Motorcars, Speeders and Railcars

A Journal by Wayne Parsons

The McCloud Railway fall 1998 run sponsored by Southwest Railcar, Ltd.

Set on at Mt. Shasta, CA with travel to Burney, CA for an overnight stay and return to Mt. Shasta


For the fifth event of Southwest Railcars' history, twenty-three cars run the McCloud Railway on the weekend of October 3rd and 4th, 1998. Set on Friday afternoon is at the mp 14.5 crossing of Everett Memorial Hwy. in Mt. Shasta, CA. After the Saturday morning safety meeting the group departs at 8:10 AM for McCloud and Burney. Snow covered the ground the other time I rode over the switchback and out toward Bartle, so for me this morning run is over almost new track. The hill's steeper than I remember; after negotiating the switchback; we arrive at the company office in McCloud at 9:25 AM.

 

The SWRC rolling stock today includes several interesting "big dogs" that have come to run! With McCloud Roadmaster Greg Shivy as pilot, our meet coordinator Tom Phair is riding in his Canadian National railcar that's a Ford extended Econoline van equipped with a turntable and solid locomotive style wheels.

Also from the CN are two rare Beaver Cars: Don and Suzy Connelly with an eight man BC8M (above right), and Chuck and Marie Harrison in a two man BC2M (above left).

 

 

Don Massey joins the group at McCloud with his classic Fairmont A4 that could have just came off the Southern Pacific. Also along today is a completely restored aluminum cab Union Pacific A4. Everybody else is running Onan powered MT-14s &; 19s.

The MT-19A (right) operated by Sal Jacobs has a "For Sale" sign in the window.

 

Leaving McCloud east bound at 9:55 AM we make stopwatch miles between 25 and 28 MPH all the way to the old water tower at Bartle (see photo at top of the page). SWRC members have worked many hours in this area to restore the water tower and its' feed pipe that comes from a spring just up the Hambone line. The railway will probably put a plastic liner in the old tank. Off again we take the bottom leg of the wye toward Burney 42 miles south.

The day is warm and clear with high billowing clouds. Heat shimmers on rails turned to silver by the bright sun. There's a hint of fall colors among the evergreens. The Roadmaster has been busy on this section during the summer. New ties are in place on several curves around mp 27, a tie remover/inserter and ballast regulator are on a siding at mp 41 with old ties stacked nearby, a slide area at mp 43.5 shows lots of work. At mp 47.5 is a siding with 14 barrel sided hopper cars filled with diatomaceous earth mined here. Diatomite, made of the siliceous skeletons of minute cellular algae, is used for pool filters. The other business on this branch is a lumber mill at Burney. At 12:30 PM we stop at Lake Britton for lunch at mp 50.1. From here it's a short eight miles to the wye above Burney where, due the big dogs, we turn and back 2.3 miles to the Burney yard mp B61. Total distance today is 74.5 miles.

 

Tying up at 2:45 PM, we're bused into town, check into our hotels, and re-board the bus at 3:30 PM for a trip to McArthur-Burney Falls. Water gushes from underground one-half mile above the falls then drops off the 129-foot precipice. Many people make the one-mile round trip walk to the base of the falls; the rest of us sit around socializing. Dinner is at the Pit River Lodge next to the "Pit One" hydroelectric powerhouse. This lodge was originally a dormitory for construction workers and later an executive retreat. Today it's beginning a new career as a rustic bed and breakfast.

 

Sunday morning is again clear and sunny. Departing at 9:30 AM we make a photo run by on the Lake Britton Bridge. The rest of the morning is a nice steady run uphill toward Bartle with stopwatch miles again in the 25-MPH range. Turning on the wye, we back uphill four miles on the Hambone-Lookout Line to MacIntosh Vista (mp 23) for lunch. Twenty miles away the snowcap on Mt. Shasta is touched by passing clouds making a dynamic that fools the eye into believing the clouds are being created on the mountain crown.

Leaving the lunch spot to ants carrying away our breadcrumbs, we're off again toward McCloud. The afternoon temperature is mild with cool breezes. High clouds give motion to shadows in the woods. Our motorcars on the track look like colored beads strung on an Indian Maidens necklace. Alone in the solitude of my speeder's operation; comfortable in my jacket with cool air in my face; my feet up on the engine cover; I feel reluctant to return from these woods to tomorrows daily duties. At mp 7 there is another outstanding view of Mt. Shasta in the notch of trees created by the track. The clouds still billow off the mountain crown.

 

 

Leaving the lunch spot to ants carrying away our breadcrumbs, we're off again toward McCloud. The afternoon temperature is mild with cool breezes. High clouds give motion to shadows in the woods. Our motorcars on the track look like colored beads strung on an Indian Maidens necklace. Alone in the solitude of my speeder's operation; comfortable in my jacket with cool air in my face; my feet up on the engine cover; I feel reluctant to return from these woods to tomorrows daily duties. At mp 7 there is another outstanding view of Mt. Shasta in the notch of trees created by the track. The clouds still billow off the mountain crown.  

Back at McCloud by 2:15 PM we do not stop. Instead we push on uphill, turn on the switchback, and run downhill to Mt. Shasta City for setoff. Total distance today is 82.5 miles.

 

 

 

Many have already said goodbye when, at 4:00 PM, two Army National Guard Armored Personnel Carriers come out of the woods running along the tracks. The APCs cut through our group onto the highway and disappear into town. This certainly wasn't mentioned in the safety meeting! 

Thank you Tom Phair for organizing such a fine weekend. We all had a great time operating our cars, touring the sights, and socializing together. Thanks also to our escort Greg Shivy and to McCloud Railway for hosting Southwest Railcar!

 

Click here to jump to the last McCloud Snow Run in 2006

Click here to jump to the June 2007 McCloud Run

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