McCloud River Railroad : Chasing the Sierra Job
Photo Essay by Sean Zwagerman

By September 2005 the McCloud Railway Company had already applied to abandon the entire railroad east of McCloud. Given the uncertain future, many railfans journied to northeastern California to get some final photos. Sean Zwagerman made the trip in September 2005, photographing both a Sierra Job and a Yard & Hill Job during his visit. The Sierra Job photos are posted here, and the Yard & Hill Job photos are posted in that page of this section of this website.

The early morning sun finds the #36 leading empties east through Esperanza.

A few minutes later the locomotive approaches Sean.

The train rolls through Kinyon.

Passing through Bartle. The Bartle tank has taken on a serious list in the last year or two and will not survive much longer.

A few hours later the train has arrived at Berry and is backing through the south leg of the Berry Wye onto the Sierra Branch for the 7-mile reverse movement to the Sierra Pacific sawmill.

#36 rolling across Burney Creek on the Sierra Branch.

The crew has completed swapping empties for loads at the sawmill and has started the trip back to McCloud. Sean photographed the train here crossing the Lake Britton bridge.

The last photo of this trip comes at the Bear Creek crossing, not far north of Obie. The railroad has completely lost this fill twice in recent years, the first time in 1986 and then again in 1996. Shortly after the 1996 floods a hydrologic study farther downstream concluded that this fill caused a number of problems with the functionality of the stream, and as a result a conservation group paid to have the large culverts flush with the stream bed installed.