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Modoc Northern

Modoc Northern Railroad

Modoc Northern's ribbon cutting train. Photo by Craig Bass, used with permission.

On 1 November 2005 Union Pacific leased the north end of the old SP Modoc Line between Klamath Falls and Alturas to a new shortline, the Modoc Northern. In May 2009 Union Pacific terminated Modoc Northern's lease on the line and has resumed operating to Alturas themselves. Modoc Northern unsuccesfully appealed this decision. In December 2009, UP leased a portion of the track formerly leased to the Modoc Northern to the new Lake Railroad. Modoc Northern's locomotives and other equipment remain in Tule Lake until the various legal claims swirling around the collapse of the company are resolved.

Craig Bass has done an excellent job covering the brief life of this railroad, and High Desert Rails sees no need to duplicate his fine efforts. The reader is instead referred to his site located at

In better days, Modoc Northern #1011 leads a train southeast of Klamath Falls. Jim Heringer photo, used with permission.

Former Lake County Railroad #700 and former BNSF #3647 switching at Tule Lake. Jim Heringer photo, used with permission.

Another view of the #700 and #3647 switching. Jim Heringer photo, used with permission.

Modoc Northern originally purchased the #3647 primarily for use as the Lakeview switcher, but the unit did see some mainline use. Jim Heringer photo, used with permission.

In the summer of 2010, Jim Heringer found Modoc Northern's equipment in storage at Tule Lake. Jim Heringer photos, used with permission.

Modoc Northern #650 and #651, a pair of former Birmingham Southern/Duluth, Missabe &Iron Range SD-9's.

Modoc Northern#3647 and the former Denver & Rio Grande Western caboose.

In addition to the power stored at Tule Lake, the Modoc Northern also purchased this SD-9 of Southern Pacific and Tacoma Eastern heritage. The locomotive had seen several years of service on the Yreka Western before Modoc Northern purchased it. Unfortunately, the Modoc Northern collapsed before the locomotive could be moved out of Yreka, and it remained in Yreka until sold to Western Rail, Inc., and moved off the property in May 2012. Jeff Moore photograph.