McCloud River Railroad : Along the Line

Upton/Mt. Shasta City to McCloud

The railroad started constructing this line in 1896 and completed it in 1897. This is the only intact segment of the railroad remaining today. Underlined station names are links to photo pages.

Original Line

Upton- Milepost 0.0. Original western terminus of the railroad and interchange point with Central Pacific/Southern Pacific. George Wright built a sawmill at this spot around 1890, and the CP first established the station under the name Wright's Spur. The name changed circa 1894 to Upton, likely about the time that the Siskiyou Lumber & Mercantile Company purchased Wright's operation. Upton boasted several forest products plants in addition to the S.L.&M. facilities, and the Southern Pacific also operated a gravel pit. The McCloud River Railroad operated to this point from 1896 until 1907, when the railroad abandoned the line to Upton in favor of a new SP connection at Sisson. Union Pacific continues to maintain a station point and siding at Upton, but all traces of the town and the large timber operations that supported it have vanished.

Recorded Structures
- Enginehouse, cost $158.89.
- Agent's cottage, cost $500.
- Dwelling, leased from CP in 1906.

Side Tracks
- Various yard tracks and several spurs into the Adams Sash and Door Factory.

Revised Line

Sisson/Mt. Shasta City-Milepost 0.0 (1907-1955), then M-16 (1955-1977), then M-15.2 (1977-present). Europeans first settled in this area in 1853 and named the place Strawberry Valley or Bear Valley, and the early community adopted the name Berryvale. A land company associated with the Central Pacific platted the modern townsite on approximately 600 acres the railroad purchased from long-time resident and lodge operator Justin Hinckley Sisson as the railroad arrived in 1886, and the CP also changed the name to Sisson in accordance with a stipulation Sisson included on the deed. The McCloud River Railroad made this city its western terminus in 1907 through a line change. A popular vote changed the name to Mt. Shasta City in 1924. McCloud River rented space in the Southern Pacific passenger and freight depots. The city continues to thrive today and remains the interchange point between the McCloud Railway and Union Pacific.

-Car house, 12'x25', built 1902 and retired circa 1971.
- Baggage house, built 1908 and retired prior to 1917.
- Residence occupied by passenger train conductor P.H. Miller. Three rooms added 1913; sewer lines extended to building 1914; building retired and sold 1917.

Water Towers
- 11'x11'x10', built 1907 and retired 1924.
- 15,000 gallon tank, built 1924 and retired by mid-1950s.
- Land and water rights to Cold Creek, along with 15,942' pipelines supplying water tanks at Mt. Shasta City and Howard, purchased 1931 and sold to the City of Mt. Shasta in 1944. The railroad also had water rights out of Hooper Springs, and as the steam era ended the railroad sold half those rights to Coopers Mill and 25% to the City of Mt. Shasta, retaining the other 25% for future railroad use.

Side Tracks
- Two sidings in the Mt. Shasta yard, one 1,795', the other 1,463', plus a 461' spur.
- Industrial tracks, including at least one spur built 1907 into the Curtis Brothers cut-up plant and a 375-foot spur for Associated Oil Company, built 1924.

In the fall of 2013, UP removed the south switch into the Mt. Shasta yard, removed their siding through town entirely, and significantly shortened the remaining switching lead into the north end of the yard.

Cooper's Mill-Milepost M-14.7. Site of several sawmills, the first operated by California Pine Box & Lumber Company (1907-1939), then Cooper's Mill and successor owners from the 1950s until P&M Cedar Products closed the mill in 1990. The Curtis Brothers plant listed in the Sisson section may have occupied part of this site as well. Side tracks included four spurs built 1907 into the California Pine Box mill and removed 1939, followed by several spurs built into the Cooper's Mill. P&M stopped shipping from the plant about 1980, and by 1981 only a 458' spur remnant remained. Dannon (Coca Cola) built a water bottling plant on the site in the late 1990s that closed in the fall of 2010. Crystal Geyser purchased the plant in 2013 and plans to reopen it once the project gets through the environmental review and permitting process.

Burk-Milepost 2.8 (1896-1907), then 1.86 (1907-1937), now M-14.99 (site). Possibly named after a Sisson saloon owner. The original line to Upton and the revised line to Mount Shasta City diverged at this station.

Side Tracks
- 1,370' spur, remnant of original mainline to Upton, retired 11/1937.

Howard-Milepost 4.83 (1896-1907), then 3.89 (1907-1955), then M-12.1 (1955-present). Possibly named after a Sisson businessman. The railroad had a section gang and a water tower at this point for many years. The concrete pad the water tower stood on marks the site today, and several old section sheds have been relocated to an adjacent property.

