McCloud River Railroad : Passenger Operations: Excursion Photos

The Early 1980s Excursions
The Great Western Railway Museum

The success of the May 1982 trip sparked a new wave of railfan excursions over the McCloud River Railroad that lasted for the next four years. The railroad initially kept the four leased SP gondolas around for use on the excursion revival, and then in late 1982 the company leased three former Southern Pacific "Daylight" passenger cars from Sierra Western Tours, cars #500 (San Joaquin), #510 (Tuolomne), and #511 (Stanislaus). The three cars remained on the railroad for most of 1983, but towards the end of the year Sierra Western recalled them for repainting into SP "Daylight" colors fur use in the World's Fair Daylight. The excursions again used leased SP flatcars and gondolas and MR cabooses, supplemented by a former Trailer-Train flatcar the Great Western museum bought and equipped with benches and railings.

Fred Kepner had been looking for a home for their operations for years, and the initial success of the excursion program plus the receptive attitude expressed by the McCloud River management convinced him that the future of his organization lay in McCloud. Fred acquired the old Champion International truck shop building on the eastern edge of McCloud, and in 1983-1984 he started moving his collection into McCloud. Fred put several smaller pieces of equipment into the shop, but the the larger pieces, consisting of about a dozen heavyweight passenger cars, three former Burlington Northern NW-2 switchers, some cabooses, and a few other miscellaneious cars ended up being stored on various McCloud River sidings through McCloud.

The #25 at Bartle with an excursion in 1982. Wayne I. Monger.

Another shot of the excursion. Wayne I. Monger.

#38 and #39 switching the Sierra Western cars in McCloud prior to an excursion to Hambone in September 1982. Bernard Levine photo.

#25 departing McCloud with the Hambone excursion in September 1982. David Bell photo.

A closer view of Ray Piltz at the controls of the #25 as the train departs McCloud. David Bell photo.

#25 arriving at Swobe. David Bell photo.

A broadside view of the #25 and its crew passing through Swobe. David Bell photo.

The September 1982 Hambone trip arriving at Hambone. David Bell photo.

The #25 putting on a show climbing Bartle Hill at McIntosh Vista. David Bell photo.

One last photo from the September 1982 trip at McIntosh Vista. David Bell photo.

In 1983 the #25 made another trip to Hambone. The 1983 is seen here in Bartle. Wayne I. Monger.

The excursion somewhere on the line. Wayne I. Monger.

Arriving in Hambone. Wayne I. Monger.

The #37 participated in most of the early 1980s excursions. Wayne I. Monger.

Great Western Railroad Museum Equipment.

One of the key pieces of equipment Great Western brought to McCloud was this 2-6-6-2, originally built for Weyerhaeuser out of Klamath Falls, then sold to the Sierra Railroad as their #38, and finally to Rayonier as their #38. The engine had been on display for a couple decades and was about to be cut up when Fred Kepner bought it. The #38 arrived in McCloud in several pieces, its boiler is seen here on a MR flatcar. Pat Driscoll.

The frame and running gear of the #38. Pat Driscoll

The tender of the #38. Pat Driscoll.

One of the three ex-BN NW-2s Fred Kepner brought into McCloud. Pat Driscoll.

The line of the museum's heavyweight passenger cars at Ash Creek Junction. Jerry Lamper..

One of the former BN cabooses the museum owned. Pat Driscoll.

A former BN/NP outfit car. Pat Driscoll.

The former Trailer-Train flatcar set up for passenger service. Pat Driscoll.