Lake County Railroad

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Lake County Railroad
Lake County Railroad Engine, Lakeview, Oregon.JPG
Lake County Railroad Engine 700
Reporting mark LRC
Locale Central Oregon
Dates of operation 1997–Present
Predecessor Nevada–California–Oregon Railway and Southern Pacific
Length 54-mile (87 km)
Headquarters Lakeview, Oregon

The Lake County Railroad (reporting mark LCR), based in Lakeview, Oregon, United States, is owned by the Lake County government and operated by Frontier Rail as the Lake County Railway (LCY). The LCY hauls products for both the perlite mine and lumber from the Collins Fremont Sawmill.


  • Lumber
  • Perlite
  • Wood chips

Motive Power[edit]

LCR No. Engine Type Builder No. Date Built Previous Owners
700 GP7u 18604 August 1953 ex-CLC 700:2; ex-CWWR 776; ex-WTCX 776; ex-NW 2436; née NKP 436
1617 GP7 18977 December 1953 ex-GWR 1617; ex-BN 1617; née CBQ 261
1761 GP9 19110 January 1954 ex-WRIX 1761; ex-SJVR 1761; ex-SJVR 101; ex-SDAE 101; née UP 224


The line was originally part of the narrow gauge Nevada–California–Oregon Railway (NCO) and was constructed around 1908. In 1926 the NCO became an operating subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP). By 1929 the NCO was entirely operated by the SP.

In March 1985 the SP filed to abandon the line and the abandonment was approved 5 months later. The county stepped in to save the route, vital to local businesses and the state legislature enacted a law permitting local governments to own railroads outside of the state, and then the Oregon State Lottery agreed to fund up to 85% of the purchase price if the county could find an operator. The county went to work, and the Great Western Railway, an established shortline based out of Colorado, agreed to operate the line on a contract basis.[1] Lake County purchased the line from SP on January 18, 1986, to keep the line open.

The LCR began operations on November 1, 1997, when it took over the 54.45 miles (87.63 km) formerly operated by the Great Western Railway of Colorado under contract. The county operated the rail line on precarious financial footing with frequent derailments and grants needed for maintenance funding.

The line was leased in 2005 to the Modoc Northern Railroad [1]. During the Modoc Northern years, a lot of investment was made in rail infrastructure to shore up the line and try to eliminate the frequent derailments that plagued the route, but train speed was still limited to 10 mph (16 km/h) for most of the line.

Following the Modoc Northern's failure in 2009, Lake County contracted with Frontier Rail, who is now operating the Lake County line from Lakeview to Alturas, as well as the Union Pacific's line as far as Perez, CA, as the Lake Railway.


  1. ^ a b