Motorcars, Speeders and Railcars

By Wayne Parsons

McCloud Railway

Sunday - June 10, 2007

Coordinator: Tom Phair

Southwest Railcar Ltd.

                                                     McCloud to Mt. Shasta

Set-on for the Sunday June 10th run was at McCloud Railway Company (MCR) headquarters located in McCloud, California.  McCloud is the boarding point for the lines' passenger operations that include scenic trains and dinner trains operating between McCloud and Mt. Shasta city by way of a switchback at Signal Butte.  The old lumber yard next to the MCR headquarters is also the possible future location of a water bottling plant that would provide freight loads for interchange at Mt. Shasta with the Union Pacific.  The rail east of McCloud seems to have no revenue possibilities at this time except the storage of UP refrigerator cars.  So, the future of the MCR is on the 15.2 miles of rail west of McCloud that we will ride on today.

Meet coordinator Tom Phair (above right) conducts the morning safety meeting.  Every NARCOA sanctioned event starts with a morning safety meeting. 
The group backs away from the shop to switch onto the main.  Engine #38 is in the yard.  In the shop is #36.


The new shop replaced the red engine houses that date back to the founding(?) of the line.  The new shop has a pit.  Your web reporter has not been into the red buildings.  Can anyone provide details?
At one time the McCloud had steady lumber traffic but was often unable to get cars.  So, they invested in their own rack cars shown above.  Inset: the cars must be loaded equally on each side to prevent a tip-over.

When leaving the yard this is the last shed you pass.  There is plenty of detail around the building for model railroaders to consider: discarded barrels, a roll of logging drag line cable, tie plates, etc.  But, what was the shed for?  Did it store fuses and torpedoes at a safe distance?  What did crews pick up here just as they left for Signal Butte?  On the right: end yard limit, begin Pierce Block, and mile post one.


Left: at mile post 5 the trees part and Mt. Shasta breaks through the clouds.  Above: Chris Kimberlin from Bermuda Dunes, CA, operates the car entering the switchback at Signal Butte.  After turning we will take the track on the left to Mt. Shasta city.


Counter clockwise above: The beautiful orange Woodings operated by Ron Huey from Shasta Lake stops on the switchback.  Dave Balestreri from Sacramento runs downhill toward Mt. Shasta city with a fine view of morning clouds clearing off the far mountain.  Aron Kahn and his brother Dan Kahn from San Louis Obispo turn their MT-19 at mile 14.7 on the edge of Mt. Shasta city.


Stopping for a blind-on-the-left crossing.

Check for the car headlights behind.  If they're not there, slow down.  If they're still not there on the next curve, find a long straight-away and stop to wait.  A disabled car will be pushed forward for a tow.

With many curves, MCR uses track lubricators such as the one above.  Passing wheels depress the activator (circled) on the outside edge of the rail which turns the jointed shaft and operates a pump in the reservoir box.

 Is this how McCloud got its' name?




The MCR dinning cars have beautiful wood interiors that, along with the white table cloths and fine service, evoke turn-of-the-century opulence.  On the tables is the wonderful tasting McCloud water that the Nestle company wants to bottle.


Left: water tank next to the dining cars.  Above: UP cars stored on the main at the east wye switch.  Below: mile post 14.7 and Mt. Shasta.


Lora Change (operating) and Grant Vogel of Plymouth, CA, climb the hill to the 1717 foot long siding at Pierce (right) where more UP cars are stored.  Model railroaders note the replaced door detail on the car at right.


Set off at the MCR headquarters shop with Mt. Shasta in the background. 


Thank you Tom Phair, Southwest Railcar, and members of the work party for making this a great event.  Thanks also to the McCloud Railway Company for hosting us.  We wish MCR the best of luck and hope that these tracks are not abandoned and sold for scrap.

McCloud (Set-on) to Mt. Shasta (road Xing) 14.7  
Mt. Shasta to McCloud 14.7  
Yard Movement on Wye 1.0  
McCloud to Mt. Shasta (road Xing) 14.7  
Mt. Shasta to McCloud (Set-off) 14.7  
Total Sunday Mileage   59.8

Click here to see the Line-Up

Click here to see Saturdays' photos

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