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McCloud Rails - Passenger Operations: Excursions Photos: #25 - In the 1960s/1970s

McCloud Rails : Passenger Operations: Excursions Photos

Steam Locomotive #25:
In the 1960s/1970s

The McCloud River Railroad became a major railfan destination through the 1960s and early 1970s, thanks to the outstanding scenery, friendly management and operating personnel, and the #25. The locomotive made the transition from hauling timber to tourists with ease and quickly became one of the most popular steam locomotives in the western states. The #25 would typically steam many times each year, sometimes for excursions operated by the railroad but more often than not for trips chartered by railfan organizations. Several of these became annual events, including a traditional winter snow trip sponsored by the Pacific Locomotive Association and a Burney trip every June chartered by the Northern California Railroad Club. "Shasta Wonderland" excursions were also especially popular through the first half of the 1960s; these trips generally ran from the Bay Area north to Lookout Junction, then over the length of the McCloud River to Mt. Shasta City, and then back south, with some trips featuring side trips to the Yreka Western. Needed boiler work almost put the #25 out to pasture in 1970, but the overwhelming response to a number of "last run" events prompted Champion International to authorize recertification of the boiler. The first period of passenger excursions lasted another five years, however, as runaway inflation finally sidelined the locomotive after 1975.

Snow Trips

Between McCloud and Mt. Shasta City. Photo by and courtesy of George Landrock.

#25 and a wintertime excursion taken from the deck of a snoplow. Photo by and courtesy of George Landrock.

Mt. Shasta and a partial view of the #25. Photo by and courtesy of George Landrock.

Mt. Shasta Line

Loading passengers in Mt. Shasta City. Jeff Moore collection.

Passing the water tank at Howard. Jeff Moore collection.

Pondosa Excursion

Taking on water at the Bartle tank. Jeff Moore collection.

Crossing Bear Creek. Jeff Moore collection.

Burney Excursions

A train returning to McCloud pausing for photographs near Cayton. Jeff Moore collection.

Most Burney trips during this time period usually included a mid-day bus ride to visit Burney Falls, a 129-foot tall waterfall located a few miles northeast of town. One year, however, the railroad agreed to run the #25 down the Scott Branch for those who preferred that over the bus ride to the falls. This may have been the only steam locomotive- and, for that matter, passenger movement- ever to traverse the entire branch. The train is seen here crossing the Goose Valley Creek trestle. Jeff Moore collection.

The special over the Scott Branch crossing Burney Creek. Jeff Moore collection.

Miscellaneous Pictures

#33, #32, and #25 picking up a "Shasta Wonderland" excursion at Lookout Junction on 1 May 1964. Photo is by Ken Douglas and is presented here courtesy of Keith Ardinger.

#25 warming up in front of the shop about 1964. Jeff Moore collection.

Another day done. The #25 has spotted the passenger cars at the depot and is preparing to give a few friends a lift back to the shop. Jeff Moore collection.

#25 after its 1971 rebuild. Jeff Moore collection.