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McCloud Rails - Passenger Operations: Return of the #19

McCloud Rails : Passenger Operations:

The Return of the #19

McCloud River Railroad Company #19 was built in 1915 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works as their construction #42000 for the Caddow & Choctaw Railroad as their #4. From there it went to the Choctaw River Lumber Company as their #4, then to United Mining & Smelting Company in Mexico as their #2069.

The McCloud River Railroad was in need of larger power in the mid-1920’s. The railroad at that time consisted of the mainline from Mt. Shasta City to Pondosa, passing through McCloud, Bartle, and Car A in the process. Freight traffic was primarily logs from the Bartle and Pondosa area traveling west to McCloud, and finished lumber traveling west from McCloud to Mt. Shasta City. The railroad at this time owned five small prairies, three large mikados, one mogul for the passenger train, and two three-truck Shays for use in the logging operations taking place on Black Fox Mountain north of Bartle. The railroad desired more large power, and in early 1924 the company acquired United Mining & Smelting Company #2069. The machine became #19 on the McCloud roster.

The #19 served the McCloud well until 1953, when it was displaced by diesels. Retirement did not last long, as the neighboring Yreka Western Railroad (YW) was searching for larger locomotives for it’s nine miles of track. The #19 was quickly picked up by the YW, where it kept it’s #19. The #19 was displaced by diesels again on the YW in 1958, but the YW management had a fondness for steam power, and it stayed on the property in excursion service until 1970. The owners of the YW were starting up a new excursion operation on the Oregon Pacific & Eastern Railroad out of Cottage Grove, Oregon, and the #19 was moved north in 1970. The #19 stayed on the OP&E until 1988, when the excursion operations ended and the locomotive returned to Yreka. The YW started excursion operations in the summer of 1986, and the #19 became the primary power for the excursion trains starting in 1989.

Trains Unlimited Tours brought the #19 back to Yreka in 1994 for one weekend’s worth of excursions. The #19 had been back to McCloud once before, for a double headed excursion with the #25 in 1962. On Saturday 30 April the #19 led a train from McCloud to Burney and return. The locomotive hauled a photo freight consisting of fire car #1711, the four ex-SP ballast hoppers (MCR #’s 1901-1904), and caboose #101. The passenger consist was McCloud flat #824 and an articulated coach set painted in SP Daylight colors. McCloud diesel #39 was tucked in behind the passenger sets, and it provided most of the power for the Saturday trip. VIP Caboose #553 brought up the rear of the train. Sunday 1 May saw the #19 pull the fire car and the passenger consist from McCloud to Hambone by itself, where it was overtaken by a Lookout-bound freight pulled by the #39. The passenger consist was added onto the end of the freight, where it and the passengers continued on to Lookout and return to McCloud. The #19 then left the fire car at Hambone and ran light back to McCloud. The #19 was returned to Yreka a short time later, where it continues in operation to this day.

(Picture #110) McCloud, CA, 4/1994. The #19 is seen here finishing it’s fire-up in front of the McCloud shop building.

(Picture #111) McCloud, CA, 4/1994. Caption: “The #19 is seen here backing down towards the depot. McCloud Rails pilot engineer Carol Julien is on the caboose steps, and conductor Michael Zetocha is in the caboose door.

(Picture #112) McCloud, CA, 4/1994. The #19 is seen here coupled to the freight consist at the depot grounds in McCloud.

(Picture #113) McCloud, CA, 4/1994. The #19 is whistling for Truck Shop Road and the extreme eastern edge of McCloud.

(Picture #114) Bartle, CA, 4/1994. The Trains Unlimited excursion is shown here reaching the Bartle Tank.

(Picture #115) Bartle, CA, 4/1994. Volunteers restored the Bartle Tank to operating condition in the weeks before the excursion, and the #19 was able to take on water from the tank.

(Picture #116) Bartle, CA, 4/1994. A photo runby was held at Bartle. This was the photo line that formed for the event.

(Picture #117) Cayton, CA, 4/1994. The #19 is arriving at Cayton.

(Picture #118) Near Obie, CA, 4/1994.

(Picture #119) Berry, CA, 4/1994. The McCloud Railway’s #39 was coupled onto the rear of the train, and it provided the power for most of the trip. The two-unit articulated coach is seen directly in front of the #39, and the railroad’s VIP caboose is bringing up the rear.