McCloud River Railroad : Passenger Operations

Special Excursion Photos


The #25 passing one of the more popular photo spots for railfan photographers with a 1971 excursion. Lee F. Hower photo.



The Nevada County Narrow Gauge hosted the first organized railfan excursion in the west on 16 May 1937. The trip sparked the creation of the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, which started organizing railfan excursions on other roads. The growing number of railfans in the region formed several other organizations, which started chartering an increasing number of railfan trips around the west after the end of World War II.

The combination of the spectacular scenery, friendly management and employees, and the #25 made the McCloud River one of the more popular steam excursion operations in the west between 1948 and 2009. Three railfan and rail preservation groups, the Northern California Railroad Club (NorCal), the Pacific Locomotive Association (PLA), and the California-Nevada Railroad Historical Society (Cal-Nev) became the principal organizers of railfan trips over the McCloud between 1948 and 1975. While many of these trips targeted the railfan community, an increasing number of them sold tickets to the general public as tourist railroads became increasingly popular in the 1960s. A number of mostly local groups and the Great Western Railroad Museum sponsored the excursion revival from 1982-1986. Trains Unlimited Tours became an important organizer of McCloud Railway excursions in the middle 1990s, and the McCloud Railway Company itself operated many of the excursions in the last years.

Below are pages with photos and information of some of the McCloud excursions through the years. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all special excursions the railroads ever operated.


Locomotive Trip


#14/#16 The First Excursion- 12 June 1948
#26 June 10th and 17th 1950
Various 1952/1953 Excursions
#25/Others Burney Gold Spike Special July 1955
#25/#19 Pondosa 9 June 1962
#25 McCloud River Rattler- 22 June 1963
#25 First Snow Trip- 25 January 1964
#25 The Late 1960s
#25 The PLA Winter Trips
#25 Calliope
#25 Presidents Day 1969
#25 "Oregon Caper"- Labor Day 1969
#25 Pondosa- 1970
#25 Shasta Wonderland and Similar Excursions
#25 The Early 1970s
#25 #25 Returns- 8 May 1982
#25 Early 1980s Excursions and the Great Western Railroad Museum
#25 Trip to Dunsmuir
#25 27 July 1985
#37/#39 Dicalite Special- 22 September 1986
#19 #19 Returns- 1994
#39 Burney Excursion Train- 1995/1996
#36 Trains Unlimited Tours- 12-13 October 1996
#25 #25 Returns Again- Labor Day 1997
#25 Winter Trips 1998
#25 Trains Unlimited Photo Freight- 17 May 1998
#25 Fourth of July Trips- 1998/1999
#25 Charter Photo Freight
#25 Lookout 1999
-- Civil War Trains
#25/#18 18 and 25 Together- 2001
#18 Memorial Day 2001
#18 Lookout 2002
#18 Memorial Day 2002
#18 Trains Unlimited to Burney- 10/11 May 2003
#18 Memorial Day 2003
#18 Labor Day 2003
#18 Trains Unlimited Special 2004
#18 Fall Foliage: 10 October 2004
#18 Fall Foliage: 17 October 2004
#18 Photo Freight January 2005
#18 January 2005
Var. Trains Unlimited July 2005
#18 3 July 2005- Photo Freight
#18 4 July 2005
#18 Last Runs- 6/7 August 2005
-- "Amtrak" comes to McCloud- September 2008
#25 Photo Freights, 11/12 October 2008
#25 Last Runs- 1/2 November 2008