While the McCloud River Railroad could never be accused of lagging behind the times on it’s motive power, it can be noted for it’s frugalness. When the world around it was switching from wood burning engines to oil burning engines, the McCloud kept steady because it had an abundant supply. As you can see number 17 above is stacked high with cords of cut timber. Crews would cut these supplies of cordwood constantly and leave huge stacks beside the railroad. Where the train crews would load as they needed. The crews however not wanted to be left out of the modern age started referring to these chunks of wood, as lump oil. In 1907 saw the purchase of two oil fired locomotives numbers 14 and 15, but the low cost of labor required to prepare the wood for the existing locomotives meant that the McCloud crews would be chucking lump oil, for some time to come.
A Tail Of Two Stacks
Below are two examples of McCloud Steamers, on the right is #12 and on the left is #11. Number 12 is equipped with the wood burning stack, shaped to help arrest sparks and particulates. Number 11 is equipped with the straight oil burning stack, after it had been converted from it’s lump oil burning stage.