- Section house, 16'x24'-14'x17'-10'x24' lean-to, built 1902 and retired 1922.
- Barn, 14'x36', built 1902 and retired 1922.
- Bunk house, 16'x24', built 1907 and retired 1941.
- Bunk house, 12'x22', built 1907 and retired 1940.
- Tool house, 14'x16', built 1907 and retired 1941.
- Cook house, built 1917 and retired 1941.
- Section house, 16'x24'x10', built 1921 and retired circa 1960s.
- Three section cabins, all 12'x36' with 7'x10' lean-tos, built 1941 and retired circa 1960s.

Water Towers
- 11'x11'x10', 8,000 gallon, built 1905 and retired 1924.
- 10'6" diameter, 15,000 gallon, built 1924 and moved 4/1994 to the McCloud depot.
- Land and water rights to Cold Creek, along with pipelines supplying water tanks at Mt. Shasta City and Howard, purchased 1931 and sold 1944 to the City of Mt. Shasta.

Big Canyon-Milepost 6.83 (1896-1907), then 5.89 (1907-1955), then M-10.1 (1955-present). Big Canyon is one of the larger ravines coming off the southwest flank of Mount Shasta. The railroad initially worked its way through the ravine with a switchback until the company completed a large fill across the canyon in 1902.

- Telephone booth, 8'x8'x8', built prior to 1917.

Side Tracks
- 815' spur located approximately a half mile east of the fill, build date unrecorded and in use at least through the 1960s.

Pierce-Milepost 9.57 (1896-1907), then 8.63 (1907-1955), then M-8 (1955-1977), then M- 7.2 (1977-present). Origin of the name apparently lost to time, but leading possibilities include honoring Elias D. Pierce, who on 8/14/1854 became the first recorded European to climb Mt. Shasta, or former U.S. President Franklin Pierce. Station marked the summit between Mount Shasta City and McCloud. Nearby is Snowman's Hill, site of a small ski park between roughly the 1930s until 1959 and still a popular sledding hill today.

- Section house, 12'x24'-12'x12', along with an outhouse, built 1907 and burned 1928.
- Depot shelter, 18'x8'x8',completed 11/30/1929 and retired 1945.

Side Tracks
- Two sidings, left one 1,250 feet long and the right one 1,290 feet long. One siding built prior to 1901, the other built 1908. East switch of left siding removed 1949, and siding completely removed 1950. Right siding later extended to 1,717 feet long and survives today.

Signal Butte-Milepost 11.84 (1897-1907), then 10.90 (1907-1955), then M-5 (1955-1977), then M-5.1 (1977-present). The railroad installed a switchback here at the base of Signal Butte, a prominent cinder cone on the southeast flank of Mt. Shasta. The railroad studied at length replacing the switchback with a colossal fill in 1901/1902 and again in the 1950s but did not, and the switchback today remains today as one of the last in service on a common carrier railroad anywhere. Tail track originally approximately 1,100' long and extended to 2,861' in 1974.

- Section house, 12'x24'-10'x12' lean-to, built 1907 and retired 1938.
- Section bunk house, 12'x24'-8'x17' lean-to, built 1907 and retired 1937.
- Tool house, 10'x11', built 1912 and retired 1941.
- Outfit car body set up as a residence and equipped in 1938 with a 12'x8'11'x8'4" lean-to.
- Tool shed, built circa 1941 and retired circa mid-1970s.

Side Tracks/Turntable
- 358' spur connecting main line to turntable, retired 1974.
- Wood turntable, built circa 1902 and retired 1914.
- Steel turntable, purchased second hand 1914 from Union Pacific yard in Albina, Oregon and retired 1974.

Warren-Milepost 9.9, now M-4.1. Site of where the railroad crossed the old stage road near historic Mountain House, a social center/drinking establishment. Station named after Billy Warren, who was the original founder of Mountain House. No recorded facilities, structures, or side tracks.

Hooper-Milepost 14.54 (1897-1907), then 13.60 (1907-1955), then M-2.3 (1955-present). Named after C.A. Hooper & Company, who operated a small sawmill near this station from 1897-1899.

- Telephone booth, 6'x6'x8', built 1929.

Water Tower
- 11'x11'x10', 8,000 gallon, built 1917 and retired 1935.
- 10,000 gallon tank, built 1935. Tub torn down around 2002, though the base remains at present. Hardware from tank salvaged by Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad for use in water tanks on that operation.

Side Track
- One 409' spur, built 1908 and removed 1939.

