The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad was built from the Central Pacific Railroad depot in Colfax, C.A. to Grass Valley and Nevada City. Traveling the roads by horseback or stagecoach could take the better part of a day and importing the heavy timber and mining equipment for the local mines was hard enough when the weather was good but the dirt roads were near impassable in the winter. Construction was begun on February 11, 1875 and the last spike was driven on May 20, 1876.
For the next 66 years, the Nevada County Narrow Gauge railroad (affectionately called the “Never Come, Never Go) was the prime method of shipping freight and passengers between Nevada County and the Southern (ex Central) Pacific rail connection in Colfax.
The first three engines were wood burners, built for the NCNGRR by Baldwin Locomotive Co. All the NCNGRR engines were converted to oil by 1916. The engine roster:
Engine #1 4-4-o named the “Grass Valley”
Engine #2 2-6-o named the “Nevada”
Engine #3 4-4-o purchased in 1877, a twin of #1 but never named
Engine #4 o-6-o purchased in 1899 from Lake Tahoe Railroad
Engine #5 2-6-o purchased in 1889 from Lake Tahoe Railroad
Engine #6 2-6-o purchased in 1915
Engine #7 4-4-o purchased from Southern Pacific
Engine #8 2-8-o came from the Denver & Rio Grande in 1933
The NCNGRR had two gas mechanical switchers, #10, a o-4-o Plymouth which was acquired and wrecked in 1936, and #11, a o-4-o Whitcomb. Two standard gauge engines, a two truck Heisler and two trick Climax, operated around 1913 on dual gauge track from Colfax to a gravel spur on the Bear River.