McCloud River Railroad : Along the Line

Young Spur to Hambone

In 1919, the McCloud River Lumber Company purchased from the Red River Lumber Company harvesting rights to a substantial timber tract in the Bear Mountain and Hambone Butte areas. The lumber company promptly abandoned a lot of the trackage in its northern holdings, including some log spurs that had never been used. This new sale coincided with the company's transition from mobile to semi-permamently located log camps that would better accommodate the growing numbers of loggers with families, and the first of these would be located in the heart of this tract. The community initially kepts its Camp 2 name, which the lumber company shortly changed to Pondosa. The lumber company initially accessed the tract and Pondosa with spurs built south of its mainline that connected with the railroad's Bartle Branch at Milepost 47. The railroad route into Pondosa made an almost complete circle to the north, though the spreading log spurs shortly created a shortcut from the camp northwest to Milepost 47.

In 1923 the two McCloud companies decided to build a shortcut line to Pondosa. The new line departed the Bartle Branch at a new station named Young Spur and headed northeast, using the grade of a previously abandoned log spur for the first several miles. This revised line tied into the previously used rail line to Milepost 47 at a point named Santa Claus Junction northwest of Pondosa. The railroad owned the line from Young Spur to Slagger (Milepost 47), while the lumber company owned the rest, though the railroad had trackage rights into the camp. Most of the line east of Car A fell out of use after the lumber company moved Pondosa south to its present location in 1927, though the tracks apparently remained in place. Pondosa then became generally known as Old Pondosa and then Hambone. The railroad aquired the Slagger to Hambone trackage from the lumber company on 10 July 1929 as part of the Lookout Line development.

Young Spur-Milepost 41.25 (1923-1939), then 40.94 (1939-1955), then 23.8 (1955-2008). Probably named after railroad superintendent E.M. Young. Station established in 1923 when the railroad built the new line from this point northeast to Pondosa (Hambone). The railroad retained 1,577' of the original Bartle Branch main line as a spur until 7/1947.

Car A-Milepost 43.25 (1923-1939), then 42.94 (1939-1955), then 25.5 (1955-2008). The railroad established a section gang headquarters here in 1923. In 1927, the lumber company built its new line south to the relocated Pondosa camp from this spot, and in 1936 the railroad built 1,702 feet of track to make the junction into a wye.

- Bunk house, 13'x29', built 1923.
- Bunk house, 14'x14', built 1923 and destroyed by fire 1947.
- Shelter cabin, 8'x10', built 1923.
- Shed, 8'x12', built 1923.
- Tool house, 8'x12', built 1923 and retired 1936.
- Shed, 5'x6', built 1923.
- Three outhouses, all 4'x4', built 1923.
- Cistern, 5'x5'x6', built 1923.
- Depot, 12'x16'x8', built 1928 using roof from retired McCloud sand house; moved 1934 to Hambone.
- Tool house, built in 1936 from retired 36' outfit car body.
- Bunk house, built in 1936 from retired 36' outfit car body.
- House for section foreman, 12'x36' with a 12'x18' "T", built 1941.
- Bath and toilet facilities, built 1947.
- Two outfit carbodies set up as dwellings in 1947.

Water Tower
- 25,000 gallon tank, moved 1939 from Swobe. Facilities built to supply the tank included a 220' well, a 6'x8'x7' pump house, forty feet of pipeline, a 10" Deming deep well pump, and a Wisconsin gas engine. The original engine lasted until 1948 when the railroad replaced it with a Fairbanks-Morse gas powered pump. The water facilities lasted until around 1971.

Side Tracks
-Approx. 2,300 foot long storage track.
- Spur, 3 car capacity, in place from the 1950s until at least the late 1970s.

The pump shed and a collapsed outhouse are all that remain at present.

Car B-Originally Milepost 45.09, later 28.24. Switchback junction with a log spur that ran south along the foot of Bear Mountain. The site had a small station sign at one point.

Slagger/Milepost 47-(also Slagger Creek #2 on some maps)- Milepost 46.49 (1923-1939), then 46.18 (1939-1955), then 29. Railroad ownership of the new line originally ended at Milepost 47, in the vicinity of this station. In 1929, the railroad established a passing siding here and established the Slagger station name, which the company probably borrowed from the original Slagger Creek station on the Bartle branch.

- Two bunkhouses, both 15'x20'x10', built 1923.
- One bunkhouse, 15'x20'x10', built 1925.

Side Tracks
- 1,500' passing track, completed 7/10/1929, east switch removed 1949, and remaining spur cut back to three car capacity by 1956 and retired by the early 1960s.

Santa Claus Junction-No record of this ever being a station point, but was the name given to the junction the new line effected with the previously used railroad line into Pondosa.

Camp 2/Pondosa-Milepost 50.17. Site saw very little activity until approximately 1919/1920, when the McCloud River Lumber Company established a camp here, initially named Camp No. 2 and then renamed Pondosa. Pondosa is a variation on Ponderosa, the common name of the most predominant pine species in the McCloud country. The logging camp remained at this spot for several years in the mid-1920s, with facilities eventually including a large repair shop and fuel and servicing facilities for logging and railroad equipment and a number of camp buildings. The lumber company moved the camp to the present site of Pondosa in 1927, after which this site became known as Old Pondosa. The post-1929 history of Pondosa is covered in the Great Northern Hambone Branch segment of this site.