Oil Spur-Just east of Milepost 15. Site of a 347' spur to the railroad's oil storage tank, built 1907 and retired 1948.

McCloud-Milepost 17.79 (1897-1907), then 16.85 (1907-1955), then 0 (1955-present). Town originally established as Sugar Pine Park (after the dominant trees in the area) in 1891 by Friday George to support his sawmill operations. The McCloud River Lumber Company greatly expanded the original camp and re-named it Vandale (a contraction of Van Arsdale, one of the principles behind the new company), with the bulk of the townsite located immediately north of the original camp on a homestead purchased from Judge J.S. Beard. The lumber company re-named the community McCloud in 1897. The name McCloud originated with Ross McCloud, who arrived in the region in 1855 and operated several businesses in the greater Dunsmuir area, including an early health retreat. There were some early attempts to name the river McLeod, after Alexander Roderick McLeod, a trapper with the Hudson Bay Company who led an expedition through the region in 1828-1829.

The town has always served as the base of operations for the railroad, and the giant sawmill provided the primary reason for the railroad's existence from 1897 until 1979. In recent years the town has shifted from a timber community to one trying to survive on the tourism trade built around several bed and breakfast operations, square dancing, and, until January 2010, the dinner train.

- Original roundhouse, built circa 1897 and sold to the lumber company 1912.
- Original car shop, built circa 1897 and burned 1915.
- Passenger depot, 50'x151' with a 8'x8'x10' cesspool and 5,775 square feet of platforms, built 1902 and retired 8/30/1929.
- Coal shed, 30'x50', built 1902.
- Machine shop, 61'x165', built 1905 and retired 1956.
- Car shop, 50'x210', built 1905 and converted 1965/1966 to a warehouse by U.S. Plywood.
- Oil columns, 3" diameter, built 1906.
- Roundhouse, ten stalls, 66' long, built 1907, expanded to 12 stalls 1912/1913, retired 1956.
- Storage shed, built 1907 out of two 9'x35' outfit carbodies, retired 1929.
- Track scale, 50' long, 100-ton capacity, along with a concrete pit and fully enclosed scale house, built 1907 and retired 1972.
- Tool house, 16'x17', built 1907.
- Various platforms, built 1907.
- Oil pump house, 7'x8', built 1907.
- Oil tank, 40'diameter by 20' high, capacity 5,000 barrels, built 1907.
- Sand house, built 1907 and destroyed by fire 1911.
- Lineman's shop, 17'x25'-6'x34' lean-to, built 1907.
- Car house, 12'x32', built 1909.
- Fuel shed, 14'x235', built 1909 and retired 1919.
- Sand house, 16'x40', built 1911 and retired 1929.
- Livestock yard, built 1911 and retired 1942.
- Car storage, 32'x150', built 1912 and still in use in at present.
- Lumber shed, 28'x101', recorded as built 1912 but photos show it under construction in 1909.
- Iron rack, 22'x26', built 1912.
- Air test shop, 16'x24', built 1912.
- Section house, 14'x38'-8'x10' lean-to, built 1912.
- Section house, 12'x22', built 1912.
- Roadway store, 20'x50', built 1914.
- Fuel oil stand pipe, built 11/1926
- Sand house, 23'x15'x8'6" built 1928 and retired 1957.
- Passenger depot and office building, 36'x97', two stories, built 1929 and destroyed by fire 1990.
- Paint and glass storage building, 12'x18'x9', built 1939.
- Ten outfit carbodies set up as housing for section employees in 1941/1942, then replaced with more permanent housing in the late 1950s. Replacement housing destroyed 1981.
- Locomotive wash rack, built 1947.
- Diesel shop, approx. 140'x225', built 1956 and in use at present.
- Diesel fuel and sanding facilities, built between 1948 and 1957.
- Track scale and scale shed, constructed 1972.
- Several more modern section sheds and boxcar bodies set up as sheds. Most of these scrapped 2013.

Water Towers
- 14'x14'x12', 16,000 gallon, built 1907 and retired 1924.
- 14'x14'x12', 16,000 gallon, built 1924 and retired 1933.
- 15,000 gallon tank, built 1933 and retired 1956.
- 10'6" diameter, 15,000 gallon, moved 4/1994 from Howard to the McCloud depot. Relocated to adjacent property by 2016.

Side Tracks/Turntables
- 72' steel turntable, built 1907 and retired 1913.
- 52' steel turntable, built 1913 and retired 1956.
- Numerous yard and storage tracks for railroad use.
- Numerous industrial spurs in sawmill and other industries in McCloud.