Lime Kiln Siding, Bodie and Benton Railroad!

Bob and Brenda Wynn

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Lime Kiln Siding,
Bodie and Benton Railroad!

The Bodie and Benton Railroad is one of the most wrote about narrow gauge railroads of the old days. From its beginning in 1881 to the time they pulled up the tracks in 1914. Although it was only about 32 miles long, it ran from the Railroad office at Bodie to the Mono Mills, the southern terminus. The main points of interest along the route were the Lime Kiln Siding, Warm Springs Siding and the only water along the line, and the terminus at the Mono Mills.

The Lime Kiln was located just about a quarter of a mile west of the siding. The siding itself was just at the end of the steep grade coming down from Bodie at the twelve mile marker. Here at the siding they kept the extra engines it took to pull the grade up to Bodie. They would leave Mono Mills with one engine and then pick up another to pull the steep grade. At the siding there was but a few buildings, but they have long since gone. This was one of the main points Dr. Tom Straka and I wanted to find, Tom is standing beside the kiln.
There was also two trestles built along the way, one above the Lime Kiln Siding up in the hills and the other on the south side of the lake. Neither of these are left to be seen today. The other siding at Warm Spring just south of here is all but gone. The Mill was finished before the railroad was. Warm Springs was the hub of construction in the building of the railroad. Teams would haul rails and supply from the C&C railroad at Hawthrone to the north shore of Mono Lake. They would then be barged across the Lake to Warm Springs by the little steamer Rocket.
Here at the siding to day it is hard to even find the rail bed, but there are still signs of the old siding if you look around. Tom and I drove the railroad bed from Mono Mill all the way around to Lime Kiln siding. If you do not have a FWD I would not try to venture this trip, there are some really soft sand dune about half way around.
Just twelve miles east of the junction of 395 and 167 Hiway is the Bodie and Benton railroad monument. It sets along side of the road a few miles below the siding.
From here in the early morning you have a beautiful view of the lake. The monument is a right long side the railroad bed where it crosses the Hiway at this point.
Here standing in the middle of the old railroad bed is Dr. Tom Straka from Clemson University, my very good friend and witting associate. We have Bodie and Benton railroad spikes as keep sakes now.