McCloud River Railroad : Passenger Operations: Excursion Photos

Shasta Huffen Puff

Most excursions operated over the McCloud River Railroad following the 1962 restoration of the #25 were either once a year charters or other special events. The first attempt at a regular scheduled passenger excursion operation came in 1964 when an organization calling itself the Mt. Shasta Alpine Scenic Railroad leased the #25 and its passenger train. The operation failed after the first year.

The next and final attempt faired much better than the Mt. Shasta Alpine Scenic. A group of 16 railfans lead by Richard Lohse formed the Shasta Huffen Puff, which reached an operating lease on the #25 and equipment. The new operation ran a few times in late 1967 and then every weekend through 1971. Normal operations saw two round trips per day between McCloud and Mt. Shasta City. The company also operated specials during other times of the year, such as winter snow specials and periodic trips to Burney.

The group wanted a locomotive of their own, and in early 1968 they acquired the former Santa Maria Valley 2-8-2 #21. However, a mechanical evaluation of the #21 after arrival in McCloud turned up many problems with the machine, and the costs of putting it back in operation exceeded what the group could afford. The group continued operations with the train set leased from the McCloud River.

Unfortunately, the operation never was a financial success, and rising insurance and operating costs forced the Huffen Puff to suspend operations after the 1971 season. Other organizations stepped forward to fill the void the loss of the Huffen Puff created. The group sold the #21, and it departed McCloud in early 1972. The locomotive bounced around to several storage locations and is presently undergoing restoration in Astoria, Oregon.

A period advertisement for the short lived Mt. Shasta Alpine Scenic Railroad.

A brochure the Mt. Shasta Alpine Scenic Railroad published.

The Mt. Shasta Alpine Scenic Railroad did rate this two page article in a period Southern Pacific Bulletin during its brief life.

A Shasta Huffenpuff promotional postcard featuring the #25 at the McCloud depot preparing for a winter trip.

Another promotional Shasta Huffenpuff postcard, this one featuring another winter trip at Signal Butte.

Another promotional Shasta Huffenpuff postcard.

A Huffenpuff train at the Mt. Shasta City depot. Photo by and courtesy of Ron Abrahamson.

A special trip to Burney on another day is seen here crossing the Lake Britton Bridge. Photo by and courtesy of Ron Abrahamson.

A color photo of the ex-Santa Maria Valley #21 in the McCloud yard in January 1969. Lee F. Hower.

Another view of the #21 at the same place but from a different angle.

One last view of the ex-Santa Maria Valley #21. Photo by and courtesy of Dennis Sullivan.

Shasta HuffenPuff Brochure- 1967

Shasta Huffenpuff Brochure- 1969