McCloud River Railroad Company
McCloud Railway Company
Locomotive #30

Baldwin S-12
Built 1953
c/n- 75912
Horsepower- 1200


The McCloud River Lumber Company in the early 1950s only had about another fifteen years of timber available to it, and as such both McCloud companies were planning to be out of business by the middle to later 1960s. This reality guided all major decisions both companies made, as any large capital expenditures had to be recovered in the remaining operational time. The railroad contemplated dieselizing all of its operations under these principles, and after extensive consultation with Baldwin decided a pair of model S-12 switchers presented the best solution. The pair of switchers proved their worth, operating together or individually on trains out of Pondosa and then with the #28 and #29 on the longer mainline hauls to Mt. Shasta City or Lookout. The Burney tract acquired in 1954 suddenly added another fifty years of life to the McCloud mill, and the role of the switchers changed after the Burney line opened in 1955. From then until 1963 one of the switchers would be assigned to the Burney switcher, which worked the logging railroad trackage south of town as well as switching the local sawmills, while the other switcher usually helped the road train coming down from McCloud.

Locomotive #30 swapping cars with the mainline freight from McCloud in the Berry yard. Ray Piltz photo, Travis Berryman collection.

#30 with a freight near Pondosa on 18 August 1955. J.F. Monhoff photo, Ray Piltz/Travis Berryman collection.

A broadside view of the #30 on the Burney Gold Spike special. Stan Styles photo, Jerry Lamper collection.

If any McCloud steam locomotives ever fell into the turntable pit, no photographic evidence seems to have survived. It may very well be that the #30 was the first and possible only McCloud locomotive to suffer this fate. Note the diesel shop is being built in the background. Travis Berryman photo.

The #30 at rest in the McCloud yard.

The #30 in McCloud on 2 September 1961. Bruce R. Meyer photo.

The #30 working in the McCloud yard shortly before its sale to Rayonier. Al Heath photo, used with permission.

The former #30 as Rayonier #203. Keith Ardinger photo.

Rayonier #203, ex-McCloud River #30, in storage on the Milwaukee Road in Washington in 1973 following the end of Rayonier's logging railroad. Mel Lawrence photo, John Barnhill collection.

The former #30's next stop was in the U.S. Steel plant in Pittsburg, California, where it operated in mostly a coat of solid yellow paint and typically well outside the public eye. The one exception came during the nation's Bicentennial celebrations, when USS temporarily numbered it to #76 and gave it this paint job. Note it still has "203" from its Rayonier days in the number boards on the side of the hood.

Another shot of the U.S. Steel #76 switching in Pittsburg on 27 December 1977. A.F. Bolton photo, Jeff Moore collection.

After a couple years in the bicentennial scheme U.S. Steel repainted the locomotive back to solid yellow and returned it to their #16. The locomotive, equipped with remote control, served U.S. Steel well until they decided to retire it and the other Baldwins in the plant in 1993. The Feather River Rail Society then bought the switchers and transported them to the Portola Railroad Museum (now Western Pacific Railroad Museum) in Portola, where M.D. McCarter shot the former McCloud River #30 on 2 August 1994. The museum lettered the diesels for the Feather River & Western, the operating arm of the museum. The McCloud Railway would purchase the locomotive and return it to McCloud within a year of this photo.

McCloud #30 as it appeared in May 2004. Photo by and courtesy of George Landrock.

One last photo of the #30 from October 2016.