MCR No. 25, a 2-6-2 locomotive built by Alco in 1925. 2008 photo near McCloud.
|Locale||Mount Shasta, California|
|Dates of operation||1897–2009|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The McCloud Railway (reporting mark MCR) was a class III railroad operated around Mount Shasta, California. It began operations on July 1, 1992 when it took over operations from the McCloud River Railroad. The MCR was incorporated on April 21, 1992.
The MCR provided both freight service as well as passenger excursion trains like the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train.
Freight traffic consisted of outbound lumber and forest products as well as diatomaceous earth. Approximately 3,000 carloads of freight (1996 estimate) were handled annually.
On June 27, 2005, the railroad applied with the Surface Transportation Board to abandon most of its line. The proposal requests to abandon all MCR track beyond 3.3 miles (5.3 km) east of McCloud, California.
The railroad operated on 95.5 miles (153.7 km) of track. The principal line ran from Mt. Shasta to Bartle. At Bartle, the Burney Branch headed south. The MCR also had a 19-mile (31 km) branch running from Bartle to Hambone, California. At Hambone the ownership changed to BNSF Railway (Great Northern) but was operated by the McCloud River Railroad. That line extended to Lookout Junction where it connected with the Great Northern Railway (U.S.) mainline just north of Bieber, California. The BNSF track east of Hambone (Hambone-Lookout) was abandoned and removed by A&K Railroad Materials in October 2005.
The MCR was originally built as the McCloud River Railroad chartered on January 22, 1897, as a forest railway bringing logs to the company sawmill on the Southern Pacific Railroad at a place called Upton a few miles north of Mount Shasta, California. By 1901 the company sawmill was moved to McCloud, and the distance for hauling lumber produced at McCloud was reduced to 17.8 miles (28.6 km) by shifting the junction south to Mount Shasta in 1906. The locomotives shifted from wood to oil fuel as the railroad extended into the forests east of McCloud in 1907. Trains brought logs to the McCloud sawmill from the east, and carried lumber from the sawmill west to the Southern Pacific.
In 1922 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) built branches south from the McCloud main line at Bartle to build hydropower plants on the Pit River. Materials to build the Pit 1 powerhouse, the Pit 3 Dam, and the Pit 4 Dam were carried over the McCloud River Railroad to connection with the Pit River Railroad officially known as the Mount Shasta Corporation Construction Railroad. This activity encouraged the Great Northern and Western Pacific Railroads to claim a share of this traffic by building a branch west from their line at Lookout, California in 1931 giving McCloud interchange with three major railroad companies. After PG&E abandoned their Pit River Railroad, McCloud extended the former PG&E line south to Burney, California in 1955. Upon reaching Burney, McCloud operated a 130-mile (210 km) railroad including trackage rights over the 34-mile (55 km) Great Northern branch.
The railroad remained primarily a logging railroad with several different owners over the following years including: U.S. Plywood Corporation (1963), U.S. Plywood-Champion Papers (1969), Champion International (1972), and Itel Corporation (1977). The railroad was sold to Jeff E. and Verline Forbis (4-Rails, Inc.) on July 1, 1992. On June 28, 2005, the railroad petitioned the STB to abandon most of its line. Service on all line east of the McCloud Sawmill (now abandoned) has been terminated. A small section of line between McCloud CA and Mount Shasta CA remained open briefly for excursion and dinner train service. As timber demand declined, the railroad slowly cut back although new ownership also led to its downfall. In 2009, the railroad ceased operation and closed down. The property is now for sale as a rail/trail as of 2012.
The railroad also had regular passenger service until 1952.
Lima Locomotive Works built two Shay locomotives for McCloud River Railroad in February 1912. Builders numbers 2401 and 2402 wore McCloud River numbers 16 and 17 until sold in 1924 to Fruit Growers Supply Company of Susanville, California as numbers 4 and 5.
During the latter days of steam, summer trains often included a fire car behind the engine. The fire car was a tank car filled with water topped by an automobile engine-powered pump.
The railroad had three EMD SD38 locomotives numbered 36-38. Engines 36-38 were built for the McCloud River Railroad in April 1969 (Builder No. 34880-34882). The railroad owned a SD38-2, built August 1974 (Builder No. 74623-1), but sold it to Union Pacific in 1998.
The railroad also had two steam locomotives, no.s 18 and 25. No. 18 was sold to the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in 2005.
No. 25, the steam engine which appeared in Stand By Me and also Bound for Glory, was out of service from 2001 until September 2007, when it was rebuilt for another movie deal, but that one fell through. The No. 25 was then stored in McCloud in operable condition. Both No 18 & 25 are oil burning locomotives. No. 18 made her first revenue run on the V&T on July 24, 2010. No. 25 was sold to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad in March 2011 for their excursion operations out of Garibaldi, Oregon.
