Logging Railroads of the Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico


The logging railroads of the Sacramento Mountains brought great changes to the Lincoln National Forest. During their time the area was transformed from a raw frontier to a highly organized forest district devoted to timber production, ranching and tourists. These occasionally conflicting interests influenced the application of railroad logging techniques and contributed to the conversion of the timber industry from rail to truck haulage after a relatively short forty years.

The age of the logging railroads generally coincided with the Golden Age of American steam railroading. The early logging railroads reflected the latest and most ambitious technologies and practices of the time. For a variety of reasons, mostly economic, subsequent change and modernization never occurred, and the railroad loggers found themselves ever more obsolete and increasingly expensive. One by one they passed from the scene, leaving behind them fascinating ruins and traces of their time. This study has explored their history, physical plant, and technology to provide a basis for the more specific studies that will be made of areas within the Lincoln National Forest.

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Last Updated: 02-Sep-2008