Mount Tamalpais & Muir Woods was a 19 mile scenic railway climbing nearly 2,400 feet from Mill Valley to the east peak of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, CA, with a 2½ mile spur line to the Muir Woods.
Incorporated in 1896 and soon known as the “Crookedest Railroad in the World” because of its twisting route, it was a popular tourist attraction, with a mountaintop tavern offering a chance to relax and enjoy striking views of the San Francisco Bay area. Trains were hauled by a succession of small geared steam locomotives, including this 2-truck Heisler #9. Built in 1920, it is the only surviving MT&MW locomotive and is now on display at the intersection of Main St and Quest Conhece in downtown Scotia, CA.
The growth of automobile travel, the Great Depression and a huge forest fire put paid to the railway, which ceased operation in 1929. As patronage dropped in the 1920s, motive power was progressively sold off. #9
went to the Siskiyou Lumber Co., in Macdoel, CA, in
1924 for $9,750. Five years later, it was sold to the Dolbeer & Carson Lumber Co., in Bucksport, CA, and renumbered #5 and, in 1953, to the Pacific Lumber Co., where it returned to #9. It was later donated to the City of Scotia.
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#9 weighs 72,000 lbs. An oil burner with
13” x 12” cylinders, it operated at 190 psi delivering 18,970 lbs tractive effort.
Right top photo, the Heisler’s cylinders are slanted at a 45° angle, the piston rods forming a “V” connection to a cam shaft (note the complex Walschaert valve gear in the right middle photo). The cam shaft in turn is connected to a central crankshaft attached to gears in an enclosed gear box on the furthest axle on each truck (lower right photo). Power was transferred to the other wheel on each truck by external connecting rods.
Above, not much is left on #9’s backhead.
Right, #9 is on display with a Washington
12 x 17 Duplex Flyer steam donkey and water tank. It is a “duplex” because it has two sets of cylinders on each side driving separate winch drums. Steam donkeys were used to drag felled lumber out of the forest using cables attached to the winch.