MCR once owned 1,182 freight cars (1996 estimate). Most of these have been sold since the abandonment of freight service.
|1||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-0||1891||11627||built for California Railway; purchased 1897; later renumbered as McCloud #12|
|2||Stearns Manufacturing Company||3-truck Heisler locomotive||1897||purchased new|
|3||Stearns Manufacturing Company||3-truck Heisler locomotive||1897||purchased new|
|4||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1898||16239||purchased new; scrapped 1939|
|5||Baldwin Locomotive Works||0-6-0 Tank locomotive||1900||17684||Vauclain compound formerly permanently coupled with #6; sold to Lystul-Lawson Logging Company after separation.|
|6||Baldwin Locomotive Works||0-6-0 Tank locomotive||1900||17685||built as a double-ended permanently coupled 0-6-0+0-6-0 Vauclain compounds; sold to Atkinson Construction Company after separation.|
|7||Baldwin Locomotive Works||4-6-0||1886||7935||built for St. Louis–San Francisco Railway; purchased 1900; sold to Hetch Hetchy Railroad in 1917|
|8||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1901||18595||purchased new; sold to Amador Central Railroad|
|9||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1901||18596||purchased new; sold to Yreka Western Railroad|
|10||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1901||18674||purchased new; sold to Yreka Western Railroad|
|11||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1904||23875||Vauclain compound purchased new; scrapped 1939|
|12||2-6-0||formerly #1; scrapped 1932|
|14||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-8-2||1907||30850||purchased new; scrapped|
|15||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-8-2||1907||30851||purchased new; scrapped|
|1st #16||Lima Locomotive Works||3-truck Shay locomotive||1911||2401||purchased new; sold to Fruit Growers Supply in 1924|
|2nd #16||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-8-2||1913||39394||purchased from Silver Falls Timber Company|
|1st #17||Lima Locomotive Works||3-truck Shay locomotive||1911||2402||purchased new; sold to Fruit Growers Supply in 1924|
|2nd #17||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-8-2||1916||42912||purchased from Pacific Portland Cement Company in 1942|
|18||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-8-2||1914||41709||purchased new; sold to Virginia and Truckee Railroad in 2005|
|19||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-8-2||1915||42000||purchased new; sold to Yreka Western Railroad|
|20||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1924||57617||purchased new|
|21||Baldwin Locomotive Works||2-6-2||1924||57618||purchased new|
|22||American Locomotive Company (Schenectady)||2-6-2||1925||66316||purchased new|
|23||American Locomotive Company (Schenectady)||2-6-2||1925||66317||purchased new; sold to Arcata and Mad River Railroad #11 in 1953|
|24||American Locomotive Company (Schenectady)||2-6-2||1925||66434||purchased new|
|25||American Locomotive Company (Schenectady)||2-6-2||1925||66435||purchased new; sold to Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad in March 2011|
|26||American Locomotive Company (Brooks)||2-8-2||1915||55492||purchased from Copper River and Northwestern Railway in 1938|
|27||American Locomotive Company (Brooks)||2-8-2||1917||57291||purchased from Copper River and Northwestern Railway in 1938|
|28||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500||1948||73653||purchased new|
|29||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500||1950||74812||purchased new; sold to Magma Arizona Railroad|
|30||Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton||Baldwin S-12||1953||75912||purchased new|
|31||Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton||Baldwin S-12||1953||75913||purchased new|
|32||Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton||Baldwin RS-12||1955||76024||purchased new; sold to California Western Railroad|
|33||Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton||Baldwin RS-12||1955||76105||purchased new; sold to California Western Railroad; preserved at Travel Town Museum|
|34||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Baldwin AS-616||1952||75449||built as Southern Pacific #5253; purchased 1963; sold to Oregon and Northwestern Railroad in 1969|
|35||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Baldwin DRS-6-6-1500||1949||74261||built as Southern Pacific #5207; purchased 1964; sold to U.S. Steel in 1969|
|36||Electro-Motive Diesel||EMD SD38||1969||34880||purchased new|
|37||Electro-Motive Diesel||EMD SD38||1969||34881||purchased new|
|38||Electro-Motive Diesel||EMD SD38||1969||34882||purchased new|
|39||Electro-Motive Diesel||EMD SD38-2||1974||74623-1||purchased new; sold to Union Pacific Railroad|
|52||Caterpillar Inc.||Passenger motor car||used to transport loggers to and from the woods; called the Red Devil|
- Fickewirth, Alvin A. (1992). California railroads: an encyclopedia of cable car, common carrier, horsecar, industrial, interurban, logging, monorail, motor road, shortlines, streetcar, switching and terminal railroads in California (1851-1992). San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 0-87095-106-8.
- Robertson, Donald B. (1998). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History - Volume IV - California. Caldwell, ID: The Caxton Printers. ISBN 0-87004-385-4.
- Stindt, Fred A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide - 5th Ed. Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0-89024-290-9.
- Walker, Mike (1997). Steam Powered Video's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America - California and Nevada - Post Merger Ed. Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom: Steam Powered Publishing. ISBN 1-874745-08-0.
- Wagner, Jack R. (1955). "East of Shasta". The Western Railroader. Francis A. Guido. 18 (189): 3–39.
- Koch, Michael (1971). The Shay Locomotive Titan of the Timber. The World Press. p. 436.
- Lamper, Jerry. "McCloud Rails All Time Locomotive Roster". TrainWeb. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to McCloud Railway.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to McCloud River Railroad.|
- UPRR MCR Profile
- Shasta Sunset Dinner Train operated by MCR
- Railfan site of the MCR
- Pictures of the MCR
- McCloud River Railroad