McCloud River Railroad
Miscellaneous Maintenance-of-Way Equipment
The McCloud River Railroad made early use of the small gasoline or hand powered, self-propelled motorcars for various maintenance-of-way chores. An inventory of the railroad completed in 1906 counted five hand cars, four push cars, two velocipedes, and two motorcars on the property. The 1917 ICC valuation recorded seven push cars, six hand cars, and one velocipede, all Fairbanks-Morse products. Later records record a motorcar and push car purchased on 1 April 1928 for $391.48; two motorcars (#37408 and #4932) purchased and one motorcar (#32774) retired on 31 July 1929 at a total cost of $1,052.45; one motorcar (#38543) purchased on 30 June 1930 for $500.19; four Fairmont motorcars purchased in 1946; six hand cars and one velocipede retired in 1949; a track motorcar retired in 1950; and three gang cars and one inspection car retired and replaced with three new gang motorcars in 1951.
The following is a partial list of the motorcars in use on the property in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Hy-rail equipped vehicles largely replaced these speeders by the 1970s, although the railroad kept one or two around, principally for use by the Lookout-based section gang.
18- Fairmont, serial #666632. Assigned to Section 10.
19- Fairmont, serial #28770. Assigned to Section 5. Sold to Yreka Western.
20- Fairmont, serial #666631. Assigned to Section 9.
21- Fairmont, serial #666554. Photos show a motor car with this number on the railroad in the middle-1980s, however it is not known if it is this same car or not.
22- Fairmont, serial #828766. Assigned to Section 6.
23- Fairmont, serial #666563. Purchased from Long-Bell Lumber Company in Weed. Assigned to Section 4. Wrecked 12/1963 and replaced by a borrowed GN speeder.
25- Serial C-2072. Purchased from Long-Bell. Assigned to Section 2.
30- Serial number M-19.
31- Serial M-9. Assigned to Sidney E. Muma.
GN #2- Built by Cartee. Heavily damaged 2/1957 by a fire the section crew built to heat the machine and repaired.
After speeders had largely been removed from service on the rest of the railroad, the company's employees kept one (possibly GN #2) at Bartle that was used to access the caboose turned into a hunting lodge at Chippy Spur and other recreational weekend recreational pursuits on the Lookout line, such as fishing at Mosquito Lake. The speeder ended up in private ownership in McCloud, where it was restored to service. The car made occasional forays out onto the railroad.
Three generations of a family on a typical early motorcar in Hambone. Jeff Moore collection.
Motorcar #21 in the middle 1980s. Pat Driscoll photo, Jeff Moore collection.
Perhaps the last motocar McCloud Railway used, at Spur 526 in 2003. Roger Titus photo.
Track Maintenance Machines
Up until the mid-1950s, most track maintenance work was completed with hand tools and strong backs. This started to change with the introduction of mechanized track equipment by the late 1940s/early 1950s. A roster book from the early 1960s lists the following equipment, all leased out to Oroville Dam Construction Railroad at the time:
50- Ballast regulator
51- Line master
53- Tie spacer
54- Jack tamper
The railroad subsequently purchased additional equipment, including another ballast tamper (purchased 3/1973), a used tie handler (1978)two tie inserters/removers (purchased 2/1979), a rotary tie bed scarifier, a tie crane, and a tie shredder. The railroad has also leased a brush cutter and some other miscellaneous equipment as needed.
Tie inserter and remover.
Jack tamper, used to power jackhammer used to drive spikes in later years.
The McCloud railroads have almost always used on- and off-rail vehicles as part of their operations. The earliest recorded vehicle is an Oldsmobile, which appears on both the 1906 and 1907 inventories. The vehicle pool started to increase by the 1920s, with a few of the fleet specially equipped to operate on the rails. In addition to the vehicles owned for company use, the railroad also owned commercial busses and tractor-trailers for its off-rail passenger and trucking subsidiaries. A partial roster of the vehicles used in the late 1950s/early 1960s survives and is displayed below.
1- Pontiac sedan, purchased 12/1958. Replaced 12/1962 by a 1963 Pontiac.
2- 1958 station wagon equipped with rail attachment. Superintendent's car.
3- 1958 station wagon. Assigned to Roadmaster.
4- 1957 Chevy Bellair. Purchased 2/1959 from Bamberger Railroad.
4- 1964 Chevy pickup. Assigned to master mechanic.
5- 1954 Ford pickup. Purchased 12/1959.
6- 1951 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup. Purchased 8/1960.
9- 1955 GMC pickup, painted red. Stationed in Burney.
10- 1953 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup.
11- 1959 International Travelette. Purchased 12/1958 for Section 2. Equipped with rail attachment.
12- 1963 Chevy pickup.
13- 1964 Chevy station wagon. Purchased 3/1964 for $2,935. Assigned to Sidney Muma.
14- 1953 GMC pickup. Sold after 1/1964.
15- 1962 Chevy dump truck.
16- 1963 Chevy truck.
17- 1964 Carlton Chevy pickup. Purchased 1/1964 from Enoch Chevrolet, Long Beach, CA.
18- Ford Gangwagon, purchased 5/1963. Wrecked 7/23/1964 at Bartle and repaired.
100- Several vehicles have carried this number. Perhaps the first was a Ford Model A station wagon purchased new in 1/1931 and converted to a track car by 1933. In 1949 the railroad converted a track car #100 to a highway vehicle for the shop- unknown if it was the same machine as the 1931 Ford. Later vehicles to wear this number included a 1959 Chevy hi-rail car and a 1962 Chevy station wagon purchased from Southern Pacific.
The railroad in recent years has used an assortment of mostly Ford and Chevy 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton pickups, two or three older flatbed trucks, and a van. Some of these have been equipped with hi-rail equipment.
An early inspection car at the Oil Spur just out of McCloud. T.E. Glover collection.
A hi-rail pickup in the 1960s. Jeff Moore collection.
A typical MR hi-rail pickup of the 1980s. Pat Driscoll photo, Jeff Moore collection.
An MR hi-rail pickup at Lookout in 1998.
A later hi-railer at Berry in June 2006.
Derelict vehicles in McCloud in October 2016.
The McCloud companies have fielded a small collection of heavy equipment used in construction and repair jobs. In the early years the lumber company owned a pair of large shovels, one powered by steam and the other powered by diesel. The railroad purchased a gasoline shovel of its own in 1938. Modern heavy equipment used by the railroad includes the following:
25- Le-Tourneau Tournadozer, purchased 6/1953.
26- Le-Tourneau Tournadozer, purchased 12/1958.
xx- Le-Tourneau carryall scraper, purchased 1959.
xx- Michigan loader.
xx- Clark fork lift, purchased 3/1955 from Heinz Machinery Company.
966- Caterpillar model 966 front end loader. Purchased new late 1960s or early 1970s.
In recent years the railroad has used the 966, at least one backhoe, and a small bulldozer. The McCloud Railway purchased a hi-rail equipped crane from the Southern Pacific around 1993.