5. McCloud River Railroad History 1940 – 1963

Lake Britton Bridge

Lake Britton Bridge

The Pangs Of War and Burney Birth

1940-1963 During the war the railroad was taken over by the federal government but when the war ended, the railroad went back to it’s expansionist ways. The old PG&E roadbed still existed (even though the rails were picked up, so the McCloud expanded southward from Bartle through Curtis and Bear Flat over this pre-made roadway. The road shifted it access to Pondosa from Car A to the north to this new line. The Red River Lumber company (One of the biggest owners of timber stands in the area had logged out all the convenient land near it’s Westwood CA mill and sold the rest of it’s remaining property to Fruit Growers Supply. FGS was in the business of making wooden crates for fruit growers to ship their product to market and they needed logs. After looking at the WP they decided to ask McCloud to expand into their area. The line to Burney was started in 1954, and by August it had reached Cayton Valley where loading facilities were available. By the summer of 1955 the line was complete and a special 3 section train using many of The McCloud (including Steam) and some SP Engines, the Gold Spike Special rolled into Burney and the celebration started. Then suddenly it was 1963 and the unthinkable happened. The McCloud River Railroad Company and the McCloud Lumber Company was sold to US Plywood. US Plywood, immediately stopped the hauling of timber by rail (favoring trucks and Highway 89) and pulled up almost all of the lumber companies spurs. The economic impact on the area was similar to that of anyplace suddenly under the thumb of an absentee landlord. Mother McCloud was gone.


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* Images taken from Post Cards, Viewing Objects and Original Products

** Images Courtesy Of The McCloud Heritage Junction Museum Please see interchange page for more info on this.