The Tonopah & Tidewater (T&T) Railroad
was built between 1905 and 1907 between Ludlow, CA and Beatty,
NV (Myrick, 1991). The abandoned right-of-way crosses the Tecopa
Lake Beds, China Ranch Beds, and the Valjean Site (see map).
Unfortunately, the T&T lost money from the very beginning
and, as a result, filed an application to cease operations in
March 1938; the last train used the tracks in June 1940. The
photo to the below shows a new gas-electric railcar on the T&T
Railroad in December 1928. Notice the condition of the roadbed
under the railcar.
The two photos below illustrate the condition of the T&T roadbed north of the Valjean Site in January 1998. The top photo is a view of the right-of-way looking south toward the Silurian Hills; notice that the roadbed is cut by numerous gullies 0.1-1.0 m deep and is covered by a veneer of eolian sand. Large metal culverts, some mounted on concrete foundations, were buried beneath the roadbed where the elevated right-of-way crossed active desert washes. All of these culverts have been washed away and the roadbed eroded to local base level as seen in the right photo. These photos illustrate the relative high and variable rates of erosion of man-made barriers to surface runoff in arid environments. Depending on the height of the barrier, average erosion rates range from 2 to 172 mm/yr along the T&T north of the Valjean Site during the last 58 years.