Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Station 19

Salt Tram history is rapidly disappearing, and we are striving to rediscover the efforts of our forefathers in order to give proper recognition to their hopes, dreams and abundant sweat from an era that is rapidly fading from our memories. We are actively seeking out information about the mining of Salt in Saline Valley between 1903 and the 1950's, including: documents, photos, articles, stories, artifacts, etc. If you can help us out, please email us at the address above - Thank-you! --Tim and Brian Waag, the Waag brothers (aka E. Clampus Waagus).
Caution (PLEASE READ): Climbing around on the tramway is dangerous because its really old and defnitely unsafe, so don't even think about it. Shoot, just getting to it requires some perilous hiking, and if you don't believe me, just take a look at the Zig Zag Access Trail (or what's left of it). Plus, climbing on it weakens it and endangers your life. Also, the Saline Valley Salt Tram is on the National Register of Historic Places and should be treated with the respect that it deserves. What little remains is of great historic value, and should not be disturbed in any way. Heck, its probably against the law to move parts of the tram around, and certainly a crime to take home some of the few bits of it that remain (though you'd have to ask your friendly local BLM agent for details). So please treat it with the respect it deserves, so that future generations can enjoy whats left, without you messing it up. Really. Please. You can see its listing on the National Register of Historic Places at these web links:
National Register of Historic Places 1          National Register of Historic Places 2


Internal Code: 203.

Below: From Station 19, you can look uphill and view the Summit Station (Station 20).

Location: Station 19 is the 1st station below the Summit Station to the East (see Section III Map above). Using National Geographic topo software, the distance from the Summit Station (Station 20) to Station 19 is .61 miles (3,220 feet), with a net descent of 1,041 feet - for a tramway, that is quite a span!

Below: Station 19 with Saline Valley in the background.

Basic Characteristics: Station 19 is classified as "F", meaning that it is a Curved Rail Station, the most boring and featureless of stations! Curved Rail simply means that when the carriers go off the track cable and onto the fixed track inside the station, the fixed track is curved to allow the buckets to traverse the ridge with the least amount of resistance by matching the angles of the incoming and outgoing track cables - got that? More later.
Below: one of the many buckets littered around Station 19.

Current Condition of Structure and Features: The structure in general is intact. There are 2 more-or-less complete buckets in the Station: 1 hanging from the structure,  and 1 on the ground. It would appear that there are 1 or more hangers tangled up in the structure as well. Station 19 looks very similar to Station 18, in that they are both similarly structured and surrounded by a pinon pine forest, including saplings surrounding the tramway itself; its likely that pinon pines were cut down at this location to make room for the tram station, and that the seedlings have taken root, and this is how much they've grown in about 100 years. There are 2 buckets inside the Station on the ground, an one bucket hanging up in the air in the station.

Dimensions: Station. 7 Sections Long. 77 feet long (14 feet wide???). 

Unusual Features: There is a massive coil of 3/4 inch traction cable lying on the ground just to the West of Station 19. It was intentionally coiled around two tree stumps, and we estimated each coil at 500 feet long, and at least 14 sets of coils (ie, 7 loops), making the total length of cable approximately 7,000 feet of track cable. Speculating, it was either there as spare cable (unlikley, as they would have stored it on cable spools at the Summit Station) or it was one of the track cables that frequently snapped (according to the Patterson Diary), and when the cable was replaced, they coiled it up out of the way, rather than take it down the mountain. 
Below: piles of traction cable spooled around the tree stumps at Station 19 (seen in background).


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