McCloud River Railroad : Along the Line


Underlined stations have links to pictures of that place; click to view.

Stations currently active on the McCloud are in bold type.

NAVIGATION NOTE: After viewing a station, clicking on RETURN will bring you to the next station below the one you just viewed.

Hambone is at milepost (M.P.) BH-34. The east end of the passing siding marks the beginning of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) ownership. The line east of here was built by the McCloud River Lumber Company in various stages between 1920 and 1929. The line was sold to BNSF predecessor Great Northern Railroad in 1931. The big railroad has always owned the line and paid the McCloud to operate it for them, with maintenance costs split between the two companies.

Chippy Spur at M.P. BH-30 was the junction between the new line from Bartle through Hambone and the old line from Bartle through Slagger Creek (off of the original railroad mainline to McGavic). A 130’ remnant of the old spur is still in place. Chippy Spur got it’s name from an orphaned niece of a camp cook that gave a large percentage of the loggers in camp a certain venereal disease before the company wised up and sent the cook (and his niece) elsewhere. Into the late 1960’s the railroad kept an old caboose on this spur, and it was extensively used by railroad employees as a weekend getaway spot, especially during hunting season. Access was primarily by motorcars.

Spur 513 left the railroad at about M.P. BH-27. A long logging line dropped south from here, tapping some of the lands secured in the U.S. Forest Service timber sale of the early 1920s.

Porcupine at M.P. BH-24 is the site of the ballast quarry where all the ballast used by the railroad originates. An 850’ spur descends into the cinder pit from the mainline.

Lakin near M.P. BH-23 was the site of a former siding. A 325’ spur remains at this spot. The site is named in honor of Bert Lakin, an especially popular general manager of the lumber company that lost his life fighting a forest fire on the immediate western edge of McCloud on 1 October 1936.

Camp Two at M.P. BH-17 was the first camp set up to harvest the Whitehorse tract. Lumber company rails reached this spot in 1929. The camp was active for about a year before it closed down and all activities shifted to the new permanent camp of Whitehorse. A 260’ spur remains at the site. Camps on the McCloud River Lumber Company tended to keep their previous name or number when they moved; therefore, this in one of several places known as Camp Two in the McCloud area.

Whitehorse at M.P. BH-11 was the permanent log camp set up to house the loggers and railroaders employed in harvesting the White Horst Tract. The camp was established between 1929 and 1930 and was in operation until 1946. Time, elements, and human activity have erased almost all of the signs of the activity that took place here. An 850-foot spur remains at the site.

Spur 526 at M.P. BH-2 was the farthest east that the lumber company went on this trackage. From here a line branched south to the Widow Valley area, the last camp active in the White Horse tract. Widow Valley was active from 1946 until 1948, when harvesting activities in the area were finished and the focus of the lumber company shifted back to the west and south. A 195’ spur remains at this spot.

Pictures of these will be added in the future as I am able to get back into the area and explore. In the meantime,
click here for some random pictures taken on the line.