McCloud River Railroad : Passenger Operations: Excursion Photos

Steam Locomotive #25:
The Late 1960s

The last half of the 1960s were a golden era for McCloud River excursions. The railroad finally purchased the coaches it had been leasing from the Southern Pacific since early 1965 in the late summer of 1966, plus one more car for parts. The railroad initially planned to convert the third coach into a "party car" but eventually elected to convert the last of the former Great Northern cabooses on the property instead, and the company conveyed the body of the third coach to the Pacific Locomotive Association after storing it in McCloud for a few years. The PLA withdrew its sponsorship of the annual June trip after 1966, but continued their winter trip, and the Nor-Cal club continued operating the June trips by itself. The #25 got some new paint and lost its fire hose reels before the 1968 season, during which it carried a steam calliope on its tender.

Regularly scheduled excursions supplementing the railfan trips returned in 1967 when the Shasta Huffen Puff commenced operations, and the locomotive remained busy through the rest of the 1960s. However, the #25's boiler certification was due to expire at the end of the 1970 season, and the railroad initially planned to not do the work. The railroad operated a number of "last runs" through the summer and fall of 1970, but the high turnout caused corporate parent Champion International to change its mind, and the shop crews replaced the tubes over the winter of 1970/1971.

The #25 getting some mechanical work in the shop on 17 December 1965. Frank Wintering photo, courtesdy Roger Titus.

Flyer for the Nor-Cal excursion of 14 June 1969.

The backside of the flyer advertised the larger event of the weekend.

The railroad still had water towers at Howard, Hooper, Bartle, and Pondosa, plus water plugs at McCloud and Mt. Shasta City that the #25 could use for water. For fuel the railroad spotted an oil service tank car equipped with a pump on one of the house tracks next to the shop. The #25 powered the pump using steam from its fire pump, as shown here in 1969. C.G. Heimerdinger Jr. photo.

An excursion train in 1969.

Another shot of an excursion train in 1969. C.G. Heimerdinger Jr.

Another color shot of the #25 with an excursion in 1969. C.G. Heimerdinger Jr.

One more uncredited shot of a 1969 excursion.

#25 wying around its train at Bartle.

A water stop at Bartle.

Another feature of almost every steam trip, the #25 storming by a line of photographers at Bartle.

A photo runby sometime in the later 1960s.

Engineer T.E. Glover watching for directions from his conductor on 6 July 1964. T.E. Glover collection.

Ray Piltz and Jack Jordan on the #25 in April 1970. Like T.E. Glover, both were veteran McCloud railroaders and became popular and well known to the railfan community. Ray Piltz collection, courtesy Travis Berryman.