

Gary Buchanan